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The Chairman's Toys


The Chairman's Toys

Jake Constable is a 40-something, older but wiser former millionaire cannabis grower gone straight. Thanks to his former wife, a successful Vancouver realtor with links to offshore billionaires who find the booming housing industry on the British Columbia peninsula to be a prime money-laundering repository, he now house sits empty mansions and condos --- checking locks and alarm systems, fluffing pillows, sorting mail. It’s profitable but boring.

It’s so boring, in fact, that he decides to throw a party in one of the $50 million mansions he is hired to watch. The address for a small party for some friends goes viral, and events spin completely out of hand when friends of friends of friends make a turnstile out of the magnificent front door. Especially when word gets out that the mansion is owned by Mickey Wu, the Underwear King of Beijing, designer of the wildly popular Mao Tse Thong. Wu is known to be safely thousands of miles away on business in Shanghai.

"Graham Reed’s first novel introduces us --- through his wry, urbane and witty writing style --- to Jake, a naive young man who is up to his neck in trouble."

Jake is neither surprised nor pleased when former customers and their friends swarm through the massive hand-carved doors. Mickey’s dining room table has become an assembly line for partiers who are hoovering up lines of a suspicious white powder. Windows are shaking as the DJ cranks up the sound. Dawn is breaking when Jake decides the event is over. He is seeing the crowd out the door when he receives a text from Richard, his co-host: THERE’S A DEAD GUY IN THE BATHROOM. Upon checking the body, they see what appears to be a bag containing drugs under the man’s chest. Contacting the police is ruled out.

While Jake and Richard ponder what to do with the corpse, they look up from the floor of the small bathroom to see Mickey Wu. And looming in the doorway is Jake’s former distributor, The Norwegian. This once-successful purveyor of weed to the Vancouver social elite finds himself the target of the Chinese Secret Service, Interpol, the Canadian version of the FDA and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Graham Reed’s first novel introduces us --- through his wry, urbane and witty writing style --- to Jake, a naive young man who is up to his neck in trouble. Jake would prefer to live a quiet, normal life, but his early-20s escapades rule out that option. He thought he was through with The Norwegian after buying him off with $300,000 when he shut down his cannabis trade. But now he’s back --- an all-towering Viking of a man with ties to the Canadian underworld and the Chinese triads.

We look forward to Jake’s future adventures, especially now since marijuana recently has been legalized throughout Canada. This is not an issue in THE CHAIRMAN’S TOYS, but Jake is such a beguiling character with a penchant for mayhem that we hope to see more of him. He turns out to be good at crime solving, so he could become a detective --- or will he return to his old habits? In either case, he seems to know where a lot of bodies are buried.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on July 13, 2018

The Chairman's Toys
by Graham Reed

  • Publication Date: July 3, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
  • ISBN-10: 1464211086
  • ISBN-13: 9781464211089