Cover image for Thunder City : a novel of Detroit
Thunder City : a novel of Detroit
Estleman, Loren D.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Forge, 1999.
Physical Description:
252 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
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Thunder Citypresents Detroit in the process of becoming the Motor City. Harlan Crownover, scion of a great family of carriage makers, battles with his father to invest in a company run by Henry Ford, who has failed twice before in the automobile business. Desperate for funds, Harlan turns to Big . Jim Dolan, the Midwest's most powerful political boss, and Sal Borneo, a visionary mafioso struggling to bring the commerce of vice into the new century. Allies at first, they soon will be mortal enemies. At the crisis, only Edith Hampton Crownover, Harlan's troubled, aristocratic mother, will be in a position to shift the balance of power.

Author Notes

Loren D. Estleman was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on September 15, 1952. He received a B.A. in English literature and journalism from Eastern Michigan University in 1974. He spent several years as a reporter on the police beat before leaving to write full time in 1980. He wrote book reviews for such newspapers as The New York Times and The Washington Post and contributed articles to such periodicals as TV Guide.

He is a writer of mysteries and westerns. His first novel was published in 1976 and since then he has published more than 70 books including the Amos Walker series, Writing the Popular Novel, Roy and Lillie: A Love Story, The Confessions of Al Capone, and a The Branch and the Scaffold. He received four Shamus Awards from the Private Eye Writers of America, five Golden Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America, the Owen Wister Award for lifetime achievement from Western Writers of America, and the Michigan Author's Award in 1997.

(Bowker Author Biography) He lives in Whitmore Lake, Michigan.

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Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The dawning of the age of the automobile may have been the start of the most significant technological advance in the history of the world. But in the beginning, the automobile was merely a vision in the minds of a few individuals. Harlan Crownover, the son of a wealthy coach maker, battles with his father to invest in Henry Ford's automobile plant. Rebuffed by the family, young Crownover turns to Big Jim Dolan, Detroit's ranking political heavyweight, and Sal Borneo, a young gangster who sees an opportunity to tie his criminal enterprises to Ford's burgeoning industrial revolution. Estleman, winner of four Spur Awards for his westerns and three Shamus awards for his mysteries, concludes (for now) his seven-book Detroit series in which he chronicles U.S. history through the microcosm of the Motor City. Though he admittedly takes some liberties with the facts--mostly the compression of time for dramatic purposes--Estleman once again has put a human face on a diverse era. A must for followers of the series. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

Detroit is most of the setting for Estleman's crime dramas (he is also an acclaimed author of westerns), but the author sees seven of his novels in particular as forming a "Detroit Series," charting the city's history and telling in microcosm the history of the U.S. in the 20th century. This seventh and final installment, a colorful and suspenseful peek into mobster dens and automobile factories and boardrooms, rounds out the writer's chronicle of the Motor City. It is the first decade of the 20th century and Detroit is the bustling center of automobile development and manufacture. Harlan Crownover, son of a wealthy carriage-making tycoon, is swept up in the romance and novelty of the horseless carriage, much to his father's disgust and rage. Harlan, however, is a visionary and, seeing a future for the automobile, joins with Henry Ford to start the Ford Motor Company. Seeking investment money, Harlan first approaches Big Jim Dolan, a slick and powerful Irish politician with competing business interests, who sends Harlan packing. Harlan next strikes a deal with Sal Borneo, a shrewd and murderous Mafia boss who has no interest in automobiles, but who has something else in mind as the payoff for his investment. Invoking political expediency and threatening blackmail, Harlan's father induces Dolan and Borneo to join him in an unlikely conspiracy to ruin Ford and crush Harlan, but they underestimate their unconventional opponents in the legal, media and banking battles that result. Ford and Harlan's triumph over the cabal is exceedingly clever and satisfying, but it is Borneo's sharp forward-thinking vision that is most chilling. Profiting from Estleman's usual careful plotting, accurate backgrounds and crisp narrative, this is a gritty novel of high ideals and low morals, of men trying desperately to outwit one another whatever the cost in the heady days of invention and industry in Detroit. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved