Monday, February 11, 2013

Review of Michael Harvey's We All Fall Down

Michael Harvey was one of the featured authors at last weekend's Love Is Murder mystery conference here in Chicago. I'd previously read his novel The Fifth Floor, a chiller involving shenanigans dreamed up in the fifth floor office of the mayor of Chicago that led to murder and mayhem on the streets of the city. Considering my background as an ER nurse, I was naturally drawn to buy We All Fall Down, the latest in Harvey's Michael Kelly, P.I. series and a 2012 release that deals with bio-terrorism and black biology. I couldn't wait to start reading the book, and I have to tell you, I was not disappointed.

Kelly is an ex-cop turned P.I. with links to both the Chicago Police Department and the mayor's office. He's not surprised when he gets called in by Homeland Security on a case that could potentially affect the entire city, to say nothing of the career of Mayor Wilson. Someone has released a deadly pathogen in a subway tunnel, and so far three are dead and dozens more are deathly ill in multiple downtown hospitals. While two scientists from a Department of Defense lab work to identify the pathogen, Kelly teams up with CPD Detective Vince Rodriguez and reporter Rita Alverez to discover who is behind the attack.

Information supplied by Alvarez leads Kelly to a grocery store owned by Korean immigrant Jae Lee, then to Ray Ray Sampson, leader of a West Side gang called the Four Corner Stars, and ultimately to a band of rogue cops who are supplying both Lee and the "Fours" with illegal drugs confiscated by the CPD. The action ratchets up a notch when the feds impose a quarantine on the most affected section of the city. With bodies piling up in hospital morgues in every increasing numbers, Kelly knows there's precious little time left to find the person behind the attack. It's time to pull out all the stops, even if it means putting his own life on the line in the quarantine zone.

Well written and well edited, this nail biter of a yarn kept me reading into the wee hours of the night and beyond. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about the book -- characters, plot, setting, pacing, you name it. This is how suspense should be written, tightly worded and with that roller coaster pace that never lets you relax for more than a few minutes at a time. I highly recommend this book for lovers of thrills, chills, and realistic plots built on the news of the day. It's way too good a story to miss.


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