Arts & Culture » Culture

Ferndale potboiler

Religious wackos, potheads, burnouts and a kidnapped child

by

comment

Crimes of Love

by Donald Levin

Poison Toe Press, $14, 284 pp.

 

Another bit of pulp fiction in a local setting, author Donald Levin's Crimes of Love is set north of Eight Mile Road — in Ferndale. Intended to be the first in a series of books starring fictional detective Martin Preuss, Crimes is the story of a search for a missing 7-year-old girl who disappears from the mean streets of the 'Dale one cold November night. 

Stranger kidnapping of a child — a very rare crime according to the FBI's own statistics — would seem an overblown crime to center another potboiler on, especially for those of us force-fed the JonBenét Ramsey case at a tender age. (The blood-covered toy bunny on the cover is another bit of overkill.)

But it's not that simple. As the case unfolds, we come into contact with religious wackos, pot-addled teenagers, overweight sex offenders, mentally unstable shut-ins, Cass Corridor burnouts — even a hard-hitting reporter from some weekly rag called Metro Voice. Levin seems to have some knowledge of law enforcement work, as the relationships and tensions among and inside different police units smack of truth. Although the story culminates in a satisfying climax of gunplay and destruction, it also shows the dull drudgery of a cop's life: the internal politics, the paperwork, the briefings, the cheap coffee and late-night stakeouts. Levin develops his characters pretty well; this story doesn't have any black-hatted villains so much as just a bunch of dumb, vain, careless people acting out a tragedy of errors. (And that's probably how a lot of detectives end up seeing it.)

Although Levin's ear for dialogue could be better (do Ferndale's teenage stoners still call it a "doobie"?), Crimes keeps you turning the pages, wondering where all this is going, and how much more absurd things will get. And it doesn't disappoint.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.