The Finger’s Twist

Between the long arm of the law and the seedy bowels of the underworld lies a grey area that a few choose to follow. It is a place where lawyers cut dubious deals, politicians get special bonuses and police put spins on their investigations.

It is in this realm that the protagonists of Lee Lamothe’s The Finger’s Twist dwell, railing back against the injustices and evil doings so boundless in this noir thriller.

Charlie Tate is a brawny unlicensed private eye and Elodie Gray is his paraplegic, computer-savvy wife. An elderly couple, friends of Elodie’s über-rich family, has a granddaughter who’s a member of the Black Bloc, an anarchist revolutionary group. She’s arrested while planting a bomb at the Legislative building in a vaguely-referenced Toronto.

Then things get complicated.

The half-estranged daughters of Charlie are also members of the Black Bloc and are nabbed in a shady police sweep.

Charlie doesn’t mess around, and doesn’t like being messed with, and he has that classic hardboiled detective attitude. He’s also rather pissed that people are meddling with his family.

Together he and Elodie use their wits and skills (and his muscles, as needed) to tackle the bad guys where a certain je ne sais quoi is needed. In this dog-eat-dog underworld, you can bet they’re needed.

This is a quirky little thriller, with plenty of action, a clipped pace and a proper maelstrom of “whodunnit” cloak-and-dagger storytelling. The dialogue is excellent, filled with rogues’ cant and street slang that makes you scramble to keep up.

Perhaps the major flaw is in the end of the third act, where the strong pacing and momentum seems to peter off just as this intriguing tale is wrapping up.

Despite this, if you’re a fan of underworld skullduggery in a modern, urban setting, this’ll be right up your alley.

Published in Volume 64, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 11, 2010)

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