Jack Batten, after a brief and unhappy career as a lawyer, has been a very happy freelance writer for many years. The author of forty books, Batten has reviewed jazz for the Globe and Mail, and, for twenty-five years, reviewed movies on CBC Radio. He currently writes the biweekly “Whodunnit” column in the Toronto Star. He lives in Toronto.
Straight No Chaser
Classic Batten – on the rocks.
Jazz. Cocaine. Vietnamese triads. Dope-dealing yuppie lawyers. Jack Batten’s got them all in his second mystery novel starring Crang, the unconventional criminal lawyer with a taste for straight vodka and a nose for trouble. This time out Crang is hired by his buddy Dave Goddard, a sax player whose playing style is from the fifties, but whose unwitting involvement in a complex coke-smuggling ring is pure eighties.
Crang’s friendly offer to help Dave find out who is tailing him takes a reluctant sleuth into a series of unlikely locales: behind the scenes at Toronto’s oh-so-chic film festival; into a triad-run afterhours boozecan; and into the gang’s inner sanctum, the office of Big Bam, the ring’s genial but deadly kingpin.
No one could ever accuse Crang of being a superhero, but with his usual mixture of innate cool and naive enthusiasm he brings the villains to justice and readers to the end of a cleverly entertaining romp that leaves us looking forward to Crang’s next case.