cover image Marry, Bang, Kill

Marry, Bang, Kill

Andrew Battershill. Goose Lane (UTP, dist.), $22.95 trade paper (324p) ISBN 978-1-77310-002-9

Battershill’s excellent second novel (after Pillow) follows Tommy Marlo, who is neither the brightest nor the luckiest thief around. The young girl Tommy robs of her laptop turns out to be the daughter of a vengeful biker; the laptop is actually her dad’s and contains details of where the bikers are hiding the stash of drugs from their latest score. Tommy steals the drugs too, because he figures he’s already a dead man. From there, the novel spirals into quaint bucolic mayhem as Tommy hides out on a small British Columbia island populated by lovable losers. He’s chased by a tired assassin who’s realized “the things people get contract-murdered over were usually on the sadder end of cheap and the cheaper end of sad,” and befriended by a drug-addicted retired corrupt cop who decides he needs to do one small bit of good in his life by saving Tommy. Throw in a local meth dealer who trades drugs for shellfish because his clients are broke and a mopey rookie cop who thinks busting Tommy will get him out of the boonies, and it adds up to a surprisingly heartfelt story tucked inside a superbly oddball crime thriller. Agent: Adam Schear, DeFiore and Company. (Mar.)