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Foster, Tony.

Toronto, Methuen, c1984. 284pp, cloth, $19.95. ISBN 0-458-98I50-8. CIP

Reviewed by Ron Jacques

Volume 13 Number 3
1985 May

A parole officer hears that paper money is being shipped back to the Mint in sealed bags on barely guarded trains and decides to use some of the parolees on his caseload to help him plan and execute a robbery. According to the liner notes, this book is "based on an actual incident that took place in Canada in the early Seventies."

The novel has all the ingredients of a thriller: a beautiful blond who spent six years in prison after being framed, a dashing pilot who has been in and out of prison for smuggling drugs, and the parole officer with the PhD who is tired of his desk job and yearns for money and adventure. Add to this transcontinental trains, bush planes landing on fogbound northern lakes, and tenacious policemen who know something is going on but cannot figure out what and you should have a fast-paced, suspenseful book.

Unfortunately, it does not quite come off. The characters are flatly written, and the plot does not generate much suspense. The surprise ending is not much of a surprise, because the reader knows all the way through that things will not work out in this "foolproof” scheme. Bags of negotiable money (hint, hint) do not get left lying around in train stations on a regular basis. Somehow the beautiful blond and the dashing pilot should have known this, even if the bored parole officer and the smalltime crook did not.

Ron Jacques, Bracebridge & Muskoka Lakes S.S., Bracebridge, Ont.
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