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on my book shelf – Triggerfish, a crime novel

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‘… he had fifty feet under the hull. The carcass of a rowboat against the shore, cedar, pine and rock rimming the cove, no cottages out here … Switching to the trolling motor, Beck eased around the bend in the cove …’ (Triggerfish).

Around that bend in the cove, Beck meets his share of trouble. I usually think of crime novels as an easy read. Triggerfish challenges that notion. The characters are many and, to me, a bit hard to follow – there doesn’t seem to be a good guy among them. The action is non-stop giving the reader few chances to relax! And what, oh what is going to happen to Eddie???





Dietrich Kalteis, Triggerfish – a crime novel. ECW Press, Toronto: 2016. Published June 1, 2016.


This review is done as a result of my role as Shelf Monkey for ECW Press


Not usually in the genre I read, Triggerfish was nevertheless entertaining. The main character, Rene Beckman, ‘Beck’, is an ex-cop, hard-hitting and resourceful. He is trying to stay out of trouble but accidentally views a murder and some ruthless drug runners in action. And the bad guys won’t look the other way.

The action takes place in the Vancouver area and so scenes feel, to me, Canadian, familiar. Description is gritty, but evocative: ‘Crunching on dead leaves, wet ferns slapping against him, he ducked under pine boughs … a dry creek bed. A crest beyond it. Moss, ferns and rock … ‘. Some of the action occurs on Beck’s boat, the thirty-two foot Triggerfish.

The book is the classic example of shortening sentences to move the action along. This, and the frequent inclusion of gerunds to provide an odd combination of past and present tense, mean the book is sometimes hard to read. I’m not certain I ever got used to phrases like: ‘ … Ramon and Eddie walked in from the dining room side, both stopping at the fireplace, Eddie looking like he wanted to turn and run, Ramon nudging him forward…’ Or  ‘… He told her, and she said, ”Nice meeting you, Marty Schmidt.” The second shot spoiling his looks.’

The characters are diverse and multi-dimensional: Vicki, environmentalist and play girl; Ashika, skilled and patient terrorist with a sense of humour; and Hattie, mature girl next door. I liked one of the bad guys the best – poor Eddie, trying to outsmart the cruel bosses by stealing their dope, cooperating with Beck.

Ironic humour  abounds – from the description of the vegan protest, with protesters wearing body paint diagramming cuts of meat, to Beck’s attempt to rescue a drowning Ashika. Ashika, hearing a rooster crow for the first time, almost blows it off the fence.

It took me a long time to finish this book, partly because of the sentence structure, but mostly because of my lack of familiarity with the genre. In the end the plot was satisfying and no loose ends were left dangling. I just may read it again.



Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

June 27, 2016 at 7:17 am

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