The hotter it gets outside the more vital the search for the perfect beach read becomes. Luckily, this year’s Canada Reads winner Lisa Moore just released her new novel Caught (June 2013, Anansi Press) and it has everything you’ll need this sweaty season—sharp lines, seedy characters and the kind of can’t-put-it-down suspense you might expect from a dime store detective novel but with Lisa Moore-level construction, detail and meticulous prose. This isn’t Moore slumming it in suspense fiction—but genre elevation and all you have to provide is the sandy backdrop.
“I wanted to write something completely different from February,” says Moore referring to the Canada Reads winning novel that focusses on a woman coping with grief. And Caught is exactly that—what Moore calls a “gentle parody” of the genre thriller, it follows escaped convict Slaney as he breaks out of Nova Scotia’s Springhill penitentiary in ’78, on the run and determined to pull off the one last drug-smuggling heist that can buy him his freedom. The response has been overwhelmingly positive for the playful departure and it’s safe to say that Moore’s drug runner has more bubbling under the surface than an action-packed summary gives it credit for. “I learned how to create a particular kind of suspense,” she says. “I like to think that the best kind of suspense has to do with development of character and intriguing the reader on that level.”
At its heart, Caught is about the sacrifices we make for freedom, and as Slaney treks across Canada in search of it he encounters a range of characters. “They’re trapped in their lives in one way or another,” says Moore. “In jobs that aren’t fulfilling, relationships that aren’t perfect, and other sorts of life responsibilities. The question in part is—are they traps or do they provide a particular kind of freedom? Are we trapped without these demands?” Based on a series of true life stories from the ’70s in Newfoundland, Moore was inspired by the larger than life reputations of local legends. “I would hear bits and pieces of them growing up, they had a folkloric quality. The people who heard about them were always really in awe of the characters who tried to pull them off…I thought it would be a chance to create a wild adventure.” (Originally posted at The Coast)