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City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit [Mass Market Paperback]

5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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New book with light shelf wear

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ONE OF THE valet parking attendants at Hazel Park Racecourse would remember the judge leaving sometime after the ninth race, about 1:00 A.M., and fill in the first part of what happened. Read the first page
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mean streets, Mean People and Mean Writing. Nov. 20 2013
By Stogies
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you can get your hands on the news piece Elmore Leonard did as research for this, get it. It's about five pages of him riding around with the Detroit Police Murder squad and it gives you snapshot of a time and place that must have inspired this book. It's not an era you'd want to hang around in but it's sure fun to visit. City Primeval marks the shift that Leonard made when moving into gritty crime fiction and it's dynamite. Of course, you have to like this type of story-telling. It's a character driven, dialogue soaked swagger through Detroit. When people talk, you believe it. When people kill someone it rings true. It's not a thriller and it's not plot driven by plans to take over the world. Nobody is a green beret ex-ninja assassin and there are no nuclear bombs to diffuse. Leonard creates believable people and then let's them loose. We get to watch.

It's lean and mean writing. A switchblade in your boot and a 38 special in the glove compartment. Trouble awaits.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff! Aug. 30 2010
By Anthony Bruno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of Leonard's early crime novels when he made the transition from westerns, and though the setting is contemporary, in many ways CITY PRIMEVAL feels like a western, and that's a good thing. Law man vs. bad man in gritty urban Detroit-- a simpler structure than his later books that featured motley crews of bad guys. The dialogue is right on the money, the plot suspenseful. It has everything you could ask for in a good crime book. Compared to a lot of the dreck that passes for crime fiction these days, it's a gem.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detroit as the Wild West - Terrific Fiction from Leonard Jan. 24 2011
By stoic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In my opinion, Elmore Leonard's claim to greatness as a crime writer stems from five novels that he published from 1974 to 1980 (52 Pick-Up, Swag, Unknown Man #89, The Switch, and City Primeval). One of the strongest aspects of these novels is that each is set in Leonard's hometown - Detroit. In each book, Leonard brings gritty, industrial Detroit alive for the reader and uses the setting to create great crime fiction.

City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit (1980) is the last of Leonard's "great" novels. As the title suggests, Leonard has written a novel with the elements of a western, but sets the novel in Detroit. (Leonard has published many western novels). While this may seem like an odd idea, Leonard carries it off with style.

The novel centers on a confrontation between a Detroit cop - Raymond Cruz - and a killer - Clement Mansell - known in the underworld as "The Oklahoma Wildman." Leonard also supplies the reader with a number of colorful supporting characters. One is Mansell's thrill-seeking girlfriend, Sandy Stanton. Another is Skender Lugjaraj - an Albanian entrepreneur who wants to marry Sandy.

The plot is fairly basic: Clement and Sandy run around Detroit committing horrific crimes, while Raymond tries to arrest them. Leonard starts dropping unsubtle hints fairly early that there will be a final, dramatic confrontation between Raymond and Clement. While not inventive, the plot serves its purpose, it pushes the story forward while allowing Leonard to provide the reader with action, great dialogue, and a sense of Detroit. In City Primeval, getting to the big close is (at least) half the fun - the book is fast-paced and enjoyable.

Leonard's ending is a little different. The end leaves the reader thinking about what Leonard wanted to convey through the scene. Readers will have to decide for themselves how well it works. (I am ambivalent about it).

If you love hardboiled fiction, it doesn't get any better than City Primeval - read it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Noon in Detroit, The Hunted and The Switch Nov. 16 2008
By Sarason D. Liebler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have never been disappointed with Elmore Leonard and though some books are better than others they are all fives. If one has read any of Leonard's older Westerns you can,in these three books, his morphing over to modern day crime from early westerns, that directly links the good and evil of crime, and the consistancy of psychopaths, past and present.

Good guy, bad guy, threatened heroine and a plot, that's it.

Leonard always creates an original and believable plot. His books are not mystery's they are the development of characters, portrayed in pitch perfect dialogue, that come together in believable random ways. You know roughly how they will end, good wins and bad loses, but the trip, with meandering and fascinating building block incidents, are a pleasure.

The psychological depth that he gives his characters always ring true.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to what you would expect from a Leonard classic Sept. 16 2006
By clifford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of those Elmore Leonard books that you just wont find in a bookstore. City Primeval has the characters you expect from a Leonard book, it has the banter, it has the tounge in cheek humor, and it has the plot that Leonard used to such a degree of sucess later on. But in the end, this book just does not meld together in the way that Leonard later perfected. The characters, the bad guys are just a little too stupid and evil here. The whole story relies so heavily upon them, that it falls apart due to Leonards not having yet found his magic that pops up in later books like Get Shorty.

This book was written almost three decades ago and is dated. I think that this might have been released right before Leonard went on a tear and churned out a good ten classics that are not only hillarious, but influenced a generation of writers like Carl Hiasson and Kinky Friedman. Leonard started out writing westerns and crime novels mostly set in Detroit where this book is set. Later he moved all of the action to Florida, and these are where the best of his works are set.

The book starts out with Clement Mansell, a ruthless punk, gunning down a judge every one hates and a young whore the judge was out with. From here it becomes a conflict between Mansell and a hard nosed cop Detective Raymond Cruz.

This book isn't all bad, and is worth reading if you have read most of Leonards more recent work and are wanting to take on everything the author has written. But I would suggest that you not start with this book. Try Get Shorty, or one of his from around 1990-95, and I would say that you will be much happier.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before Raylan, there was Cruz June 3 2013
By Jeremy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Leonard never disappoints. Another great colorful character invented by this masterful storyteller. Too bad he didn't get anymore stories like Raylan Givens and Jack Foley. The character of Clement was another great multi layered Leonard villain. The odd romance between Raymond and the defense attorney Carolyn was another great aspect of the story. The supporting characters also bring their special charm to this story. Overall, classic Leonard
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