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Ball Park

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John Farrow immerses us in Montreal  1975 as Detective Cinq Mars transitions from the Night Patrol of tough honest cops to daytime police.  A teen female thief steals a baseball; her driver is killed during the theft.  The crime victim is the daughter of a Mafiosi.  Ball Park shows the interplay among the underworld of the mafiosi, domestic murder and police informants.  Gritty and gripping tale.
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An absolute pleasure to read!

This is a Swiss watch of a book – concise, beautifully crafted, effortlessly effective.

Seventh in the Cinq-Mars series, this thriller sees the Montreal detective, Emile Cinq-Mars transfer from the elite Night Patrol to the less demanding day shift. Well, that’s the theory……. until he encounters wild child, Quinn Tanner, daredevil thief, who inadvertently steals something far more valuable than she imagines and all hell breaks loose.

This book would make a wonderful film – strong as it is on visual images and impact, pacy narrative, vivid and diverse characters and snappy, wise-cracking dialogue.

As Farrow leads us deftly through the twists and turns of his labyrinthine plot more and more about the characters, the nature of the Mob and the corruption and collusion of the police is revealed. 
This critically acclaimed Canadian writer is at the top of his game here and it is an impressive one. He is a master of the thriller genre. His spare, deceptively simple use of language drives a clear and powerful narrative.

“Ball Park” is an absolute pleasure to read.

Charlotte Gower

Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review
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Montreal, 1975. Detective Emile Cinq-Mars is transferring from the Night Patrol - the notoriously tough department of officers in charge of watching over the city as it sleeps - to the day shift. His old superior has seen to it that he's assigned to partner Yves Giroux, another ex-Night Patrol detective some say isn't on the 'up and up'.

Getting in a house is easy for thief Quinn Tanner. The stress comes in getting out clean. On finding her getaway driver dead after her latest heist, she goes underground.

For his first case on the day shift, Emile is sent to the property that Quinn has just visited, and their paths are set to cross. But has she stolen something more valuable than she realizes . . . and who is hunting for her now?
My take......

Ball Park is the seventh novel in John Farrow's Emile Cinq-Mars series but my first encounter with the policeman from Montreal. Definitely not my last though after this thoroughly engrossing read.

A cop with a new partner and new boss, a young thief, a burglary gone wrong, a dead getaway driver, a retired safe cracker, a fence with a past, a mob boss, his cheating daughter, her dead husband, a missing baseball with a history and a story to tell, a weed dealer with no name, an alliance of sorts, a hunt, a kidnap, a rescue plan, a mobilisation, a negotiation, a confrontation or two and a helluva lot more.

Ticks in pretty much every box. I liked the setting of the novel in regards to the city of Montreal and the timing - 1975, a year before the Olympics comes to town. There's also the duality of the culture with the mix of French and English, as well as the division of the city neighbourhoods between the haves and the have nots.

Our main character, Emile Cinq-Mars is interesting. No emotional baggage as such, though he's single and thinks about his-ex a fair bit. He's trying to establish himself with a new group of peers, in particular his partner who may or may not be a little bit dirty. He's intelligent and a bit of a risk-taker. We also spend a lot of time with Quinn, the thief who sets a whole chain of events in motion. We probably get more of her back story than Emile's. We get in her head and understand her psyche..... her relationship with her father, her sense of purpose, her rules for stealing, her strategizing, her manipulation of people, the sense of always being on the outside of things, her isolation, her solitariness. The relationship between the two throughout the book is one of the highlights...... initial mistrust, moving onto more solid ground, plenty of humour, possibly a bit of flirting, some earned respect and maybe by the end a kind of friendship.

The plot I could buy into, an event, consequences and a snowball effect which brings into play a disparate bunch of characters with conflicting agendas and resulting in a few casualties along the way. The outcome didn't disappoint either.

Reasonable pace throughout, events happen quickly, things keep moving, but it never seems rushed. Not over long either with my copy weighing in at a bit over 250 pages. I didn't feel as if I was missing a trick by entering the series at this book either. Lots to recommend it and it's definitely a series I will be reading more from, both earlier books and any future ones the author cares to write.

4.5 from 5

John Farrow is the pseudonym of Canadian author, Trevor Ferguson.

Read - October, 2019
Published - 2019
Page count - 267
Source - Net Galley courtesy of publisher, Severn House
Format - ePub read on laptop
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Montreal Canada 1975.  Quinn Tanner is a young burglar.  She lives with her reformed Safe cracker Father, her Mother having died when she was young. Quinn has recruited her current boyfriend as a get away driver.  She breaks into a house in a wealthy neighbourhood.  The husband is a doctor and is at the Hospital, however his young wife is entertaining a lover!
When Quinn returns to the car she finds her boyfriend dead from a knife wound.  She runs away.
Detective Emile Cinq-Mars has been working on the Night Patrol reporting to Captain Armand Touton.  However he has now moved to the day shift.  He and his new partner Sergeant Detective Yves Giroux soon realise that Quinn is the burglar and she has burgled the house of the daughter of a gang boss.  In the burglary is a baseball which had been stolen by the Doctor from his Father in Law.  When the Doctor is murdered, the police suspect the Wife's lover.
Quinn has left the baseball with a Pawnbroker Ezra Knightsbridge who has a shady past.  Can Emile keep Quinn safe from harm?
When Quinn is kidnapped and threatened with torture unless she reveals the whereabouts of the missing baseball, can Emile and his partner rescue her?
Fast paced and involved.  This is apparently the seventh in the series, but is he first one for me.  I look forward to reading more of Emile's exploits.  Very well recommended.
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Thank you #NetGalley and #Severn for the opportunity to read #BallPark by #JohnFarrow in return for a fair review.

I have read all of the Emile Cinq-Mars novels by John Farrow but one - River City - and that one I plan on getting back to.

Although this is listed as the sixth book in the series, we're actually back in time to 1975, the year before the Montreal Olympics (a time I remember well, as it precipitated my moving from my hometown of Montreal to my adopted hometown of Toronto) and Cinq-Mars is leaving the Night Patrol, having been moved on by his mentor who is about to retire.

On his first Daytime case, he's pitched headlong into a robbery, murders, kidnapping, mobsters, lions, tigers and bears (oh, my) - okay, no lions, tigers or bears but what the hey.

Getting off on the wrong foot with his new partners, courtesy of an all-night going away binge with is old boss, Emile is sent to the home of a prominent Montreal doctor and his wife, them having experienced a break in overnight and the loss of a number of items including a signed 'Jackie Robinson' baseball. While Emile's partner is convinced that this is an insurance scam, Cinq-Mars isn't so sure.

Then, when a body shows up in a car around the corner, a car that contains evidence, Emile's off and running with both cases.

Without giving anything away, the case includes a thief, a fence, a godfather and a smattering of violence.

Mr. Farrow writes with a great fluidity of language; you can almost hear what's said in French and what's in English although the entire book IS in English (except for the occasional swear word). It's almost poetic at times. The chapters in this book have interesting titles, but they grow on you quickly and actually makes sense.

Strongly recommended. You don't have to have read the other books in the series - this actually would make a good jumping off point.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Severn House Publishers for an advance copy of Ball Park, a police procedural featuring Montreal detective Emile Cinq-Mars.

1975 and Emile has just transferred from the notoriously incorruptible Night Patrol to day shift where he is partnered with Yves Giroux, a former Night Patrol Officer with a whiff of corruption around him. Their first case is a burglary with some strange events. The burglar is teenager Quinn Tanner who quickly realises she may have stolen more than she thought.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ball Park which is a clever piece of writing with some great twists. It must be at least fifteen years since I read City of Ice and Ice Lake and, to be honest, all I remember is that I loved them and looked out for more for a few years until recently when I saw the Storm Trilogy, which I haven’t got round to reading yet, and then this became available so I scooped it up. I’m glad I did as my memory hasn’t failed me, despite frequent suggestions of otherwise nowadays. It is a great read and appealed to me on so many levels. Firstly it is a police procedural, my favourite kind of reading. The plot held my attention throughout as it is not a run of the mill murder mystery. It draws in various characters with different motives and these motivations are what drives the novel. The overarching question is why and this is gradually teased out as the novel progresses. I know that sounds a bit woolly but I don’t want to issue spoilers. I also liked the writing which is inviting and I loved the dialogue which seems natural and human, being at times elliptical and ambiguous but always understandable.

I like the relationship between Quinn and Emile which can be feisty but seems like the start of a good friendship. The contrast between their, don’t know what to call it, innocence, idealism, goodness (?) and the self serving cynicism of their opponents is somehow satisfying, as if they can rise above the sewer. It gives the novel a feel good factor.

Ball Park is a good read which I have no hesitation in recommending.
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