LOREN ESTLEMAN – Edsel. Detroit #4. Mysterious Press, hardcover, 1995; paperback, 1996.

   My main complaint about this is that it isn’t an Amos Walker book. I’m sure Estleman is making entirely too much money with the Detroit series to go back to writing about old Amos, but that doesn’t keep me from wishing he would.

   Connie Minor, the Greek newspaper columnist who was the narrator of the first Detroit book, Whiskey River, has fallen on hard times in the intervening years. The mid-fifties find him a newspaperman no more, reduced to working as an advertising copywriter. His fortunes take a turn (I didn’t say what kind) when one of Henry Ford II’s (“the Deuce”) executives offers him the job of selling America on the company’s proposed new car that will become known as the Edsel.

   He takes the job, only to find his life still isn’t simple. He finds himself embroiled once again with gangsters and politicians, and trying to find out who ordered the attempted assassination of Walter Reuther.

   I said in these pages a long time ago that whatever type fiction Estleman chose to write, one thing remained constant: he was a storyteller. He still is. Probably how interesting you find this story will depend on how interesting you find the fifties. I went from a sixth-grader to a firefighter, so I found it very interesting.

   Estleman tells it with sot of a newsreel perspective and a caustic, semi-flip wit that goes down well. I wouldn’t say that any of the characters rather than Minor really came to life. Edsel is a quick and entertaining read, though perhaps not quite up to the first three in the Detroit saga. And nowhere close to as good as an Amos Walker.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #18, February-March 1995.