Toronto-based author, Howard Shrier, was in Boston recently doing some research for an upcoming book, and we ended up meeting and he gave me copies of his first two books, Buffalo Jump and High Chicago. Buffalo Jump won the Arthur Ellis award for best first novel (Canada's version of Edgar awards), and High Chicago won the Ellis award for best novel. I just finished Buffalo Jump, and it is really very good and I can see why it won best first novel. Shrier told me that his books are frequently compared to Parker's Spenser, but I didn't see that at all. It reminded me more of Robert Crais's Elvis Cole books, but with more humor. Maybe also a little like Joe Gores DKA books. You've got PI Jonah Geller working for an agency with a lot of ghosts in his past, and getting involved in some very nasty business. For hardboiled PI, I thought this book much better than most of the contemporary hardboiled PI books I've been reading. Shrier's books so far are only published in Canada--either US publishers are afraid of a Toronto locale, or he hit them at the wrong time with the recent slowdown/panic going on in US publishing.
Buffalo Jump is highly recommended for those who can get their hands on it. I'll report on High Chicago later.
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