The Deadbeat Club – Part 2 (pages 79 – 157)

Deadbeat Club coverThe Word On The Street’s Book Club discussion of The Deadbeat Club got started last week. Check out the conversation!

This week, book club leader Christine has a few questions based on page 79 (…Getting Their Man) to page 157 (…Payback).

Next week we’ll discuss page 158 (…Girl on the Ceiling) to page 229 (…Below the Salt), and following that we’ll conclude with page 230 (…Shootout At the Ah-So-Easy) to page 303 (…Mountain High).

Hi everyone!

Welcome to week two of discussion. We left off last week with “…Loose Lips” where Nick left Travis standing with the limp body of Tuff Dubb.

1) With that, did any of you anticipate that happening? We saw another one of Grey’s “associates” get their teeth kicked in but escalating to the point of death, I simply did not see that coming. I had anticipated Travis being the one that would do something like that, but it really shocked me that it was Nick. How did you all feel about this? Do you think there’s a chance at all that Tuff Dubb may have survived the shot?

2) I also found it interesting in this section that you saw more interactions and dialogue between Grey/Dara and Travis/Lexie. Do you think that the story is perhaps progressing in the direction of a redemption arc for Travis instead heroic arc for Grey? I’m asking this because I’m finding that Kalteis is really good at subverting the reader’s expectations.

3) This book does not “build the world” for the reader in the typical way. How did you feel about passages like: “Said he wanted to pay me in syringes” (85) to build the setting? Do you think they build the setting instead of regular descriptions? Do you also think that it was deliberate on Kalteis’ part on choosing the setting of Whistler given the active drug scene there?

As always, please feel free to share other thoughts you had for this passage and ask questions as well! Happy reading all 🙂



18 thoughts on “The Deadbeat Club – Part 2 (pages 79 – 157)

  1. 1. To me, Nick seems like a very reckless person. His dad’s been protecting him and now Nick seems sick of it, so he’s doing anything and everything to prove he’s some kind of badass and that he can handle himself. The truth is though, he can’t – he’s constantly drawing negative attention to himself, so he’s not flying under the radar in any way, which would probably be useful in some ways for someone in his line of business.

    So with him being a reckless person, I definitely saw him doing something stupid, but I wasn’t expecting him to kill the guy – it happened so fast! I don’t think Tuff Dubb survived the shot. I think they mentioned his body getting ripe in the trunk? Not a pretty image. And even if he did survive the initial shot, I think he’ll die anyway because I doubt that Travis and them would take him to the hospital for fear of that incriminating them.

    2. I really liked that we had more interactions with the female characters in this section! I love the scene where Grey rode in on his bike and knocked Nick over to help Dara, that was awesome.

    I think it’s definitely possible that we’ll be seeing a redemption arc for Travis, because to me it seems like he’s our anti-hero. We know he’s involved in some seriously dangerous business, but at the same time we’re kind of rooting for him…and that’s something that I find really interesting about this book – we get to see both sides of what is basically a gang war. We learn about the human beings on both sides, get to know a little about their lives and motivations and relationships…we start getting to know THEM, so we’re able to empathize with both sides.

    3. I think the world-building in this book is pretty cool and I appreciate that it’s a different way of exposing you to the book’s world. I love the passage you quoted because without explicitly saying “the drug trade in Whistler is rampant,” Kalteis makes it crystal clear that it is just that. For it to be suggested, jokingly or not, that someone would pay in syringes, there would have to be a huge drug scene and therefore high demand for syringes.

    I definitely think Kalteis deliberately chose Whistler as the setting for this book because of its drug trade. BC is fairly well-known for its drug trafficking – which in a way surprises me, because they’re pretty lax with their laws on marijuana over there so I wouldn’t have thought that it would be seen as so much of a legal issue.

    How did you guys feel about the scene with Travis and the cop? I found it upsetting, especially because of the small bit of history Travis had with him, where we got a brief view into the officer’s hopes for the future (including getting a car like the one Travis was driving when he first stopped him).

    • “I think it’s definitely possible that we’ll be seeing a redemption arc for Travis, because to me it seems like he’s our anti-hero.”

      You know, perhaps the clue or the sense of that came in when we got the line “all these people getting shot up and his pot getting stolen and all i want to do is hang with a girl” might have done it, or at least it did for me.

      I’m not sure if I’m feeling the redemption part of his story arc yet; but certainly something similar. I feel like he’s a guy, who knows how to do his job, and does it right, and is not a scumbag (well he is, .. but he isn’t)? ahh.. it’s hard to describe — he’s certainly not an easy character to decipher, that’s for sure

      • I think that line definitely brought in the sense that despite Travis’ job which requires cunning and often violence, he’s also a regular guy with regular guy desires. He’s not above needing some companionship! I agree though, he’s definitely a tough guy to pinpoint!

    • “How did you guys feel about the scene with Travis and the cop? I found it upsetting, especially because of the small bit of history Travis had with him, where we got a brief view into the officer’s hopes for the future (including getting a car like the one Travis was driving when he first stopped him).”


    • Hi Nikki,
      Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Yes, Nick is a super reckless person and I keep waiting for a moment where I will actually “like” him in the book but it hasn’t happened. He is so incredibly frustrating because it is quite childish where someone (Travis) says not to do something and then he does.
      Thanks for pointing that out about the body getting riped. eek :/ I am so sad that we barely got to know Tuff Dubb and then that happened.

      Yes, totally empathizing with both sides makes the book not so black and white. Where this is a good guy and this is a bad guy. It is much more complex than that!

      The cop scene was so upsetting. I was excited for Travis to have a cop “buddy” (so to speak) like Grey does, and then that happens. 😦

  2. I agree with what Nikki said about Nick. He definitely wants to exude a bad ass image, but has serious problems with patience, control, and comprehension of consequences. I think the shooting was more about making a statement to Travis than to Grey. I’d say that he goes too far in his actions because he doesn’t understand limits — probably the result of his spoiled upbringing. Travis certainly comes across as a more dangerous individual, but Nick is a loose cannon. Travis’s actions can appear unpredictable to others, but there tends to be a lot of planning behind them. Conversely, Nick’s actions appear unpredictable because even he doesn’t seem to know what he’ll do from one moment to the next.

    Grey doesn’t always get a lot of “page time,” or maybe it’s just that what he does get isn’t as complex or dire as Travis’s. Despite Grey being pitched to us as the main character in the novel’s synopsis, I never really found this to be true. He’s a likable guy, but to me ultimately comes across as the class slacker rather than the hero. You know, he’s always around and good for comic relief, but you’re not counting on him to really bring the story home. At least, I wasn’t.

    I think the setting makes sense because of the book’s subject matter, but also because of its tone. A novel about drugs and gang wars could have been set in Toronto, but it wouldn’t have had the same feel at all. True, it’s a well-known stat that pot is BC’s biggest industry, but BC is also known for epic landscapes and vacationing. Both of the latter elements contribute to the relaxed state the story sometimes falls into when characters are taking a drive, or just hanging around Grey’s house. You feel like the characters have it pretty good just being out there. Too bad people get shot.

    The BC setting also lets me imagine extra space between characters and locations. Much of the action does happen in the city, but when characters have to drive to different places, it feels less like everyone’s in each other’s space all the time. I think that the creation of space, even if it’s an illusion, is really helpful in this novel when there are so many characters vying for our attention.

    To answer Nikki’s question, I thought that was one of the most upsetting scenes in the book. Finally we get a nice, average guy who isn’t mixed up in all the messy drama and violence! Ah well.

    • I definitely agree that Grey doesn’t come across as the hero of the story. I really enjoy his scenes because with all the intensity in this book, sometimes I NEED a little bit of comic relief, so I always look forward to what he’ll be up to next. But he doesn’t feel like a main character – to me, the other characters’ stories are just as important and interesting as his.

      I really like what you said about BC being known for its beautiful landscapes, thus creating a relaxed state in parts of the book. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to explain that, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it! It’s interesting that our own notions of BC as a relaxing vacation destination plays into our experience with the story.

    • What I think was unexpected was not so much someone dying, but rather, where out of the blue, some dude who wasn’t really being confrontational in any way (Tuff) ended up getting shot. In a sense that there wasn’t any set up for it.

      For example, when Harper died, you weren’t surprised (most likely?) or *if* someone died during that great big show of shooting up the van etc. that wouldn’t be surprising, but Tuff? that was left field

      Colleen and Nikki’s right; he is reckless; and he is definitely written in such a way that you want to reach into the book and punch the dude in his face for being such an ass. What I do like about him though is that he’s the same entitled little sh*t character that you see in movies about rich families in expensive getaways… except, … he’s the son of a criminal hot shot.

      Really neat.

      And yeah, like Colleen said, a nice, average guy and ah well.

      • I definitely agree about Tuff’s death coming out of left field! I mean basically, he was just walking and being his laid back self and then BAM Nick is an idiot and someone dies. It all happened so fast! And I think that scene did a great job of showing us who Nick is, how wreckless and impulsive he is. Yes, I definitely want to punch him in the face lol, he’s a jerk.

    • Hi Colleen!

      You bring up a good point that Travis’s actions appear to be unpredictable to others, and it did appear that way to me in the beginning of the text but it definitely changed as we started reading along. He is quite smart and calculating! Nick just seems to be getting out of control chapter after chapter.

      I find it so interesting that we barely see Grey and he is pitched to us as the main character of the book and the moments we do get wih him are fleeting and he is otherwise occupied with other characters in the text.

  3. 1) I don’t know if Tuff survived the shot, otherwise Gibbet is going to be in for a rude awakening? Speaking of which, Gibbet is definitely definitely going to earn his rent this week thanks to the shenanigans of Travis and his “crew”

    2) Actually, that’s an interesting question; I’m beginning to find Grey and Travis to really be one and the same person; well they’re obviously not, but I think they have a lot more in common than they think? Or rather that Kalteis is doing a really great job mirroring them. It’s also interesting that you ask that question because I feel like I’m really starting to get a feel for those two character’s personality. Not that I understand them all too well or that I can read them, but I certainly feel like I’m getting to know them.

    In the same vein, the name dropping etc. is actually starting to work. I’m understanding how it plays a role in the narrative. I definitely feel like the (as Colleen pointed out in the last post) references to items (at least) really give you a feel for their personalities and behaviours. Also, identifiying by char make is really starting to make sense – you know how the crews are divided, and just like the cursing you do on the folks on the 401 (i.e. omg look at that lexus that just cut us off; or can you believe that beemer that keeps weaving in and out of traffic like a nut case?) — I mean Pudi’s crew is driving an accord, a relative non-descript car, practical, functional. Travis has a bunch of cars but he’s a rare chevy with lambo doors. That’s unusual (doors that open up like a flapping wings?) — Nick the jerk with a brilliant very very descript orange car… it’s neat, it’s starting to give you context. I think it’s also things like this which really lend itself to placing you as role of the camera in a tv screen.

    Like, what I mean is, think about when you’re watching Sherlock, and he focuses in on someone’s phone, or ring type, and the camera sees it before Sherlock mentions he sees it; you also see this in a lot of csi’s, bones, etc.

    I actually am really starting to like this book! The writing style is really a lot of fun!

    3) Oops, I think I kind of answered part of this question in question two. I feel that the setting of whistler is definitely deliberate. I mean it certainly plays on the stereotypes of what a drug scene would be like – but I really also like the placement of the scenery. The mountains and the vastness of the space seem functional and part of the narrative. You get the “whistler part” the rich people get away that as the reader you only get snippets of. You’re also getting a sense that this is actually a small storm before the real one comes in – the era of the casinos.
    As for quotes and instances like pay me in syringes; I liked it, it shows that well yeah, obv. There’s going to be people who won’t have the cash but want the product. And that adds personality to the scene.

    • Hi Jil! Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Hmm.. that is an interesting thought that they may have more common that it seems. I keep trying to think of Grey as the main character which I really need to stop my brain from doing so haha! But could we possibly think of Grey/Travis to be foil characters? They definitely contrast each other, Grey with a more laidback attitude and Travis with a more calculating one.

      Yes! The name dropping really builds personalities. Even the way Nick describes his car definitely “builds” him.

    • I really like what you said about the car makes and how they reflect the different crews and the people driving them. Nick’s fancy, bright orange car is very conspicuous, like him, always calling attention to itself/himself. He’s spoiled and he likes to flaunt what he’s got, make sure everyone who matters knows who he is and what he (or really, his dad) owns.

  4. A chevy with lambo doors!

    This is kid of what travis’s car looks like; though I suspect it’s a less … obvious colour than red… since he gave nick sh*t for a bright orange car

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