Motor City Shakedown by D.E. Johnson
Author: D.E. Johnson
Genre: Fiction (Mystery / Murder / 1910s / Mafia / Detroit / Automobile Manufacturing)
Publisher/Publication Date: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (9/13/2011)
Source: TLC Book Tours
Did I finish?: Yes, very easily.
One-sentence summary: Seven months after Will Anderson was framed for murder, he's struggling with a crippling injury, an addiction, and an all-consuming desire for revenge.
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction
Do I like the cover?: I love it -- paperboys feature in this novel, and I think the layout and design is super catchy.
I'm reminded of...: M.L. Malcolm
First line: My left index finger traced the shape of the little morphine bottle through the outside of my trouser pocket.
Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow -- after you read the first book!
Why did I get this book?: It has all the elements I like in fiction: great historical setting, unique location, crime.
Review: First things first: don't read the blurb for this book if you at all think you're going to read the first book, Detroit Electric Scheme, as the description totally spoils book one. (And I think you'll want to read the first book first.) I enjoyed Detroit Electric Scheme and so was eager to read this book.
Set in 1911, Detroit, the novel continues to follow Will Anderson, a young man devastated by the last three years. Will finds himself framed for murder in Detroit Electric Scheme, and this book starts about seven months later. Sustaining a crippling injury from the first book, Will now struggles with a morphine addiction and an all-consuming desire for revenge. In trying to get back at the men who hurt him and those he cared about, Will becomes embroiled in a turf war between two Sicilian families.
I wasn't wild about the plot of this book as much as the first one, but I'm not a Mafia fangirl myself. However, knowing that the turf war depicted in this story was historically accurate made it more interesting to me, and it's apparent Johnson loves Detroit and Detroit history. As a result, I cared, too.
I noticed a change in Johnson's writing in this novel: there was less peppering of historical trivia in the narrative than in the first book, and I found the story read a little more effortlessly. Even though I loved the tidbits I learned in Detroit Electric Scheme, I was aware I was reading; now, I found myself sinking into the story and emerging only when nudged by my wife to eat dinner or go to bed.
Fans of historical crime fiction will enjoy this series -- I love the unique setting and the real place-as-character feel. Plus, I think Johnson is working on a third book, which makes me very excited -- Detroit has been added to my list of places to visit someday thanks to his very obvious love for the city -- and I'm looking forward to Will's further adventures.