From: Robison Michael R CNIN ( Robison_M@crane.navy.mil)
Date: 07 May 2003

I didn't get this one finished in time for 80s month. It's the first Estelman (am I spelling his name write?) I've read. I had this one and his THE GLASS HIGHWAY. Bill Denton had recently given THE GLASS HIGHWAY two thumbs down so deciding which to read was easy.

It was a good book. Amos Walker is the classic hard-drinking, wisecracking private investigator, based in Detroit. Estelman uses descriptions of Detroit effectively and the characters and plot are interesting. He weaves some Vietnam experiences into the book and he does a good job of conveying Amos's loneliness and isolation without becoming overly melodramatic. I liked it. Soulful. Amos drinks a lot but, instead of the drown-your-sorrows-and-who-gives-a-damn attitude of earlier hardboiled, he fears his fondness for alcohol.

Somebody stated that Chandler's style isn't very portable but it seems to have worked well in the 80s. I don't know if it was just coincidence, but the four private investigator books I read for the 80s (others were Corris's WHITE MEAT, Reasoner's TEXAS WIND, and Lochte's SLEEPING DOG) all seemed to do a great job of tapping into Chandler's style while still offering something uniquely their own. Kevin Burton Smith noted earlier that the 80s are what first attracted him to the genre. I can understand why.


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