I finally found it. As I joined the sentimental vultures at the almost-closed Visible Voice bookstore (http://www.visiblevoicebooks.com), I saw the book that had been recommended to me since I knew I was moving to this area. Originally priced at $30.95, I was lucky to get this 561-page novel at 40% off.
In it, Winegardner crafts a story, both personal and political, that is a kind of love song to a city he clearly cherishes, Cleveland. The story works better at the personal level. I don’t like it when fictional characters mix with the likes of Eliot Ness and Alan Freed.
There’s an energy to much of Winegardner’s writing. He shifts perspective and tenses with a deliberate stylishness. He has a good eye for the details in the way people and the city they live in change.