Canadian writer Gerry Fostaty’s first novel is a delight from start to finish. Fostaty takes up the eminently reasonable but hitherto underused concept that the acting profession is excellent training for undercover police work. An acting troupe improvises their way through street theatre of the life-and-death variety, using their acting experience, stage props, and street smarts to outwit a drug gang that has kidnapped the son of a friend.
What makes the novel especially engaging is its essentially amateur nature and its proximity to the lives we lead now. The details of searching for teens through internet web links are intriguing: Twitter feeds, Facebook profiles and the tendency to geotag locations could ultimately unravel our most ambitious plans. Easily available online data is something the police, ramped up as they are for bigger fry, are unlikely to use. They would go at the problem with more force, but less cunning.
The “bad boy” nature of the kidnapped teen is all too familiar. Son of a Parliament member on the verge of reelection, he acts out his resentment at his lack of parental attention by involving himself in illegal drugs, which means the police are not welcome participants in the search. Our leading man, Michael, begins a half-hearted and desultory web search for information about the kidnapped boy to ingratiate himself with an attractive actress in his troupe. That initial foray actually yields clues which eventually turn the hunt for the missing boy into a major production.
The willing suspension of disbelief is critical in stage productions, and likewise with this wonderful series. This is street theatre of the best sort. Set during the Fall election and theatre season in Toronto, this art is close to home in all ways. Check out this very cool and arty trailer for the book below. Highly recommended for a completely refreshing change of pace.
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