Loren D. Estleman
Forge, Jul 5 2011, $24.99
In Detroit Reuben Crossgrain owns Past Presence where "Everything you require for the Modern Regressive Lifestyle" is for sale. He hires private investigator Amos Walker to recover 25 stolen TV converter boxes that allow the owner to watch HDTV on an analog set. Amos who is technological delinquent is a bit shocked with the job because the loss barely covers his retainer.
Walker works the mean streets of the Motor City seeking clues to the identities of the owners of these hot gizmos. However, the relatively easy inquiry turns nasty when his efforts reach his “friend” former Detroit police detective and current Homeland Security Operative Mary Ann Thaler. The case turns ugly when a key suspect and the person who lost the shipment are murdered; however that twist feels more at home to Walker than seeking gadgets he never heard of doing things to TV sets that should have rabbit ears. He begins to learn of a deadly heroin trafficking using Crossgrain’s converter boxes.
The twenty-first Amos Walker private investigative thriller (see The Left-Handed Dollar) is a great tale that provides the usual deep look at the shrinking city that some believe has died; the state has not announced the wake. The story line is vintage Walker as he gets beat up and beats up others while corpses provide plenty of business for undertakers and body bag manufacturers. Fans will enjoy this modern day noir as the anti techie hero works plans to charge his client for his medical bills.