BY MIKE BROGAN
“The Sundown Speech”, by Loren D. Estleman, the award-winning Michigan-based author, is a true page-turner, from the first bullet to the last.
Amos Walker, a hard-edged private investigator, is the hero in “The Sundown Speech”, the 25th in a series of celebrated private detective stories. In fact, Estleman is most famous for his novels about the P.I.
The story begins when Walker is contacted by Dante and Heloise Gunnar, an Ann Arbor, Mich., couple who was swindled out of a $15,000 investment by a shifty filmmaker, Jerry Marcus, who has stopped returning their telephone calls.
The story opening is pure Amos Walker. “Roll the clock back a dozen years, maybe more; Michael Jackson was still alive, Iris, too. I could walk all day without limping. Tweet was bird talk, the chain bookstore was the greatest threat to civilization since ragtime music, and the only time you saw a black president was in a sci-fi film.”
Despite what Walker feels is a long haul from his Detroit residence — “The place (Ann Arbor) looked as far away from the Motor City as Morocco” — he accepts the Gunnar’s job. Amazingly, he finds Jerry Marcus in a matter of hours, at the filmmaker’s home, stuffed into a broom cupboard with a bullet to his head.
Viewing the stolen $15,000 as motive for Marcus’ killing, the police arrest the most likely culprit, Dante Gunner, and Heloise once again turns to Walker, this time to find the real killer.
Walker questions the last person to see Marcus alive, a University of Michigan college student named Holly Zacharias. But when someone shoots at Holly and Walker during their meeting, the real question becomes, ”Why shoot at us if Marcus is dead and Dante is in jail?”
Maybe Marcus isn’t dead, after all, despite confirmation via DNA testing. When Walker discovers that Jerry Marcus’ plan is far, far more serious than a $15,000 theft, he fears he may be too late to stop Marcus.
Estleman’s story pulls us into a fascinating world of DNA, pornography and total suspense to keep the pages turning. No wonder famed mystery writer Harlan Coben has this to say about the writer: “Loren Estleman is my hero.”
Mike Brogan is an award-winning novelist of five mystery suspense thrillers: Business to Kill for, Dead Air, Madison’s Avenue, G8 and his latest, Kentucky Woman. Writer’s Digest called his writing “the equal of any suspense thrillers in recent years.” Available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and mikebroganbooks.