Vivid and poignant… A deeply satisfying novel.
Levin’s remarkable latest novel recreates a rich historical period via expansive worldbuilding and complex characterization. Detroit, 1941. Private investigator Elizabeth Waters is looking into the city’s pro-Nazi, Christian nationalist groups. Elizabeth’s employee, Eva Szabó, is on an undercover mission to expose the Ford Rouge Assembly plant’s illegal campaign of anti-union violence. Meanwhile, Detective Clarence Brown, part of the city’s segregated squad of Black officers, becomes involved in a deadly conspiracy of racial violence. And Detective Denny Rankin is seeking the links between them all to deal with his own demons. The four join forces for a united cause. Levin’s impressive research shows throughout the narrative, whether in describing the real-life events, such as the Ford walkout of 1941, the conflicts over the Sojourner Truth Housing Project or in placing the reader inside the streets of Detroit and experiencing its day-to-day life. The narrative alternates between various characters’ ongoing stories: Eva’s undercover mission; Clarence’s daily struggle as a Black officer; Danny’s inner turmoil as he seeks to atone for his part in the city’s widespread graft. However, the novel is more than a poignant human drama—it aims to recreate a rich historical period with chilling parallels to our own time: violence and bloodshed in the name of race and class, governmental corruption, corporate greed—much of it related to or caused by the deeply rooted fascism which is alive and well in today’s time as well. While retaining space for genuine depiction of the era’s historical, political, and economical detail, this outstanding examination of the bottomless barbarism of the human race presents a deeply felt portrait of courage, strength, and resilience. A stunner.
The Arsenal of Deceit