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Friday, 18 January 2013

Review: Your Friendly Neighbourhood Criminal, Michael Van Rooy (Canada: Manitoba)

Title:                                  Your Friendly Neighbourhood Criminal
Author:                               Michael Van Rooy
Date/Place of Publication:    2008: Winnipeg, Turnstone Press
ISBN #                               978-0-88801-339-2
# of pages:                         324
Discovered by searching for Canadian authors at the Saskatchewan blog
Read in paper book format.

Another anti-hero! Or perhaps a role model for ex-cons trying to go straight. Montgomery "Monty" Haaviko is having a bad day when the book opens, as he is caught in the middle of an armed robbery at a Winnipeg bank. However, this doesn't begin to compare with the past few months of his life.

He has been busy helping a friend set up a human smuggling route into Canada while at the same time, trying to figure out how to shut down the crack house in his neighbourhood and keep the children he babysits in line. Certainly a quirky story line. A former bad ass, Monty has his own moral code, a twisting of the ways cons operate so that he can fit as much as possible into his new straight life. It is not  necessarily a code with which most of us would be comfortable but strangely, it makes sense in his world.

His real estate agent wife Claire is no shrinking violet either. Most of the time, she is a typical working mother but she always has Monty's back, even if that means lurking in the shadows with a crowbar. It will be interesting to get the first book in this series, "An Ordinary Decent Criminal", to learn how Monty and Claire met.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. Often, you are on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next bad thing to happen, and it's the kind of book you finally have to sit down and finish because the suspense is so great.

It was so exciting to discover this Canadian author and a shock to learn he had died suddenly two years ago (2011), aged only 42. He was promoting his third book in this series, "A Criminal to Remember". According to the Quill and Quire obituary, "At 21, Van Rooy was convicted of armed robbery and served nearly two years in federal penitentiary. He has always maintained his innocence and told the Winnipeg Free Press last year that he had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time." No doubt this jail experience assisted his development of the character Monty.


  1. Debra: I am glad you enjoyed Your Friendly Neighbourhood Criminal and thanks for mentioning my blog. I thought Van Rooy created a very interesting character in Monty.

  2. Sounds like an interesting author and a very different kind of read- thank you for a great review. I know next to nothing about Canadian crime fiction and hope to find out more through the Global Reading Challenge.

    1. There's lots to discover here in Canada! Bill Selnes has a great Canadian mysteries blog as well, at