KING OF THE CORNER by Loren D. Estleman


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A paroled felon takes a walk on the wild side of the law in this relatively slight yet satisfying conclusion to Estleman's Detroit crime trilogy (Whiskey River, Motor City). Kevin ""Doc"" Miller isn't just any ex-con; he's a former Detroit Tigers pitching star sent to prison on a morals rap. Back on the streets after seven years, Doc finds a new, more dangerous Detroit--one fueled not by the illegal booze of Prohibition-set Whiskey River, or the corrupt unions of 60's-set Motor City, but by crack cocaine. As a parolee, Doc means to steer clear of crime, but his new job as a John Deere salesman pays little and bores him silly. So when tough bail bondsman Maynard Ance offers him a job as his driver, Doc jumps at the chance--and is soon helping Ance bail out Detroit's top black drug-dealers and political radicals. Doc's an amiable guy, as well as a celeb of sorts, so soon he's also organized a weekend sandlot baseball game played by his new acquaintances--drug-dealers, a cop, and his own nerdy nephew, whom he's trying to make a man of--and he's escorting the young widow of a legendary black radical martyr to a testimonial dinner, thus attracting the attention not only of a sexy journalist but also of longtime Detroit mayor Coleman A. Young. Beneath this newfound success, though, trouble brews: one of Ance's old clients, a top drug-dealing black radical, has killed a corrupt cop--and Doc, pressured by another cop to help find the killer, gets caught up in a dirty political war that eventually leads to a tragic death and takes him into a tense showdown with Mayor Coleman himself. Neither as colorful nor as vigorous as the earlier volumes--but, still, a pleasing if rather rambling mystery-thriller boasting a likable lead, nice baseball metaphors, and a boldly chilling portrait of Coleman A. Young as a devil incarnate.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1992
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Bantam