Michael Harvey - The Chicago Way (3 stars)

(Quercus)

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Michael Harvey - The Chicago Way

Purported by his own press material to do ‘what Elmore Leonard did for Detroit and Raymond Chandler did for Los Angeles’, Michael Harvey is unlikely to join that esteemed noir canon any time soon. Yet, with this brisk and engaging debut thriller, he’s put his experience as a journalist and television documentary producer, plus his obvious knowledge of the city’s streets, to good use.

Taking its title from a Sean Connery quote in The Untouchables, the novel opens with detective John Gibbons approaching his ex-partner and now Private Investigator Michael Kelly to help with a long-dead rape case he was ordered to bury many years ago. The clipped, sparse dialogue and air of ambiguity are in the best tradition of noir storytelling, yet the expanding supporting cast of crime specialists suggests this might well have been originally envisioned as the pilot for a television police procedural. Either way, however, it’s an engaging story capably told. (David Pollock)

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