Blood Vessel

Geist Staff

Nevertheless, Canadian writers do persist in the genres, and one is always gratified to come across a Canadian thriller or a mystery novel like Paul Grescoe's Blood Vessel (Douglas & McIntyre) for the sheer pleasure of watching Canadian places and times entering into literature. Grescoe offers some of the necessaries of the genre: arcane information (in this case about cruise ships, hi-tech fishing industry and the Japanese underworld), a quirky detective (single father with two daughters) and a well-convoluted plot. But the book suffers from two flaws: the characters are almost indistinguishable from each other, so that it is very difficult to follow the action; and what action there is left to follow often evaporates on the page through outrageous abuse of the pluperfect tense. Pluperfect abuse is a common affliction; its cure begins with an editor whose nerves are good. Masters of the pluperfect are Graham Greene and Mavis Gallant; if you have a similar problem, read these two and listen to the pluperfect working as it is meant to.

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