Micro-Review #118: Salvage

by Stephen Maher

This hardboiled Canadian mystery is like a gust of salt spray from a Cape Sable gale. Philip Scarnum is a Nova Scotia seaman who finds an abandoned lobster boat. He risks life and limb to save it and earn himself a hefty salvage fee. He’s all set to get paid when murder most foul scuppers his plans. The murder comes with unexplained coke, a greasy local businessman and two Mexican heavies with a fondness for machine pistols.

This is a traditionally told tale, like a John D. MacDonald novel that’s been updated with Newfie profanity and explicit sex (perhaps too much of both). It’s a guy’s novel, to be sure, which is probably why it made nary a ripple in the market (sadly, very few men read novels these days). All the sex and profanity could be a deal-breaker if you’re of that growing class of readers who believe in trigger warnings for fiction.

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