Monday, September 25, 2017

William Deverell's Whipped

Whipped starts with a bang, or maybe I should say a thwack.

Lou Sabatino, Montreal reporter, is shown a video by Svetlana Glinka, professional dominatrix--no, dahlingk, ethical therapist--doing her thing with the whip and the dominatee is Emil Farquist, prominent conservative and, in fact, the Chief Government Whip. A scoop! And the headlines can write themselves.

And Lou is need of something nice. After breaking a big Mafia case, he's in witness protection. Since he can't work, he's laid off. And his wife can't stand the strain, and is about to leave him, taking the kids.

But, though Svetlana is furious at Emil Farquist--he said I was too old to play his mother, dahlingk!--she's not prepared to allow her name to be used, and she won't even give a copy of the video to Lou, though he sneaks one. Without a legit copy of the video, and a witness willing to let her name be used, Lou sees his scoop slipping away. He thinks maybe he can leak it, and shows the video to Margaret Blake, the Green Party's leader.

My. This is definitely a paradisiacal alternative Canada. Not only have the conservatives been caught out in a salacious sex scandal, but also (though only briefly) the Greens hold five (!) seats and the balance of power. Woo-hoo!

Inadvertently Margaret Blake reveals the existence of the video, and she needs to find it to restore her reputation. Otherwise it will be a case of libelous slander. This is where her husband, Arthur Beauchamp comes in to the picture.

Beauchamp is a high-powered criminal lawyer, now retired and living in British Columbia, and hero of the series. This is the seventh. He's ready. He's got a convenient private eye assistant who does the legwork, and while this never makes it to a courtroom proper, there are plenty of legal scenes in which he takes depositions for the slander case.

The main plot is loads of fun, with sly digs at recent Canadian politics, and while once upon a time that might have sounded dull (Worthwhile Canadian Initiative!) these days the whole world knows about Canadian politicians caught doing something they shouldn't on video. I kept expecting a Jimmy Kimmel cameo.

But--and you suspected there had to be a but--there was a second plot involving Beauchamp's friends and neighbours in British Columbia. Now I'm new to the Arthur Beauchamp series, and I suspect these are recurring characters with whom I might be involved, but I'm not. Maybe it would be more amusing if I knew them. But I found that whole subplot much less interesting than the main plot, and it ends with a deux ex machina resolution that's not much more convincing than "...and then I woke up." But still this was fun and I would/will definitely read other volumes in the series.

ARC provided by ECW press.

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