CANARY by Duane Swierczynski

CANARY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

When police coerce a whip-smart college student into being a confidential informant, they get more than they bargained for.

In a long, rambling and cheeky letter to her mother, Sarie Holland describes her arrest and incarceration on a drug charge. A more prosaic account from the perspective of undercover narcotics officer Benjamin F. Wildey counterpoints segments of Sarie's letter. Wildey gives his catch a cheap burner phone and demands that she become his informant or face harsh prosecution. Shrewd Sarie immediately begins living a double life, lying to her clueless father as she fields persistent texts from Wildey and behaves with uncharacteristic abruptness. Wildey feels guilty but not guilty enough to cut Sarie loose. Meanwhile, Sarie's suspicious brother, Marty, notes the change in his sister's behavior and wonders what she could be up to. Soon after Wildey sets Sarie up to trap users with fake packets of drugs, Sarie, chafing under the officer's control, starts to revolt in little ways. A close brush with mortality pulls her up short. Sensing her skittishness, Wildey begins to monitor her more closely. As the two seem headed for a showdown, Sarie's family begins probing the situation, which can't possibly end well.

Inventive Swierczynski, author of the popular Charlie Hardie trilogy (Point and Shoot, 2013, etc.), breathes fresh life into a familiar plot with shifting perspectives, sly humor, puckish chapter titles and a crackerjack pace.

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-316-40320-7
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2015




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