It’s summer in the unlikely city of Montreal, and a lot of people are out and about in Claude Bouchard’s edge-of-your-seat crime mystery/thriller, Vigilante . It’s been a long time since I read thrillers that weren’t redeemed (my choice of word) by romance or humor; thankfully Bouchard certainly has the latter. I was quickly introduced to sexy (and some not-so-sexy) dames. I encountered the miserable victims (several of them, actually, and usually near the end of their depraved careers). And of course there’s the eponymous Vigilante himself: a murderer of murderers. A man whose self-justification leads him to the very life of crime he intends to clean up.
At first Bouchard’s wham – bam – pow – oof ! style of writing kind of startled me. After all, I’m more used to the demure misery that poor Fanny had to endure at Mansfield Park, not the baseball-bat-over-the-head-kind-of-pain that a badass rapist has to put up with in his final hours.
But I quickly got sucked into his fast-paced, action-packed story. I enjoyed following the intelligent mind of Montreal’s Special Homicide Task Force, Dave McCall, and his buddy, multimillionaire Chris Barry: “Dirty blond hair and perfect teeth. Approximately five-ten and one hundred seventy-five pounds, he seemed to be in fine physical shape. His most striking feature was his eyes: ice-blue, intelligent, powerful eyes.” That’s more like it.
This smart duo refuses to be daunted by the city’s series of vengeful, ghastly murders, and team up to ferret out the criminal. Before long, I realized something rather good about this novel: it’s entertaining! So instead of wincing at the crushed skulls and creepy syringes, I started to have fun with it. The Vigilante is a tragic Superhero (or Supervillain) who, having endured some traumatizing childhood experiences, is now wholly committed to fighting crime with crime. Sure, he’s a bit out of control, but that makes him all the more thrilling.
All in all, I had a really great time with this book. There are three more by the same author: The Consultant, Mind Games, and The Homeless Killer (another vigilante-type who has taken upon himself to rid the city of all variety of street people).