Goodreads ~ Well into his forties, Derrick Rowe finds himself chasing stray women and stealing cash from the bookstore he manages. Having decided it's time to stop spinning his wheels, he's recently turned to robbing banks.
Meanwhile, he bails his friend Jack Lofton out of jail, a burly fellow in an alcoholic free-fall of his own. Rowe soon enlists both Lofton and a tough young clerk at the bookstore in another heist, setting the stage for an armed bank robbery, a drive-by shooting, and further complications for all.
Told from different perspectives in Clark's signature clear, concise prose, "Hair-Trigger" follows the various trails and exploits that lead to a violent climax involving Rowe, Lofton, the police and several gangsters.
Derrick is in his mid-forties and manages a small bookstore, As such, he knows ways to skim money from it to supplement his income and gets mad when people shoplift from the store because that cuts into his action. He has just bailed his friend, Jack, out of jail. Jack has no job but tells tall tales of being a private detective and has political connections in the States. O'Hara works for Derrick in the bookstore and has a side business selling drugs. Because all three are short on cash, Derrick suggests they rob a bank. It should be a piece of cake but it's not.
In addition, all three are looking for love. Derrick meets a string of women in bars ... he talks one down to $10 for "services"; he takes another home from a bar in the Beaches and kicks her out when she craps on how unsuccessful he is. Jack has his eye on Marva, a table dancer at a strip bar, and they start a relationship ... but he is annoyed because she has a male roommate and her ex-boyfriend calls a lot. O'Hara is dating Betty who doesn't have issues with threesomes.
The ending comes quickly, violently and abruptly.
This is the first book I've read by this author and I enjoyed it. The writing style was humorous and edgy and the story was amusing. Despite being lowlifes, I found Derrick, Jack and O'Hara likeable and was cheering for them. As a head's up, there is a swearing and adult activity.
This story is set in the mid-1990s in Toronto ... Greenwood Raceway was in the process of being demolished to be turned into housing, the Gypsy Co-Op was still open in my 'hood (it's now the Dog's Bollocks) and Derrick doesn't live far from where I work. As the author described where the characters where and what they were doing, I knew exactly where they were. If you are from Toronto, having it set here will be fun for you.