cover image Monkey in the Middle: An Amos Walker Novel

Monkey in the Middle: An Amos Walker Novel

Loren D. Estleman. Forge, $25.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-250-82717-3

Razor-edged prose that Raymond Chandler would appreciate lifts Estleman’s excellent 30th outing for Detroit PI Amos Walker (after Cutthroat Dogs). Walker has just learned of the death of his ex-wife, Catherine, when he takes on a new client, Shane Sothern. Sothern, who has built a reputation as a top-notch research assistant, is seeking to become an investigative reporter, but he fears he’s being surveilled by someone looking to find a valuable source. Walker confirms that when he tails his client himself, spotting other watchers who look like feds. In the process, he discovers that Sothern’s source is a fugitive whistleblower charged with leaking government secrets. The case turns into a murder inquiry, and Walker’s life is further complicated when he learns that Catherine had also been under surveillance. The portrayal of the Motor City (the PI refers to a bleak urban landscape as “the pipe dream of a dull-witted former governor who knew nothing of meth labs and crack houses, now waiting their turn at demolition”) is as vivid as James Ellroy’s L.A. Estleman makes sustaining a long-running series’ high quality look easy. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary (June)