Saturday 16 January 2016



A fast and powerful crime novel full of action, vengeance, twists, and dark humour

Grey Stevens took over the family business after his uncle passed away, and now he grows the best pot in Whistler. It’s called Eight Miles High and the word on the street is it rivals anything on the planet. Happy to fly under the radar in this mountain playground, Grey just wants to take life easy and snowboard the cold months and bike the hot ones. But demand for his pot among the locals and tourists keeps growing. Everybody wants to get their hands on it, including the two rival gangs coming to town, who want to take over the dope trade. 

When Grey steps in and rescues a girl from a beating at the hands of one of the gang members, he finds himself in the middle of a turf war and a new relationship at the same time. After one of his roommates gets attacked and another one goes missing, Grey has to decide whether he’s going to play it safe — take off with the girl and start over someplace new — or stay and fight for what is his.

I had this one on my sidebar for ages, starting it and then putting it aside, not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but because of the PDF format. I’m not a massive fan of reading on my laptop. Anyway, over New Year, I thought I had better pull my finger out as it wasn’t going to read itself.

60 pages, one day, 250-odd devoured the next and a punch in the face from myself for not getting to it earlier.

We’ve some small town, good guy dope growers and dealers, subjected to a hostile takeover from some out of town criminal elements that play a little bit rougher. Two gangs in fact.

Our two rivals - Bumpy Rosco’s Crew and the Asian Indo Army - have a bit of unsettled business between them – a situation exacerbated by one gang, Rosco’s led by Travis Rainey making toast out of their rivals by launching an RPG from the back of a stolen bread van.

Throw into the mix a pair of cops seconded to sleepy Whistler; Jimmy Gallo, lazy and marking time, the other, Detective Lance Edwards, keen to make a difference and get back to the bigger leagues.

Add Bumpy Rosco’s idiot son, Nick to the stew, with Rainey instructed to keep him safe and out of trouble while getting Grey Stevens to submit to Rosco’s overtures and you have all the ingredients of a fast-paced, high octane thrill-fest.

My kind of book really. Fantastic characters, great action, some lowlifes that you can’t help but like.

Pretty much – a perfect book to start the year with.

Some of the writing had me purring. There's a real rhythm and cadence to it. It reads as if it was effortless to write.

Our two cops in a diner……   The cop on her left sipped down to the dregs. Making a face, Detective Lance Edwards pushed the mug away. Plaid was Jimmy Gallo, dipping a link sausage in his sunny-side eggs, cramming it into his mouth, working on a crossword on the back of the local rag. Eating low and loud. His fork was going like it was automated, shoving egg in after the sausage like he was stoking a boiler, his goatee doing nicely as a bib. Swiping the back of his hand across his mouth, he wrote in a word, let go a silent burp.

Another scene later on when two of our good guys, Dara and Grey are fleeing an armed Indo gang member, gate-crashing the Whistler cheese-rolling competition, to the chagrin of our volunteer Janice….

Dara took a wide stance, pulled back and rolled the wheel down the course.

“What in God’s name . . .” Janice practically yelled and moved to stop her, grabbing at her arm. “Are you crazy, you carry them —”

Dara’s slap cut the air. Janice was knocked to the wet grass, sliding, her fingers clawing at the mud and grass, guttural sound coming from her.

“Want your cheese down the hill or not, lady?” Dara lined a second orange wheel between her knees and let go, the wheel rolling downslope, hopping, rolling, hopping, rolling, gaining speed. Janice crawled and pulled herself up against the folding table. Her hand went to her stinging cheek, Dara’s skull ring leaving its mark.

Askay stopped in his tracks, gun in hand. Whatever it was, it was orange and running at him like a deer. No, it was rolling. He sprang out of its path, slid down a few feet, got up, taking aim at the second one. Fuck, it was cheese. It struck him, swept his legs from under him.

“You can’t do this,” Janice yelled, pulling herself up, the iron taste of blood in her mouth. Sid and Nancy were destroying the cheese, assaulting the man below. Some sick game. Probably high on drugs. Let them have it, God! She had young children at home to consider. This was never part of the deal.

6 stars from 5

The Deadbeat Club is the second book from Dietrich Kalteis. 
His debut – Ride the Lightning was enjoyed in 2014 – see here.
His third book, Triggerfish is due in June.

You can catch up with the author at his website/blog here and on Facebook here.

He was also generous enough to participate in a blog Q+A.

ECW Press - his publisher in Canada were kind enough to send me a copy of this. Check out their other Canadian mysteries here. (John McFetridge is another stand-out for me!)   

Looking forward to.........

Triggerfish (2016)

Rennie Beckman is a dishonored ex-cop with only two things on his mind: his new boat, the Triggerfish, and his hot date, an environmentalist named Vicki. After the two unknowingly dock the boat in the same secluded cove as a Mexican cartel's drug submarine, the date ends with a bang.

With the cartel's coke-for-guns deal with local bikers torched by Beckman, he's forced to go on the run with half the underworld chasing him through the streets of Vancouver and the waters surrounding it. While he tries to stay alive, a woman from Beckman's past - currently on the run from CSIS and the anti-terror squad - comes back to settle an old score.

When the gangs start to go after his friends, the ex-cop stops running and turns the tables. With a ragtag crew of his own, Beckman fights the cartel and bikers, head on. Fast, vicious, and thrilling, Triggerfish delivers a story where all the criminals are in conflict and no one is certain who will come out on top.

"Authentic west coast crime...written with a snare-drum energy that keeps the pages turning A heck of a lot of fun."

Owen Laukkanen


  1. Very glad you enjoyed this, Col. I've done that, too - left something to languish on the TBR pile for far too long. It does sound like it's got a real sense of atmosphere.

    1. A tick in every box - pace, action, setting, characters, plot, dialogue - and a bit of Mungo Jerry!

  2. I have Ride the Lightning, it sounds a bit challenging for me but I will give it a try because of the setting.

    1. Oh, I hope you like it Tracy. Dietrich writes the kind of books, I like to read.

  3. 6 stars! I don't remember your awarding that score before? I can see I'm going to have to read him.

    1. I'm sure I have, but haven't noted them down - which I should have done really. Pitch perfect - this one.

  4. Sounds like a knockout! The cover looks as if brought by time machine from about the mid-1970s, maybe a bit later, when that style -- especially the typography -- was popular at publishers like Granada. I don't mean that as a criticism of it: quite the opposite.

    1. I know what you mean about the cover, there's certainly a marked difference between that and the next book. I do like Dietrich's books, well worth a punt in my opinion.

  5. Col, I assume these novels will figure in your top reads this month or quarter. Both books sound really good.

    1. I'm having a great reading month so far, though I have slowed up a bit the past week or so. Blame Patricia Highsmith and some incredibly small text in my copy. Both Dietrich's and Nicholas Searle's books will figure in my best reads of the month I think. This one slightly shaded it I think.

    2. Aah - sorry were you referring to Triggerfish? I haven't got to it yet, but wanted to give it a shout-out.