Brandon Galloway is an exterminator living in a depressed Ontario town, whose life consists of killing a six pack and trying to care for his schizophrenic mother. That all changes when he meets Melanie Blaxley after spraying her apartment for bedbugs. Melanie has a penchant for getting blackout drunk, having unprotected sex with strangers and generally disregarding her own safety. But she’s hot, and her dangerous behaviour is exciting, so Brandon gets sucked into Melanie’s world. When she suddenly disappears, Brandon has to dig into his own grim past to find her. Poison Shy is almost a thriller, but populated with characters who could have come from an Irvine Welsh novel: reprehensible self-abusers who are motivated by boredom. If you’re a sensitive soul (like me) or have a weak stomach (also me), you might be happier curled up with the kind of cozy mystery where the cat solves the crime. (PS: That’s a real thing.)

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