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The Fifth Floor (Michael Kelly #2)

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  1,219 Ratings  ·  156 Reviews
Private detective Michael Kelly returns in a lightning-paced, intricately woven mystery. When Kelly is hired by an old girlfriend to tail her abusive husband, he expects trouble of a domestic rather than a historical nature. Life, however, is not so simple.

The trail leads to a dead body in an abandoned house on Chicago's North Side and then to places Kelly would rather no
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 14th 2009 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 2008)
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Sep 15, 2010 Kate rated it it was ok
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
Toni Osborne
Sep 03, 2009 Toni Osborne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 03, 2011 Andre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 08, 2008 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 30, 2008 Jeffrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Douglas Karlson
Feb 19, 2016 Douglas Karlson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. I just wrote my review and then my computer crashed... here goes again. I'd give it 4.5 stars. This is a very well written mystery. It's set in Chicago, and the author describes the city and the characters in a fresh and creative way, avoiding the cliches you often get with hard-boiled fiction- which I find so tiresome. This one rings true - I especially liked the way he describes the inner political workings of the Mayor's office - everything has a price, and we follow along as the detecti ...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
Sep 12, 2009 Larry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rereading the second (of five) Michael Kelly p. i. novels I bumped it from four stars to five. It involves murders rooted in earlier murders, the Chicago Fire. (Kelly's discoveries about the fire, seen a based in insurance and real estate fraud, is historically well grounded, as a trip to the Chicago Historical Society will show.) The five Michael Kelly books (so far) are aces, both for their strong eviction of Chicago and for the sheer quality of Harvey's writing and plotting.
Aug 23, 2009 Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I really like Michael Harvey's style: noirish and old-fashioned and set in Chicago. Nothing too gruesome, and certainly no detailed forensic discussions--just trench-coated, slouch-hatted, cigar-wielding (one imagines) shoe-leather mysteries. The only possible criticism I can conceive may just be it's best side as well. It doesn't feel exactly urgent.
Jan 02, 2010 Leigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Sep 30, 2008 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mike Shoop
Atmospheric crime mystery set in contemporary Chicago involving a murder, a wife beater, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and the Mayor's Office (which is on City Hall's fifth floor). P.I. Michael Kelly, the main character, is a man obsessed with solving the murder and taking out his former lover's abusive husband, and is especially intrigued when both things lead him to City Hall. Harvey's book is a dark thriller, almost has a 1940s feel to it, with good details of Chicago, with its history and ...more
Mary Martin
PI Michael Kelly is hired by Janet Woods to help her get out of her abusive marriage. John Woods works for the mayor & is his take care guy. While following Woods, Kelly discovers a murder. The murder seems connected to the historic fire in Chicago of 1871. Lots of layers to uncover for Kelly but of course the talented PI can sort it all out.
Sep 05, 2013 Johnny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Debbi Mack
Nov 29, 2008 Debbi Mack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
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
Oct 07, 2013 Kelsey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

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
Denise Dougherty
Another quick little "sorbet" after finishing The Political Mind.

If you've read any Max Alan Collins you'd like this guy - that's what it reminded me of: contemporary crime with a tinge of historical reference. Chicago is also a central character. At times I wondered if I had read this before but - frankly - when you read so much of a genre sometimes they sound a bit familiar. I didn't hold that against Michael Harvey. It was entertaining - predictable (mostly) - and light.

Should I come across
Sep 16, 2013 Barry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 09, 2009 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Tracy Shapley
Mar 28, 2012 Tracy Shapley rated it really liked it
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
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
Nov 30, 2011 Ken rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 12, 2017 Bridget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
quick read
Jan 13, 2009 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 52-in-2009
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
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
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
Aug 31, 2009 Jennie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 31, 2010 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Michael is the best-selling author of seven crime novels, The Chicago Way, The Fifth Floor, The Third Rail, We All Fall Down, The Innocence Game, The Governor’s Wife and Brighton, scheduled for release in June of 2016. Film rights to Brighton, a stand-alone thriller set in Michael’s hometown of Boston, were recently optioned by Graham King, producer of The Departed and The Town.

Michael is also an
More about Michael Harvey...

Other Books in the Series

Michael Kelly (5 books)
  • The Chicago Way (Michael Kelly, #1)
  • The Third Rail (Michael Kelly, #3)
  • We All Fall Down (Michael Kelly, #4)
  • The Governor's Wife (Michael Kelly, #5)

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