The Red Power Murders -- Thomas King

In honour of the upcoming International Festival of Authors readings, I am posting a Thomas King review I wrote for the First Look program. (I'm spending the day out of town so no time to write today.)

Warning: This review did not pop out of the Blurb-O-Matic however, because I am a big Tom King fan, it's a little gushy for a mainstream mystery.

Thomas King is a writer’s writer. He seems able to turn any genre, from novel to short story to radio play, into page-turning comic release for the reader. It’s a release we need for the best comedy, and I include King with the best, comes out of pain.

King’s comic timing is impeccable. The Red Power Murders retain many of the elements that made his long-running radio show “The Dead Dog Café Comedy Hour,” belly laugh funny yet bitter as truck stop coffee. On the show, King tackled cultural stereotypes between First Nations people and mainstream society, systemic racism and legally enshrined injustice by creating engaging characters who defied comfortable mythologizing and New Age silliness about Native’s spirituality.

With The Red Power Murders, King proves himself master of the mainstream mystery genre. It’s a tightly woven mystery with enough warp and weft to please Ariadne. It had me feeling confused, manipulated, anxious, frustrated. I loved every minute! Here King’s trademark humour is more subtle, secondary to dramatic scenes, reversals and suspense.

His unlikely hero, Thumps Dreadfulwater, is believable and engaging. He arrives in small town Chinook without a coat and we shiver with him on every step of a journey that drags him back into police work and forces him to face past friends and enemies. ‘One good story, this one.’ Read and enjoy.