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Stress (Detroit Crime Series #5)
     

Stress (Detroit Crime Series #5)

4.0 1
by Loren D. Estleman
 

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S.T.R.E.S.S. might be Detroit's elite police undercover squad, but to black rookie cop Charlie Battle, it's nothing less than an execution squad targeting blacks. As Battle tries to walk the thin blue line between supporting his fellow officers and his own racial pride, he is compelled to speak out in a police department where talking against the squad may be the

Overview

S.T.R.E.S.S. might be Detroit's elite police undercover squad, but to black rookie cop Charlie Battle, it's nothing less than an execution squad targeting blacks. As Battle tries to walk the thin blue line between supporting his fellow officers and his own racial pride, he is compelled to speak out in a police department where talking against the squad may be the ultimate crime.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Its urban tensions arise from race, not booze, but the Detroit of this fifth volume (after Edsel) in Estleman's ongoing saga of the Motor City is as rife with violence and corruption as the Prohibition-era burg of Whiskey River, which began the series in 1990. After three men are shot by Paul Kubicek, an off-duty cop moonlighting as a security guard, during an attempted robbery at a posh New Year's Eve party, the Detroit Police Department greets 1973 by declaring that Kubicek was working undercover for STRESS (Stop the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets), a notorious 'police crackdown squad.' Even so, the DPD can't bury the fact that the three men Kubicek shot were the only blacks at the party, and that only two of them were involved in the robbery. To head off a scandal, black policeman Charles Battle is assigned to investigate, and he comes up against the racism of the old-boy cop network. It turns out that the heist was organized by Wilson McCoy, one of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted, a marijuana chain-smoking black radical who's trying to get money to buy illegal weapons. Through grittily precise detail of character and place, Estleman compresses the subsequent action, which revolves around kidnapping and multiple murders, into a tightly paced yarn that reads like a taut docudrama. The story culminates in a wild courtroom finale in which several kinds of justice-and injustice-are meted out at once. It's difficult to believe that Detroit will ever find a more eloquent poet than Estleman, who here, as in his Amos Walker PI mysteries, celebrates the gristle and sinew of the city as well as its aching heart.
Wes Lukowsky
The fifth entry in Estleman's Detroit series--mysteries in which a city, not a sleuth, is the recurring character--is set in the mid-seventies, when the Motor City was still scarred by the riots of the sixties and when white flight was more a stampede than a trend. A young black cop, Charlie Battle, is assigned to handle the investigation after an off-duty cop kills three black intruders at an upscale suburban party. Battle knows he's a token meant to placate an enraged black community, but he's intent on finding the truth, whether it exonerates the shooter or implicates him in murder. Both the cops and a group of local black militants pressure Battle to edge the truth their way. There are also carefully drawn parallel plots involving an illegal gun dealer, a kidnapping, and a paranoid Black Panther who remains in hiding even though the cops are no longer interested. This story of a once-great city in decline is played out by people who don't really understand their roles in the inexorable, merciless crush of history. A fine installment in an innovative series.
Kirkus Reviews
New Year's Eve, 1972. A Detroit cop moonlighting as security for Ted and Caryn Ogden's classy party—she's the Caryn Crownover of legendary Crownover Coaches—catches sight of a suspicious- looking character going for a shotgun, so he fires his .45 at three black targets. But when one of the three dead guys turns out to be an unarmed innocent, the department goes into overdrive tearing itself apart over the case, tapping black Officer Charlie Battle for Special Investigations and then making sure he'll never get the goods on Sgt. Paul Kubicek. A throwdown weapon turns up a few feet from the third victim; a possible accomplice who might have been the getaway man for the two actual thieves dies of a convenient overdose; and when the Ogdens' daughter Opal is kidnapped in a second attempt to provide cash for onetime Black Panther intimate Wilson McCoy's gun-buying schemes, the year-old STRESS squad (Stop The Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets) battles the FBI over jurisdiction. The result is as rich and reeking a portrait of Detroit as Estleman (Edsel, 1995, etc.) has written, with violence and moral chaos threatening every collision between the characters, and haunting most of them individually as well, till the remarkable (and fact-based) courtroom climax.

Don't look for any mystery about which of the cast members is guilty—they all are—but enjoy this as a peerless exercise in style, an evocation of a dirty page in urban history, and a brutal descent into "any civic architect's picture of hell."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780892965533
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
03/28/1996
Series:
Detroit Crime Series , #5
Pages:
82
Product dimensions:
6.41(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.08(d)

Meet the Author


LOREN D. ESTLEMAN is the winner of five Spurs, two Stirrups, and three Western Heritage Awards for his Western writing. He lives in Whitmore Lake, Michigan.

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Stress (Detroit Crime Series #5) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like 'Stress' even more than 'Edsel.' (In 'Stress' Estleman thankfully has put the brakes on his Bad Metaphor Machine.) Loren Estleman has broken new ground with his 'Novels of Detroit.' They are an obvious labor of love. He combines elements of the big blockbuster novel (long time span, multi-viewpoints, etc.) with elements of the small, tight, tough crime novel as well as that of the historical novel. The result is a hybrid form that is delicious. I will definitely read the rest of them. I hope Estleman's publisher releases them all in Rocket eBook format. If you dig Elmore Leonard, you'll dig Loren Estleman.