You would think I was Chris Walter’s publicist or something by how often I seem to review his books. Well, truth be told, I do know Chris, but I’ve been a fan of his writing a lot longer than we’ve known each other.
That out of the way, on to Walter’s latest novel, Wrong. It is the latest story in the ongoing tales of the Downtown East Side of Vancouver BC. With this book, Walter has stepped up both his writing and storytelling skills (not that there was anything wrong with them before). I was glued to this book. Aging punk rocker Dill returns (he was in East Van and Boozecan), maintaining his life as a drug-addled minor celebrity in the ghettos of East Van. Fired up by the gentrification of the city put into motion by the impending Olympics (a very real situation in the DTES right now), Dill decides to take action and a chain reaction of events unfolds.
The thing that really gets me with this book is the characters. There are so many people populating this story and they are so real. I feel like I’ve seen them and met them. Perhaps part of that is because I have spent time in East Vancouver, but I think it has more to do with Walter’s portrayal of them. They live and breathe through his words. The main characters all have interlinked histories—whether they know it or not—and the story weaves through the back alleys of the city at a good pace.
In the end, you are not only treated to a great story about punk rockers, but you are given a great deal of insight into the problems of the homeless and addicted in what has been described as the worst drug ghetto in North America. Boo, Olympics! –Ty Stranglehold (GFY Press, #34-2320 Woodland Dr., Vancouver BC Canada V5N 3P2, punkbooks.com)