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The Left-Handed Dollar: Amos Walker #20    by Loren D. Estleman order for
Left-Handed Dollar
by Loren D. Estleman
Order:  USA  Can
Forge, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Left-Handed Dollar is the twentieth in Loren D. Estleman's Detroit series starring hard-boiled dick Amos Walker, the number saying something for the PI's staying power. Estleman does an excellent job of delivering all the expected ingredients of classic noir - the cynical private eye, nonstop wisecracking dialogue, and unusual femmes fatales.

As this one opens, Amos is hired by combative lawyer Lucille Lettermore - who specializes in unpopular clients and believes that 'Ethics is a loser's word' - to dig into the past of mobster Joseph Ballista, nicknamed Joey Ballistic. Lucy hopes to reverse his conviction for the attempted murder of investigative journalist Barry Stackpole.

Amos' immediate reaction is to refuse. His best (and only) friend Barry lost a leg from the car bomb that Ballista was accused of setting. But he finally takes the case, to find out who really was responsible for his friend's suffering.

The trail leads to an ex-cop and to the women in Joey Ballistic's life - his ex-wife, more than one mistress, and Lee Tan, who ran his heroin connection. As Amos starts interviewing these women, bodies pile up behind him and police pressure builds. He's knocked out by a friend, threatened by a lovely young physical therapist, and almost killed in the end game, which is filled with surprises.

If you appreciate the mystery classics by writers like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, then the Amos Walker series are all must reads. The Left-Handed Dollar is solid entertainment.

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