cover image Roar Back

Roar Back

John Farrow. Severn, $28.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8937-9

A prologue set in 1958 in a run-down Montreal neighborhood, Park Extension (“the juvenile delinquency capital of Canada”), sets the ominous tone for Farrow’s gripping eighth Émile Cinq-Mars novel (after 2019’s Ball Park). Flash forward to 1978, to Cinq-Mars’s first day on the job with his new rank of sergeant-detective. He’s called to an apartment house in Park Extension to investigate a curious set of burglaries: in one night, 17 of the building’s apartments and 11 storage sheds were broken into, with the thieves taking primarily toasters and coffee makers. In one of the apartments, Cinq-Mars discovers the body of a man “impaled through the neck with what looked like a machete.” Mafia members, Russian gangsters, Hells Angels, and dirty cops thicken the plot as the significance of the prologue, in which the police recruit an unidentified young man for a dangerous undercover mission, gradually becomes clear. Cinq-Mars’s wry, often amusing observations spice up the action. Fans of character-driven police procedurals will be satisfied. (May)