Thursday, July 28, 2011

When Bury Your Dead isn't enough...

At the moment, I'm quite enjoying John Farrow's doorstop of a novel, River City. Citywide mayhem during the infamous Rocket Richard riots results in the murder of a slimy fellow named Roger Clement. The utterly compelling police officer investigating the case is Emile Cinq-Mars, also seen in the two previous books in the Farrow series.

He is soon on the trail of seemingly every shady character in Montreal, but more importantly up against all manner of corruption in a wonderfully drawn Montreal. As it turns out, the murder weapon is a knife that was at one point owned by Jacques Cartier, famed explorer of centuries past.

The story alternates between the earliest French settlers' arrival in the new world and a newly emerging Montreal of the mid fifties, in which a young Pierre Trudeau figures prominently! Some have noted that Farrow (nom de plume of the literary novelist Trevor Ferguson) may have tried to do too much with this novel, and at over 800 pages, there's a heck of a lot of Quebec history here, but it reads so well that I think Farrow still remembers that this is a thriller.

The more modern timeline is damn near perfect in tone and execution, however, and this is a natural next book for anyone currently enamored with Louise Penny's One Book, One Community pick, Bury Your Dead.

- David

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