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.
It’s been twenty years since Crang, the Toronto criminal lawyer with the single name and the smart mouth, last sleuthed his way through deep trouble and tricky cases. Now, as witty and nervy as he was in such best sellers as Straight No Chaser and Riviera Blues, Crang has returned, and as usual, he’s got problems.
A client has skipped out on him, still owing Crang a very large fee. The client, a woman of great beauty and even greater treachery, just happens to be the co-mastermind of the biggest marijuana grow-op business in Canadian drug history.
Crang cuts a few legal corners in his hunt for the fleeing client, but she soon becomes only the most elusive of his worries. Along the way, Crang finds himself confronting a major Toronto mob boss, a thug intent on maiming him, and an ugly case of murder. Will Crang survive the onslaught? Sometimes he can’t help wondering.
Crang remains the same, familiar off-beat guy from the earlier books. He loves vodka, jazz and smart repartee. His friends tend to be on the shady side of the law. Crang is still keeping romantic company with the delicious Annie, a freelance writer and a sharp-tongued match for Crang when batting around the dicey options that his practice in criminal law forces on him. Crang and Annie have just moved into their first house. It’s in mid-town Toronto, and, like everything else in Take Five, it comes with hints of danger.
Batten seemed to come into the world (...) with the sort of prose style that everyone else spends years developing.
Crang is attractive, witty, and unflaggingly irreverent...a winner.
[I]n Take Five, Batten's latest mystery, he has written a witty and clever tale revolving around a unique plot that keeps his readers intrigued as they scramble to figure it out alongside his main character. Like a fine wine, the [Crang] series--and its protagonist--have aged well. [A]n extremely enjoyable read that made me want to retrace Crang's steps through Toronto.
Batten's insights into the ups and downs of Toronto life are so intimate one would swear he and the city have been secret lovers for years.
When his long-time client disappears without paying her fee, Crang takes the reader along for a ride as refreshing as a glass of Stoli served with just the right number of ice cubes.
A pleasing cast of characters, a nod for one of the world's great cities, and a vintage excursion with a storyteller who knows his plot.
If you like your crime with an edge that's tinged with sarcasm and smart remarks, the Crang mysteries by Jack Batten are for you.
...a terrific return with lots of trademark Batten touches. Not to be missed.