Saturday, February 19, 2011
Thursday, July 22, 2010
— Greg Rucka, author of the Atticus Kodiak crime fiction series
“Think Canadian crime fiction is soft? Mike Knowles proves otherwise, in this tense, terse, bloody-knuckled thriller. Knowles doesn’t do “nice” and his antihero, Wilson, makes Mike Hammer look like a well-adjusted pacifist. In Plain Sight is a kick in the nuts with steel-toed boots.”
— Sean Chercover, author of Trigger City and Big City, Bad Blood
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Canadian Knowles’ short, taut thriller is set on Prince Edward Island and in and around Toronto. Two years ago, Wilson barely survived a Mob shootout and escaped from Toronto with most people thinking he was dead. He recuperated and began to build a new life in a small fishing village on Prince Edward Island. Despite living off the grid, his past eventually catches up to him, and he’s drawn back to Toronto. Wilson doesn’t want to return to his old life, but he must complete one final task, finding out who kidnapped the foolish sons of the local Mob boss after they talked about Mob business on a series of YouTube videos. With lots of action and tension and plenty of dialogue, Wilson’s story moves along rapidly as he struggles to cut his ties to the past.— Jessica Moyer
Grinder, by Hamilton author Mike Knowles, is the second in a trilogy. It's loaded with compact, colourful writing that aims for that tiny spot between your eyes... a dead centre hit. Grinder is rich in blunt detail, a sharp lesson in economic completeness. Knowles makes his explosive point, moves forward and leaves your imagination reeling yet ready for more. Wilson is a grinder, someone who finds out everything. Bullets are among his chief assets. And he's very good at his job. In a few brief chapters bad boy Wilson recovers from serious bullet wounds, disappears along with $200,000, and surfaces on a boat off P.E.I. It's all vividly drawn and unpredictable. A Hamilton mobster's nephew is missing -- not a great loss and likely deserved. But it turns the mobster septic and Wilson returns to settle the mess. The grinder grinds--the guilty pay -- there are no innocents. Read Mike Knowles' first novel, Darwin's Nightmare, and now, Grinder. They are sharp, focused indications of a fine, new noir talent in our midst. Hang in there for the third.
This is the second outing for Knowles – the first was Darwin's Nightmare – and his antihero, Wilson, is back, gone from his haunts in Hamilton and safely in hiding in B.C. He promised his old boss to get off the grid, and he has kept that promise. But then a man comes hunting for him – a man with a gun and a woman in the trunk of his car.
Knowles is working hard to take Wilson into the world of characters like Lee Child's Jack Reacher. He hasn't made it there yet, but there's hope. He's a good atmospheric writer and he has the lingo down, but it takes more than 178 pages to get into the kind of tough guy he's building. Book three may be the breakout.
Wilson, a guy with no first name, is The Grinder (ECW Press, $25, 220 pages), a ghostly underworld fixer who goes off the grid as a P.E.I. tuna fisherman to escape mob infighting in author Mike Knowles' native southern Ontario.
Unearthed by his über-nasty former boss and blackmailed with threats against his only friends, Wilson plows through a gaggle of underlings to find out who's grabbed the boss's gangster-wannabe nephews.
There's more mayhem than mystery in this thin sequel to Knowles' 2008 debut, Darwin's Nightmare, and Wilson flunks the sympathetic anti-hero test with his unrelieved brutality.
Still, Grinder displays some nascent storytelling chops and a viable future for the Hamilton schoolteacher.