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We All Fall Down (Michael Kelly #4)

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  687 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
Chicago cop turned private investigator Michael Kelly is racing to save his city from a deadly new foe: a biological weapon unleashed underground.

When a lightbulb falls in a subway tunnel, it releases a pathogen that could kill millions. While the mayor postures, people begin to die, especially on the city’s grim West Side. Hospitals become morgues. L trains are converted
ebook, 320 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Vintage
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Michael Harvey's We All Fall Down traffics in the “tough, gritty Chicago” sales pitch. If the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel hadn't reviewed this novel positively and/or the book was set somewhere other than my hometown I doubt I would have requested a library copy. Still, We All Fall Down and I met at an ideal time and the book served me well. A doctor instructed me to sit on the couch all day Saturday because I'm apparently unable to self-diagnose dehydration. In turn I read this novel between abo ...more
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: july-read
Bio weapons, drugs and dirty cops is the mode of operandi in this story. There is some really insightful and scary topics covered in this story. The writing style works good for this made for film style of story. I would have liked more character development in this story and some more charge of thrill. As I write this I have a temperature and just come off emptying out my dinner, flu symptoms I don't know but after reading this story I might need to get checked out. I never liked the closeness ...more
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael Kelley, private investigator, gets caught up in a major biohazard event in Chicago. This book may be the only p.i. novel to deal with what might happen if someone released a deadly toxin in an urban setting. And Kelley is a perfect central character because he is pretty much fearless yet smart enough and connected enough to go where most investigators wouldn't go. "We All Fall Down" is the fourth book in a five-book series that is realistically rooted in Chicago. It is my favorite p.i. s ...more
John Sheridan
Dec 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Bit of a disappointment as I've really enjoyed the previous books in the Michael Kelly series and while there is enough in this one to keep me waiting for number 5 but ...... there should be more than that. Opening chapters rely too much on you appreciating who the characters are and their roles from preceding book. The pace does pick up at the end for a dramatic conclusion but the inclusion of an ex-cop PI in the middle of a nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) attack just jars from the outset I ...more
Nov 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is the fourth adventure of Chicago PI Michael Kelly. The story opens up with Michael, and particularly his girlfriend, recovering from what transpired in the previous book, The Third Rail. Unfortunately the “ticking time-bomb” from a month earlier – and the previous book – explodes. The “time-bomb” in this case is a biological pathogen filled light-bulb in the Chicago “subway” system. And before the reader can say “James Bond”, civilian Michael Kelly is drafted by the Mayor and Homeland Sec ...more
Mary Welk
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Harvey is a Chicago author of political suspense novels. Several years ago I read his book The Fifth Floor, a chiller involving shenanigans dreamed up in the fifth floor office of the mayor of Chicago that led to murder and mayhem on the streets of the city. This year I bought We All Fall Down, a 2012 release by Harvey. This latest in his Michael Kelly, P.I. series deals with bio-terrorism and black biology. I loved The Fifth Floor, so I couldn't wait to start reading this new book. I ha ...more
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, series
We All Fall Down, as in Michael Harvey's previous Michael Kelly novels, is set in Chicago and has as many twists in the plot as Lake Shore Drive. I grew up in Indiana near Chicago and enjoy reading books that take place there. Unlike novels that are set in New York, San Francisco or London, when Harvey references the Ike, Grant Park or the United Center, I have a feel for the place. Harvey also expresses the general feel of Chicago that residents and others familiar with Chicago will relate to. ...more
A Blue Line train in Chicago is going faster than it should. The vibrations from the train's passage rattles the rails and causes a light bulb to loosen and fall. Soon, people begin to get sick and die.

P.I. Michael Kelly is called in and asked to help with security as it's determined that there could be a threat of a biological weapon in the Chicago railway system.

The Dept. of Homeland Security is on hand and when the number of deaths mount, they decide to quarantine part of the city. This gives
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Of the four novels Michael Harvey has written about Michael Kelly, PI, We All Fall Down was the least enjoyable. It’s still fairly enjoyable, though. It’s just not very good. But that’s OK; “good” isn’t really what you’re looking for when you read a Michael Kelly story. These novels are about the gritty, tough Chicago of stereotypes: tough cops, criminal cops, corrupt politicians, drugs, guns, and sex.

We All Fall Down picks up an open piece of the plot of the previous book, The Third Rail. The s
Ryan Mishap
Ignore the book jacket blurb that references Michael Connelly, this series resembles a more noir Paretsky more than anything and not just because of the Chicago angle.

The setting was intense, the plot interesting, the noir-patterns intact...I just didn't enjoy it as much as the previous entries in the series.

I think--considering the plot and prose was on par with the earlier books--that it's me this time. I've grown weary of the one-dimensional depictions of African-Americans as gang thugs. In
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, chicago, mystery
Lame. I am reminded as to why I don't like most mysteries/thrillers. I thought this one would be good because of the Chicago setting but no. Loose the local brand-name dropping and neighborhood names and this could be Anycity, USA. I remember thinking to myself, okay now it's finally getting to the meat of the story when I realized there was only 1 disc left of the audiobook. Lots of build up to nothing but a fizzle. Also really didn't help that the narrator spoke oddly, like Captain Kirk with s ...more
Jul 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Another great Michael Harvey read - short chapters, fast-moving plot. A lightbulb that could be filled with anthrax falls in the subway, and the city and feds move quickly to contain any possible threat. Yet people with mysterious symptoms start showing up in the hospitals and dying. The death tolls mount, the scientists try to uncover the threat and discover a vaccine ... yet everything is not quite as it seems. Harvey does a good job of explaining the bioterrorism aspects of this book in a way ...more
May 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Harvey just keeps ratcheting up the tension in each successive novel about Michael Kelly and the underbelly of the city of Chicago. Bio-terrorism is at the core of this story, fulfilling the promise made in The Third Rail. The suspense is first rate and grittiness level is so fresh. Perhaps the recent TV show "The Chicago Code" will bring more readers to this. The show and this novel come from a similar ethos.
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a continuation of 'The Third Rail' with a better plot... i just love Harvey's style... rough and tumble, no-holds barred, punch in the face pacing... complex plots that make sense but don't try too hard or stretch believability... a timely thesis on how the best laid plans are never good enough... history is written by the winners, who aren't so easily defined...
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bioterrorism. Good thing that Michael Kelly had a lot of folks watching his back. The most frightening part of the book was in the author's afterword: our country doesn't have a plan in place for a bioterrorism attack?
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In We All Fall Down, a light bulb filled with a pathogen drops from the ceiling of the subway tunnel in Chicago and people start dying. Parts of the city are sealed off with fences to keep the spread limited to that area while the scientists try to determine how to stop it and figure out what's going on. Private Investigator Michael Kelly goes looking for answers and winds up finding crooked cops, ruthless gangs and a government secret that could destroy many lives.

After reading The Third Rail(
Oct 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
We All Fall Down offers all the best parts of a thriller novel: mystery, suspense, danger, crime...scientific laboratory scenes. This girl is a die-hard CSI fan and science nerd, so when the topic of "black biology" (the science of developing and preventing harmful biological pathogens) arose, I was sold.

As soon as the storyline picked up in the second chapter, I was on the edge of my seat and my heart didn't stop pounding until I put it down. This book is 416 pages long and I read it in one sit
Oct 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Because the title We All Fall Down, a phrase from the famous nursery rhyme based on the Black Death, was so different from the titles with Chicago references in the first three Michael Harvey novels I read (The Chicago Way, The Fifth Floor, and The Third Rail), I didn’t immediately recognize that this was the sequel to The Third Rail I had just completed. But when it immediately took us to an underground section of Chicago’s famous Blue Line, I realized Harvey was picking up one of the loose end ...more
Aug 15, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
Harvey, Michael. WE ALL FALL DOWN. (2011). **1/2.
This is a techno-thriller by this author, who has written two previous novels also set in Chicago. The protagonist is Michael Kelly, a P.I. who takes on the aura of James Bond and The Terminator. What sets off the story is the explosion of a light bulb in one of the tunnels of the Chicago subway system. The bulb was supposed to be a test of our country’s readiness in the event of a biological attack. It was supposed to contain anthrax, but was a
The fourth installment in Harvey’s Chicago-set Michael Kelly series starts up almost immediately after the events in The Third Rail. And though the plot initially seems connected, it is actually surprisingly separate. Like the mass terror in the previous novel, this biological hazard-based plot is quite terrifying - even more so when living in Chicago! Harvey widens his perspective of the city, with its first real focus into non-Northside locales. The pacing is even faster than normal, giving th ...more
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
Once again, I listened to this as an audio book.

Being a native Chicagoan, I truly enjoyed the setting of the book, which is the city of Chicago. Mr Harvey is accurate in locations, descriptions of the Blue Line (elevated train), the stops on that line, etc., In addition, the "Chicago vernacular" was handled extremely well by the narrator: inflection was perfect and except for one obvious flaw, pronunciation was true to native forms.

Here's the exception: the narrator pronounces the name of the c
Oct 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
-Michael Kelly is a local Chicago PI, and he is central to the investigation. It seems a bit far-fetched to consider that with all the federal and state anti-terrorist organizations that Kelly would be any where near an incident of this magnitude.
-Dr.Ellen Brazille and Dr.Molly Carrolton "Black Biology" scientists at CDA, and Carrolton engineers the false attack with her boss, Stoddard.

The novel is largely set on the West Side of Chicago near Garfield Park- "The K-Town Area" (streets begin with
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-mystery
Michael Harvey has written four novels focusing on Chicago PI, Michael Kelly. This is the first novel I have read and I am enthusiastically placing the other three on the top of my book pile.

The plot revolves around bioterrorism, pathogens are released in the Chicago Subway via exploding light bulbs. The effects are dramatic and deadly and we learn of new strains of terror referred to as "black biology". The Government is forced to quarantine large parts of the city as hospitals turn into morgu
Mark Stevens
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s not too hard to believe we’ll encounter something along the lines of the biological warfare he envisions is “We All Fall Down.” He quotes scientists and experts (without naming names) who confirm that the biological attack in this story is plausible. For me the mash-up doesn’t quite work. The story felt like Michael Connelly stirred with Michael Crichton or Elmore Leonard (early Leonard) crashed into the movie “Contagion.” The combination left me not buying into either side of the story. I ...more
I've enjoyed all of Michael Harvey's books fceaturing private detective Michael Kelly. I enjoyed reading this book, too, but I'd rank it below the others.

At times, I felt my suspension of disbelief unsuspending. A weaponized pathogen has been released in Chicago, and Kelly has been drawn into the investigation. I get that there are people who are using Kelly for their own purposes, but it seems a little farfetched that a private detective would be allowed anywhere near this.

The part about the bi
Dec 21, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had recently read all the Michael Kelly private eye books up to this one and I thought they were all excellent mysteries in the gumshoe tradition of the 1940s and '50s. However, I really struggled with "We All Fall Down" and author Michael Harvey seemed to be off his game with this story. The 'noir' feeling of the previous installments was what captured my interest in the first place and this book was more like a 'thriller', which didn't thrill me whatsoever. There just seemed to be too much g ...more
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Eh. I just finished this about 15 minutes ago and it's already fading away. All of the characters are stereotypes that I don't even need to explain: "gritty, noir-ish, Chicago, gangs, plague, Men in Black" is pretty much all the reader needs to know. As with the last book, I'm not a fan of the first-to-third-person shifts; the numerous 3rd-person points of view tend to drown out Kelly's voice. It's also one of those books that's written with no real sense of time: 3pm activity felt much like mid ...more
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
AAAAARGH!!! That's my reaction to the discovery that Michael Harvey's new book for 2013 is NOT the fifth in this excellent series about ex-cop Michael Kelly. We All Fall Down was the last book so far, it ended with a sentence that had me incredulous and disappointed that it WAS the last sentence, and please, lord, don't let it be the last book!!! If you love your heroes tough, literate, resourceful, seasoned, and yet tender, you'll love Michael Kelly. The action is original and non-stop, the plo ...more
Ron Chicaferro
Jul 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big Michael Harvey fan so finding this book amazing was easy. He's an amazing writer - a former newspaper reporter he writes in crisp, short and concise sentences. Something more writers should strive to do. We All Fall Down is an exciting and scary story of a biotoxin release on the West Side of Chicago. Protaganist, P.I. Michael Kelly is called in by the Mayor to help find out what happened and why. The start of this book actually picks up on the finish of his prior book - The Third Rail ...more
Mike Kelly, former Chicago cop now P.I., finds himself being pulled in contrary directions by too many bosses who can't all be counted as clients. Chicago is sitting on a bio-terrorist event and the FBI wants one thing, Homeland Security another, Chicago cops a third, the lab he is supposed to protect wants something else. And then there is the Mayor asking for a favor that is certain to come with strings attached.

This is very quick read for 400 pages driven by the timeline of people dying and
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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 Fifth Floor (Michael Kelly, #2)
  • The Third Rail (Michael Kelly, #3)
  • The Governor's Wife (Michael Kelly, #5)

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