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Motor City Blue (Amos Walker #1)

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  260 ratings  ·  30 reviews
An aged mobster’s adopted daughter disappears, and Detroit PI Amos Walker is the only man tough enough to seek her outIt has been years since Ben Morningstar retired. The feared mobster, now decades past his prime, left his deadly business behind and retired to Phoenix. His only concern now is Maria, daughter of a long-ago murdered friend, whom Morningstar has raised as hi ...more
ebook, 248 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Open Road Media (first published 1980)
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SETTING: Detroit
SERIES: #1 of 25
RATING: 3.25
WHY: PI Amos Walker is hired by retired mobster Ben Morningstar to find his missing ward, Marla Bernstein. She left her finishing school with some man and hasn't been seen since. A photo indicates that she may be selling herself. The plot is complicated, but Walker manages to uncover the ugly truth. I found the book somewhat difficult to read, as Estlemean is fond of dense paragraphs consisting of very long descriptive sente
Matthew Stewart
Loren D. Estleman's "Motor City Blue" is an interesting novel held back by creative missteps.

Unlike other reviewers, I do not feel these faults merit ridicule and scorn. They are certainly regrettable within the larger context of this novel, though.

"Motor City Blue," which is the first story in a long-running series, establishes its main character, Amos Walker, and setting, Detroit, within the context of a convoluted, (ultimately) uninteresting mystery. As such, an assortment of audience reacti
A nice old fashioned mystery. I have always wanted to read this series and glad I have finally started it. It was fun being transported back a few decades. I also loved the setting of Detroit. I haven't read any books I can remember set there.
Rob Kitchin
Motor City Blue has an interesting, twisting plot, and Estleman can string some nice prose together. This should have been a book that I enjoyed a lot. And to some extent I did. My problems with it were two-fold. First, all the characters were highly stereotypical - Walker is cut from the same cloth as almost every PI committed to paper post Hammett and Chandler; Bernstein is the brattish, spoilt child; Morningstar is the laconic, benevolent gangster; Iris is the whore with a heart of gold; the ...more
Loved this book and cannot wait to read more in this series! I can just picture Detroit and the life of P.I. Amos Walker. Anyone that enjoys a good mystery and a hard-hitting, smart mouthed P.I, this book is for you.
I love it when I find a new detective series. Somewhere recently I read a good review about the latest in the Amos Walker series, so being the compulsive person I am, I started with the first and love it. Jeepers, 1980 seems like the dark ages now!
Catherine Meza
This is the book that started the Amos Walker series. Loren Estleman was a beginning writer when he wrote Motor City Blue, and his debt to Raymond Chandler was never clearer than before he developed the serious writing chops of his more mature years. As Chandler's The Big Sleep, a knight-errant type of detective is hired by a rich and disabled man to solve a problem involving his daughter. That daughter's veniality is made evident by her reverting to a snake-like hiss when she is angered--just l ...more
For those of you who have marked this as a "to read" - all I can say is do not bother! It is possibly one of the worst books I have ever read and been able to finish. I am a big fan of Michael Connolly and have read and loved all the Harry Bosch & Lincoln Lawyer books so maybe I am spoiled. This is the 2nd mystery I have read and hated since finishing Connolly's latest book. You can see my scathing review of Harlan Coben's "The Deal Breaker" in Goodreads. This one will be shorter:

Film noir w
A little bit too much.

I have now read two Amos Walker books, this one and a collection of short stories, and I have yet to make up my mind about whether I truely like this character/writer or not.

I like the tough streets of Detroit stuff and I think the setting, the industrial decay of the upper midwest is the perfect backdrop for a series of hardboiled detective stories. The problem is the term "hardboiled" is a bit of cliche and so is Amos Walker.

It's a little too much like Chandler, and a lit
Scott E
Crime Fiction and Detroit just go together. Unfortunately, that Hammett-throw-back style of writing quickly wore thin for me. Nor was I in the mood for a book that was half-filled with exposition, where, for instance, one character would ask a question and two pages later another character would finally answer...or, the 5-page recount of the story to that point around page 170 (i.e. start on page 170 and it's a rockin' good read). I ended up skimming more than I read.

I know Amos Walker was a lon
It'd been a while since I'd read anything campy and noir-ish, so I was definitely in the mood for this book. It helped immensely that the book was also quite good. While it very easily could have gone overboard and wandered into the realm of pastiche, Estleman instead managed to balance right at the edge and draw you into the word world he's woven. You can practically smell the sweat and the stench of booze wafting off of the characters wandering around the snow slogged city he thrusts his poor ...more
Charles Reinhardt
If you love metaphors and similes as well as a good detective story with a hard boiled lead character Amos Walker will give you a few hours of fun reading.
Kai Palchikoff
1st in series mob boss daughter mlssing
Motor City Blue, Loren Estleman, B++
Amos Walker #1
Detroit c. 1980
First line:
A retired mobster hires Amos to find his missing ward, a girl who ran away from a
finishing school and hasn't been seen since...except for in a clip from a porn video.
In the afterword in a recent re-print, Estleman admits he threw in everything except
the kitchen sink because he didn't know if he'd ever have another book published.
And it shows. But the writing, the characterizations, the voice are so polished,
you'd never g
Heath Lowrance
This first in Loren Estleman's Amos Walker series, dating waaay back to 1980, is fun and quick. Does it hit on just about every private dick cliche you can think of? Well, yeah. But I suspect that's the point, really. Estleman is a very good writer, fluent in a number of different approaches, and in this one he takes the standard Raymond Chandler route, with great success. And the asides about Detroit and its history are fascinating; I wouldn't have minded more of that.
Jan 21, 2008 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for:
Estleman understands that Detroit is a city of decay. His prose is the bittersweet loss of a city that was. If you have ever spent any time in and around Detroit (The real Gotham City) you will feel the melancholy on each page. The city is dying although it doesn't know it yet.

However, there is fun to be had in the sharp dialog and the eye of someone who truly knows his way around the town.
I checked the copywriter date: 1980
The dialogue/narrator felt more female than male. I can not figure out if that's because "back then" there were more movie buffs than there are now, and people were more fashion-conscious. It was a nice escape to a less technology-laden world. It felt somewhat over the top on plotting, but again it was an escape.
If you've finished re-reading all of Raymond Chandler and are still lamenting the passing of Robert B. Parker, try picking up any of the Amos Walker mysteries by Estleman. Great flavor of Detroit with the usual wise-cracking ace detective who is loyal to a fault.
Sean Buckridge
I had high hopes for this one since I loved the "hard boiled" genre, but Estleman tried too hard. Ever other line seemed like it was taken from "Pithy Detective Quotes for Dummies"... Doubt if I will read any of the sequels...
All in all, I liked it. Kept moving and was hard to put down. A bit dated sensitivity wise, but I guess it's true to the time period it was written? I'd certainly read more.
I'll admit it I loved Detroit 187, and I was hoping for a bit of the same in this series. I think as the mystery series progresses I will find more of what I am looking for.
I'm fascinated by Detroit. I grew up in Philly, Detroit would be my second choice if had a choice. Every city should have a author like Estleman to write about it.
Ronald Ball
May 23, 2007 Ronald Ball rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of old detective movies
Great book with a 40's - 50's flair to it. The detective is a real throwback almost dinosaur. Takes palce in Detroit and is loaded with many local references.

I've read some Amos Walker books years ago. I never read the first. I remember enjoying them, and I like Estleman's style.
Craig Anderson
I found this good entertainment. The setting and characters here appealed to me less than Estleman's western, The Hider.

Nicely written noir with an old school style. I will definitely read more by this author.
John In

Preposterous dialog and moronic violence. Stopped reading halfway through.
For the most part it's a bad imitation of Hammett or Chandler.
A little too hardboiled and contrived for me.
M Est
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Loren D. Estleman is an American writer of detective and Western fiction. He writes with a manual typewriter.

Estleman is most famous for his novels about P.I. Amos Walker. Other series characters include Old West marshal Page Murdock and hitman Peter Macklin. He has also written a series of novels about the history of crime in Detroit (also the setting of his Walker books.) His non-series works in
More about Loren D. Estleman...

Other Books in the Series

Amos Walker (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • Angel Eyes (Amos Walker, #2)
  • The Midnight Man (Amos Walker, #3)
  • The Glass Highway (Amos Walker, #4)
  • Sugartown (Amos Walker, #5)
  • Every Brilliant Eye (Amos Walker, #6)
  • Lady Yesterday (Amos Walker, #7)
  • Downriver (Amos Walker, #8)
  • Silent Thunder (Amos Walker, #9)
  • Sweet Women Lie (Amos Walker, #10)
  • Never Street (Amos Walker, #11)
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