Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Heard: "Jitterbug" by Loren D. Estleman

Heard: Jitterbug by Loren D. Estleman, 1998(print), nnknown year for this AudioGo production, Overdrive download.

I still think of Estleman as a western writer.  Not that I read any of his westerns yet.  This is Detroit in the summer of 1943.  Lots of history and character with a nutbag killer on the loose.

Two main story lines following the cops and a young black man working in one of the new war plants.  secondary storyline follows the nutbag killer; an Army reject for being insane he kills ration stamp hoarders in a misguided attempt at fighting the war.

The Four Horseman are the racket squad cops for Detroit PD.  They part of a undermanned wartime department and lead by Lietenant Zagreb.  The four of them await military service by choice or design.  "Desing" meaning if they piss off their PD superiors they'll be sweating in the Marianas come Christmas.

Dwight is a 19-year-old with a party-hearty older brother.  The brothers moved north from Alabama (Mississippi? Georgia?) for work after their mother died.  Dwight is much more mature than the older spendthrift Earl and pines for Earl's 15-year-old newlywed wife.

Nutbag Killer acquires an Army uniform and impersonates a soldier. Nutbag Killer has many issues, I won't get into them, and uses a bayonet to eviscerate his victims.  Zagreb and Co. are called in when the ration stamp theft angle is figured out.  The racket squad is in charge finding black marketeers dealing in stamps.

Zagreb and Dwight meet when Earl is arrested at a night club for carrying a metal club.  Dwight stands up for Earl.  Earl's place is tossed and stamps are found.  Dwight is pressured by cops to find Earl's marketeer partner or Earl will get a federal beef.  Dwight and the cop meet in the middle of the novel and never speak again.

Things happen.  Violence.  Wartime industry.  Wartime abuses: the rich get super rich, meat is scarce, bars are busy, work hours are long, racial strife aplenty.  Killer is found and killed.

1.  A reminder of Devil's Rag Doll by Bartoy that incorporated the same Belle Isle race riot from June, '43.
 2.  Very entertaining novel by Estleman and a swell job by the narrator, Loren D. Estleman.  I wonder if the  narrator is related to the author.  They have the same last name.
3.  But, wait!  The AudioGo website lists Estleman as narrator.  The Overdrive sites lists Garrick Hagon as narrator! 
4. Which is right? 
5. Which is wrong?! 
6. Will I open up the audio file and re-listen to the introduction to find out?!
7.  No.

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