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Starred Review. Shamus-winner Estleman, best known for his hard-boiled Amos Walker series (American Detective, etc.), creates a new, morally complex world in this razor-sharp tale of crime and corruption in a fictional eastern U.S. city. Gas City, once known as Garden Grove, has enjoyed stability as a result of understandings among the politicians, the police and the local gangsters. An enclave known as the Circle serves as the community's vice outlet, while the rest of the metropolis is virtually crime free. Police chief Francis Russell, after his wife's death, begins to question the devil's bargain he'd struck years earlier with mob boss Anthony Zeno. When Russell resumes acting like a lawman, virtually everyone in town feels the repercussions. Estleman masterfully creates a wide and diverse cast of characters, and sympathetically portrays their struggles to survive on the mean streets. A superfluous serial killer subplot doesn't detract from the author's achievement, which will justly be compared with that of James Ellroy's Los Angeles noir mysteries and John Gregory Dunne's True Confessions. Admirers of unsparing crime fiction will hope that Estleman plans to visit Gas City again. (Jan.)
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“Loren D. Estleman's knife-edged serial-killer thriller, Gas City is pared to its very bone… Estleman, in the leanest prose possible, brings to life not just his characters but the vices that fuel them and, in the process, exposes the gritty, ragged, sordid underbelly of urban life. He's been called an heir to Chandler — and it's easy to see why.” A —Entertainment Weekly
“Shamus-winner Estleman, best known for his hard-boiled Amos Walker series (American Detective, etc.), creates a new, morally complex world in this razor-sharp tale of crime and corruption in a fictional eastern U.S. city.... will justly be compared with that of James Ellroy's Los Angeles noir mysteries and John Gregory Dunne's True Confessions. Admirers of unsparing crime fiction will hope that Estleman plans to visit Gas City again.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“May be the prolific Estleman’s most thought-provoking and emotionally engaging novel among the 60 or so he’s written. Its subject is contemporary rust-belt politics as a human phenomenon and the way that a politician’s compromises can affect both the citizenry at large and the individuals who make up that citizenry. Each of the half-dozen plotlines is executed flawlessly and presented in a context of moral ambiguity in which every choice—whether self-serving or altruistic—has consequences both good and evil. A magnificent crime novel.”—Booklist (Starred Review)
“Portrait of a city by an old master... The chronically undervalued Estleman ( American Detective, 2007, etc.) serves up what just might be the best novel about urban political corruption since Dashiell Hammett's The Glass Key.”—Kirkus (Starred Review)
“It is as if Sinclair Lewis or Theodore Dreiser had written a contemporary crime novel while suddenly developing a sense of humor.” —Otto Penzler, New York Sun
“Estleman’s spare dialogue; unhurried, self-assured storytelling style; and understated and profound use of symbolism make this a novel to savor.” —Paul Goat Allen, The Chicago Tribune
“Forget honors for an individual book – Estleman, in his prime at 56 years old, is as deserving as anyone of MWA’s Grand Master Award, recognizing a formidable contribution to mystery fiction. And it better happen soon, before ‘undervalued’ becomes a permanent prefix to his name.” —Eddie Muller, San Francisco Chronicle