Scratching the Flint
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About the Author
"Do not be fooled by Vern Smith's expertly playful language or occasional comedic interludes. In Scratching the Flint, Smith takes a deadly serious dive into a dark and mesmerizing world of sadistic murderers, backstabbers, and thieves, navigated by his irrepressible but flawed detectives Alex Johnson and Cecil Bolan. Good luck putting it down once you start."
-Bryan Gruley, author of the Starvation Lake trilogy
"Readers who think Canadian Noir is an oxymoron will have their heads spun by Vern Smith's Scratching the Flint, a wry, unruly chase through the sorts of character-driven minefields sown by the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Elmore Leonard."
-Craig Faustus Buck, author of Go Down Hard
"Picking up where his incendiary novelette The Gimmick left off, Vern Smith's new novel, Scratching the Flint, finds detectives Alex Johnson and Cecil Bolan straining against a deeply flawed legal system to bring down a ring of vintage car thieves. With his trademark no-nonsense prose and crackling wit, Smith takes readers back to pre-9/11 Toronto in this detective noir that somehow manages to be fun and thrilling and dead serious all at once. This is first-rate crime fiction."
-Joey R. Poole, author of I Have Always Been Here Before
"Scratching the Flint is a masterpiece, a deliciously twisted Canadian interracial detective saga not for the triggered. This steady, satisfying tale of endless corruption follows Toronto's finest battle-worn duo investigating theft rings and the bodies that come along with a system that favors criminals who know it well. However, as both sides lament the unavoidable road to hell by their own moral codes and civic nationalism, the fiery ending leaves the sweet taste of Toronto being just as fucked-up as Chicago."
-Tia Ja'nae, author of Ghosts On The Block Never Sleep
"This is a delicious chunk of crime-fiction candy. I devoured it. Atmospheric, dark, hard-hitting, relentless and thrilling with unexpected laughs. A story that'll stick with you days after its conclusion. Bravo."
-Mark Pelletier, BookTalk
"Smith conjures up a cast of memorable characters, all flawed and many despicable, but all drawn with vivid detail and humanness to deftly expose the brutal, seedy nature and cost of organized crime and corruption. As in life, everyone's in the mix, hand-in-hand waiting for the payoffs: politicians, police, lawyers, journalists, and criminals. And the police personalities and dialogue are bang on, amongst the very best I've read from an author who hasn't actually served in law enforcement."
-A.B. Patterson, author of the PI Harry Kenmare novels and former detective sergeant and corruption investigator
"Vern Smith's dialogue is thoughtful and thought-provoking. This is a book you will recommend to friends, and it deserves a wide readership. You will look forward to reading more of this talented author's work."
-Nick Chiarkas, author of Nunzio's Way
"...delivered in an often-experimental Pynchon-esque hyper-jive that might separate a new crime fiction intelligentsia from the more common old-guard thrill seeker."
-Gabriel Hart, Lit Reactor Interview
"...an intense read. I was wholly immersed in it and really didn't want to come up for air."
-HC Newton, The Irresponsible Reader