The Extinction Club: A Neo-Noir Thriller
By Jeffrey Moore
Not your typical thriller, The Extinction Club features colorful characters, an environmental consciousness, and an atypical locale. Add to it Jeffrey Moore’s strong writing and you have something that goes a step beyond ordinary thriller and crime fiction.
Nile Nightingale is on the lam, sort of, fleeing a vengeful ex-girlfriend by whom he has a young daughter. He made plenty of mistakes, including taking his daughter on an excursion without mentioning it to the girlfriend. That makes him a wanted man, a wanted wealthy man, as well as a man who has had problems with drugs and alcohol, who is prone to hallucinations. From NJ, he heads to Quebec Province, to a small hunting town in the Laurentians. There he finds a surprise in the form of a girl, savagely wounded, left in a sack to bleed to death. Using a fountain of knowledge accumulated in failed career attempts, he mends and nurses her back to life.
Céleste Jonquéres, 14 going on 15, is a self-schooled little genius fraught with issues revolving around her appearance, her interests, and the fact that now, with the death of her grandmother who raised her, finds herself alone in the world. Then there’s the fact that a gang of hunters milking bears for their bile, as well as other vile torments, are after her. She despises them, their maltreatment of animals for money, and that they hunt and kill for enjoyment.
At first, she doesn’t like or trust Nile. And herein lies the strongest point of the book: the skillful and wonderful manner in which Moore develops the relationship between the two of them. Because of this, in the end, you’ll find yourself greatly affected by what transpires.
The other strong point is how Moore calls attention to the plight of wildlife at the hands of people interested only in money. You’ll learn some things you never knew, things that will sicken you. The abuse of wildlife goes beyond blasting them into extinction, and these horrors are much worse.
Originally published in Canada in 2010. Nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award for best crime. Recommended if you’re looking for something different and more intelligent than the usual fare of thriller and crime fiction. w/c