Friday, February 5, 2010

The Third Rail-Michael Harvey

The Third Rail
Michael Harvey
Knopf, Apr 20 2010, $24.95
ISBN 9780307272508

In Chicago, at the Southport L Station, Robles sees the woman alone by the stairs and fires a shot into her temple. Soon afterward he slices the throat of building manager Halter who welcomed him as a new tenant as Robles prepared for his next shoot. From the room’s window he fires at a passing train exploding a passenger's head. Soon following that spree, the sniper kills three commuters on Lake Shore Drive, but failed to assassinate former cop turned private investigator Michael Kelly's girlfriend Judge Rachel Swenson.

CPD and FBI work the case, but Chicago mayor John J. Wilson hires Kelly off the books as the sleuth is actively involved as the killer taunts him via cell phone. Soon the sleuth believes there are two culprits working in harmonious synchronization while also wondering if somehow the murder spree is not quite as random as assumed; perhaps even going back three decades to when as a tweener Kelly survived an elevated train tragedy.

The third Kelly Windy City Noir (see The Chicago Way and The Fifth Floor) is a superb thriller that grips the audience with the first shot fired and never slows down until the final confrontation. The story line effortlessly switches from Kelly’s first person viewpoint starting with a gun butt to his head and a profound third person look into the heads of deadly duet. The Third Rail is a fabulous Chicago cat and mouse investigative tale that never wastes a twitter of a moment even with a great twist that turns Kelly into a city hero though he never fires the key shot.

Harriet Klausner

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