Thunder City presents 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.
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Loren D. Estleman was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a BA degree in English Literature and Journalism in 1974. In 2002, the university awarded him an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters for his contribution to American literature.
He is the author of more than fifty novels in the categories of mystery, historical western, and mainstream, and has received four Western Writers of American Golden Spur Awards, three Western Heritage Awards, and three Shamus Awards. He has been nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Britain's Silver Dagger, the National Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2003, the mammoth Encyclopedia of Detective Fiction named him the most critically acclaimed writer of U.S. detective
Fifth in the highly lauded series of Detroit novels that began with 1990's Whiskey River, a marvel of Prohibition-era description, and continued variously with Motown, King of the Corner, and, most recently, Edsel (1995). The story this time goes back to turn-of-the-century Detroit and Henry Fords third attempt to make his automobile factory solvent. Almost no one thinks that Fords horseless carriage will ever take off and pay for itselfno one but Harlan Crownover, widely seen as the slow-brained member of a family renowned for its business sense. Harlans father, Abner Crownover II, had risen from grease boy in his own fathers firm to youthful genius who turned the firm into one that built short-haul freight vehicles and passenger coaches. These were capped by the elegant Crownover opera coach, which rode on a superb suspension system invented by Abner II, subsequently patented, leased to all other coach makers, and insuring Abner II of millions of dollars for the rest of his life. Or as long as coaches are madeand now young Harlan is backing Henry Ford. Harlan goes to Big Jim Dolan, the citys street railway commissioner, for a $5,000 loan he plans to sink into Fords ingenious new assembly-line factory. When Dolan turns him down, Harlan hits up the Sicilian Prince, rising protection-racket boss Sal Borneo. Aside from being a health faddist, Borneo, tied to Dolan, has his hand in the city governmentand into Ford by way of Harlan? Will Ford solve his rear-axle problem by stealing Abner II's spring suspension system? Will Harlan eventually take over the factory and become the new Coach Prince? Will bloody Sal turn on Harlan? A tour de force of descriptive energy, researched to hairs-breadth accuracy of detail, and packed with characters vivid enough to make Frank Norris dance a jig with Theodore Dreiser. Estlemans final cut on this epic series should be a single chronological, chrome-plated volume of mirror-clear prose. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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