With Booklist calling his series the best of our time, and Lee Child also saying it is one of his favourites, it is a privilege to welcome John Farrow to the Severn House family. Our first entry in the Émile Cinq-Mars thriller series – the seventh in total – is the Editor’s Pick for July.
BALL PARK sees Detective Émile Cinq-Mars starting a new chapter in his career as he transfers from the notoriously tough Night Patrol division of the Montreal police force to the day shift. Yet his transition isn’t going to be a straightforward one. Cinq-Mars’s former supervisor Captain Armand Touton makes sure that he turns up for his first day in the new job hung-over and is assigned to partner another ex-Night Patrol detective some say isn’t on the “up and up”. With Émile known for being a by-the-book detective, he is unsure why Touton has done this. Is he setting him up to fail so he comes back to the Night Patrol?
Meanwhile, across town in Mt Royal, the richer part of the city, teenage thief Quinn Tanner breaks into a house and finds her victim at home with her secret lover. Despite a scare, Quinn escapes with some loot only to discover her getaway driver brutally murdered. Worried for her own life and how she could be accused of the crime, Quinn goes underground and hopes to stay out of the public eye.
For his first case on the day shift, Émile is sent to the property Quinn has just visited. Now their paths are set to cross. But has Quinn stolen something more valuable than she realizes? Who killed her partner and who is now hunting for her? And can Émile reach Quinn before it’s too late?
The city of Montreal in the 1970s was full of tough customers. The Night Patrol was an actual unit and Émile Cinq-Mars is based on a real-life policeman, and each had a reputation for taking a hard-line approach with criminals. Farrow’s knowledge of this history and Montreal itself comes across in this novel. The city is gritty and alive with colourful characters. Those inhabiting the pages of the book have an edge about them and they mean business – you certainly wouldn’t want to meet any of them down a dark alley. The grimier parts of the city feel like a place where the law rarely venture, while the wealthy parts enjoy the protection of the police.
With the two sides of the city set to clash, it is a conflict that could tear the foundations of Montreal apart.
Trapped in the middle is Quinn. While Émile is the beating heart of the novel, it is Quinn who steals the show. The witty, foul-mouthed teen is a match for any of the rough customers she comes face-to-face with, and you will be routing for her to win the day.
John Farrow is the pseudonym of Trevor Ferguson, a Canadian novelist and playwright with six previous novels in the Émile Cinq-Mars thriller series and seven literary novels under his own name.
BALL PARK is available from 31 July in the UK and 1 December in the US. Read more here.