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The Chicago Way (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)by Michael Harvey
Synopses & Reviews
From the co-creator and executive producer of the television show Cold Case Files, a fast-paced, stylish murder mystery featuring a tough-talking Irish cop turned private investigator who does for the city of Chicago what Elmore Leonard did for Detroit and Raymond Chandler did for Los Angeles.
Chicago private investigator Michael Kelly is hired by his former partner, John Gibbons, to help solve an eight-year-old rape and battery case, a case it turns out his old friend was once ordered to forget. When Gibbons turns up dead on Navy Pier, Kelly enlists a team of his savviest colleagues to connect the dots between the recent murder and the cold case it revived: Diane Lindsay, a television reporter whose relationship with Kelly is not strictly professional; his best friend from childhood, Nicole Andrews, a forensic DNA expert; Nicole's boyfriend, Vince Rodriguez, a detective with a special interest in rape cases; and Bennett Davis from the DA's office, a friend since Kelly's days on the force. To close the case, Kelly will have to face the mob, a serial killer, his own double-crossing friends, and the mean streets of the city he loves.
Ferociously plotted and crackling with wit, The Chicago Way is first-rate suspense steeped in the glorious, gritty atmosphere of a great city: a marvelous debut.
"Harvey's debut delivers a fast-paced thrill ride through Chicago's seedy underbelly, where the lines between cops and criminals become dangerously blurred. When his old partner asks for help with an old rape case, Michael Kelly, former Chicago detective turned PI, finds himself in the middle of a massive coverup with links to a notorious serial killer on death row. With the help of his childhood friend, DNA analyst Nicole Andrews, feisty and sexy TV reporter Diane Lindsay and a handful of cops he hopes he can trust, Kelly must solve the original rape case while staying alive as the men who killed to keep a secret set their sights on him. Harvey, the cocreator and executive producer of A&E's Cold Case Files, spins a twisted story that masterfully combines the sardonic wit of Chandler with the gritty violence of Lehane's Kenzie and Gennaro series. Bringing Chicago to life so skillfully that the reader can almost hear the El train in the distance, Harvey is poised to take the crime-writing world by storm. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"It is a measure of the ambition of Michael Harvey's first novel, 'The Chicago Way,' that we start it thinking about Dashiell Hammett and end it pondering Aeschylus. Here's his opening paragraph: 'I was on the second floor of a three-story walk-up on Chicago's North Side. Outside the Hawk blew hard off the lake and flattened itself against the bay windows. I didn't care. I had my feet up, a cup of... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) Earl Grey, and was working on my own list of the ten greatest moments in Cubs history.' If you're a fan of private-eye novels in general or of 'The Maltese Falcon' in particular, you know you're in good hands. The only jarring note is that cup of tea, but that's soon fixed when narrator Michael Kelly has a visit from a fellow ex-cop, John Gibbons, whereupon Kelly reaches into his desk drawer and pulls out 'a bottle of Powers Irish. John took it straight. Just to be sociable, I gave Sir Earl a jolt.' Gibbons asks Kelly's help in finding the man who stabbed and raped a teenager named Elaine Remington nine years earlier. He suspects a high-level cover-up of the crime. Late that night, Kelly receives a call informing him that Gibbons has been murdered. Both the middle-of-the-night call and the nature of the killing echo the death of Sam Spade's partner, Miles Archer, at the start of 'The Maltese Falcon.' Later, Harvey has some neo-noir fun with this exchange: '"You're cute," she said. '"You talk too much." '"You're still cute."' He quickly adds: 'I had heard this conversation, between a blonde and a detective, somewhere before.' Yes, we've heard it, too, when Philip Marlowe encounters Carmen Sternwood in the opening scene of Raymond Chandler's 'The Big Sleep.' But we don't begrudge Harvey his little jokes, because he's embarked on a story as dark as it is powerful. If you had to explain in one word what this book is about, the word would be 'rape.' Given a few more words, you would say it's about rape and its consequences, or rape and revenge, or even the politics of rape. Kelly honors his murdered friend by investigating the rape of Remington, a pistol-packing mama who boozes too much and may be selling herself part time. He learns that law-enforcement personnel who worked her case have been turning up dead. That's one mystery to be solved. Another, possibly related, concerns an ongoing series of rapes. Kelly becomes involved in that investigation because his best friend, Nicole Andrews, herself a teenage rape victim, is part of a police anti-rape squad. It is Nicole, an expert on DNA, who lectures Kelly on the politics of rape. The point is that DNA investigations are expensive and the victims who are granted them are almost always white and not poor. DNA evidence suggests that a rapist and murderer named John William Grime was involved in the ongoing crimes. The problem is that Grime is on death row. Kelly suspects that he has a partner who is still out there raping at his command. Grime is based on the real-life Chicago rapist and murderer John Wayne Gacy, whom the author interviewed in his capacity as co-creator and executive producer of the TV series 'Cold Case Files.' One of the novel's highlights is Kelly's death-row interview with Grime, who is as crazy as he is evil and manipulative. This novel carries us to many levels of society. We attend a $500-a-plate dinner at the Drake Hotel that is sponsored by the Rape Volunteer Association. Most of those in attendance are female lawyers, judges, doctors and society matrons; most have been raped, and they're working for greater public understanding of the crime and more sensitive treatment of its victims. Kelly is there with Diane Lindsay, the beautiful and brittle TV anchorwoman who has become his lover, although he fears she's mainly after a story. (Soon after they meet, more Chandler-speak ensues: 'You live near here, Kelly?' 'About a mile.' 'Is it warm?' 'I can try.') Harvey also introduces a colorful cross-section of Chicagoans, including an aging mob boss, a lovesick prosecutor and various crazed and embittered cops, as well as a generous sampling of local bars, including the Hidden Shamrock, which the author owns in real life. With its fast pace, sharp dialogue, vivid characters and horrific crimes, 'The Chicago Way' is hugely readable, even though we remain baffled about what's happening. The plot stays several jumps ahead of us; only at the end, after some startling leaps, do we see how the pieces fit together. Well and good, you say, but what about Aeschylus? Well, the author was a classics major in college, and he knows his Greek drama. He reminds us of 'The Oresteia' trilogy, which introduces the Furies — the sisters Tisiphone, Megaera and Alecto — who hunt down wrongdoers and torture and kill them without mercy. His point, finally, is that the Furies can have modern counterparts. At the end, we meet one, unmasked and unrepentant: 'The smile she turned out was a lonely thing, one that asked for no quarter and offered precious little in the way of regret.' The meaning of Harvey's title, let me add, is that the Chicago way is always the toughest, most violent way available. He makes his case." Reviewed by Patrick Anderson, whose e-mail address is mondaythrillers(at symbol)aol.com, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"You will see this book everywhere — airports, beaches, trains. A magnificent debut that should be read by all." John Grisham
"Heartfelt, ambitious....Kelly, a wisecracking Irish Scrapper, slings metaphors like Philip Marlowe and reads Homer and Aeschylus in Greek....Harvey ends up delivering the goods." Kirkus Reviews
"Packed with the kind of wry, dry narration that goes down as smoothly as a pulp paperback with a shot of rye....A twisty page turner." Booklist
"The Chicago Way is a wonderful first novel. Michael Harvey has studied the masters and put his own unique touch on the crime novel. This book harkens the arrival of a major new voice." Michael Connelly
"[A]n overheated boilerplate thriller populated by slinky but wounded female figurines; tediously psycho bad guys; and implausible plot twists that strain to shock. Maybe the greatest tragedy is that a writer as gifted as Harvey couldn't produce a more original book. (Grade: B)" Entertainment Weekly
"Debut author Harvey borrows elements from Chandler and Robert B. Parker's Spenser to create an appealing, crusading sleuth. Despite a certain lack of originality in the serial killer, who resembles notorious murderer John Wayne Gacy, this is recommended." Library Journal
"Gritty and witty, The Chicago Way is done the classic Raymond Chandler Way. Harvey's taut plot, snappy prose, and memorable characters make this debut novel a real winner." Kathy Reichs
"[A] provocative novel that captures the grittiness of the Windy City and spins a murder mystery with a satisfying and out-of-left-field ending....Readers will find the clipped cadence of Harvey's dialogue and narrative wonderfully reminiscent of Raymond Chandler." USA Today
"Harvey, with his unnervingly good debut...evokes Chandler in a style that would make the master tilt a glass in Harvey's direction. Besides the attitude and the dialogue, Harvey has come up with an ending that surprised even this mystery reader of 30 years." Cleveland Plain Dealer
Private detective Michael Kelly is hired by his former partner to solve an eight-year old rape and battery case long gone cold. But when the partner turns up dead, Kelly enlists a team of his savviest colleagues to connect the dots between the recent murder and the cold case it revived: a television reporter whose relationship with Kelly is not strictly professional; his best friend from childhood, a forensic DNA expert; and an old ally from the DA's office. To close the case, Kelly will have to face the mob, a serial killer, his own double-crossing friends, and the mean streets of the city he loves.
About the Author
Michael Harvey is a writer, journalist, and documentary producer. He has received national and international awards for his work. Mr. Harvey earned a law degree from Duke University, a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and a bachelor's degree in classical languages from Holy Cross College. He lives in Chicago.
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