Zero Avenue: A Crime Novel – Dietrich Kalteis

(Reviewed by JD Jung)

1970s Vancouver- The young punk scene is vibrant and on the rise. Twenty four year- old singer/guitarist Frankie Del Rey just wants to make enough for her band, Middle Finger, to record an EP.

So to make money, she runs drugs across town and even across the Canadian-U.S. border for grower, manufacturer and dealer, Marty Sayles. She only sees this as temporary; and even when her relationship with Sayles goes sour, she can’t seem to get out. It doesn’t help that Sayles’ former chauffeur, now right-hand man Zeke Chamas, can’t stand her.

Bar owner, Johnny Falco lets new bands like Frankie’s, play at his club, but is behind on his rent to his landlord, who happens to be Marty Sayles. He has an idea to rob Marty’s pot field to pay his back rent, even though it’s pretty well monitored. Unfortunately, Falco can’t keep quiet about it, and Frankie’s bassist suddenly goes missing.

Though it is fast-moving, Zero Avenue has a simple, straightforward plot. The setting and characters make the story a worthwhile read. For instance, Frankie’s aunt Rita is a supporting character, but adds a lot to the story.

Those who want a quick read and remember the whole punk scene will enjoy this one.

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