Forge/McMillan, $25.99, 246 pages, ISBN 978-0-7653-8845-2
The battered city of Detroit, Michigan seems like the perfect setting for a beat-down, cynical and wise-cracking private eye who’d be considered a real loser . . . if he wasn’t so damn good at solving the toughest cases in the face of near-impossible conditions. His name is Amos Walker and he’s as hard-boiled as they come, an anachronism from the golden age of pulp fiction in the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s when the shamus’s were always lonesome, the dames were smokin’ hot, sultry, and often duplicitous. In his latest caper, The Lioness is the Hunter, by author Loren D. Estleman pits his throwback PI against the most dangerous . . . and duplicitous . . . woman in the world. She’s an arch-criminal and international fugitive named Charlotte Sing, or Madam Sing, as she prefers to be called, a previous combatant and arch-enemy of Walker.
The yarn begins when a Detroit real estate investor named Carl Fannon hires Walker to find his partner, Emil Hass. He’s gone missing just as the pair are about to close on a large, and historic, downtown Detroit skyscraper known as the Sentinel Building. It seems that both partners must be in attendance to effect the closing of the sale. Walker takes the case, but gets his first twist when Haas shows up and makes arrangements to meet the detective at the Sentinel, where the investor will show Walker the reasons for his misgivings about the purchase, and explain his concerns about his partner. The next day, when Walker gets to the empty and decaying building, he finds Carl Fannon . . . dead. And that’s the second twist in what will turn out to be a complex, noirish and fast-moving novel with a barrelful of fiendishly new plot twists still to come. For example . . . Madam Sing was executed by the North Koreans in a previous Amos Walker mystery. So, how can she be in Detroit, confronting Walker again? You’ll just have to read The Lioness is the Hunter for yourself, to find out. With seventy-plus novels to his credit and a boatload of awards, Loren D. Estleman’s an author every crime fiction enthusiast should be familiar with and read. His books are among the best of the genre, and perfect for relaxed vacation reading. Enjoy!