Amos Walker: The Complete Story Collection

loren d. estleman

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“…Estleman’s writing is noir fiction at its best.”
–Library Journal (starred review)


Loren D. Estleman, one of the most prolific crime writers of his generation, has been writing about the exploits of Detroit private eye Amos Walker for thirty years in novels and short stories. This anthology collects all thirty two previously published Amos Walker stories, a previously unpublished story written for the collection, and an introduction by Mr. Estleman.


“All the elements that have made Estleman one of the best hard-boiled writers of all time—just a notch below Chandler and Hammett—are present in these 32 short stories. Remarkably, he has kept his Detroit-based Amos Walker series (Motor City Blue) fresh after three decades and 20 novels, and any fan of the genre who has yet to encounter the ex-cop turned PI will get a great introduction through this collection. What’s most impressive is Estleman’s ability to blend sharp-edged language, cynical characters, betrayals, twists, and a memorable narrative voice within the short story format. He also manages to inject dark humor into his work that keeps the violence, corruption, and double-crosses from becoming too grim (“I don’t have so many friends I can afford to drop one just because he tried to kill me”). Longtime fans will welcome the author’s informative introduction.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Detroit’s most famous gumshoe, Amos Walker, is back in this mammoth collection of short stories. The omnibus contains 32 tales, including the previously unpublished “Sometimes a Hyena,” and flawlessly showcases Estleman’s distinct and penetrating style. With the release of Motor City Blue in 1980, Estleman was one of the first mystery writers to set a detective series in Detroit. For the past three decades, his gumshoe has tirelessly championed its denizens against the crime and corruption that can often define Motown. The collection begins with a wonderful introduction by Estleman tracing the history of the series and the endurance of his protagonist. The stories, much like the city in which they are set, are gritty and tough, and yet there is always a sliver of optimism to be found. Standouts include “Kill the Cat,” “Anniversary Waltz,” and “Cigarette Stop.” Verdict Estleman’s writing is noir fiction at its best with a distinct sense of place that few can rival. Fans of the hard-boiled detective genre and regional mysteries will rejoice in this collection.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“Hard-boiled Detroit private investigator Amos Walker debuted 30 years ago in the novel Motor City Blue (1980). The series has earned Estleman four Shamus awards, and two entries in the series were New York Times Notable Books selections. The 32 stories in the collection range from standard missing-person cases, to a bizarre investigation that hinges on a tattoo, to a few in which Walker ventures outside his black-and-white hometown to the greener but sometimes more deadly Michigan countryside. In the latter category is “Cigarette Stop” in which deadly trouble follows Walker after he makes a simple stop for a pack of smokes. Walker investigates a possible suicide in “Major Crimes” for an insurance company looking to avoid a large life insurance payout. Even Walker’s cynicism is tested when everyone involved in the case—including the insurance company—is complicit in the victim’s death. Walker has a built-in audience of devoted fans; new readers who check out this sampler will be pleased to know they have 30 years of fine novels waiting for them.”


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