Synopses & Reviews
BC's favourite bush poet unwraps his second novel, a noirish mystery tour through unfamiliar and dangerous terrain.
Dead Man's Ticket is part logger's story, part thriller, and all page-turner: Terry Belshaw, the protagonist of Trower's acclaimed first novel Grogan's Cafe, makes his way through the seamy world of Vancouver's tenderloin district of the 1950s. He rubs shoulders with heroin junkies and zoot-suited hoodlums, whose hip jargon and shady activities fascinate him.
When his best friend Frankie drops dead surprisingly, Belshaw is determined to uncover the truth about his buddy's death, but first he has to put in time at a logging camp in Frankie's place - on an unlucky "dead man's ticket." Back in Vancouver's Skid Road, Terry gathers clues and becomes entangled with Frankie's beautiful girlfriend Carlotta - who seems to know more about Frankie's death than she is willing to let on - and a notorious underworld punk who is Terry's own doppleganger. When Belshaw meets his nemesis in the novel's riveting climax, he is confronted with the dark side of himself. Only one side survives.
Dead Man's Ticket offers a rare glimpse of fascinating netherworlds, from the Press Club where a buxom chanteuse warbles "Moonlight in Vermont" to Miranda's Cafe, known to its patrons as the Junkyard. Trower deftly recreates Vancouver's Skid Road of 1952, with its jumping nightclub scene and intriguing cast of loggers, winos, hookers, hustlers and rounders.
Meet Terry Belshaw, the unlikely hero of an uncommon novel -- half logger's story, half noir thriller, all page-turner.
"...A pulpy romp through the seamy underbelly of Vancouver in the 1950s....Trower's re-creation of Vancouver's skid row is especially deft and the dialogue of his down-and-outers is utterly convincing". -- Will Wigle, Vancouver Province
"A pulpy romp through the seamy underbelly of Vancouver in the 1950s." -Vancouver Province
About the Author
Peter Trower was born at St. Leonard's-on-Sea, England, in 1930. He immigrated to British Columbia at age ten, following the death of his test-pilot father in a plane crash. His mother married a West Coast pulp mill superintendent who drowned soon after. Trower quit school to work as a logger for twenty-two years. Since 1969, he has published more than a dozen books of poetry--from which poems were selected for Haunted Hills & Hanging Valleys: Selected Poems 1969-2004--and contributed to several issues of Raincoast Chronicles and Vancouver Magazine. Poetry collections such as Moving Through Mystery (1969), Between the Sky and the Splinters (1974), The Alders and Others (1969) and Ragged Horizons (1978) express his admiration and resentment at the magisterial power of nature. He has written three novels about the West Coast logging life: Grogan's Cafe (1993), Dead Man's Ticket (1996) and The Judas Hills (2000). Trower lives in Gibsons, British Columbia.
Table of Contents
1 Accusations at the Graveyard 13
2 Carlotta and the Mouse 26
3 Hardball Between Floors 36
4 Dead Man's Ticket 50
5 The Fog Loggers 61
6 The Evacuee 72
7 Breaking the Code 83
8 On Rich Men's Turf 95
9 The Meanstreet Shuffle 107
10 The Junkyard and Points East 117
11 Welcome to the Club 128
12 A Change of Address 139
13 Lady on the Lam 149
14 The Errand Boys 160
15 The Lowdown 170
16 Showdown at the Junkyard 181
17 The Mousetrap Snaps 192
18 The Living Reflection 205
19 Dialogue with the Doppelganger 217
20 The Errand Boys Deliver 227