cover image The Chairman’s Toys

The Chairman’s Toys

Graham Reed. Poisoned Pen, $15.95 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-4642-1006-8

Set in Vancouver, B.C., Canadian author Reed’s quirky first novel introduces Jake Constable, whom his ex-wife, Nina, describes as “a semi-employed, semi-reformed drug dealer coming up fast on his forties.” A party that Jake is hosting at the $20-million mansion belonging to Chinese entrepreneur Mickey Wu, for whom he’s housesitting, comes to an abrupt end when he receives a text from his pal Richard telling him “there’s a dead guy in the bathroom.” Soon Jake is chasing and being chased by his former marijuana distributor (known as the Norwegian), Mickey and his minions, agents from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, and the deputy director of the Department of Infrastructure Development in the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, who happens to be Nina’s uncle and business partner in her real estate firm. Jake, whose philosophy is “life is often less about making good decisions than figuring out how to live with bad ones,” takes the reader on a fast, furious, and often hilarious tour. Watching him zigzag through the twisting plot is pure pleasure. (July)