Straight to the Head

Straight to the Head

Book - 2016
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1983. Vancouver is on the precipice of transforming itself from a dirty little town to a blandly sophisticated big city. Convertibles cruise beneath runty palm trees, and the air is filled with the delicious tang of ocean breezes, cheeseburgers, and pot smoke. In this fast and furious crime novel set in the midst of a long west coast summer, an Eastern European immigrant named Irina absconds with a shipment of drugs and $300,000 in dirty money, setting into motion a wild chain reaction involving bounty hunters, corrupt cops, low-brow scammers, and her bewildered, straight-laced ex-husband. High-end sushi bars, nightclubs, and New Wave art galleries all figure in this stylish neon noir that blows the roof off traditional crime fiction: a slick and sexy tonic that takes readers on a genre-bender of dizzying proportions.
Publisher: Vancouver : Arsenal Pulp Press, ©2016
ISBN: 9781551526386
Branch Call Number: NIXON
Characteristics: 336 pages ; 23 cm


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Aug 24, 2016

Great depictions of Vancouver in 1983, the author knows his landmarks, with some minor editing gaffes (Hasting instead of Hastings). I wonder if he did some research on or had actually saved ephemera from this time (the pamphlets about the Free Man with the address in New Westminster seems so specific.) My only complaint is the story is great up to half way through but loses its way in the next half. Like, why did the woman on the run suddenly turn up in such an unexpected place, then just disappear out of the story? Why does the main male character, so likeable in the beginning, turn into such a womanizing turd in the second half? Why did the hit man's boss not send more retaliation against the hitman for his defection? Why did the story just stop? It was frustrating to get so invested in the story only to have it fall off a cliff. I almost think this book could have been another hundred pages, but the author was ordered to shear it off to make the book more marketable, and the shearing came off the second half of the book. Pity, because it really could have been a spectacular caper set in a Vancouver that was a kind of Eden before the snake of the real estate boom. Not that it was all innocence, but not so jaded and cold as it is today.

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