The 16th outing for P.I. Amos Walker immerses the reader in a dreary, depressing Detroit winter. Gilia Cristobal, the newest superstar on the block, is bent on taking the Motor City by storm. A refugee from a nameless Central American revolution, she has hired Amos to locate a blackmailer. Gilia doesn't want the blackmailer stopped, however—she's concerned because the blackmailer hasn't contacted her in three months. Blackmail is a small price to pay for the bombshell that would hit the press if Gilia's secret were to leak out.

Estleman is a true master of the private-eye genre. His Walker is the proverbial tough guy with a soft spot in his heart—but not so soft he loses his edge. After reading this gritty story, no one is going to want to sign up for a tour of his Detroit.

The characters are well defined: crooks, muscle men, gangsters, the media and, oh yes, the cops. Walker has seen it all, and the men and the women that he comes into contact with leap off the page with a crackle of energy. Fans of the hard-boiled mystery need look no further than the Amos Walker series. (Apr., 272 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Lorraine Gelly