You Know Who Killed Me by Loren D. Estleman

This novel is the 24th mystery in the Amos Walker series by an amazingly prolific writer, and I’ve read them all. I even own all of them, and I don’t do that often. Estleman must be a clone of Raymond Chandler, or at least as close to being one as a writer can be. The only difference is that Amos Walker walks the blighted streets of Detroit and invests them with “a romantic presence” (Ross Macdonald). MacDonald is the acknowledged heir of Chandler, but I would like to nominate Estleman as the next successor. Maybe a problem with Estleman is that he also writes western novels, Sherlock updates, and other types of books. I just think Amos Walker should be better known.

This book begins with Walker getting out of rehab for alcohol and Vicodin. I’m all for getting clean, but will this take the edge off Walker? We don’t visit any blind pigs in this book, and his drinking is a bit off. And there are no dangerous blondes this time around.

Walker doesn’t get beaten up. Thank heaven, because, my math tells me Walker is about my age. I need my rest. Were I a private detective, I’m afraid I would do most of my investigation behind a computer. The problem is that Walker seems less computer-adept than I am. He still relies on his pal, Barry Stackpole, for research.

Donald Gates was found shot to death in his basement on New Year’s Eve. Billboards announcing “YOU KNOW WHO KILLED ME!” have appeared around town and there is a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the murderer, offered by an anonymous donor. Walker is hire to run down anonymous tips, but, of course, Walker investigates further.

We meet some other old buddies as the bodies pile up and federal agents start trailing Walker. He manages to figure it all out at the end, although justice doesn’t come to all involved.

I laughed more than once – Estleman has such a way with phrasing. It wasn’t the best in the series; I would hope that Estleman hasn’t become weary with Walker. Walker may be as old as I am, but neither of us are ready to retire. If Detroit can come back from bankruptcy, surely there is more life in Amos Walker, too. I wait eagerly for the 25th book. In the meantime, this is a pleasing, if lesser entry in the series.

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