3 December 2008

Forgotten Book: SUGARTOWN by Loren D. Estleman

Another contribution to Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books theme.

For my forgotten book this time I have chosen the first book recorded in my current database, read back in 2004, when this book had been published for 20 years.

Winner of the Shamus Award for best Private Eye Novel of 1984.
An Amos Walker Mystery. This case leads Walker into Detroit's ethnic neighborhoods when an old Polish woman hires him to find her missing grandson and a Russian writer claims to need protection from the KGB.
Martha Evancek was an old woman who desperately needed detective Amos Walker's help in investigating the disappearance of her grandson, Michael.
Poverty and frustration had driven Michael's father Joseph to the edge. He had murdered his wife, his young daughter Carla, and then himself. However, Michael escaped because he came home late from school that tragic day. The last Martha ever heard of him was that he was entrusted to the care of an aunt she never knew. Now, after nineteen years there was still no trace of him.
As the plot thickens, Amos finds himself trapped in another case -- an eminent Russian writer who suspects he is a target for murder. Will Amos be able to solve the mystery before he is the next victim? To find out, you will have to read Sugartown.

Reprinted in 2002. Estleman likes to use a lot of complex description. Scenes are described carefully, making you re-read the description so that you don't forget anything. Estleman wrote 'Sugartown is without a doubt my angriest book. At the time it was written, Mayor Coleman Young, the nearest thing to a train wreck ever to happen to the City of Detroit, was engaged in a determined campaign to hound residents out of the historic Poletown of suburban Hamtrack in order to clear the way for the construction of a new Cadillac plant by General Motors.'

My rating: 4.8

SUGARTOWN was Estleman's 5th book in the Amos Walker series, but already by then he was an established author. Check the list at Fantastic Fiction. Estleman is an incredibly prolific writer, at times publishing 2 books a year, mianly crime fiction and Westerns.
He has received seventeen national writing awards: four Shamuses from the Private Eye Writers of America, five Spurs from the Western Writers of America, two American Mystery Awards from Mystery Scene Magazine, two Outstanding Mystery Writer of the Year awards from Popular Fiction Monthly, two Stirrup Awards for outstanding articles in the Western Writers of America magazine, The Roundup, and three Western Heritage Awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. In 1987, the Michigan Foundation of the Arts presented him with its award for literature. In 1997, the Michigan Library Association named him the recipient of the Michigan Author's Award. In 2007, Nicotine Kiss was named a Notable Book by the Library of Michigan.

Check his website.

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