Tin Men: A Crime Novel - Mike Knowles

A big thanks to ECW Press and NetGalley who provided this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.


This is a dark, crime-fiction novel set in Hamilton, Ontario that tells the story of three morally ambiguous cops and the murder that binds them together.  Woody is the most likeable of the trio who turns his anger at the injustice of the world in on himself.  Damaged, likely from his time in the military, Oswald turns his anger outward and uses vigilante justice to punish criminals at every opportunity.  Dennis, brought up by a single parent father who was over-bearing, misogynistic and critical of his more sensitive son, is constantly out to prove himself to his fellow cops and deludes himself into believing that the only reason he isn’t liked is because he is so good at his job.


Overall, a pretty unlikeable team.  What makes this book interesting however is the subtle connection that each of them has to the murder victim, a fellow officer who was 8 months pregnant at the time of her death.


As a Canadian, I also love stories that are set in Canada so I wish that the story spent a little more time providing more details about the surrounding city as the mystery played out.  Hamilton is an interesting city, the ninth largest in Canada and the producer of sixty percent of Canada’s steel.  Canada’s version of “steel town" has been the focus of much redevelopment in the recent past with new building in the downtown core generating an interesting and vibrant mix of artistic and blue collar.


The story was fast-paced, the writing good and as I note above, the mystery kept me engaged.  The ending felt a bit rushed to me and while the characters were difficult to like, I cared enough about them to want to know “what happens next” with each of them.