Mystery #9 for popular Detroit gumshoe Amos Walker (Downriver, Lady Yesterday, etc.), who this time takes on crooked cops and a nuclear blackmailer, all in the cause of a damsel in distress. It's Ernest Krell, head of the giant Reliance detective agency, who hires Walker to dig up dirt on Doyle Thayer, Jr.; but it's Thayer's sexy widow, Constance--who admits to killing the spoiled-brat heir after one too many beatings--who wins the shamus' heart. So when Krell fires Walker, the p.i. keeps digging for free, hoping to turn up some mud to use in Constance's defense at her murder trial, He finds plenty, including the arsenal of weapons from rifles to mines to a howitzer that Thayer kept stashed in his basement. With the help from a tough-but-good-hearted FBI agent who bails him out more than once, and later from a tough-but-honest Cubano cop, Walker sprints down a very mean street haunted by arms dealers--a sleek black bandit, a procine Ma Barker type who pumps Walker full of shotgun pellets, a loser the shamus finds dead in a bathtub--and, after hurdling Thayer's ice-hearted dad and the bent police chief of a Detroit suburb, runs smack into a near-fatal wall of muscle and will named Col. Seabrook. But of course Seabrook--a mercenary who plans to use a hot Polaris missile to blackmail the world--gets his, and at novel's end Walker is back in his beat-up office, staring at a print of Custer looking good losing. Run-of-the-mill Estleman, which means better than most because even if you've met the plot and characters before and even if the storyline does mutate into ersatz James Bond, it's all told in prose as rich and soothing as heavy silk by an author who exhales the soulful legacy of Chandler's p.i. through nearly every word he writes here.