Jeff Nichols — a man strong of conviction but weak of character — is fresh out of the Don Jail, looking for work — any kind of work — and a way back into Ann Ryan’s good graces. She waited for his return from prison but is quickly running short on patience. An ex-inmate and friend gets Jeff a job at Ted Bracey’s used car lot, selling cars for commission only. But it’s not enough to keep him and Ann afloat in mid-80s Toronto, and the lure of easy money soon gets Jeff involved in smuggling guns from upstate New York. With that sweet Poughkeepsie cash, now he can keep his promises to Ann; he even buys them a house, but conceals the source of the money. As Jeff gets in deeper and deeper, everyone around him learns how many rules he’s willing to bend and just how far he’ll go to get on the fast track to riches. That he’s a guy who doesn’t let lessons from past mistakes get in the way of a good score.
Dietrich Kalteis, the award-winning author of POUGHKEEPSIE SHUFFLE, met with The Big Thrill to discuss his latest thriller:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope the story will have readers turning pages, reading about times in a Toronto set in times gone by, and I hope they like what they read and look forward to more.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
If readers find something new to the story and original to the voice, and also that they like it as a fast-paced tale of vulnerable characters without a predicable ending in sight, then I think the book has made a contribution to the genre.
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
It was the first time I tried writing in first person, and I quite liked the POW.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Elmore Leonard, Don Winslow, George V. Higgins, James Crumley, George Pelacanos, Dennis Lehane — simply because they are originals with great voices and terrific stories.
Dietrich Kalteis is the award-winning author of Ride the Lightning, The Deadbeat Club, Triggerfish, House of Blazes and Zero Avenue. Nearly fifty of his short stories have been published internationally, and he lives with his family on Canada’s west coast.
To learn more about Dietrich, please visit his website.