City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit Mass Market Paperback – Sep 12 2002
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From the Back Cover
Clement Mansell knows how easy it is to get away with murder. The seriously crazed killer is already back on the Detroit streets -- thanks to some nifty courtroom moves by his crafty looker of a lawyer -- and he's feeling invincible enough to execute a crooked Motown judge on a whim. Homicide Detective Raymond Cruz thinks the "Oklahoma Wildman" crossed the line long before this latest outrage, and he's determined to see that the hayseed psycho does not slip through the legal system's loopholes a second time. But that means a good cop is going to have to play somewhat fast and loose with the rules -- in order to maneuver Mansell into a wild Midwest showdown that he won't be walking away from.
About the Author
Elmore Leonard has written more than three dozen books during his highly successful writing career, including the national bestsellers Mr. Paradise, Pagan Babies, and Get Shorty. Many of his novels have been made into movies, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Valdez Is Coming, and Rum Punch (as Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown). He has been named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America and lives in Bloomfield Village, Michigan, with his wife.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
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
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Top Customer Reviews
It's lean and mean writing. A switchblade in your boot and a 38 special in the glove compartment. Trouble awaits.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
The story begins with Mansell's killing a corrupt, highly unpopular local judge. Unfortunately, the gun which he uses is the same gun attached to some earlier murders. Clement instructs his girl friend to dispose of it, but the ditz--Sandy Stanton--hands it off to another lowlife for safe keeping, a decision that will come back to bite Clement in the posterior.
If EL's crime fiction can be superficially divided into the comic (Get Shorty, e.g.) and the serious (Killshot, e.g.), this is more serious, though Sandy is a character who could inhabit either of EL's universes.
The plot is complex but not unnecessarily convoluted and we have a host of interesting side characters, including some very tough Albanians (who Clement keeps describing as undertakers, because of their black suits). The dialogue is excellent if not yet the exquisite instrument that it will become. There are still some lovely one liners, nonce words and laugh-out-loud sentences, blissfully free of adverbs.
We read EL because he is a master of crime fiction and, quite simply, a master of fiction. He should be treated as a major figure in American letters. He was clearly influenced by Hemingway, as was a whole generation and beyond, but his total output, the variety within that output (he is a great writer of westerns), his stunning percentage of movie sales, many of which resulted in good films, put him among the principal writers of the American pantheon. R.I.P. and thanks for the legacy.
For an excellent example of the master at the beginning of his crime writing career, City Primeval is superb.