Thursday 5 August 2021


A couple of Canadian crime novels from A.J. Devlin.

Vancouver, wrestling, bouncing, humour, grit, a PI, the underworld, comparisons to Carl Hiaasen, hat-tipped by Sam Wiebe ......... my kind of books I reckon. 

A.J. Devlin's website is here

From his author bio....

A.J. Devlin grew up in Greater Vancouver before moving to Southern California for six years where he earned a B.F.A. in Screenwriting from Chapman University and a M.F.A. in Screenwriting from The American Film Institute. COBRA CLUTCH, the first entry in the “Hammerhead” Jed ex-pro wrestler turned PI mystery-comedy series, was nominated for a 2019 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery and won the 2019 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Crime Novel. Book two in the series — ROLLING THUNDER — was published May 15th, 2020 by NeWest Press.

Cobra Clutch (2018)

"Hammerhead" Jed Ounstead thought he'd traded the pro-wrestling world for the slightly less dangerous one of a bar bouncer and errand boy for his father's detective agency, but the squared circle wasn't quite done with him yet. When his former tag-team partner draws upon their old friendship for help in finding his kidnapped pet snake, Jed finds himself dragged back into the fold of sleazy promoters, gimmicky performers, and violence inside and outside the ring. As the venom of Vancouver's criminal underworld begins to seep into Jed's life, a steel chair to the back of the head is the least of his problems.

Cobra Clutch is a fast-paced, hard-hitting debut novel by A.J. Devlin that has an unstoppable combo: a signature move of raucous humour with a super finisher of gritty realism.

Praise for Cobra Clutch

"Cobra Clutch masterfully blends humor, mystery, thrills, action, romance, and heart into a hell of a story featuring a lively wrestler-turned-PI hero. The action scenes are intense, the quiet times heartwarming and engaging, and the humor expertly interjected to accentuate characters and breathe realism into the story."

~ John M. Murray, Foreword Reviews

Rolling Thunder (2020)

Former pro wrestler "Hammerhead" Jed Ounstead, now a fully-fledged private investigator, is riding high after his first successful case. In this second episode, Jed leaves the wrestling realm to enter a new arena: women's flat-track roller derby. When old acquaintance Stormy Daze seeks his help finding her team's missing coach, Jed discovers that the turnbuckle-and-metal-chair mayhem of the wrestling ring pales in comparison to roller derby's four-wheeled ferocity.

As his search intensifies, Jed is drawn into the criminal orbit of a shady entrepreneur who doubles as a late-night TV personality, a high-class bookmaker with a yen for racing dachshunds, and a kinky painter with a special technique for producing art. When the thunder rolls, Jed finds he needs more than a few of his beloved banana milkshakes to solve this case.

Rolling Thunder continues A.J. Devlin's hard-hitting, award-winning mystery series with its unbeatable one-two punch of over-the-top-rope humour and elbow-to-the-face adventure.


  1. You know, I haven't tried the 'Hammerhead' novels yet, Col, although I've heard of them. And he is a really interesting protagonist. I like the sound of these plots, too. It's one of those cases of, 'Why haven't I tried these yet?' I think. I'll be keen to know your view when you get to them.

    1. Margot, hopefully I can share my thoughts on one of the books, sooner rather than later.

  2. Hammerhead is an intriguing sleuth and it was eerie you posted on the same day about him that I included him in a comment on Margot's blog. I found Devlin effectively explored two sports out of the main stream in the books. Rolling Thunder prompted a post on real life professional wrestling in Western Canada in decades past.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Bill. I'm looking forward to finding out more about Hammerhead and pro wrestling.

  3. New to me. I’ll be looking forward your reviews.

    1. Elgin, I'll try not to keep you waiting too long.