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Whiskey River (Detroit #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  214 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
In Detroit in 1925 prohibition has been in force for a year longer than the rest of the States, police corruption is so rampant no-one notices the stench in City Hall. Into this scene comes Constantine Minor, a young and ambitious reporter. The author has twice won the Shamus Award.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 11th 1991 by Scribners (first published September 1st 1990)
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Larry Bassett
Oct 01, 2012 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it
This book and the six others in the series take place in Detroit, Michigan. I grew up near Detroit so that is the draw for me. I enjoy reading books that happen in familiar territory. Each book covers one decade from the 1930s to the 1990s. In this first book the protagonist, a newspaper journalist for a fictitious Detroit tabloid The Banner, tells the stories of the mobsters in the city, gathering information by talking with his sources on the battlefields of the underworld and befriending some ...more
Sep 23, 2016 Judy rated it really liked it
Whiskey River begins in 1928 at the height of Prohibition. Jack Dance is an eighteen-year-old on the cusp of becoming one of the top (fictional) gangsters in Detroit. Connie Minor, a young reporter of Greek descent, has just begun his career as a newspaper reporter when the two meet in a blind pig on the night it gets tipped over by the bulls. (I had to look up all this early 20th century slang, so if you don't know those terms, you can too!)

The story is a case of the strange friendship between
Apr 25, 2015 Donna rated it liked it
This was one of those books you pick up for the heck of it on your way out of the library. You didn't go in for it, but you walk out with it. It's like going to the grocery store for one or two things, but 200 dollars later, your basket is full.

I liked this book. It was set during prohibition times in Detroit. So of course there were bootleggers which I always find fun because I have bootleggers in my family tree. Albeit, not very good ones because my family members spent time in a state peniten
John Wood
Sep 15, 2013 John Wood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the Prohibition Era
Having never read Michigan author Loren Estleman and being interested in the history of the Detroit underworld, I decided to give this one a shot. By using an authentic sounding narrative tone and mixing in actual events and people with his fictitious cast, the author creates an engaging story. It was easy to imagine the atmosphere of Prohibition Era Detroit. I was always fascinated by my mother's accounts of playing upstairs with all of the other kids at her "uncle's house" when her parents wer ...more
Jul 17, 2010 Naomi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A very authentic look at the prohibition era in Detroit with a lot of detail concerning the city and enivrons. A confusing number of characters and dialogue made the story so involved that it was hard to keep track of everything.
Nov 10, 2014 Kim rated it it was amazing
This was a very entertaining and fast paced novel laced with colorful gangsters of 1930s Detroit. The story was well written and since I love anything Detroit, it gets five stars. I've already got the next book in this series on reserve at the library.
Jul 29, 2011 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this is a fun way to learn Detroit 1930's history.
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
Charles Moore
Nov 01, 2016 Charles Moore rated it really liked it
If you like your noir not only hard-boiled but scorched to the bottom of the pot, it you like L.A. Confidential taken beyond Ellroy's simplistic story, if you like The Untouchables, Whiskey River is for you. This is Detroit during Prohibition and it is wild. I have no idea how many people Estleman kills off but it's a bunch. And they don't go lightly: machine guns, bombs, garrote, knifings, attached to a car battery and thrown in the river. You name, they did it.

One thing about this book that ma
John Culuris
May 16, 2016 John Culuris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first in what was intended to be a trilogy, there are now seven entries in this series chronicling the history of Detroit through fiction. As the title suggests, this novel concerns the Prohibition Era. The narrator is Connie Minor, a newspaper columnist, a brash young man who thinks he knows how the world works. One night he innocently befriends a stranger in an underground speakeasy, never thinking this man would soon begin his rise through the underworld. It’s an unexpected relationship t ...more
Mar 05, 2014 Gbug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, series
Whiskey River by Loren D. Estleman is a gangster story. It takes place in Detroit during prohibition. Detroit's located just across the Detroit River from Windsor Ontario. So in winter bootleggers drove a convoy of cars across the new Ambassador Bridge filled them up with cases of whiskey then drove to Leamington Ontario. There they drove across frozen Lake Erie to Michigan. Sounds simple but of course it wasn't.

This story is told by Connie Minor a hard boiled newspaper man. While trying to get
It really wasn't my kind of book although I read it to the end.
It is set in Detroit in the 1930's when bootlegging was big business and the cops were grossly corrupt. The main character is a newspaper reporter. He gets in with the gangsters, they seem to like him. He goes on a bootlegging trip to Canada with some of them, he carries large amounts of money as a favor for one of them. He gets caught in crossfire and sees quite a lot of dead gangsters. The main gangster here is Jack Dance, a charm
David Brown
May 30, 2016 David Brown rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it
I've had this book on my shelf for a long time, and finally got around to reading it. It takes place in Detroit between 1928 and 1939 and it had a very authentic feel to it. My grandfather lived in Detroit during this time period. I grew up in the Detroit area, and I'm interested in history, so I expected it to be a good read, and it was.

Detroit during prohibition was full of rival gangster's. The "Whiskey River" of the title was the Detroit river, and it was a gateway for the alcohol that put
Thomas E.
Feb 22, 2015 Thomas E. rated it really liked it

Whiskey River is a story about a newspaper reporter who becomes involved with gangsters during the Prohibition Era in Detroit, Michigan.

What I liked most about the book is the descriptive detail about the times. The author's descriptions of the city of Detroit, the characters in the book, the clothes they wore, driving from Canada to Michigan across the ice in cars loaded with booze, and so on, are excellent. Yet I also thought that the attention to detail came at the expense of the story in th
Mar 31, 2014 Alan rated it really liked it
This book had particular interest for me. It's a story about organized crime in Detroit during Prohibition, and the historical context was a great backdrop for Estleman's novel. I spent much of my life in the Detroit area including living in Ann Arbor and Toledo, both cities mentioned in the book. Other books in Estleman's Detroit series apparently take place in other decades, which I'm hoping will each contribute toward a good history lesson of organized crime (and other interesting things) in ...more
Zeb Kantrowitz
Feb 15, 2015 Zeb Kantrowitz rated it really liked it
These are all interconnected stories about Detroit in the years prior, during and just after prohibition. The city was expanding exponentially as the auto industry expanded. With the coming of prohibition, it was all out warfare between the authorities and the bootleggers. It was hard to tell the corrupt politicians and cops from the gangsters, and the yellow press thrived.
Sarah Pongracz
Whiskey River is a novel about bootlegging, rum running and gangsters in Detroit during Prohibition. Most of the characters and events in the novel are fictional, but they are based on real people and things that took place in Detroit from 1919-1939. A look at a colorful time in our history, told from the point of view of a newspaper man.
Mar 25, 2013 Mjackman rated it really liked it
I read this not long after W.A. Berger's "The Purples." Both books concern organized crime in Detroit during prohibition. I liked the story of "The Purples" better, but this is the better-written book.
May 16, 2010 Tracy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, favorites
This is the first in the Detroit series that Mr. Estleman wrote. It has all the elements of an old radio private eye. Gangsters, dolls and told through the eyes of a wise cracking newspaper reporter.
A good read for those of us in Southeast Michigan. It slowed a bit in the middle, but the history & characters kept me reading.
Feb 18, 2011 Joey rated it really liked it
Good book about Detroit during prohibition. For anyone who knows the city, you really can imagine where things are happening.
Francie Shoemaker
Oct 25, 2011 Francie Shoemaker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one is a good companion to the other book I read about Prohibition, Last Call. It is a novel concentrated in Detroit and added a few details I did't know such as the origin of Black Bottom.
Todd Stockslager
A novel of Detroit. (1928). Not Estleman's best. Good start, flat ending. Too much description not enough action to wrap it up.
Bob Eilenfeldt
Oct 11, 2012 Bob Eilenfeldt rated it it was amazing
Loren Estlemen is an excellent author. His books are well research and well paced. And.. he does a great job with character development
May 02, 2012 Hilary rated it liked it
This book started out great, but unfortunately it really slowed down at the end...still interesting, but not a "must read" for me.
Susan Dearing
Susan Dearing rated it it was amazing
Jan 28, 2015
Cathy Houston
Cathy Houston rated it liked it
Jan 30, 2014
Michael Decker
Michael Decker rated it it was amazing
Jul 18, 2014
Greg Ballinger
Greg Ballinger rated it it was amazing
Sep 15, 2011
Anna rated it really liked it
Aug 14, 2012
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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...

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