Fall down Easy

by Laurence Gough,
ISBN: 0771034431

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Brief Reviews - Fiction
by Anne Denoon

THE VANCOUVER homicide detectives Claire Parker and Jack Willows make their sixth novelistic appearance in Laurence Gough's Fall Down Easy (McClelland & Stewart, 260 pages, $26.99 cloth). This time, they're on the trail of a screwy but methodical bank robber, heartbreaker, cokehead, and master of disguise named Greg. When his most recent heist goes seriously awry, turning him into a first-time killer and sending him in pursuit of some elusive Panamanian drug money, Greg starts to get a little out of his depth, which makes him all the more dangerous.

Gough keeps the plot thickening by the time-honoured but still effective device of alternating chapters that track the activities of the police, the perpetrator, and, eventually, a couple of other players who also have something to hide. Although the character of Greg occasionally feels a bit weak at the seams, Gough more than compensates with a subsidiary cast of entertaining lowlifes (both cops and civilians) and a storyline that's complex and fast-moving enough to keep the pages turning at a good clip. Detectives Parker and Willows are both believable and human: slightly jaded, rather street-weary, and just a mite prickly with each other following the petering-out of their love affair. Thanks to Gough's unobtrusive recaps of their professional and personal histories, even readers (like myself) who missed their five previous outings should have no trouble tuning in to Claire and Jack's hardboiled, laid, back, ironic charm. And as a matter of fact, I'm already deep into one of their earlier adventures.


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