The Fifth Floor
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The Fifth Floor (Michael Kelly #2)

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  751 ratings  ·  113 reviews
Michael Harvey’s sizzling follow-up to The Chicago Way (“A wonderful first novel . . . Harvey has studied the masters and put his own unique touch on the crime novel . . . Heralds the arrival of a major new voice” —Michael Connelly) opens with a murder in contemporary Chicago and winds its way back to Mrs. O’Leary’s cow and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Private investigat...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 26th 2008 by Knopf (first published 2008)
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Apr 30, 2012 Kate rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy political thrillers
Ho hum, just what I was worried about, this one didn't even compare to the first book in the series. Here's why:

- There was something really off about the rhythm of the story.
- It was more political thriller than gritty noir detective story.
- This one was much more showier than the first one and focused more on action, romance and heroism, which I just don't care for that much.
- Something was wrong with Michael Kelly he grew a conscience this book and was way too nice, what the heck?

However, the...more
Toni Osborne
This is the second novel featuring the wise-cracking Private Investigator Michael Kelly who returns in full force. The heart of the story is based around the mayor's office on the fifth floor of Chicago City Hall.

It starts when Michael is contacted by Janet, an ex-girlfriend and is asked to use his P.I. expertise to protect her from her abusive husband, Johnny Woods who happens to be one of the mayor's fixers. While on his trail he discovers a link to a recent murder. During his research he stum...more
The Fifth Floor is the second of Michael Harvey’s novels to feature private investigator Michael Kelly. After enjoying The Chicago Way, the first Michael Kelly novel, so much, I was in a hurry to pick up The Fifth Floor. I was highly disappointed.

This story is nowhere near as gritty as its predecessor. Not even close. Instead, Harvey tried to do something different this time around. In my opinion, he tried to do too much. Whereas the grittiness and rawness of The Chicago Way created emotional te...more
This is a tightly-written, well-paced hardboiled mystery set in Chicago. Michael Harvey's protagonist Michael Kelly, tough guy and private eye, deals with a wife-beater, confronts a powerful mayor and his ruthless fixers, and investigates why the mayor might be concerned about his ancestor's role in the Chicago Fire of 1871.

As in a lot of good mysteries, the setting is intrinsic to the tone of the story, just as Edinburgh infuses Ian Rankin's Rebus mysteries or Los Angeles shapes the created wor...more
THE FIFTH FLOOR. (2008). Michael Harvey. ***.
Reading this novel catches me up with Mr. Harvey’s works. This was his second novel featuring his P.I. Michael Kelly, a Chicago-based ex-cop. This time, Harvey has come up with an historical mystery that Kelly gets involved in, much to his peril. It seems that there is now doubt that the great Chicago fire of 1871 was not caused by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicking over a lantern, but was deliberately set by two men who planned to destroy the existing city...more
Oct 03, 2008 Jeffrey rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystery fans
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2008
Michael Kelly, the private eye returns in this light breezy mystery set in Chicago. Kelly is approached by an old flame who is taking a regular beating from her husband. She doesnt want Kelly involved but Kelly follows her husband around and stumbles upon a mureder at a historic house. The only item missing is a copy of a rare book about the history of the Chicago Fire. It seems that two groups are after a copy of the book which supposedly has a secret letter that shows how the current Mayor's r...more
This is the second book in the series with Chicago private-eye Michael Kelley. Again, I love the attention paid to the Chicago locales. I also loved that the mystery in the book has an angle related to Chicago history, specifically the Great Fire of 1871. But the unfolding of the mystery itself was kind of lame. Harvey has his P.I. narrator refer obliquely to some things he's thinking about and asking people to do in order to keep things "mysterious" to the reader up until the big revelations. T...more
This author evidently lives in my neighborhood in Chicago, and eats and drinks in familiar joints, which makes the shenanigans of his detective only that much more enjoyable. I especially liked this one because the villain turned out to be a curator at the Chicago History Museum!
An OK murder/political mystery set in modern Chicago with ties to the 1871 Chicago fire. Bogs down in the middle, but picks up speed toward the end. A pleasant three day read.

I picked up this book because I grew up 90 minute outside Chicago and have come to love it as an adult. I put down the book for several reasons, not the least of which was because most of the Chicago references were very obscure. I didn’t feel that nostalgia and connection to the city that I was hoping for. Perhaps someone who’s lived and breathed Chicago feels differently.

The Fifth Floor starts with PI Michael Kelly investigating his ex-lover’s abusive husband. He stumbles onto a murder, the...more
Agnes Mack
The Fifth Floor is the second novel from Michael Harvey, following The Chicago Way, which I reviewed last week. While his first novel read very much like a first novel, The Fifth Flooris much more expertly crafted. Gone are the awkward phrasings, the writing feels much less forced, and the voice is more authentic. Thankfully, the awkward rape shit is also gone.

The characters pick up where we left them, and Mr. Harvey does an admirable job summarizing the past without boring the reader who's alre...more
What would happen if the Chicago Fire wasn't started by Mrs. O'Leary's Cow but the cities founding fathers? Who would benefit, who did it and what lengths would they go to cover it up. Michael Harvey's second Chicago-based pulp crime novel uses his central character from his first novel, Michael Kelly and takes the reader on a similar ride to his first effort.

Part of the fun of Michael Harvey's novels are their references to actual locations in Chicago such as the Billy Goat and the Hidden Sham...more
Giano Cromley
Okay, so let me start by saying I love a good noir mystery in the vein of Hammett and Chandler. These kinds of novels are my drug of choice. So, with that in mind, you should not be surprised to hear that I consumed this book within two and a half days. I was almost physically unable to put them down.
That being said, this novel felt to me like a pale imitation of those earlier masters. Yes, I liked seeing the Chicago locales and its history used to good effect here. Yes, the narrator was suffici...more
Larry Hoffer
This was a good, quick read. Michael Harvey's second mystery-ish novel featuring PI Michael Kelly wasn't quite as good as the first, "The Chicago Way," but it definitely kept me guessing. I really do enjoy Kelly's character. As someone told him in this book, "you don't give a s--t who you piss off," and that's a trait I try to live by myself, so I like it in my protagonists as well!

Kelly's former girlfriend asks him for help with her abusive husband, who happens to be one of the Chicago mayor's...more
There is an old saying that you can’t fight city hall but Michael Kelly ignores the saying and takes his investigation right to the fifth floor where the Mayor’s office is located. Michael Kelly is an ex-police officer now working as a private investigator.

Janet Woods is an old friend and when she comes to Michael for help for herself and her daughter, Taylor, Michael doesn’t hesitate. Her husband is abusive and she fears for her safety and the safety of her daughter. Janet is married to Johnny...more
A political thriller which is a 'cut above', and a special treat if you are at all familiar with the city of Chicago because the book is chock full of local color and historical detail.

Michael Kelly is a private investigator who lost his job as a city detective, and is involved in two cases. First, a friend of his is a victim of domestic violence and her husband is beating her, and she suspects that he will soon begin to prey on their teenage daughter. And, his other case involves a murder whic...more
This is a delightful series of books for someone like me to read because of its setting in the Chicago area. The first volume, The Chicago Way, was a fascinating study of crooked cops (and district attorneys), good cops, and warped personalities (both the serial killer reaching his tentacles out from death row and the sick individual wreaking revenge in a skewed way). The Fifth Floor is a study in corrupt politicians and those with integrity. I resented the fact that the powerful Daleyesque mayo...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Fifth Floor, by Michael Harvey, B-plus. Narrated by Stephen Hoye, produced by Blackstone Audio, downloaded from

This was an interesting book but not quite as good, in my opinion, as his debut novel, The Chicago Way. In this book, PI Michael Kelly is hired by an old girl friend to tail her husband, he thought, for being so abusive to her, so that she could divorce him. But the trail leads to a body, and then to the Chicago Museum of History where he finds himself involved, among o...more
The Fifth Floor by Michael Harvey is a bit like an old fashioned detective story written by Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler. The sentences are short and crisp; the verbiage is simple and straightforward; The hero is somewhat noir in character and irresistible to women. Harvey's stories take place in Chicago which, for me, is a plus since I lived there prior to retirement. Chicago also has the gritty texture and machine-like power structure that fits Harvey's style perfectly.

The book is writ...more
Like its predecessor, this sequel to The Chicago Way, is fast-paced and quite an entertaining read! Again, Harvey captures Chicago (predominantly its North Side), and the city itself plays a strong role. This time, even its history falls under the scope of the plot as the 1871 Chicago Fire becomes suddenly relevant in one of P.I. Michael Kelly’s investigations. Along with a historical plot, political intrigue and murder all boil together - Kelly’s personal life also falls into the mix. His chara...more
Debbi Mack
No question about it Michael Harvey writes with edgy, wry style. THE FIFTH FLOOR is a well-paced story, delivered in clipped, yet highly evocative, prose. And the protagonist, private eye Michael Kelly, has a troubled past (something about a dead woman and getting kicked off the Chicago police force that Harvey may have covered in his first book, THE CHICAGO WAY) and makes all the pithy wisecracks we've come to expect from a guy of his ilk--coming on all tough on the outside, while retaining his...more
This book has everything I want in a noir detective novel: a hard-boiled, disgraced-cop detective who can handle himself in a fight; lots of beer and cigarette smoke; a femme fatale or two; and a lot of morally grey backroom politics. Oh, and a murder or two.

Harvey gets a little carried away sometimes with his detective-fiction narrative, with characters doing a lot of "slanting" their faces in one direction or another, or "walking his/her eyes". It happens often enough to stand out for me, but...more
I do like Mr. Harvey's stories. This is the second installment but really, you could read this without reading the first one if you wanted. The main character, Michael Kelly, works as a PI after losing his job as a Chicago PD officer/detective. While Kelly really isn't too flawed despite having good reasons to hold grudges and the like, it's nice how he handles his cases and this one is interesting as it brings in a historical angle regarding the Chicago Fire and alternative theories on why/how...more
Well, I don't know, I'm tempted to give this book 5 stars, possibly because I've never read any noir before! All at once, it's a great experience. Surely this book rides on the back of generations of tradition in hard-boiled morality, and my appetite has been whetted by some of the old movies, and reading Sherlock Holmes long ago. Anyway, this was pure fun, and I recommend it to all other neophyte souls who'd like to spend engrossing chapters in The Windy City trawling through the semi-fictition...more
This is first book I have read by this author..and to be honest the only reason it even interested me was because it is linked to the home of my husband's aunt and uncle in Chicago. Although this book is fictional, there are a lot of facts and relievance to the Chicago Fire of 1871. My husband's aunts and uncles home on Hudson Av in Chicago is one of three homes in which survived the fire.

Back to the book. I was extremely pleased with the fast pace read. It had a bit of everything: murder, myst...more
I really enjoyed this one. I am glad I found this author. Sometimes the library can fool you
not ur run of the mill detective books, pure genius. Reading this was like watching an old detective show you know the ones narrated by the detective.

Kelly is approched by an ex girlfriend whose wanting to hire a P.I to help her out with her situation. As Kelly is working the case he becomes invovled in another one that has branched off this one by some strange fluke, A murder that unravels some well kept secrets in the past that someomne wiil do all most anything to keep hush hush.
Thomas Bruso
A fast-paced read. I loved it!
Jeffrey Miller
Michael Harvey improves on the formula in this one, but still relies on a few TV tricks. One example would be not giving the full context of a certain scene to keep the reader wondering. That's not a deal-breaker, but it breaks the fourth wall a little when the story is written in first person. Otherwise, an interesting and entertaining second novel. This was still lean, but gave you more than The Chicago Way as far as knowing the five Ws. Then again, maybe my four stars are just because of the...more

Very interesting use of the Oedipus legend, though the application is not divulged until the final pages.

Also fun revisit of the Chicago fire, through a very
current mstery.

The central character, former cop Michael Kelly turned private investigator -- who talks first person -- has that thick outer shell, can't-be-flapped but attractive-to-women demeanor. In a way he is predictable, but I still was glad that he turns out not to have done the murder for which he becomes a suspe...more
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Michael Harvey is author of The Chicago Way, The Fifth Floor and The Third Rail (to be published by Knopf in April, 2010).

In addition to writing crime novels, Michael is a journalist and documentary producer. He is co-creator of Cold Case Files, hosted by Bill Kurtis on the A&E television network, and has written and produced scores of other documentary projects all over the world. His work h...more
More about Michael Harvey...
The Chicago Way The Third Rail We All Fall Down The Innocence Game Michael Harvey Thrillers 2-Book Bundle: The Chicago Way, The Fifth Floor

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