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Sinister Heights (2002)

Sinister Heights (2002)

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3.7 of 5 Votes: 2
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1585472239 (ISBN13: 9781585472239)
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About book Sinister Heights (2002)

You will enjoy this book a lot more if you are familiar with the Detroit area. I lived in that area for the first thirty years of my life so I qualify in being familiar. This book is filled with street names that I know. Sinister Heights was published in 2002 when Detroit was on the verge of losing its Automotive Capital moniker. Cars are manufactured these days in right-to-work states more than in Michigan.Loren Estleman could be a standup comedian with his plethora of one-liners. It took me a few pages to get with the flow. I use Post-It notes to mark lines that I might want to use in my review and the notes were flying off the pad. The city was considering changing the name of that stretch of Cass to encourage business other than drugs and prostitution.. . . A lot of people with computers never open the telephone book.. . . A strip mall had been built off one end, selling hearing aids, bladder-control pills, and devices to improve TV reception. Planet Hollywood is not going to move into the neighborhood anytime soon.. . . “Do I sound like Brooklyn?”“The one in Michigan, or the one on The Honeymooners?. . . “First, can I offer you a real drink? Leland always said water’s only good for making ice.”. . .It was that old shot-and-a-beer action on which Detroit holds the patent.. . . “Leland wouldn’t eat lima beans if a judge ordered him to. And he loved lima beans.”. . . “You know that joke about that minister who died when his church flooded because he trusted in God instead of the men who came to rescue him in a Jeep, a boat, and then a helicopter?”. . . This was not the right answer . . .. . . “I try not to visit the Heights two days in a row. It voids my insurance.”. . . I dipped into my bag of special detective tools and opened the telephone book.. . . “So size does matter.”. . . …to spread on roads and highways throughout the northeastern states during the winter, to melt snow and ice and incidentally christen the entire region America’s Rust Belt.. . .“Amos Walker,” she read. “Is that your real name?”“It’s the one I use most of the time.”. . .“My father gave me a lab when I was ten. He’s on a farm somewhere, my mother told me. The lab got run over.” You probably get the point, if not the joke.This is my first Amos Walker book; he is sharp and astute and fluent. He is quick on a comeback with a fist or a word. His cleverness makes me smile. Loren Estleman writes him quite a few good lines. A rich widow matches lines with him and sends him out in search of a bastard daughter of her deceased husband. This is book fifteen of a twenty-two book series that is still growing with book twenty-three due out in 2014. Starting with #15 is probably not the recommended way to begin a new series, but this was evidently the first book available to me from my used book source. I don’t see myself getting through all twenty-something books anytime soon!Loren Estleman is good for a couple of zinger lines each page. No kidding. Here’s one just to prove it: I went out looking for a place that served underdone Brussels sprouts for lunch. I had a hankering. Sometimes when you think you are not getting your ninety-nine cents worth from this used book, Estleman will give you a two-fer at no extra charge: She shook a finger in my face. “You’re a Republican.”“No, ma’am. I’m Episcopalian.”As I rumbled the engine to life, Matthew asked his mother, “Are they married?”“I don’t think so, honey. They just like to fight.” Then it’s not fun anymore. The book gets real serious on page 111 with a deadly car crash.Just in case you are interested, a 2000 Indian motorcycle puts in an appearance. This is a classic motorcycle with a long history that dates back to 1919. Coincidently Amos Walker has some cycle experience so an Indian as emergency transit works out as he heads to Toledo without a helmet. “Look out for the law. They’ll bust you without a helmet,” the nervous owner warns Amos who retorts as he swings his leg over the seat, “They’ll have to catch me first.”Indian comes up on several other occasions in the book but I am not sure if that means anything because I have not read the first fourteen books. At any rate the clever repartee picks up in spite of several more serious moments that involve guns and bodies. I’d torn up the road back for forth between two states on three different sets of wheels, been in an accident, had a gun stuck at me, been sassed at by three different kinds of crook and caught one in the breadbasket from a fourth, stumbled over a corpse (first of the year), and managed to loose three people under my protection, at least one permanently, since the last time I’d closed my eyes. Just another day in the life of a self-employed screw-up. I needed twelve hours. I told whoever helped me to the bed to wake me in four. But the one-liners do keep my attention: “She was beheaded,” I said. “It was a damn good-looking head, too.” And then a couple of pages later: “I’m not in the market for a kept man.” “That’s okay, because I don’t keep any better than yogurt.”Help me, please. I am being tempted to want to read the first fourteen books and I must not fall for that temptation since I already am in the midst of far too many series. One more will never do. Help me on this, please. Amos will be my role-model: he manages to fend off the advances of a very rich, attractive woman. I am sure he doesn’t want me to be drawn into reading the first fourteen books. He would say, “Too many good books; not enough time. Just say no.”Estleman has his share of action and he kept me interested and entertained with a bit of a surprise ending. He gets some extra star power from me due to his familiar geography and the comfortable quality of writing. Four stars.

Ah, such fun to wallow in the language and story of an Ellroy. 15th in the Amos Walker, PI, series, I have read perhaps 4 or 5 others. They all hark back to Chandler, Ross MacDonald, and Hammett and compare very favorably: the good looking broads, battering husbands, upper crust society, and everyone with a hidden agenda. However, you might remember the famous line from Amadeus regarding Mozart's music: "too many notes." As I read this, the phrase "too many similes," kept popping into my head.No need to retell the plot. You can read that anywhere. Just enjoy a master storyteller.

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