When PI Michael Kelly is hired by an ex-flame to tail her abusive husband, he expects trouble of a domestic rather than a historical nature. Life, however, is not so simple. The tail leads Kelly to an old house on Chicago's North Side. Inside it, the private investigator finds a body and, perhaps, the answer to one of Chicago's most enduring mysteries: who started the Great Chicago Fire and why. The ensuing investigation takes Kelly to places he'd rather not go, specifically City Hall's fifth floor, where the mayor is feeling the heat and looking to play for keeps. Ultimately, Kelly finds himself in a world where nothing is quite what it seems, face-to-face with a killer bent on rewriting history and staring down demons from a past he never knew he had.
A fast-stepping, intricately woven narrative, rich with the history and atmosphere of a great city, The Fifth Floor is a worthy successor to Harvey's critically acclaimed debut.
©2008 Michael Harvey; (P)2008 Random House, Inc.
The story starts by veering into the improbable, then slides into inane. The noir tropes that worked so well in the previous book just don't mesh well. I want to say that Harvey's history isn't good enough, but there's too many scenes that just are on the verge of laughable in terms of believability. Now, a little of that fits in the genre, but the storm of it just doesn't stop. Still, the narration is top notch.
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