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WesternSFA
Infernal Angels
An Amos Walker Novel
by Loren D. Estleman
Forge Paperback, 2011, $12.99, 270pp
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Amos Walker is a Private Eye in Detroit , and both the man and the city are a little worse for wear. Detroit is long past its glory days, Amos walks with a limp now, and money is nonexistent all over. So when a case comes his way, to find some missing, cutting edge converters, it seems like a small, sordid little job at first. But then why are so many people dying?

This plot gives a whole new twist to “television is the modern opiate.” It takes a while for Amos to connect the stolen technology to the seemingly unrelated rash of junkie deaths going on all over. By that time, he has come face to face with a criminal master with global-scale revenge in mind. And it turns out, Detroit still has a tremendously valuable commodity: its proximity to a national border.

Estleman pens his characters so feelingly that even a cameo character with only a few lines stands out and becomes memorable. Everyone has a story, even if we only get a piece of it; every one matters. I found myself rooting for some very dubious characters, because they are fallible, human, and oddly loveable. You can grok them.

I didn’t realize how appropriate the title Infernal Angels is until page 254; sharper readers will probably catch on sooner. This villain is certainly diabolical, but there’s a rational purpose and a justification for every ruthless act.

Best of all, Estleman understands how rational behavior and irrational behavior, order and randomness, plans and mischance, all dance together and trip over each other. For all that this is literary film noir, with grit and shadows and loneliness, there is humor, like rain in a dry season. ~~ Chris R. Paige

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