cover image An Ordinary Decent Criminal

An Ordinary Decent Criminal

Michael Van Rooy, Minotaur, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-60628-2

Canadian author Van Rooy introduces an appealing antihero, Montgomery Haaviko, in his debut, a gritty, offbeat suspense novel. When three armed men break into Haaviko's Winnipeg house, Haaviko, who has a criminal record but is trying to make a fresh start, winds up killing them all in self-defense. The police don't believe his account and arrest him for murder. When Haaviko refuses to talk without a lawyer, the police beat him severely. Later, with the help of a lawyer, Haaviko succeeds in getting the charges against him dropped. Despite having nothing official hanging over him, Haaviko soon discovers that his attempts to find gainful employment are being undercut by an unknown foe, who begins a whispering campaign against him by spreading word of his shady past. While Van Rooy doesn't sustain the energy of the dramatic opening scene, he heightens interest with his lead's clever efforts to counter this campaign and tosses in enough dark humor to please Elmore Leonard fans. (Aug.)