Mysterious Book Report You Know Who Killed MeYou Know Who Killed Me by Loren D. Estleman

Forge/Tom Doherty, $24.99, 233 pages, ISBN 978-0-7653-3735-1

I came late to the party for this week’s MBR author . . . he’d already written seventy-five novels by the time he made it to my radar screen . . . so shame on me. Now that he’s on my personal head-up display however, that oversight will get corrected in the coming weeks and months with more reviews of his work. The writer’s name is Loren D. Estleman, and he’s an absolute master of the craft. His latest work, You Know Who Killed Me, is the twenty-fourth book in his Amos Walker series. Walker is irascible and world-weary, a Detroit area private-eye who’s tough, cynical, sanguine . . . and doing his utmost to stay clean and sober after a recent stay in rehab at a court-mandated facility for drug and alcohol addiction. Soon after he’s released from the clinic, he’s contacted by an old friend named Ray Henty, a lieutenant in the County Sheriff’s Department, who’s now running the Iroquois Heights substation, where the municipal police department’s been disbanded due to systemic corruption. Iroquois Heights is a place Walker hates, but it’s where the area’s been flooded with billboards featuring a photo of a local man named Donald Gates and bearing the caption, “YOU KNOW WHO KILLED ME!” the signs have been plastered all around town by Gate’s widow, in the hopes of fishing out a lead, after the cops came up empty-handed. When an anonymous $10,000 reward is posted however, hopes of winning some or all of the money’s bringing out every crackpot from Detroit to Dallas, and Lt. Henty hires Walker to follow up on some anonymous tips that the deputies simply don’t have time for. But Walker digs deeper, and the trail leads him to a man named Yuri Yako, a Ukrainian mobster relocated by the US Marshal’s service under the Witness Protection Program. Soon, Walker’s being braced and followed by Federal agents, suspected by his employers, threatened by the mob and all the while continuing to fight with his old wounds and drug addiction. That’s when he realizes he’s being manipulated and lied to by everyone in the case . . . just as it begins to break.


John Dwaine McKenna