John McFetridge in my home and native city / Ville de mes aïeux
What I like about Black Rock is that even though I lived in Montreal at the time of the book's setting and so did McFetridge, my Montreal was not his, and neither of our Montreals was that of the events that made headlines at the time and form the background to the novel's real action.
Those events are the FLQ terrorist bombings of 1970, the investigation of which punctuate the life and work of a young police officer named Eddie Dougherty as her pursues his real professional interest: the murders of a string of young women. (Read a newspaper clipping about the killings that sparked the novel at McFetridge's blog.)
So, while bombs go off downtown and in Westmount and Old Montreal, the action also takes Dougherty to crowded apartments off the Main and to bars in Point St. Charles, a local boy returning to his turf, this time as a cop seeking the killer of a murdered woman:
"They walked half a block to Dougherty's squad car, and Carpentier said, `They know you.'
"`But you're not one of them?'
"`English can be pure laine, too."The past can be a foreign country, but so can one's own country. (For another crime-fictionalized look Canada's October Crisis, see Giles Blunt's novel The Delicate Storm.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2014