The Fifth Floor is the second novel from Michael Harvey, following The Chicago Way, which I reviewed last week. While his first novel read very much like a first novel, The Fifth Flooris much more expertly crafted. Gone are the awkward phrasings, the writing feels much less forced, and the voice is more authentic.
The characters pick up where we left them, and Mr. Harvey does an admirable job summarizing the past without boring the reader who’s already familiar with it. The pacing of this book is exceptional and there are plenty of twists as turns, as you’d hope to find in the detective/thriller genre.
As you may remember from my previous review, I was a little upset (to put it mildly) about some minor and pointless inaccuracies about the city of Chicago. For the most part this problem is absent from his second book, but there’s still the problem with acting like the south side is just this forgotten land and a free for all gang central that is nothing but an underbelly of the city. Not cool, or accurate, but it takes up very little of the book.
If you’re a fan of detective/suspense/thriller books I would recommend this book. Likewise, if you’re interested in a book where Chicago is more than a location and feels like a character, then this would be a good fit.