LADY YESTERDAY by Loren D. Estleman

LADY YESTERDAY

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Detroit shamus Amos Walker (Sugartown, Motor City Blue, etc.) goes looking for a reformed hooker's long-lost father--and finds himself ill an unexpected death-duel with Colombian mobsters. Iris, a beautiful West Indian from Amos' past, has gone straight; she's about to get married and settle down in Jamaica. But before leaving the US for good, she wants Amos to help her find her father: a jazz trombonist named Georgie Favor who never married her Jamaican mother, let alone stayed around to be a real father. So Amos starts talking to old jazz players and huffs, searching for near-great Georgie, last seen washing dishes in a local dive three years ago. Meanwhile, however, Iris becomes the target of strange death-threats; when she stays at a motel, the sleazy night manager turns up murdered; then Amos himself is menaced by a Colombian mob chieftain--who has good reason to want Iris out of the country. . .or dead. And it's only after a bloody battle to protect Iris (with help from the Colombian's mobster. rivals) that a much-battered Amos locates Iris' dad--in a small, satisfying twist. Estleman's metaphor-laden narration for hard-boiled, dour, philosophical Amos occasionally veers off from seedy eloquence into silly pretension. (""It was a premature orgasm of a case, a quest for a silver chalice that turned out to have MADE IN TAIWAN stamped across its bottom."") And there's only a smidgin of conventional mystery-detection here. But the various plot-strands are woven together without excess contrivance; the lowdown Detroit backgrounds are, as usual, sketched in with moody conviction; and, flavored with jazz-club nostalgia and world-weary gallantry, this is one of the most satisfying-if least flashy--of the Walker exploits.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1987
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin