Monday, May 12, 2008

a noir love song to Toronto

A couple more reviews are in for Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.
Kirkus Reviews, in its May 5th edition ran a starred review:

It’s refreshingly hard to tell the good from the no-good in this helping of cops and robbers, Canadian style.

Sharon MacDonald, smart, attractive, a loving mother, wears one of those metallic adornments around her ankle. She’s under house arrest for hospitalizing some wise guy who got out of line. As the operator of an established Toronto “grow room,” Sharon plants and harvests marijuana for profit. Enter Ray, good-looking, immensely appealing to Sharon, with an unnerving proposition likely to make drug kingpin Richard Tremblay unhappy. An unhappy Tremblay means a trembling Sharon, a state familiar to her ever since she knew the ice-eyed kingpin when he was only a scary student prince. On the other hand, Ray’s scheme has almost irresistible payoff potential if Sharon can trust her new partner long enough to double-cross him safely. Newly paired Toronto police detectives Bergeron and Armstrong have trust issues of their own. Neither is sure the other is the solid cop to be hoped for in a partner. Throughout the exposition, persistent, worrisome rumblings indicate that it’s shake-up time in Toronto, and everybody knows that on both sides of the law enforcement divide big players are going down.

Bristling action, a vivid sense of place and nary a plot twist telegraphed. Exceptional work from McFetridge (Dirty Sweet, 2006).

Publisher’s Weekly was less enthusiastic, but still, I’m thrilled to get a review in PW:

Canadian author McFetridge’s complex crime caper, whose title comes from Toronto-born Neil Young’s first album with Crazy Horse, follows Toronto police detectives Bergeron and Armstrong as they pursue a variety of cases, starting with the body that falls off a high building and strikes the car windshield of a john just about to enjoy a hooker’s services. Meanwhile, Sharon MacDonald is under electronic house arrest, working angles on expanding her dope business, when she meets a guy named Ray with plans to smuggle literal shiploads of marijuana. A clear disciple of Elmore Leonard, McFetridge (Dirty Sweet) has almost every character talk and think like Chili Palmer (“That was one thing J.T. learned in Afghanistan - the enemy’s only half your problem, if that”), not a bad thing for a fun read. On the down side, too many subplots start and abruptly end as this noir love song to Toronto plays out. (July)

The July listing is for the US edition. Everbody Knows This Is Nowhere and the paperback edition of Dirty Sweet are in Canadian stores now.

1 comment:

Josephine Damian said...

Alert the media! It's official!

Stuart Neville, my Prince of Darkness, and the writer formerly known as "Conduit," has landed an agent - and not just any agent - but literary powerhouse and legend, Nat Sobel.

His agency, Sobel Weber Associates, New York, represents a few scribes you might have heard of: James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia, American Tabloid), Joseph Wambaugh (The Choirboys, The Onion Field, Hollywood Station), Pulitzer winner Richard Russo (Nobody's Fool, Empire Falls, Bridge of Sighs), F.X. Toole (Rope Burns - adapted for the screen as the multi Oscar winning Million Dollar Baby - and Pound for Pound), Robert Jordan (the Wheel of Time series), Tim Dorsey (the Serge Storms series), and many more.

Oh, Nat also loves him some cats. My kind of guy.

And how did Stuart get on the Uber agent’s radar? I’m going to steal a bit of Stuart’s thunder and reveal to my blog peeps that Mr. Sobel scouted him on the Internet. That’s right – a big name agent was scouring the online crime magazines and plucked our man from obscurity. (of course I’ve been singing Stuart’s praises loud and clear since last fall when I first read his work in Agent Nathan’s Bransford’s writing contest). To those of you that don’t believe agents are poking around the world wide web looking for The Next Big Thing – here’s your proof. Here. Is. Your. Proof.

So do stop by and give a big shout out to the literary world’s best and brightest rising star!

*shake my booty*

Having already read Stuarts’s manuscript (it already holds the distinction of being only one of four books I liked well enough to finish this year) GHOSTS OF BELFAST, I can tell you it’s nothing by clover ahead for this blessed son of Northern Ireland.