Vigilante Season: A Luc Vanier Novel

Peter Kirby. Linda Leith Publishing (LitDistCo, North American dist.), $14.95 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-927535-23-3
In the decades Following the Depression, Montreal's Hochelaga district was all but abandoned to the desperate poor and the criminals who prey on them. Now, the prostitutes and drug dealers are vanishing from the area, apparently driven out by gentrification. Lowlife Emile Legault's savaged corpse, abandoned on a Montreal street, suggests a darker explanation to Inspector Luc Vanier, one involving the Patriotes, a seemingly public-minded paramilitary group determined to rehabilitate Hochelaga. Vanier's bosses prove indifferent to the abduction, torture and murder of one minor drug dealer; when Vanier pursues his investigation he is himself framed and suspended for brutality. Stripped of the protection of his position, Vanier has not been stripped of his allies but will a suspended cop, a disbarred lawyer and a street kid be enough to stop the Patriote's ambitious schemes? The novel offers more than a simple tale of the worthy few against the corrupt many. The author, himself a lawyer, provides bold heroes, but he also explores how corruption can be self-sabotaging, the very characteristics that encourage criminal conspiracy driving the conspirators to turn on each other. The result is a novel that, while straightforward, delivers more nuance than is typical for its genre, a promising follow-up to 2012's lauded The Dead of Winter. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/2013
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