His entry begins:
I just finished rereading the first three books of William Kennedy’s Albany cycle: Legs, Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game, and Ironweed. Legs is the story of a portion of the gangster Legs Diamond’s life, Billy is about a smalltime hustler and his unlikely role as the go-between in a kidnapping, and Ironweed is a look at Depression-era homeless people and the prices we pay for what we do. These books follow the same Albany families during the 1920’s and 1930’s, culminating in the story of Francis Phelan.About Detroit Breakdown, from the publisher:
Ironweed won a Pulitzer prize and is my favorite book of all time. I almost never reread books, but this was my fourth time through. The prose is beautiful, the story is...[read on]
Will Anderson and Elizabeth Hume are called to the vast Eloise Insane Asylum outside of Detroit, where Elizabeth’s cousin Robbie is a patient and now a murder suspect. The victim, like three others before him at the asylum in recent months, was killed with the infamous “Punjab lasso,” the murder weapon of the Phantom of the Opera.Learn more about the book and author at D.E. Johnson's website and blog.
Certain of Robbie’s innocence, they begin an investigation with the help of Detective Riordan. Will has himself committed to the asylum to investigate from the inside, and Elizabeth volunteers at Eloise and questions people outside the asylum. While Will endures horrific conditions in his search for the killer, Elizabeth and Riordan follow the trail of a murder suspect all the way to Kalamazoo, where they realize the killer might still be at Eloise, putting Will in extreme danger. They race back to Detroit, but will they arrive in time to save Will and bring the killer to justice?
Filled with Johnson’s trademark roller-coaster plot, nuanced characters, and brilliant historical research, Detroit Breakdown is a compelling, dark mystery set in the once- flourishing Paris of the West.
Read D.E. “Dan” Johnson's interview with J. Kingston Pierce at The Rap Sheet.
The Page 69 Test: Motor City Shakedown.
Writers Read: D.E. Johnson.