Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ray's Reviews: The Sundown Speech by Michigan Author Loren Estleman

        “The Sundown Speech” by Whitmore Lake author Loren Estleman (Forge Books,
$24.99) is the 25th in his popular series starring hard-boiled Detroit
area private detective Amos Walker.

        This time out, most of the action is set in Ann Arbor, on or near the
campus of the University of Michigan.

        It’s not a contemporary case, but is a long flashback to one that took
place about a dozen years ago.

        Walker is hired by Dante and Heloise Gunnar, who’ve invested $15,000 in a
movie that was supposed to be produced in the college town. They gave
their money to Jerry Marcus, the independent film’s writer and director –
but he’s vanished.

        The film has disappeared too; the private investigator learns that it was
about aliens from a totalitarian planet who come to Earth to clone both
front-running U.S. Presidential candidates.

        After a few hours of work, Walker locates where Marcus has been living –
but finds him dead, his body stuffed into a cupboard, with a bullet in
his head.

        Dante’s arrested for the murder – and Walker is hired again to prove his

        The hard-working private eye questions college student Holly Zacharius, a
witness who may have been the last person to see Marcus alive.

        The case quickly becomes more complicated – especially when shots are
fired at Walker and Zacharius.

        In his search for information, Walker deals with frustrated journalists,
hard-working cops and assorted business people, getting unexpected

        He discovers a clever, deadly plot and gets immersed in a last-second
struggle for survival.

       Originally published as a novella in serial form in 2004 in the Ann
Arbor News, this excellent, carefully crafted crime novel has been
greatly expanded and re-imagined.

        Estleman, who was born and raised in Ann Arbor, has done a superb job in
re-creating the atmosphere of the college town of a dozen years ago. It
was a different time, when Border’s Book Shop was still a major player
and cell phones or computers were not predominant.

        If you haven’t read any of the Amos Walker books, it’s not too late to
start. While it’s best to read them in chronological order, they work
well individually as outstanding examples of enjoyable, hard-boiled
detective fiction.

        The award-winning author has written over 70 novels including other
Detroit crime novels and many Westerns.

        Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime
novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.

Find this book and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on November 29, 2015.