Terminal Avenue


298 pages
ISBN 1-894800-08-7
DDC C813'.54






Reviewed by Susan McKnight

Susan McKnight is an administrator of the Courts Technology Integrated Justice Project at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.


Terminal Avenue is the third book in Jim Christy’s fast-paced
Vancouver trilogy; the other books are Shanghai Alley (1997) and
Princess and Gore (2000). The titles of all of the novels are street
names in Vancouver, and in each case the title street or streets serve
as the main setting for stories. The protagonist is Gene Castle, a
tough, intelligent private detective/soldier of fortune with a heart of
gold. Castle’s female companion, Louise Jones, is a beautiful,
level-headed actress. Laura, his receptionist, makes no effort to hide
her interest in him. Those who aid and abet Castle in solving his cases
include a newspaper reporter, a blustery police officer and his partner,
hobos, carnival personalities, and bar owners. Each one of these
characters is meticulously developed by Christy to fit into the early
World War II setting of Terminal Avenue.

People are being murdered on Terminal Avenue, and Castle has been
implicated. Before long, the detective finds himself searching
Vancouver’s seedy underground of bars and whorehouses for the
kidnapped daughter of Leandro Martine, a leader in the resistance
against the Nazis. There is a connection between Martine and Castle,
which becomes apparent through their various conversations.

Christy uses his characters—especially Castle—to make not-so-subtle
political and social comments about the society of the World War II era.
Also, the factual information he provides adds a historical dimension to
the private-detective mystery not often employed by other authors of the

Terminal Avenue is fast-paced, entertaining, and completely literate.
The language is authentic and well researched, creating a realistic
atmosphere. Castle’s comic and ironic view of the world, and his
sometimes simple conversations with himself, keep the story moving along


Christy, Jim., “Terminal Avenue,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/17641.