A good thriller from the Arthur Ellis Award winner. The awards are given each year to the best Canadian writers. This one is about what happens to a now Montreal cop who took part in experiments sponsored by the CIA when he was a poor college student in need on money. He also hoped they could help him deal with his cop father’s death.
Kellen O’Reilly is having flashbacks twenty-five years later from a program called MK-Ultra. It’s run by Dr.Gregor Satorius at a clinic called Coldhaven in Montreal. The experiments revolved around erasing the memories of enemy agents. Almost everyone ended up a mental mess. O’Reilly is seeing his old college friend Wally who is a psychiatrist. He keeps getting an image of a shooting and a voice saying “He killed your father.”
While dealing with that, O’Reilly is behind a movement that would have the police force pulling a twenty-four hour strike for more time off to be with families. He has some harsh words with attorney Sarah Paradis. Of course they end up having an affair.
One night Sarah walks into a drug store and then masked men walk in. They’re after a sleazy lawyer who stopped into the store. Everyone hits the deck. Not knowing what’s going on O’Reilly strolls in. He ends up killing one of the men. They’ll all meet later as they try and keep an earlier event covered up.
Sarah is also the attorney for the Coldhaven victims and she wants O’Reilly to join her clients in a lawsuit. He’s too busy dealing with corruption at the top along with dealing with the CIA and other officials. The answers may lie with the local mob. O’Reilly and his partner skirt the law in trying to find out what’s going on.
The flashbacks continue and what really happened to his father is just at the surface. Wally recommends LSD to help him. O’Reilly goes into a mob porn shop and drug center to grab the acid he needs.
The resolution left me a little cold and I thought,”not that again.” But I am a Deverell fan so I just went with it. It is an exciting finish. The book is the basis for the 1989 movie starring Michael Ironside as O’Reilly.