Select one of the keywords
No Such Creature    by Giles Blunt order for
No Such Creature
by Giles Blunt
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2008 (2008)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Giles Blunt, author of the award-winning John Cardinal police procedural series set in Northern Ontario's fictional town of Algonquin Bay, now demonstrates his versatility with something very different - but just as well written. In No Such Creature, an engaging pair of con men - Max and his great-nephew Owen - banter and rob their way across the American southwest, assuming a variety of disguises and traveling back roads in their Trailersaurus (a monstrous Winnebago). They're helped on jobs by associates Pookie and Roscoe, who travel separately.

Max frequently quotes Shakespeare and has great lines like: 'Every poet's a thief. Poets break into your mind and heart, and their verses are so many shards of glass they leave scattered around.' He often raves about his criminal hero and mentor, John-Paul, nicknamed the Pontiff, 'your quintessential gentleman of the road.' Sadly, the Pontiff got caught, has been jailed for some time, and is now on his deathbed. Owen was orphaned at age ten when his physician parents died in a car accident, and only rescued from the dubious care of the foster system after Max showed up and identified himself as his estranged (from his family) great-uncle.

Though Max and Owen are (initially at least) non-violent criminals, there are vicious predators out there. In particular a new gang, led by the amoral Zig, has chosen to play the role of mythical Subtractors - that is to rob robbers by torturing a gang member into revealing the loot's location. As Max and Owen journey on, the Subtractors set their sights on this amiable duo. Complicating matters, Max and Owen are at odds over the latter's desire to quit the criminal life and become an actor, as well as his concern for the aging con man's ever increasing absent-mindedness and confusion, which puts them both at risk.

In Las Vegas, Max introduces Owen to Sabrina, a lovely waitress who is also the Pontiff's daughter. She comments that having a criminal in the family 'is like living on the Titanic. You just know it isn't going to end well.' After Owen and Max intervene to save her from Bill, an obsessed and abusive born-again ex-cop, Sabrina travels on with them, Bill and the Subtractors hot on their trail. What follows is an enjoyable romp, ending with surprising revelations - and all loose ends tied up - in New York. No Such Creature is great entertainment - don't miss it.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews