Reviewed by Jim Napier
In the tradition of hard-boiled novels about the mean streets of the 1950s, Montreal author Michael Kent delivers a tale reminiscent of that era, when hard-working cops went about their job without worrying about being politically correct or polishing the police department’s public image. Kent calls it like it is: his protagonists is a straight-shooter in the literal sense of the word.
The story opens in June of 1986, with two lowlifes discussing a bank job gone wrong. A woman had died. Her name was Eva Beaudry. The case had never been solved.
Fast forward to today, and Homicide Detective Robert Beaudry, the woman’s son, has been called on the carpet – not for the first time – by his boss, Captain Jean O’Neill. He’d just collared a murderer in a fight that involved tearing up a restaurant in Chinatown. The Captain is mulling over the expenses of that affray, and he isn’t amused. But life is complex, and seldom pretty: His partner’s wife has been diagnosed with cancer, and Beaudry has been assigned a new partner: Carol Curran, CC for short. One of only three female officers on the Major Crimes squad, and an old flame of Beaudry’s, he knows his current lover won’t be pleased.
They move on to their first case. The previous night a man drove into his garage where someone was waiting for him. Three gunshots later, the perp closed the garage door behind him. No one saw or heard anything. The easy money was an attempted carjacking of the victim’s expensive Tesla. Baudry isn’t so sure.
Records in the victim’s garage reveal that he has a storefront business in an upscale mall that he paid a substantial amount up front to lease. The renter on the lease is a numbered company.
When Beaudry and his partner visit the store, they learn that some recent renovations were done after hours. Noticing that the wall separating the front of the store from an office in the rear seems thicker than it should, Beaudry tears into it and finds the better part of three hundred thousand dollars in banknotes, which turn out to be from a bank robbery several years earlier.
Not an attempted carjacking, then.
The case leads Beaudry and his partner to Fancy Fong, a financier of dubious honesty, catering to hardened criminals who prefer to do their banking after hours. Before it is over, the streets of Montreal will be a little emptier.
Homicide Detective Robert Beaudry is a wisecracking street cop with an eye for women and shady contracts who can supply information that more orthodox sources can’t. He gets to the bottom of cases that would defeat a lesser man. The hard-boiled narrative is leavened by the author’s quirky humour:
The manager came out of her office to greet me.
“Good morning, officer. I’m Annabella, the branch manager. Annabella, actually.”
“Good morning, Annabella Actually.”
She snickered when we shook hands.
“Jeans,” she said.
“I’m a lieutenant. I’m rarely in uniform.”
“No, that’s my last name. It’s not a fashion statement.”
The fifth in Michael Kent’s entertaining Detective Robert Beaudry series, Bank Shot will appeal to fans of the hard-boiled school: a stylistic amalgam of Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett, and Robert B. Parker. It is a colourful, fast-paced action tale, set in some of the grittier areas of Montreal. It is the story of a good cop who lives life on his own terms and is a cracking good read, one that does not disappoint.
Bank Shot is published by Mezzo Publications.
Jim Napier is a professional crime-fiction reviewer and novelist based in Canada. Since 2005 his book reviews and author interviews have been featured in several Canadian newspapers and on multiple websites. His crime novel Legacy was published in 2017, and the next in the series, Ridley’s War, is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2019. He can be reached at email@example.com