Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit Mass Market Paperback – Sep 12 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 52.74 CDN$ 0.01
Audio Cassette
"Please retry"
CDN$ 405.29

Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping for Six Months When You Try Amazon Student

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (Sept. 12 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006008958X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060089580
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.3 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #965,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

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)
First Sentence
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
Explore More
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 4 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

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.
1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mr. Leonard’s transition from the Western genre is both full of clichés and surprises. Raymond Cruz is your cowboy like tough independent cop who seeks his own justice when the system’s justice fails. His nemesis, Clement Mansell, is an unrepentant killer who feeds on the innocence of young women, intimidates and exploits the fears of the upstanding citizen and seeks vengeance who do him the most inconsequential offence. He must be stopped and Raymond Cruz is the perfect man for the job.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you like gritty crime stories, this is the story for you. Dark and violent, and rich with suspense, City Primeval is classic crime. Clement Mansell makes me want to hide under my chair.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was my first Elmore Leonard read, and what a terriffic introduction. I'll be reading more.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa4df21a4) out of 5 stars 48 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4e02d20) 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.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4e33144) 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.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4e02f30) 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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4e3354c) 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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4e335b8) out of 5 stars The Touch of the Master Feb. 2 2015
By Richard B. Schwartz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is early EL crime fiction: 1980. Set in his home city of Detroit, it concerns an Oklahoma lowlife named Clement Mansell and the police detective, Ray Cruz, who is out to end Mansell's career, literally. As the subtitle suggests, this is high noon in Detroit, not the beginning of a protracted court battle and an endless series of appeals.

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.