I had a lively discussion with a patron at the library a while ago. He was looking for a good mystery or legal thriller to read. But he had a qualifier - nothing Canadian, he just finds American books 'better'. Oh boy, do I love a challenge...we compromised and I'm just waiting for him to come back and let me know what he thought of the Canadian titles/authors I sent him home with.
Robert Rotenberg was one of those authors. This gentleman likes series, so I sent him home with the first in Rotenberg's excellent series - Old City Hall. The fourth book, Stranglehold, is newly released and I have to say - Rotenberg gets better and better with every book.
Recurring character Detective Ari Green returns, but in a different role. Rather that being the one in charge of the investigation; this time he's the one being investigated.....for murder. Green finds Jennifer, the married Crown Attorney he has been having an affair with, dead in the motel room they were meeting at - and the police arrive before he has time to call 911......
I just love the Canadian setting - the descriptions of streets, stores and neighbourhoods that I recognize. It really brings the novel to life. Rotenberg himself is a criminal lawyer in Toronto. His courtroom descriptions and intimacy with the Canadian legal system again brings that 'extra' sense of authenticity to his work. There are some sly nods to present day Toronto that Canadian will 'get'. Notably, the overweight Mayor who coaches a boy's rugby team.
I enjoy Rotenberg's recurring characters. Green is less than perfect and this makes him all the more human. I really enjoy his father's scenes in this book. Kennicott is also a character I really enjoy as he feels his way through his new position. I hope we see more of Awotwe Amankwah, a reporter for the Toronto Star. Rotenberg gives each of his characters an excellent second story line with their personal lives. It lets us get to know them a bit better and carries their story forward into the next book.
The plotting in Stranglehold is excellent, believable and well played. But the exploration of relationships - familial and work are just as much a part of the story. I think this is probably my favourite of the series (so far) An excellent series and definitely recommended eh?
You can find Robert Rotenberg on Facebook and on Twitter.