Like nowhere else in America, Detroit flourished during Prohibition. The constant flow of liquor from across the Canadian border made Lake Erie a war zone, and lined the pockets of the men who ran the Purple Gang, the Unione Siciliana, and the Little Jewish Navy. But Prohibition was more than just a boon for gangsters. For newspapermen, it was a dream come true. It’s 1928, and the Detroit Times’ Connie Minor knows every thug, moll, and triggerman south of Eight Mile.
It's 1966 and Detroit has entered its Golden Age. America throbs to the throaty rumble of Motor City's powerful road-eating machines. It'll never be this good again and Big Auto is fighting to keep it that way. Ex-cop Ricky Amery is hired to go undercover to put the brakes on runaway consumer advocacy that would legislate Detroit right out of business. They couldn't have chosen a more loyal disciple: Amery's god is horsepower and his house of worship is the open road.
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Even prison couldn’t stop former big-league pitcher Doc Miller from playing baseball. Jailed after a teenage girl overdosed on cocaine at one of his house parties, the former Detroit Tigers ace became a star at the Michigan State Prison, bringing home the institution’s first Midwestern Penal System championship. Now out on parole, his days of ballpark heroics are over for good. Miller’s brother gets him a job selling tractor parts for John Deere, work Doc finds even duller than life in the joint. While moonlighting as a cab driver, he meets a bail bondsman who offers work as a bounty hunter.
For Connie Minor, who had a colorful, thriving career as a newspaper man 20 years earlier, a last chance to make it big - or take a big fall - has come from Henry Ford II and his new brainchild, the Edsel. Shrouded in secrecy, the E-car is to compete with Cadillac and make Ford Motor Company the number one shop in town...and the world. Minor's job? Sell it to America. Although Minor has his doubts about this car (especially that strange grille), he knows how to make an advertising pitch. But before he can start, he's hit with a hardball proposition from union leader Walter Reuther and a zealous politician looking for pinkos....
By 1972 Detroit had earned the title of Murder Capital of America. STRESS (Stop The Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets) was supposed to change that. STRESS undercover police decoy units produced instant results. As in dead young black men, a black community more outraged and aggrieved than ever before, and a series of bloody shoot-outs that reached spectacular - and sometimes tragicomic - new heights. Into the middle of a cauldron of violence and extremism steps Charlie Battle, a bright young black cop and the nephew of a former pro-wrestler.