You Know Who Killed Me (Forge) by Loren Estleman is a modern noir masterpiece, ranking up there with Edgar-finalist Estleman’s finest novels. In this page-turning 24th mystery/thriller featuring P.I. Amos Walker, the intrepid detective tracks down leads that take him from Detroit to Iroquois Heights in the pursuit of the murderer of Donald Gates, whose wife has posted billboards around town of her husband, with the words “You Know Who Killed Me,” written on them boldly.
Amos Walker gets hired by Lieutenant Ray Henty, who is attempting to clean up the corrupt Iroquois Heights police department, to investigate all of the anonymous tips that people have phoned in. The tipsters have no way of knowing that they are not as anonymous as they would like to believe, as the police department has records of the names, phone numbers and addresses of everyone who has phoned in a tip.
There have been quite a few people calling in with tips about the murderer of Gates, a person who maintained the computer that operated the traffic lights of the city, because an anonymous reward of $10,000 has been offered to anyone through Christ Episcopal Church who knows who the murderer is and leads the police to his/her arrest. Gates was gunned down in his basement, shot twice behind his ear. Unfortunately for Amos Walker, the reward means that even more cranks than usual have phoned in supposed “tips,” and he has to figure out which ones warrant serious consideration.
In You Know Who Killed Me, Walker has been in rehab due to his problems with alcohol abuse and Vicodin that resulted from injuries he suffered in his last case, detailed in Don’t Look for Me. Rather than having Walker arrested after he OD’d on a combination of both, a compassionate doctor made a deal with the P.I. that he would approve Walker’s release if he would “seek professional help outside this institution.”
Fresh out of rehab, Amos Walker does not have people lined up at his door to offer him new cases, so he agrees to help Henty shorten his list of tipster down to a shorter list of the more credible ones. Walker pays visits to some of the people on the list, as well as to Donald’s wife, Amelie, and Reverend Florence Melville of Christ Episcopal Church.
The plot of You Know Who Killed Me thickens as one of the people Walker questions is Yuri Yako, who developed the computer system Gates used to control the traffic lights. Yuri is, Walker discovers, in reality a Ukranian mobster whose last name is actually Crowley. He has been placed in the job by Witness Security’s Deputy U.S. Marshal Mary Ann Thaler, who is not at all pleased when Crowley turns up dead. She blames, in part, Walker, for drawing too much attention to Crowley through his questioning of the mobster.
Previously in You Know Who Killed Me, another person with connections to both Gates and Crowley, a maintenance man in Don’s office called Roy Thompson, also wound up killed. With three victims now dead, Lieutenant Ray Henty is not pleased with the direction the case seems to be taking.
In You Know Who Killed Me, a modern noir masterpiece, P.I. Amos Walker must differentiate between the genuine tips and the ones by cranks, and he has to contend with people who seem to be lying to him and government agents shadowing him as he tries to figure out who had the most to gain by murdering Donald Gates. With the bodies starting to pile up, Amos Walker eventually unravels the case and discovers the killer in this clever noir mystery/thriller by author Loren D. Estleman. Check it out!
Written By Douglas Cobb