THE MIDNIGHT MAN by Loren D. Estleman


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In this third episode for narrator-shamus Amos Walker of Detroit, Estleman's modest yet steady wit (in both the downbeat narration and the upbeat dialogue) again just about compensates for the lackluster plotting. Walker is working for free this time: he owes cop Van Sturdevant a favor; so when Sturdevant is crippled in a shootout with three black murderers (two of whom are soon killed by the police), Walker agrees to go after murderer #3--Alonzo Smith--when Smith is sprung from custody by a black terrorist group. The investigation turns up some more bodies, of course: members of the guerrilla group who apparently got cold feet and were eliminated. It also turns up a crime that Walker must try to prevent: the terrorists, it seems, have liberated Smith so that he can assassinate the Mayor of Detroit for them. And, along the way, Walker has to compete with a bounty-hunter. . . while resisting the lustful advances of his crippled pal's wife. Minimal suspense and only the mildest final-twist surprise--but the Detroit milieu remains a plus, and the supporting characters (though not as colorful as in previous Walkers) supply some of the liveliness that's missing in the action.

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 1982
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin