Drew Hayden Taylor

Drew Hayden Taylor
Meet the Playwright

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Vicious Dogs, by newcomer Henry Brock is, well, Canadian noir. Who knew such a thing even existed? Canadian noir—replete with a self-effacing, overly apologetic, and downright decent protagonist, Derek Lasker. Don’t get me wrong—Lasker is a private dick through-and-through. This down-on-his-luck, can’t-seem-to-get-back-on-his-feet, bordering-on-loser P.I. has total gumshoe cred: he drinks to excess, smokes like a chimney, curses without cause, and womanizes (unsuccessfully, of course, which both feeds into and is fed by his loser persona).
But Lasker is notably different than many of the “new noir” protagonists (if one can call them that) who seem pervasive these days—the soulless, irredeemable misanthropes with cockroach hearts and reptilian minds. On that front, Lasker is a breath of fresh air: he quotes from Macbeth, reads the Classics, embraces multiculturalism, and ponders the plight of women in the male-dominated profession of policing the State. Of course, he does all of this while living in the backseat of his too-old-to-be-hip Toyota (let’s just say it ain’t a Prius) after getting the bum’s rush from a fleabag hotel. Brock’s Lasker harkens back to the gumshoes of an earlier era—the intelligent, two fisted, and sometimes sensitive Marlowes and Spades of the hard-boiled world. And these traits serve Lasker well as he searches for a psychotic cat killer and mutilater in his hometown of Toronto. Yes, you read it right—cat killer and mutilater.
Brock spins a tale both twisted and twisty in Vicious Dogs. The intriguing plot keeps the reader turning pages while the colorful characters bid said reader to slow down and enjoy the ride. And what a ride it is—one that doesn’t let up until the final denouement arrives and Brock adroitly wraps up the mystery in a satisfying bow. If you like noir—real noir, with hardboiled dicks, dames, and good old fashioned psychotic killers—then you’ll love Vicious Dogs. Trust me, this one’s for you.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this review! The paperback will be coming out in February 2017. I'll be sure to keep you posted.

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