A man seeking the high life realizes too late that he has destroyed his possibilities for happiness. Four junkies wait anxiously for a drug dealer who seems to have forgotten their existence. A gang leader attempts to navigate racism, greed, and mutiny within the ranks. An aspiring writer assesses and obsesses over a crime close to home as a young neighbour’s boyfriend is on trial for her murder. In Brunch with the Jackals, Don McLellan explores the dark side of urban life through stories that combine black comedy, observational invective, and heart-wrenching irony in a collection of neo-noir fiction whose protagonists range from a young boy playing war games with toy soldiers to a terminally ill cancer patient plotting his own death. Featuring an abundance of twisting plots, seedy villains, and anti-heroes with questionable moral compasses, McLellan’s subjects hearken back to the era of dames and dirty cops, with observations and dialogue delivered in the stark and sometimes eloquent language of classic noir. Brunch with the Jackals is both a throwback to and an advance on the “hard-boiled” style of forerunners like Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane. At times clipped and edgy, the tone never completely gives way to bleakness or brooding, but hovers on the boundaries between light and darkness. Mistrust and betrayal drive the plots, death lurks in the shadows, and blood is often spilled, demonstrating McLellan’s love of the literary grotesque.
About the author
Don McLellan has worked as a journalist in Canada, South Korea and Hong Kong, and his journalism has been featured in countless publications including Vancouver Magazine, Equity, and V. He has had short stories published in Descant, Joyland, the Dalhousie Review, and more, and his debut story collection In the Quiet After Slaughter (Libros Libertad) was a 2009 ReLit Award finalist. He currently edits a trade magazine in Vancouver.