Zero Avenue

Dietrich Kalteis. ECW (PGW/Legato, U.S. dist. Jaguar Book Group, Canadian dist.), $14.95 trade paper (232p) ISBN 978-1-77041-365-8
Set in 1979, Kalteis’s grisly, violent fifth crime novel (after 2016’s House of Blazes) celebrates the seedy side of Vancouver and the punk scene there. Singer Frankie Del Rey’s got musical talent and drive, but to make a buck she’s running dope for Marty Sayles, the powerful drug dealer who has the whole Eastside in a fearsome grip. Johnny Falco’s pretty sweet on Frankie—and his Falco’s Nest is one of the few clubs willing to give her band, Waves of Nausea, and other punk players a chance. But Johnny’s in debt up to his neck and takes a huge risk to get back in the black. The stakes rise when enforcer Zeke Chamas and henchmen Sticky and Tucker, who tend Marty’s pot farm off Zero Avenue, go after Frankie’s bass player, Arnie Binz, when he steals some of Marty’s illegal harvest. References to actual singers and bands, such as Joey “Shithead” Keithley of D.O.A., will resonate with those who came of age in the late ’70s, and if a literary prize existed for depicting the most offensive club lavatories, this novel would win it hands down. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/28/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
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