J.P. Meyboom. Dundurn, $18.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-4597-4705-0
Set primarily in Toronto, Meyboom’s weak debut mixes humor with crime tropes, yet too often loses its way trying to lampoon consumerism. At its center is Paul Wint, a greeting card writer recruited by Albert Hornsmith as heir apparent of “the Business,” a moneymaking scheme that strings wealthy entrepreneurial clients along with promises of book deals, real estate, and media coverage. As Paul learns the ropes, he falls for rock singer Marla , who’s tangled up with a dangerous drug dealer. When one of the Business’s clients catches wind of the scam and sends a pair of Russian thugs to rough up Paul and threaten his and Hornsmith’s lives, Paul reconsiders his role. Then, Hornsmith dies in a freak accident, leaving Paul as the sole target for the client’s ire. Meyboom effectively establishes the story, carving out funny characters and scenes of peril, yet a whiplash narrative shift tosses these elements aside as Paul spends the back half of the novel delivering Marla’s drug-dealing acquaintance’s 1968 Firebird from Toronto to California. Characters previously introduced vanish, never to return, and while the road trip is amusing, it relies on unbelievable coincidences (and ghosts). The novel feels like two stories stitched together, and neither fully satisfy. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/11/2021
Release date: 07/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
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