cover image Jitterbug


Loren D. Estleman / Author Forge $22.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-

Writing with wit and carefully crafting a chilling suspense plot, Estleman (Journey of the Dead) delivers another spine-tingling crime novel set in Detroit. This time, however, unlike in his Amos Walker novels (Never Street, 1997, etc.), the action tales place during WWII. The heat is on Racket Squad leader Lieutenant Maximilian Zagreb and his three detectives (known collectively as The Four Horsemen for their unorthodox, brutal, mostly illegal methods) when someone starts killing people for hoarding ration coupons. Using some artful manipulation and some very unsubtle pressure, Zagreb leans on a couple of unlikely sources for help. Frankie ""The Conductor"" Orr, a local mob boss, and Dwight Littlejohn, a black riveter in an airplane factory, are unwilling participants in Zagreb's efforts to smoke out the killer dubbed Kilroy by the newspapers. As the cops twist arms and Kilroy's victims pile up, Detroit explodes in a bloody race riot that summer of 1943, making Zagreb think that Anzio might be safer. Terrific, tough characters, snappy dialogue, crackling action and some imaginative applications of the third degree, make this a triumph for Estleman. (Oct.)