A debut novel following a former hit man who tries to eliminate old enemies before the past catches up with him.
Tristan Stonehorse just got out of prison; someone is already trying to kill him. While repaying a debt he owed a prison gang leader, Tristan finds himself in the middle of an ambush, realizing that someone from the past, someone dangerous and with deep connections, wants him gone for good. Unfortunately for Tristan, the list of suspects is long. After his time as one of the First Nation Syndicate’s top hit men in Canada, there are crooked Mounties, vengeful Hells Angels, and plenty of other shadowy underworld figures who wouldn’t mind him dead. His only clue comes from the execution of a former associate, whose last words point Tristan to a particular job he’d like to forget. As he moves across Canada to stay one step ahead of his pursuers, he revisits his time serving the British forces in Operation Desert Storm as well as the painful memories of his childhood abuse at the hands of twisted priests—a last vendetta he wants to repay and a source of surprising emotional vulnerability. As all these past sins start coming together and closing down on the resourceful Tristan, his daughter, who had finally moved out of the shadows of her father’s crimes, becomes both his biggest weakness and a potential path to real justice. Fleishman mainly writes in the present tense, creating a frantic and absorbing pace that builds intriguing distance from this dangerous main character as he reacts with brutal, calculated force. Tristan has all the makings of a tremendous and complex antihero, reminiscent of those found in Cormac McCarthy or James Ellroy novels. However, the past-tense chapters feel sluggish in comparison. These sections, which detail his past crimes, seem to limp from one grisly act of violence to the next. They provide answers about Tristan, but instead of adding depth, they make him less sympathetic and less interesting.
A violent, thrilling mystery hampered at times by overly gruesome exposition.