Clean Sweep

Michael J. Clark. ECW (PGW, U.S. dist.; Jaguar, Canadian dist.), $15.95 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-77041-397-9
Studded with flashes of humor, Clark’s debut novel opens with Paulie Noonan, a low-level hood, hiding out from a murderous Winnipeg motorcycle gang called Heaven’s Rejects. His old friend and former drug-smuggling colleague, Tommy Bosco, who is now the presiding reverend at a storefront mission, offers him a way out. Aside from his work saving lost souls, Tommy sometimes saves lives by helping those who need to disappear. Claire Hebert, a sex-trade worker who killed one of the gang’s leaders in self-defense and fled the scene with a coded ledger vital to the gang, also comes to Tommy for help pulling off a vanishing act. From that point, the plot starts spinning out in ever-widening circles. While aiding Claire, Tommy and Cindy, a longtime lover who now helps him run the mission, pick up a trail that leads them from the gang to a corrupt police officer to a cliché-riddled scientist overseeing an evil conspiracy that threatens the whole city. The book suffers from the author cramming in too many genres, including criminal loser comedy, political thriller, cool caper, and science fiction. Clark writes well and has created some amusingly zany characters, not least of whom is the conflicted Reverend Tommy. This debut shows promise, but readers will hope that Clark decides that less is more next time out. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 03/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 498 pages - 978-0-3693-1554-0
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