Thursday, October 25, 2012


Motor City Shakedown, D E Johnson, Minotaur Books, 2011, 340 pp

I have been visiting Detroit, MI, since I was a toddler. My mom's family are all Michigan people and we went there every summer, driving from Princeton, NJ, across the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the Ohio Turnpike and stopping first in Royal Oak, a suburb of Detroit. My mom's older brother worked for Ford Motor Company and I had three cousins there.

I transferred to the University of Michigan in my junior year and remained living in Ann Arbor for the next 24 years. Detroit has played a large part in my life. When I learned about D E Johnson's historical mystery series set in 1911 and featuring the son of a car company owner, I had to check it out. Detroit Electric was a producer of early electric cars and Ford Motor was a big competitor.

Unwittingly, I read the second in the series which picks up shortly after the first left off. But Johnson handles the back story adroitly so it all makes sense and actually made me want to read the first one: Detroit Electric Scheme.

The writing is not stunning but serves the purpose for a mystery just fine. Though Will Anderson is a well-to-do young man, he manages to get himself mixed up with gangsters, a crime boss, union organizers and crooked cops. In fact, besides covering the transition from electric to internal combustion engines, the story also delves into the early days of the Teamsters Union. And Edsel Ford is a character.

Pretty good stuff. The heroine is a socialite but is no girly girl. She has guts and in the end practically saves her boyfriend, Will Anderson. I will be back to read The Detroit Electric Scheme and his latest release, Detroit Breakdown.

(Motor City Shakedown is available in hardcover and eBook by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

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