Bottom Bracket

At first glance I dismissed the mystery novel. But when I found out it was set in Toronto’s bohemian community Kensington Market involving hipsters I couldn’t resist. Who doesn’t enjoy venturing over to the Market to grab some cheese and find some vintage shoes? Okay, this is beginning to sound chick lit and Bottom Bracket goes beyond that. Abby Faria is a brassy young bike courier who enjoys going to rallies against gentrification and leading workshops on bike maintenance for street kids. One night she returns home after a protest to find her street full of police. A brutal murder has taken place a few doors down from her home. When she heads to her apartment she discovers a scared young woman covered in blood and terrified. Instead of hollering down to the police on her sidewalk or calling 911 like most sane people, Abby being an advocate for the dispossessed must find out what happened to this woman. She, along with the help of her bottom bracket friends quickly piece together a murder mystery and also uncover something from Abby’s past. Bottom Bracket has a lot of pleasant moments: the plot twist, the undercover sleuthing, her bike couriering adventures and of course the Market. “The colours and flavours of the market” as Meyer describes is there to a tee. One thing that irked me though was Meyer’s clichéd descriptions of Rastas in colourful hats grooving to some reggae music smoking ganga. There’s an additional scene where her friend is ready to go out to the Chameleon Sex Club ready in his “Sid Vicious look.” It made me cringe a little and think of my mother saying “bling bling.” But you can be forgiven for things like that. Clichés aside, Bottom Bracket is a fair debut novel that gives you more insight into the bike culture in Toronto. (Andrea Nene)

by Vivian Meyer, $16.95, 276 pgs, Sumach Press 1415 Bathurst St., Suite 202, Toronto, ON, M5R 3H8, sumachpress.com


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