Created by Marwan Hassan
"You don't pull the apple...You twist it gently until it falls into your hand."
-- Alec explains his M.O. in As the Crow Dies
Ottawa has mean streets?
If nothing else, the ALEC KNIGHT series finally puts the boots to the long-expired image of Ottawa, Canada's national capital, as a drowsy, tightly buttoned down little government town where nothing much happens.
Instead, Ottawa is more accurately depicted as a increasingly vibrant, multicultural small city filled with museums and universities and political infighting -- and a booming high-tech economy that's already earned it the nickname of "Silicon Valley North." But there are other new industries taking root -- particularly biotechnology. And it's that field which forms the background for The Lost Patent (2005), the first novel in a proposed series, when Alec, an investigator for Ottawa's Lajoie-Chang Associates, is assigned to track down a missing briefcase in a town crawling with bureaucrats and businessmen.
The briefcase is a potential powderkeg, and may hold the key to a patent for an AIDS cure, so you can understand why the owner wants it back.
Fortunately, Alec seems up to the task, even if he reveals little about himself or his thoughts. It's by watching him in action that we get some sense of the guy. He may be, at first glance, a buttoned-down guy himself, more old Ottawa than new, but he's also a bit of a scam artist -- he knows how to get people to talk by whatever means possible, and he knows when to keep his eyes open and when to keep his mouth shut. He may seem soft-spoken but he's persistent, pragmatic and methodolical, and he gets the job done.
In the sequel, As the Crow Dies (2005), Alec tries to track down a missing law student, the daughter of two successful lawyers, who's living way beyond her means and who may -- or may not -- be involved in a big buck scam involving big business and big politics, not to mention murder.
Marwan Hassan, a novelist of Lebanese descent, was born in London, Ontario in 1950. He is a graduate of the University of Windsor, and now lives in Ottawa, Ontario.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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