From: James R. Winter ( winter_writes@earthlink.net)
Date: 04 Jun 2005

OK, I'm behind on these. I actually read this one a couple months ago, but have been too busy to write it up. So here goes.

One thing I like about the Walker series is the cynical sense of humor. In THE MIDNIGHT MAN, it really shines through. Before he even starts the story, Estleman is quoting from DOCTOR FAUSTUS, both to set up the story and, possibly, to get in a dig at Robert Parker, who seems overly fond of Shakespeare and TS Eliot.

The opening scene is one of sweet revenge for any who's ever taken a phone call that starts with the words, "Please hold for..."

The book starts off as a case about hijacked trucks. During a chase, Walker is pulled over by a cop Stutevant, whom he accidentally pulls a gun on. It's a misunderstanding, and Sturtevant realizes it. No harm done. Only at the end of the first chapter do you find out what the real story is. As Walker jacks his client around (justifiably) on the phone, we learn Sturtevant was shot not long after his encounter with Walker by a young man named Roscoe LaRue. By the end of the day, Walker is working for Mrs. Sturtevant.

Estleman walks a fine line here in a story involving black militants. They aren't quite cariacatures, but they are vicious in dealing with any opposition, including Walker.

Some of the finer points from my fading memory...

- Alderyce. I think it's here the relationship between him and Walker gets extremely hostile. In the first two books, there's a degree of professional hostility, but not personal. Later on, Estleman cools things off as the screaming black lieutenant has become rather cliche thanks to several LETHAL WEAPONesgue movies. Here, though, there's a rhyme and reason to Lt. Alderyce's dislike of Walker. A police officer has been shot. Hell hath no fury like a wounded or murdered officer's department. To Alderyce, Walker is in the way and a major nuisance, which Estleman portrays nicely.

- Iris. I always liked Iris, but she's a difficult character to sustain. As in MOTOR CITY BLUE, Walker is testing her patience, having her come to his aid only to find out she has a stubborn patient she didn't want in the first place. She was a junkie and a hooker in MCB (so far, my favorite in this series). Here, the hooker angle is downplayed, letting Iris be Iris. Though with friends like Walker, it's easy to see why she got out of the life.

- Bum Bassett. I probably liked this character the least in the book. Somehow, Texas cowboy types just don't work for me most of the time. And Estleman even minimizes the phonetic speech. Still, he's big and I can see the ten-gallon hat, even when there isn't one.

- Walker himself - Amos Walker has been described as a grouch who's too young to be an old curmudgeon and has absolutely no use for anything invented since WWII. He's in fine form here.

Sorry this one's not as in depth as usual, but I left it sitting on my nightstand for about two months. Will do better next time, I promise.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> Has someone you know been affected by illness or disease? Network for Good is THE place to support health awareness efforts! http://us.click.yahoo.com/rkgkPB/UOnJAA/Zx0JAA/kqIolB/TM

RARA-AVIS home page: http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/
  Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 04 Jun 2005 EDT