"Since I'm going to die, do you mind if I lead you to the Lord?"
Personally, I'm not quite buying it. Although I can certainly plead guilty to having suckled on the nipple of American pop culture (as a child, the CBC seemed to be reserved for Mr. Dress-up, The Friendly Giant, The Beach Combers and Hockey Night in Canada) and of coming of age to the sound of screeching tires and gunfire via Rockford, Mannix et al, I've never particularly wanted to be an American. I'm actually quite proud of being a Canadian (and even more so a Montrealer) -- as anyone who's spent five minutes talking to me knows. And God only knows, I miss la belle ville, which is not only way colder than Vancouver, but also a lot more fun -- and it sure as hell beats Seattle.
But homesickness doesn't seem to be Joe's problem. Nope, when we first meet him in his quirkier-than-thou debut, Bye Bye Bertie (2005), his gripe with his lot in life is that he's thirty-three, still single, driving a cab part-time and living with his mother. And poor lonely Joe, good Christian that he is, desparately wants to be married. Bored stiff with the singles get-togethers at his church, he decides to go on a twenty-one day fast with the high hopes of impressing God, who will reward his new-found burst of spirituality by sending him a wife.
But Joe has other problems, as well. Never any great shakes as a detective (he's often resorted to finding lost kittens and moonlighting as a cabbie), he's suddenly thrust into a crazy mixed-up caper involving the Mulligan family, whose members seem to be disappearing at a rather alarming pace, a strange Celtic cult called the Latter Day Druids and a pint-sized hitman who may or may not be out to kill him.
And then there's Joe's addiction to jelly-filled doughnuts.
I tell ya, it ain't easy being Joe.
Rick Dewhurst, by the way, isn't knocking Christianity. He's actually been a pastor for the last ten years at the City Gate Church in Duncan, British Columbia, so he knows that of which he speaks. He also writes about another P.I., the waggishly named Jane Sunday.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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