Friday 21 July 2017



Every student needs a part-time job.

Hers is hunting criminals.

Sarie Holland is a good kid. An Honors student. She doesn't even drink.

So when a narcotics cop busts her while she's doing a favour for a friend, she has a lot to lose.

Desperate to avoid destroying her future, Sarie agrees to become a CI - a confidential informant. Armed only with a notebook, she turns out to be as good at catching criminals as she is at passing tests.

But it's going to take more than one nineteen-year-old to clean up Philadelphia. Soon Sarie is caught in the middle of a power struggle between corrupt cops and warring gangs, with nothing on her side but stubbornness and smarts.

Which is bad news for both the police and the underworld. Because when it comes to payback, CI #137 turns out to be a very fast learner...

My sixth book from this author, though the last time I read him was in 2013 – Fun & Games.

Canary gives us …… a drugs bust, a strait-laced college girl, a dogged detective, a distracted father, an irritating brother, an annoying friend and frequent trips to Philadelphia’s dark side.

Sarie, our heroine is inadvertently caught holding the bag when a friend flees after a drugs purchase is observed by a cop on surveillance. Refusing to give up the identity of her friend (why? I’d have dropped the dime on him in a flash) she ends up as a confidential informant for Ben Wildey, a cop on a mission to clean up the city.

Wildey wants to use Sarie to snag the city’s drugs king-pin. Sarie reluctantly wants to assist him, but more importantly wants to avoid the wrath of her father and the destruction of her promising future.

Bearing in mind I read this over a year ago, I’m a bit fuzzy on the details. I enjoyed the plot; the portrayal of the difficult family dynamics with Sarie’s grief at the loss of her mother and the effect of the death on her father. I bought into Wildey’s enthusiasm for his mission. Swierczynski has some great characters on display.

I liked the near-miss escapades as Sarie helps in the arrest of several criminals, just not the one target that an increasingly exasperated Wildey wants.

Plenty of humour and a fair few twists and turns in the plot. The actual resolution I kind of forget, though it does see father, daughter and brother coming together in a rare display of family togetherness.

I really enjoyed the read and look forward to more from the author in the future. I’ve read his earlier work – Secret Dead Man, The Wheelman, Severance Package, The Blonde and Fun & Games. This one and Fun & Games seem slightly more mainstream than his previous books. A fair few more of his sit on the pile.

4.5 from 5

Duane Swierczynski is on Twitter@swierczy 

Boring story - he once posted me a book of his about 10 years ago, after I won a competition on his then active blog/website. I think it was Severance Package

Read in June, 2016
Published – 2015
Page count – 401
Source – Net Galley review copy
Format - Kindle


  1. What an interesting premise for a story, Col. And I'm drawn right away to the Philadelphia setting. It sounds like a solid plot, and I do like a bit of wit in a story. Glad you enjoyed this.

    1. Margot, I really enjoyed this one. Worth a look in my opinion.

  2. I've been meaning to check out one of Duane's books for some time. I'll put this one on the to-read list. Thanks for the review, Col.

    1. Dietrich, I hope you enjoy it when you get to it.

  3. I did enjoy Canary..
    Thanks for the review..

    1. Kathleenellen, thanks for stopping by. It is a great read isn't it?

  4. I am glad to know I am not the only one who forgets details about books I have read, although it usually takes me only a month or two. I have been wanting to try something by this author. Maybe something will show up at the book sale.

    1. Tracy, I forget more than I ever remember. I kind of wish I had made a few notes on all these missed reads at the time. Hopefully you find something by Swierczynski at the sale.

  5. I like the setup of this one, sounds good. Also sounds familiar - have you talked about it before, or is one of his other books similar.

    1. I may have done a holiday reading post which mentioned it 12 months ago. Great memory if I did! I haven't read anything similar by him. Each of his books have been quite varied.