Monday, January 5, 2015
Review of Buffalo Jump by Howard Shrier (2008, Vintage Canada)
Buffalo Jump is the first book in the Toronto-based Jonah Geller private investigator series. For me it was a book of two halves. The first half was quite pedestrian and I felt little affinity for the tale or the characters. About halfway through, however, the story seemed to shift register and became more engaging and compelling. In part, I think, this was because Geller became more multidimensional as chunks of his back story were divulged (he’s the usual flawed, damaged, independent PI, but has enough twists that he doesn’t neatly fit the mould), his relationship to the hitman, Dante Ryan, developed through a nice set of interchanges, and all the various plot strands started to be woven together into a clearer tapestry. Indeed, the plot focus on the illegal cross-border trade in prescription medicines provided a nice hook. The denouement seemed a little rushed, but nicely tied off the tale. Overall, a decent, if a little uneven, read that introduces an engaging lead character that I’d be happy to spend more time reading about.