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Darwin's Nightmare

Darwin's Nightmare

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ECW Press

Knowles, Mike




2013-05-09 10:54:13: Nomination was created
2013-05-09 17:38:33: payment successful from Paypal (order 70)

Erin Creasey

Sales and Marketing Director

ECW Press

Feature film


Mike Knowles is the author of Darwin’s Nightmare, Grinder, In Plain Sight, and Never Play Another Man’s Game. Knowles studied writing at McMaster University before pursuing a career in education. Knowles became an elementary school teacher and currently teaches in Hamilton, Ontario.

The Wilson Mysteries are critically acclaimed. Booklist sums it up: ““Knowles’ novels echo writers who have come before him—Richard Stark, for example, or Jim Thompson—but they’re not imitations. Wilson isn’t Stark’s Parker, and the author’s bare-bones prose doesn’t sound like Thompson’s. And the setting certainly freshens up the proceedings, too: you don’t see a lot of noirish crime dramas set in Hamilton, Ontario...a must-read.” A starred review in Publishers Weekly declared: “This is pure, visceral action, reading more like an episode of a serial than a self-contained novel.”

Mob enforcer Wilson does dirty deeds for a living, but when a simple job goes wrong, his focus shifts to surviving Hamilton’s underworld.

Wilson spent his entire life under the radar. Few people knew who he was and even less knew how to find him. Only two people even knew what he really did. He worked jobs for one very bad man. Illegal jobs no one could ever know about. Wilson was invisible until the day he crossed the line and risked everything to save the last connection to humanity he had. One day changed everything. Wilson saved his friends and earned the hatred of a vengeful mob boss, a man who claimed he was Charles Darwin’s worst nightmare.

Wilson survived his transgression and went even deeper into the underworld of Hamilton, becoming a ghost in the city — until a simple job sets into motion a violent chain of events from which no one will escape untouched. Wilson learns that no one forgets, no one gets away clean, and no good deed goes unpunished.

Wilson’s underworld exploits continue with Grinder, In Plain Sight, and Never Play Another Man’s Game.

Wilson is a mob enforcer who, despite the dark world he lives in, still has his own set of ethical standards. Efficient and inventive, Wilson is a sympathetic anti-hero to root for.

The Wilson Mysteries offer a trip into the underworld in our backyard, exploring the many shades of morality, greed, revenge, loyalty, and justice. There are no white knights here, just characters drawn in black and shades of grey.

Knowles’s books are tightly wrought, action-packed underworld drama with plenty of intrigue and excitement to keep the story moving. The rough beauty of the seedier parts of Hamilton, Ontario, provide a fresh backdrop for this gritty thriller.

Men 18–34
Women 18–34
Men 35-54
Women 35–54
Other (e.g., mystery fans)

The Wilson Mystery series offers the same fascinating bad guys, unflinching violence, and dark humour as a Guy Ritchie film and a similar anti-hero to Richard Stark’s Hunter.

Watching for the switch was the easiest part. This guy was such an amateur that he drew attention to himself just standing there. The bag, the object of my interest, was being held by a young kid with blond highlighted hair and several days’ worth of dark scruff growing on his face. His small mouth was chewing gum, hard, and
his head was looking around one hundred eighty degrees left then right. If he were capable he would have spun his head in a constant rotation, taking in everything in the airport.
He couldn’t even dress the part; he was wearing a long beige trench coat — unbuttoned with the collar turned up. The only thing missing was a fedora. I was sure he watched spy movies to pump himself up for the deal.
The deal itself was the only thing hard to figure. I had been paid to steal a package from an unknown person, and I had no knowledge about the courier, size, contents, or nature of the package. I knew only the location, Hamilton International Airport, which made any tools I wanted to bring pretty much useless. The airport was
small in comparison to its counterpart, ninety minutes away in Toronto. The Hamilton airport ran about three hundred flights per week. Only one third of those flights were international. Most of the passengers who used the airport were businessmen on domestic flights to Ottawa or Montreal.
It was eight in the morning in mid-October, and the airport was in a lull. The passengers who had arrived on the red-eye had collected their luggage and gone outside, leaving only a hundred or so customers in the terminal. I had to intercept the bag before it got to a plane, and that meant I might have to follow it to a gate. So I came in light.
There were only a few minimum-wage rent-a-cops working as airport security near the entrance; there was no need for more. The crowds were sparse and half-asleep, and the real action took place after you bought your ticket. The blond kid moved around the terminal looking at brochures and the candy on display in the convenience store. I watched him and everything else in the terminal from a seat near a row of pay phones. No one else seemed to be watching the kid, which made me think the deal was
going to happen on the other side of the metal detectors.
Every so often, my gaze would catch the boy’s blond hair, and I would focus on him. He was young, no more than twenty-five, and under the trench coat he wore a black Juventus soccer warm-up suit. The flashy labels on the casual clothes under the coat made the kid easy to spot. His light olive skin put his ancestors around the Mediterranean; the warm-up suit narrowed the geography to Italy. His hair had been dyed blond a few weeks ago, judging
from the inch of dark roots visible above his forehead. He
augmented his faux blond hair with a lot of gel, making him taller and more colourful than anyone around him. Everything about his outfit, his features, and the way he carried himself screamed, “Look at me!” He made no effort to be anonymous, to be invisible, like me. It made me wonder what I was doing involved with this kid, and
it made me wonder about the bag. What could a kid like this be trying to move? And why would it be important to my employer?
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, a watch started beeping. It was the kid’s watch; the beeping startled him, and he shut it off so he could complete another full scan around the room. He moved toward a gate, and produced a ticket from an inner coat pocket. He would have to pass several small restaurants and stores to reach the double doors that led to the metal detectors. Only one of the doors was open, and there was a backup of ten or
twelve passengers. I moved in behind the kid and took the roll of quarters from my pocket. If this guy was as amateur as he looked, it would all work out. I moved his coat to the side with my left hand and shoved the roll hard into his back right on top of his kidney.
“Turn around and walk to the bathroom now,” I said, and shoved the roll of coins harder into his back like a gun barrel.
“What? . . . What are you doing? W . . . w . . . why?” he stuttered.
“Too bad, kid. If you didn’t know, you would have screamed,” I said into his ear. “Move out of line and walk to the bathroom. If you don’t I’ll just clip you here. The gun is silenced. I’ll be in the car before anyone figures out you’ve been shot.”
The kid didn’t question me; he moved away from the line and turned toward the washroom as though he was being pulled by marionette strings. As we walked, the back collar of the beige coat became brown with sweat.
The bathrooms were down a long hall, and we had to weave around several people to get to the door. If this poseur had been anyone else he would have shoved off and been mixed into the people before I could get any shots off.
But he wasn’t anyone else.

Knowles’s hard-boiled Wilson Mysteries are a fast-paced and action packed immersion into all the violence, suspicion, and double-dealing of the shadowy side of Hamilton.

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