Thursday, March 1, 2018

Completed: "One or the Other" by John McFetridge

Completed: One or the Other by John McFetridge, 2016, 9781770413276.

Third and most recent novel in the excellent Eddie Dougherty series set in 1970s Montreal. This book jumps forward four years to 1976. Eddie is still officially a constable at Station Ten in downtown Montreal.

Eddie still fills in with the detectives on certain assignments. Detective Carpentier even has Eddie briefly meet the Chief of Detectives in the Chief's office. But, Eddie still feels stuck - which he is. He wonders what's holding him back. Is it that he is English in a French town? Should he be making nice with different superiors? He's already working cases as a Constable and working Detective cases off the clock at all hours.

Eddie has continued to date Judy from the last book and figures he should propose. Right? That's what people do when they grow up and Eddie is getting close to 30 years old. He buys a ring cheap from a local hood but wants to find the right occasion to ask Judy.

Things happen. Two teenager bodies wash ashore in the St. Lawrence, one on the Montreal side and one on the Longueuil side. Eddie is tabbed by Dougherty to work with a lady cop from Longueuil. "Lady Cop" in 1970s Quebec means "Coffee Fetcher" and the cop, Legault, has little street experience. But, she's ready to detect and Eddie is ready to threaten.

You see, Eddie has turned into a goon. His interrogation tactic is to threaten, smack, shove, slap and scare people into talking. When he runs into a situation where that tactic cannot work - talking to rich people with lawyers - he is in a quandary. At first Legault is a bit taken back by the tactic, but she's also new, she has not done too much of this work before. As the novel moves on it's Legault who becomes the talker and Eddie starts trying to catch up. They work together often enough that they develop a rapport and team up for the interrogations.

But, the novel focuses on Eddie. Eddie wants the murderer of those teenagers found. He has a crisis of confidence and occupation but he comes back around to realizing that he enjoys being a policeman. He is starting to be honest with himself about his career, his abilities, his family, and his love life.

We follow Eddie around a few months through a bank robbery, joining a detective squad working a armored car robbery, encouraging Judy in her job search as a teacher, deciding if he should move to the suburbs, prepping for the Summer Olympics, working the Olympics, moving in with Judy, helping Judy deal with her divorcing parents, so on, so forth.

We also time travel to 1976 Montreal and drive along with Eddie though out the City. We go through the Provincial elections and the secessionist Parti Quebecois's  election win. Some English are starting to move away to Ontario and Toronto. Eddie thinks it's all politics as normal while everyone else lives their lives. But, what will he do as an English? He's always been from Montreal.

Anyhoo. I really enjoy this series.

No comments: