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WHISKEY RIVER Mass Market Paperback – Jul 1 1991

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Crimeline (July 1 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553290258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553290257
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,624,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first novel in the 'Detroit Crime Series' in which the city is treated as an organic entity through various decades of the 20th century, "WHISKEY RIVER" spans from the Prohibition Era to the late 1930s.

Constantine ("Connie") Minor is a Detroit-based journalist who has made a name for himself covering the crime beat in the late 1920s/early 1930s. This was a time in which bootleggers and mobsters carved out Detroit into spheres of influence over which they exerted and established firm control over, not only, the illegal importation of alcohol, but also the numbers rackets, and prostitution. Many of the city's cops often looked the other way, picking and choosing what crimes to solve or ignore (courtesy of a bribe). All the while, Detroit's industrial might (as evidenced by the auto industry) continued to grow, giving the city a dazzling prosperity soon to be tempered by the ravages of the 1929 stock market crash and resulting Depression.

Minor has cultivated a variety of contacts with the city's underworld elements (e.g. Jack Dance, a bold and impetuous bootlegger building his own criminal empire in the city and "Joey the Machine" a powerful and ruthless criminal overlord who will tolerate no challenges to his authority). He brings the reader into the frenzied, at times dangerous, chaotic and colorful lives of the crime bosses, syndicates, police and politicians.

One of the most exciting scenes in the novel is when Minor accompanies Jack Dance and his associates over to Canada one night to pick up several cases of alcohol and convey them back to Detroit across the stretches of the frozen-over Detroit River during the winter of 1930. Amid a flurry of machine gun fire, they barely evade the Prohibition Squad of the Detroit Police Department.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book pertaining to the early days in our area.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9f2becf0) out of 5 stars 15 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f29a5e8) out of 5 stars A considerable work March 15 2005
By F. J. Harvey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Loren D Estleman is probably best known -at least to crime novel devotees -for his Detriot based private eye ,the Chandleresque figure of Amos Walker .The novel Whiskey River is set in Detroit but not the modern day Motor City of the Walker books ;

rather ,it is the first in what has become a regular series exploring the history of the city from the Prohibition era onwards

It is set in 1928 and the narrator is Constantine Minor -known as"Connie " -an journalist on the Detroit Banner .The framework of the book is his testimony to a Grand Jury investigation into organised crime and racketeering in Detroit as well as police corruption within the city .Minor has known all the major gangsters in the city in his time and was involved albeit in a journalistic capacity in running whiskey across the frozen ice from Canada to the States ,as well as playing a role in negotiations to bring peace between the warring gangster factions ,which it is pointed out are also ethnic divisions .

During his testsimony we meet most of the big players on the local crime scene -all are fictional creations but are consistent with the facts of Detroit crime in the prohibition era .The main focus is on the battle between the gangleaders Jack Dance and Joey Machine .Dance is handsome and charismatic while Machine is more the old style hoodlum .Both are ruthless and merciles in dealing with threats to their hegemony .

Estelman paints a convincing picture of the era , a time when the distinctions between the world of high society and criminal society were becoming fuzzy around the edges .He demonstrates clearly that Prohibition was an unmitigated disaster and creates an electric atmosphere and complete engagement with the characters

The book is not perfect -I found the framing device of the Grand Jury investigation superfluous and it added to the slightly long drawn out nature of the book ,making it a tad overlong .

Setting these minor problems aside this is a major work from an accomplished writer and is unreservedly recommended to all lovers of the crime novel and indeed mainstream fiction which is rooted in reality
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f29a5b8) out of 5 stars Great Read Aug. 2 2003
By Anthony Norris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is the first in a triology, yet it also a great stand alone read. Told in the first person by a Detroit reporter in the roaring twenties which gives it a great 'you are there' feel. Full of action, suspense and a little sex it is a great read for the beach or a rainy afternoon.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f29a924) out of 5 stars WHISKEY RIVER - A Captivating, Exciting Novel of Prohibition Era Detroit Dec 27 2011
By KOMET - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The first novel in the 'Detroit Crime Series' in which the city is treated as an organic entity through various decades of the 20th century, "WHISKEY RIVER" spans from the Prohibition Era to the late 1930s.

Constantine ("Connie") Minor is a Detroit-based journalist who has made a name for himself covering the crime beat in the late 1920s/early 1930s. This was a time in which bootleggers and mobsters carved out Detroit into spheres of influence over which they exerted and established firm control over, not only, the illegal importation of alcohol, but also the numbers rackets, and prostitution. Many of the city's cops often looked the other way, picking and choosing what crimes to solve or ignore (courtesy of a bribe). All the while, Detroit's industrial might (as evidenced by the auto industry) continued to grow, giving the city a dazzling prosperity soon to be tempered by the ravages of the 1929 stock market crash and resulting Depression.

Minor has cultivated a variety of contacts with the city's underworld elements (e.g. Jack Dance, a bold and impetuous bootlegger building his own criminal empire in the city and "Joey the Machine" a powerful and ruthless criminal overlord who will tolerate no challenges to his authority). He brings the reader into the frenzied, at times dangerous, chaotic and colorful lives of the crime bosses, syndicates, police and politicians.

One of the most exciting scenes in the novel is when Minor accompanies Jack Dance and his associates over to Canada one night to pick up several cases of alcohol and convey them back to Detroit across the stretches of the frozen-over Detroit River during the winter of 1930. Amid a flurry of machine gun fire, they barely evade the Prohibition Squad of the Detroit Police Department. In Minor's own words: "... bullets were still hitting the ice. As we sped away from the Packard, having veered too close to its gun for comfort, I watched the battered black Lincoln following our original path with Lon Camarillo standing on the running board, bracing himself with an arm hooked around the window post and pumping away with what looked like a Browning Automatic Rifle at the center of the network of cracks. His face in the moonlight with the buttstock against his cheek looked like the Grim Reaper's...

"... The driver of the Packard was spinning his wheels in a white blur now, frantic to back away onto a better footing. His engine whined, but the car only subsided into a drunken tilt, spoiling the aim of the gunner in back and thrusting its armored prow farther out over the shoal.

"A wheel broke through the car stumbled, then went down on both knees as the ice collapsed under the other front wheel. White floes stood up in shards and slid under the black water. The Packard teetered, rear wheels turning in empty air, a scaled-down Titanic suspended on a cloud of exhaust."

All in all, a very exciting, well-crafted novel.
HASH(0x9f29aa38) out of 5 stars Estleman knows the City like the back of his hand March 1 2016
By carlhcarl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm writing this in 2016. Whiskey River was published in 1990. But the story of bootlegging and the people involved in Prohibition Era Detroit is our history. This novel is packed with intense detail about life in the underworld of Detroit during prohibition, when smuggling Canadian whiskey across the Detroit River and making illicit booze was a huge, dangerous business. Estleman knows the City like the back of his hand. It's hard to tell what he took from actual events and what is fictional. The man telling the story is newspaper writer Connie Minor. He gains the trust of Detroit crime bosses because he knows what to put in his column and what to keep out. Eventually it gets harder for him to stay uninvolved with the lives of the criminals, prostitutes, and crooked cops he writes about. Good storytelling and a colorful picture of what life was like in the underbelly of the Roaring 20s and the Depression 30s in Detroit.
HASH(0xa6b33db8) out of 5 stars The Detroit Novels April 27 2013
By jane navarre - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I live on the Detroit River. I was born in the late 1930*s. All of my life I have heard stories of the Purple Gang, the Rum Runners, the Killings, the Black Bottom. I attended school in River Rouge. A few of my friend"s parents crossed the river on the ice, from Canada, and never went back. Not a lot of checking back in the day....IF someone worked, and kept up their property and attended Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, and spoke a little French in the home, no one cared. Knew a few of these families growing up in "da Rouge" Some of the fictional names sounded like people I had known as a kid. Thank you Mr. Estleman for the memories. Also a few people got to Amhestberg in the 1940s and got a ticket for the Bob-Lo Boat. Stayed under the wire and lived and died as productive Americans. I sometimes wonder today if folks still manage to get into US in a similar manner.

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