cover image Triggerfish


Dietrich Kalteis. ECW (PGW/Legato, U.S. dist. Jaguar Book Group, Canadian dist.), $14.95 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-77041-153-1

In Kalteis's gritty third novel (following The Deadbeat Club), timing and coincidence are everything. Disgraced cop Rene "Beck" Beckman takes an adventurous woman named Vicki Moon on a date aboard his boat, the Triggerfish. They're interrupted when they witness a submarine filled with drugs being towed to shore. Since the criminals know what Beck and Vicki look like, they and everyone close to them become targets. Beck soon discovers that the event is connected to the mysterious woman who stabbed him and set the scene for the end of his police career some months before. As the drug runners lay low to wait for a shipment of weapons, all the grisly but authentic details of cheap life and easy death in that underworld make parts of the story hard to take. Lighter moments%E2%80%94such as a near-naked animal rights protest%E2%80%94provide some comic relief. As the gang seeks revenge against Beck, the sameness of several gang members makes the plot hard to follow at times, but much of the action will keep readers on the edges of their seats and fearing for potential victims whose only fault is their proximity to Beck. The complicated but fast-moving conclusion is a total page-turner. Unsettling and sometimes horrifying, this high-octane tale will suit hardcore crime fans. (June)