Alan Teder's Reviews > The Bad Canadian

The Bad Canadian by Leonard Mokos
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2017-reading-challenge, crime-fiction, historical-fiction, mystery-fiction

“The Bad Canadian” is many things, including good, but it is not predictable.

What goes into the decision to read a book? Some books attract our interest through a familiar author, a favourite topic or genre, the recommendations of friends or reviews, or perhaps being drawn by the title or the cover image.

“The Bad Canadian” pulled me in through the last of those, even before I knew what it was about. You read a title like “The Bad Canadian” and think, how can a Canadian be bad? What does it mean for a Canadian to be bad? They don’t like hockey? They don’t like Tim Horton’s? They don’t like the great outdoors? All sorts of dumb thoughts go through your mind, but the main ones are: what kind of book calls itself “The Bad Canadian,” and, I want to read this book.

Then there was the mystery of the cover image by Robert Potvin, a simply black and white photograph of: a coil spring, a pineapple grenade (with 2 chipped fragments) and a thigh bone (which looks too short and thick to be human). The three of them are arranged like an art exhibit. Are they symbols or some sort of secret signs? The coil spring is mechanization and the industrial age, the grenade is war and its destruction, and the bone is inner strength and support but is symbolic of frailty as well. We are all held upright by simple elements that can be broken and that may not repair with ease. Again, the main thoughts are: what kind of book uses this for a cover image, and, I want to read this book.

Author Mokos does not disappoint. Starting with an idyllic fishing scene we are quickly pulled into a murder mystery. The time is the summer of 1940 and the setting is a fictitious Canadian town called Edenville on the shores of Lake Huron, presumably situated just west of Stratford, Ontario whose newspapers they read. The detective team is based on the naive newcomer and the experienced mentor prototype, but the actual characters are far from standard. The young constable Eddie Sommers is a war-time replacement, a polio sufferer who is called to duty when the town’s regular policeman is drafted for World War 2 in Europe. The mentor Marshall Geary is a World War 1 veteran who suffered disfiguring facial wounds which are covered up by a copper face mask (plastic surgery not being very advanced at the time). Geary spent his post-war years on the Toronto Police force before retiring to his hometown. Various other conventions go out the window very quickly, the newbie may be smarter than he seems and the veteran is not the gentle relaxed fisherman for long. In fact, before the 2nd chapter is done he is already roughing up the first suspect!

Edenville turns out to not be the paradise of its namesake. Many of the town’s older residents have secrets and many of those who are WWI vets have untreated PTSD (then called shellshock). Geary himself has a tendency to flashback to his time in the trenches, which is how we get to hear his backstory. Overall, a great first mystery that combines the horror of war with a view of small town life and its many secrets.

Pg. 93 “coughed a little into a Kleenex…” At first I thought: anachronism? But no, I looked it up and Kleenex was invented in 1924! And it was first marketed for makeup removal before someone realized you could use it for sneezing and coughing.

#ThereIsAlwaysOne, or More
Pg. 44 “We’ll have to that find out…” s/b We’ll have to find that out…
Pg. 55 “Can I confess that is was easier…” s/b Can I confess that it was easier…
Pg. 77 “A dog barked furiously in the year yard.” s/b A dog barked furiously in the rear yard.
Pg. 86 “not able fight” s/b not able to fight
Pg. 113 “Out in the open is it infinitely louder,” s/b Out in the open it is infinitely louder,
Pg. 169 “he said with his his shaking mirth.” s/b he said with his shaking mirth.
Pg. 193 “Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong were harmonizing ‘Jeepers, Creepers’.” = anachronism, Fitzgerald and Armstrong didn’t record together until some Decca singles in the mid to late 1940’s, but never on the song “Jeepers, Creepers.” Their duo albums are from the 1950’s on Verve.
Pg. 205 “now that is was all too late.” s/b now that it was all too late.
Pg. 221 “enlgulfing” s/b engulfing
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Reading Progress

April 24, 2017 – Shelved
April 24, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
May 2, 2017 – Started Reading
May 2, 2017 – Shelved as: 2017-reading-challenge
May 2, 2017 – Shelved as: crime-fiction
May 2, 2017 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
May 2, 2017 – Shelved as: mystery-fiction
May 4, 2017 –
page 20
May 5, 2017 –
page 40
May 6, 2017 –
page 80
May 6, 2017 –
page 120
May 7, 2017 –
page 160
May 7, 2017 –
page 180
May 8, 2017 –
page 190
May 9, 2017 –
page 210
May 9, 2017 –
page 224
May 9, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Leonard (last edited May 10, 2017 01:38AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leonard Mokos Alan, your comment on Kleenex got me thinking of something that could interest you: Charles Panati's "Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things." Not as transfixing as his "Extraordinary Endings..." but still interesting.
Your edit notes will be adopted within 48 hours and re-uploaded, so thank you for those.

Alan Teder Leonard wrote: "Alan, your comment on Kleenex got me thinking of something that could interest you: Charles Panati's "Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things." Not as transfixing as his "Extraordinary Endings..."..."

Thanks for the tip on Charles Panati and great book Leonard! I read the paperback edition. The Fitzgerald-Armstrong was just nit-picking, it is always possible that they could have performed it together on a radio-only performance in 1940 since the song dates from 1938.

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