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Welcome to Chicago 1893 — where new wonders are being unveiled and a monster feeds on the unsuspecting Tens of thousands are flocking to a bustling wind swept metropolis in the middle of America for the great Exposition of 1893 — to see the future and to ride Mr Ferris's remarkable wheel A city of hope and hardship has caught the attention of the world — and a maniacal killer has made it his hunting ground Inspector Alastair Ransom carries the burden of the dead on his shoulders But a demon far worse than Ransom's own is loose — a bloodthirsty killer who preys on Chicago's most vulnerable citizens his grisly handiwork masked by the glitter and frenzy of the World's Fair But a haunted detective doesn't realize how desperate his search has become — for each passing hour brings the slayer closer to his next intended victim Alastair Ransom

10 thoughts on “City for Ransom

  1. says:

    This is a great historical mystery and one wonders right off the bat if the title is a play on words Is the city Chicago being ransomed by the police inspector sworn to free it from the terror of a maniacal killer or has Chicago been placed by Inspector Alistair Ransom under his personal protection? The historical background to the story is as much a character as the human ones It’s interesting to see mention of inventions and items we considered ordinary and everyday here described as new and innovative or just plain novelties such as the flush toilet and the telephone Fingerprinting is considered mumbo jumbo though the Bertillon method of identification has been accepted as standard practice and police call boxes where officers needing assistance may telephone for help have been installed throughout the city The search for the killer himself could almost be a Turn of the Century version of Criminal Minds or Law and Order The identity of the killer is cleverly kept hidden until the denouement One cleverly placed sentence gives away his identity but if the text isn’t followed very closely that sentence will be overlooked by the readerThere are of course a few clichés—but that doesn’t make those moments any less tense or frighteningAll in all this is a most enjoyable book taut fast paced full of action and historical tidbits and interesting trivia which shows that criminals and crime fighters haven’t changed so much except in the methods they use Neither it appears is human nature so different then from now My only complaint is the cliff hanger ending I won’t say about that without giving a spoiler so I’ll just suggest that if you want a good mystery read which will make you want to go on to the second story in the series make City for Ransom your choice

  2. says:

    This was an awful book and I would have toss it aside by the tenth page if I hadn't reuired a book in this setting for a readers challenge I am participating inThe dialog was stilted and tedious the setting barely existent the characterisation two dimensional at best and the plot worst fault of all was boringI would hesitate even to call this a mystery as there was no mystery to it the murderer was telegraphed long before the first third of the book was over and every piece of foreshadowing attempted was performed with all the subtlty of a sledge hammer between the eyes The villain may as well have been carrying about a sign in flashing lights saying I done itThe story was full of wordy exposition in an ironical twist the main character is described as a man who shows by his actions who he is not his words in the middle of one such rambling blocks of text that serves as an alternative to actual showing the characters doing anything beyond drawn out argumentative dialog in an obvious though unsuccessful attempt to create some sort of chemistry between the main character and the love interest in waitingFinally for a book with so few real plot threads it seems criminal that those few that do exist were left hanging at the end without any sort of final conclusion no doubt in an attempt to drive curious readers to the next book in the seriesI'm not sure what is terrible in the end the book itself or that fact that the acknowledgements at the end reveal that the author has written than forty other books One would think that repetition alone would have improved his ability

  3. says:

    Thos who read a lot of crimemystery fiction will recognise elements of stories and characters in this one Still Alastair Ransom is an intriguing hero and I'll read the seuelChicago in 1893 during the great Exposition has the eyes of the world on it and a bloodthirsty killer loose within itInspector Alastair Ransom is burdened by his own past and haunted by his own demons Still he is determined to solve these crimes and becomes even determined when he realizes that the killer is moving closer to him and those he cares aboutWhile this novel is uneven in parts it blends some interesting characters with grittily depicted action Ransom himself combines the strengths flaws and angst of some of the best and most interesting detectives I worked out who the killer was sometime before the end of the novel but by then the tension was well established and the uestion was when the killer would be caught

  4. says:

    Walker has upped the bar for solid historical mysteries With twists and turns galore this is one story that earns its keep in the genre Ransom is a character as smooth as Doyle's Holmes as bold as Stout's Wolfe and as vivid as Hammett's Charles City for Ransom puts the reader right where they should be in the thick of things Outstanding

  5. says:

    I wasn't sure of the book at the beginning but I grew to root for the unusual lead character Loved the historical setting and the history of old Chicago Only slight drawback is the cliffhanger end which didn't bother me a lot since author mentioned it was coming publisher wanted it But am looking forward to the seuel

  6. says:

    Being an author televisionstage actor stand up comedienne and former web designer for high profile famous authors I constantly find myself in a very precarious position Just what is one supposed to do when faced with having to review a book that was written by its author a person you are now fortunate enough to refer to as 'close friend'? On one hand I certainly don't wish to offend them; after all they're artists with tender sensibilities this is something I understand all too well But on the other I wish to give other potential readers my honest opinion which is after all the reason we give these reviews to share our opinions with others As to whether they'll be swayed by such is known only to those reading both the review and the book And sometimes they also serve as valuable feedback to the author himself And surely the author must know that their work will not resonate with everyone including close friends right? Will that matter as they read the verbal knife you placed suarely in their back? I doubt itSo on we go Give me a second while I adjust my kevlarI have to start by saying sadly I couldn't make it all the way through this book I wanted to love it I truly did A nice whodunit set in Victorian Chicago where the characters are forced to use good old fashioned detective work without modern STEM technology; where all they have at their disposal is a magnifying glass and critical thinking skills? Normally I'd be ALL over that Hells I designed the web site that announced this book's publication Of course I wanted to love itBut not here From what I understand this book was one of the first books Walker wrote for his Kindle readers without being under contract to a large house publisher and since he bills himself as The Knife a book doctoreditor with skills for hire the only editorial skills he used on this novel were his own Sadly he would have benefitted from less ego and editor The grammar was poor the topic of his paragraphs weren't seamless and made little sense in introducing new material and his sentence construct was clunky which made it difficult for me to read I get into books where the narrative simply flows but Walker's style doesn't flow for me This could entirely be one of mere preference and once you begin the first few pages you may not find it to be that way for youBut if none of the above doesn't deter you from finishing then perhaps the run on sentences and unnecessarily long expository style just might Possibly the reason he's publishing for Kindle readers now instead of shopping his books to the big 5 is because one successful style for modern readers is to use alternating sections of tension and release Something I learned early in my own writing training was that everything is about conflict The way to hook readers is to keep building conflict; keep throwing obstacles in their way and keep making everything and impossible for your protagonist The reader is naturally rooting for him so it's this tension and not knowing if the protag is going to make it that keeps you turning those pages The conflict doesn't always necessarily have to be external or in the form of physical fighting There are plenty of types of conflict but the main three are Man against the World Man against Man and Man against Himself Within that simple paradigm masterpieces have been crafted some so well as to be seamless making you forget you're actually reading about a fictional worldThen after the times of conflict are periods of release and relaxation It's usually in these scenes in which the exposition and internal character dialogue is inserted Again it must be in a way so the reader forgets he's reading boring exposition which could be backstory future prediction or just scene descriptionAgain I don't know if it's a style preference thing but Walker doesn't do this and there just didn't seem to be enough true conflict to balance the endless passages of expositionBut the use of at least a line editor would have nicked those bothersome typos that seemed to crop up when you least expected themSo there it is I've skewered a friend I credit for getting me into the right place at the right time for my first DTB publication in 2002 BUT Rob was also the one who taught me that in the age of social networking there just isn't anything any as a bad review Living in the age of digital and voyeurism means that a rotten review usually piues the curiosity of a reader so much if only to prove you wrong that it spells inevitable sales for that bookSo Rob if you see this please know I still love you and wish you every success and I hope this rotten review spells nothing but a run on your books so huge that it will eual a TOS attack on 3 3 3

  7. says:

    I love this seriesI sure wish he'd write

  8. says:

    Incredibly thrilling Incredibly good May favorite mysteries seem to be those based in historical eras and on historical fact This author really knows how to weave a darn good yarn and gives the reader several hints as to who the murderer is as the novel roars to an exciting climax It's the World's Fair in Chicago and in the shadow of the newly developed and widely promoted ferris wheel murder after murder is committed Does it diminish attendance at the exposition? Of course not It increases traffic as the CPD tries its hardest to find and arrest the murderer His victims come closer and closer to Ransom one of CPDs finest whose reputation is touted throughout the city Would that his reputation be as admired by his superior who seeks only to catch Ransom working outside the law he has sworn to protect Caught between his dedication to this case and the warnings that he must beware of his supervisor Ransom storms ahead to investigate each murder until at last he figures it out The best clue comes to him after his best friend freelance photographer Philo Keane is arrested for the murders Preposterous How he does it remains for the reader to discover

  9. says:

    City for RansomRobert W WalkerAvon Books – Harper Collins Publishers 2006 324 ppsISBN 0 06 073995 9Step back in time to The White City the term used for the world’s fair held in Chicago The fair is a beautiful dreamland where a person could experience the thrill of riding the new invention called the Ferris wheel But a killer walks the streets of Chicago This is a man that has both a mental and a physical defect A vicious killer that beheads his victim with a garrote and as this isn’t enough he sets the body on fire The newspapers call him The Phantom of the FairInspector Alastair Ransom is determined to find the killer and free Chicago of this terror When the killer begins to strike closer and closer to people who have touched Ransom’s life he becomes even determined Ransom was injured in the Haymarket Riot and has never fully recovered The Haymarket Riot is always there at the back of his mindThe city of Chicago in Ransom’s time is corrupt and he is never sure who he can trust He knows that he can’t trust Chief Kohler his superior Sometimes he wonders if he can trust his partner Griffin Dimmer He calls Philo Keane a photographer his friend but Ransom isn’t even positive of that fact at timesTo make matters even worse Ransom has to cope with Dr James Phineas Tewes who purports to be a Phrenological and Magnetic Examiner Dr Tewes seems to appear at every crime scene wanting to do a phrenological diagnosis on the victim’s cranium to determine magnetic levels at time of deathConsider the roadblocks in the way of a detective in the 1800’s No DNA no fingerprint base not even a sure way to tell if the blood on a suspect’s clothing is animal or humanRobert W Walker presents a lot of history in this novel He works in facts that you may have known and forgotten and gives you a few others to think aboutI totally enjoyed the book and I can’t wait for the next Inspector Ransom book I am looking forward to reading about Ransom the Tewes family and other characters that Walker brings to life in this book

  10. says:

    I really really wanted to like this book It is exactly the type of story I like serial killer historical setting Chicago and the World's Fair Yet I couldn't finish this one mostly because I couldn't like the main character I skimmed it but just couldn't keep interested