Saturday, February 16, 2013
"Snow Job", by William Deverell
“Snow Job” is the first book I read from this author, it has been on my TBR list for a long time and I finally got around to reading it. Before writing my thoughts I needed to refresh why it ever made it on my list, digging deeper I discovered that Mr. Deverell is a crime writer who has won several major crime-writing awards and also the Stephen Leacock medal for Humour. Since I am a fan of thrillers and mysteries, it must have been a recommendation at one point by a friend. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of mystery thrillers seasoned with political and judicial satire.
The story spins a wild tale full of biting satire about the Canadian political machine, tactics employed by CSIS and some eco-terrorists hanky-panky. The author works the crime and mystery side through his protagonist, Arthur Beauchamp, and the suspense and intrigue inevitably moves the storyline to the House of Commons in Ottawa where his wife Margaret Blake is serving as the leader of the Green Party of Canada. There is plenty of gripping action but it is often overshadowed by the author’s description of the shenanigans that go on behind the lines in the halls of power. The author’s perceptions hit home and it is quite laughable especially when it mirrors what we read or hear of on an almost daily basis. The story has numerous characters and each one has a tale to tell. However at one point there are just too many details and the theme becomes laboured and tiresome.
The offbeat plot opens when a delegation of government officials from Bhashyistan is targeted and their car is blown sky high on Bronson Avenue and the aftermath causes the shares of a Calgary-based oil company with interest in the country to promptly drop like a stone.
Arthur, the crafty lawyer who has years of experience, is only too happy to jump to the defence of the suspected assassin who is in hiding. With collaboration from and accompanied by a dubious spy who happens to work for the Canadian intelligence agency CSIS, Arthur travels back and forth between Ottawa and Garibaldi, finally ending up in, of all places, Albania….
If you are not familiar with Canadian politics and the two major languages it may be difficult to fully grasp the satirical content of this wildly imaginative and truly Canadian story.