Discuss Detroit DISCUSS DETROIT! Recommend some good Detroit fiction Previous Next
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Irvine_laird
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Username: Irvine_laird

Post Number: 101
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 6:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Last night, I finished "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt," Edmund Morris's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography. My wife and I enjoyed the book from cover to cover.

I'd like to read some good fiction now, either set in Detroit or written by a Detroit author.

Let the recommendations begin...

(Please pardon me if there is an old thread from, say, three years ago on this subject).
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D_mcc
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Username: D_mcc

Post Number: 1796
Registered: 12-2007
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 7:07 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I hear there's a good one about an Ogre...Named Shrek
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Gazhekwe
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Username: Gazhekwe

Post Number: 3013
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 7:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Any of Loren Estleman's books, Amos Walker mysteries set in Detroit.
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Detroitej72
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Username: Detroitej72

Post Number: 1386
Registered: 05-2006
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 7:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Also Estleman's Detroit Series novels would be recomended.
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Det_ard
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Username: Det_ard

Post Number: 73
Registered: 02-2009
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 8:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Read any of Kilpatrick's State of the City speeches or his budgets. If you like the Fantasy genre.
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Tkierpiec
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Username: Tkierpiec

Post Number: 193
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 8:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I really loved Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Very unique and he grew up in Grosse Pointe. Much of the story takes place in Michigan.
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Norwalk
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Username: Norwalk

Post Number: 486
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 8:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I recently read "Band Fags!" by ex-Detroiter Frank Anthony Polito. and also "Second Hand" by Michael Zadoorian
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Sumas
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Username: Sumas

Post Number: 853
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 8:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Estleman's Whiskey River.
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Zrx_doug
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Username: Zrx_doug

Post Number: 925
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 8:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ditto on the Estleman stuff..
I enjoyed "Motown" & "Jitterbug" enough to keep 'em hanging around looking curiously out of place, surrounded by all the sci-fi and service manuals..most "general fiction" gets traded back to the used book store.
:-)
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Evelyn
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Username: Evelyn

Post Number: 338
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 9:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Detroit Noir," a collection of short stories, gets my vote. If you like sci fi, there's the Narrows by Alexander Irvine. Interesting take on the Nain Rouge. "Secondhand" is also good.
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7miledog
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Username: 7miledog

Post Number: 80
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 10:10 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

William Coughlin. Former judge and author, now deceased. Very good couple of books based in Detroit along the lines of The Firm. I recommend The Judgment.
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Zrx_doug
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Username: Zrx_doug

Post Number: 928
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 10:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

SWEET! Just dug into the on-line version of "The Narrows," got through about sixty pages before I forced myself to quit reading a hacked version and go hunt down the real thing tomorrow..
Thanks for the heads-up.
:-)
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Bobl
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Username: Bobl

Post Number: 692
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 10:15 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Many of Elmore Leonard's books are set in Detroit. I liked Maximum Bob.
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Evelyn
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Username: Evelyn

Post Number: 339
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 10:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

You're welcome.

There's also "Detroit Tales," which is alright. It's a collection of short stories. Forget the author's name. If you can get it from a library, some of the stories are pretty good.
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Gravitymachine
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Username: Gravitymachine

Post Number: 1775
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 10:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

that lafayette building thread has a good deal of fiction in it...
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Dannyv
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Username: Dannyv

Post Number: 625
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 - 11:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Them by Joyce Carol Oates.

I second Norwalk about Michael Zadoorian's Second Hand
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Fmstack
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Username: Fmstack

Post Number: 83
Registered: 06-2007
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 12:19 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Eugenides' first (Virgin Suicides) is also worth a look -- it's clearly set in Grosse Pointe Park, even though IIRC the narrative is set up so that Detroit and GPP aren't ever named.
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1kielsondrive
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Username: 1kielsondrive

Post Number: 1144
Registered: 08-2008
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 12:51 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Both of Zadoorian's and both of Eugenides books are excellent. Zadoorian's books are lighthearted and fun, even the somewhat expected, yet somewhat surprising ending of Leisure Express. Michael's writing is smooth and flowing, making his books, very easy reading. Jeffrey Eugenides spins much more complex stories but fun and familiar as well as tragic. I'd lived in the Points at one time so I really related to Eugenide's strong identification with the settings for his stories.
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Gdub
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Username: Gdub

Post Number: 285
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 1:59 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Try Ellen Slezak's "Last Year's Jesus"--a novella and collection of short stories. She's from Hamtramck. In the title story, a young college student falls in to a Hamtramck Catholic church's Passion Play and falls in love with the man who played Jesus in last year's production. The other stories are set in Hamtramck and Detroit as well.

I'm a sucker for good lines of fiction, and it's great when they take place in or describe places you know well. Especially when the author feels the same way about regional issues. In "Last Year's Jesus" in a story called "Settled" a character has recently moved to a faceless suburb and is regretting her decision. "Charlevoix - Sylvia sighed a little thinking about it - such a beautiful street name. Detroit had lots of others like it - Lafayette, Kercheval, Grand Boulevard . . .She couldn't get used to living on Bunnert Street in Warren, just four miles north of the Detroit city limits, and traveling up and down streets like Schoenherr, Hoover, and Groesbeck. Those street names caught like phlegm in her throat." Indeed, Ellen. Indeed.

Slezak shows some love for the hopelessness of Detroit's downtrodden residents "especially when the lotto jackpot went over twenty million and she could walk in [to a liquor store] . . .see a long line of hope on display, desperation too, all for the price of a Coke." Sad and beautiful, all at once. Just like the best art.
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Grumpyoldlady
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Username: Grumpyoldlady

Post Number: 393
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 2:22 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Can't remember the name of the author, but there was a series of mysteries, the first of which was "The Rosary Murders", all set in Detroit. Written, I believe, by a former priest. I want to say the last name of the author was Kiensel or something like that.
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Wally
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Username: Wally

Post Number: 609
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 8:13 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Many of Elmore Leonard's books are set in Detroit. I liked Maximum Bob.

I've read "Swag" from Elmore Leonard, a good quick read (less than 300 pages) that takes place in the '70s along 8 mile and surrounding areas.
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Gazhekwe
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Username: Gazhekwe

Post Number: 3014
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 8:17 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The former priest was William Kienzle.
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Rustic2
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Username: Rustic2

Post Number: 6
Registered: 03-2009
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 2:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

How about "The House on Alexandrine," by Stephen Dobyns? Sort of sloppily written, but it's got some great Detroit characters and settings in it circa 1973.
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Oldestuff
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Username: Oldestuff

Post Number: 123
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 3:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Up in Honey's Room - Leonard
When the Sacred Gin Mill Closes - Block
Jitterbug Esltelman
All set a log earlier than 1973, good reading.
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Evelyn
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Username: Evelyn

Post Number: 340
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 3:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I forgot about them... very good Joyce Carol Oates novel!
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9936sussex
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Username: 9936sussex

Post Number: 218
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 3:53 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"City Primeval" by Dutch Leonard is based on the old Homicide Squad 6 of the Detroit Police Department. A lot of the characters are based on real people. A great read.
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Mhc
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Username: Mhc

Post Number: 17
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 4:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I give another vote to "Detroit Noir", a really great short story collection by contemporary Detroit writers. I also recommend the complete works of Donald Goines; start with "Dopefiend", which is a real page-turner...
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Tkierpiec
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Username: Tkierpiec

Post Number: 194
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 6:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

How about Whoreson by Donald Goines? ;)
Seriously, though - not my normal reading fare but I've read all of his books. I know he modeled his style after Iceberg Slim but I actually liked Goines a lot better.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D onald_Goines
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Cosine
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Username: Cosine

Post Number: 19
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 6:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Try this website for a list of good Detroit fiction: http://www.librarything.com/ta g/detroit%2Cfiction%2Cnovel
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Bobl
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Username: Bobl

Post Number: 698
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 6:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The former mayor's legal pleadings and financial statements.
Even Estleman and Leonard couldn't compete with this fiction.
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Jiminnm
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Username: Jiminnm

Post Number: 1802
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Friday, March 27, 2009 - 6:23 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Former Detroiter, Gary Hardwick, has written a number of crime and detective novels - all based in Detroit. They're gritty and entertaining.
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Cosine
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Username: Cosine

Post Number: 20
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 10:15 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

OK--so here's the best of Estleman's Detroit novels: Thunder City, Jitterbug, Stress, Edsel, King of the Corner, Motwon and Whiskey River.

Many of his Amos Walker novels deal with Detroit--
Downriver, Lady Yesterday, Motor City Blue and The Glass Highway.

One book that might be a "one hit wonder" that I really enjoyed was "Burnt Offerings" by Charles W. Newsome. It's about the Detroit cops and the Latino gangs on the southwest side of town. I think Newsome was a cop here, but not sure. It's hard to find, but worth looking for.
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Treelock
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Username: Treelock

Post Number: 286
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 12:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"The Root Worker," by Rainelle Burton, came out several years ago. It's set in Detroit's east side during the 1960s when the neighborhood was already in decline. Pretty haunting coming-of-age tale.
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Gazhekwe
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Username: Gazhekwe

Post Number: 3024
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 2:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There is The Dollmaker by Harriette Arnow. It is set in wartime Detroit, the story of an uprooted rural Kentucky family trying to hold it together in foreign world. The movie with Jane Fonda is good also. The story shows people as the kindling and fodder that fuel industrialization.
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Ltdave
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Username: Ltdave

Post Number: 340
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 3:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i read a book many years back called "Wheels"...

i dont recall who wrote it but it was based on detroit in the 60s and had a bit of auto culture related plotline...
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Flyingj
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Username: Flyingj

Post Number: 414
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 4:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Arthur Hailey, LtDave...really as sucky as "The Betsy" by Harold Robbins

I 2nd the Slezak & 3rd the Eugenides, Elmore is better than Estleman
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Drjeff
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Username: Drjeff

Post Number: 56
Registered: 06-2007
Posted on Monday, March 30, 2009 - 4:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Elmore Leonard is probably my favorite author. A true genius. It's a bonus that many of his books take place in Detroit.
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A100driver
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Username: A100driver

Post Number: 6
Registered: 09-2008
Posted on Monday, March 30, 2009 - 8:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

How about any of the William X Kienzle books? They are ALL murder mysteries with some relation to the Catholic church. Also, they all take place in Detroit in places that we all know of. Even some of the character descriptions of major "players" in the city in the books match the real people. The book most well known was "The Rosary Murders" which was filmed in Detroit, and starred Donald Sutherland as Father Koesler.
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Mtm
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Username: Mtm

Post Number: 352
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 2:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I HIGHLY agree with 9936sussex on Dutch Leonard's "City Primeval: High Noon In Detroit". It was the first (of many)of Loenard's Detroit books. So neatly written that it was very easy to picture all of the scenes and characters.
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Fnemecek
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Username: Fnemecek

Post Number: 1995
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 4:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There's always this one: http://www.amazon.com/Candidac y-Frank-Nemecek/dp/1413703496/ ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid =1238531879&sr=1-1

It's set - at least in part - in Detroit.
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Clermont
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Username: Clermont

Post Number: 51
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - 1:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

journey to the end of the night by LF Celine has a nice detroit section.

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