Writer Will Ferguson is known for his comedic chops — he's won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour three times. But in 419, Ferguson presents a dark thriller that shifts from Canada to Africa in a fascinating exploration of the criminal underworld behind the notorious Nigerian internet scams. The narrative point of view moves seamlessly between the victims, the perpetrators and the gang bosses who run the scammers.
419 won the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
They climbed down on grappling lines, leaning into their descent, the lights of the fire trucks and ambulances washing the scene in alternating reds and blues, throwing shadows first one way and then the next. Countless constellations in the snow. Glass, catching the light.
When the emergency team finally arrived at the bottom of the embankment, they were out of breath.
Within the folded metal of the vehicle: a buckled dashboard, bent steering wheel, more glass and — in the middle — something that had once been a man. White hair, wet against the skull, matted now in a thick red mud.
"Sir! Can you hear me?"
His lips were moving as the life poured out of him to wherever it is life goes.
But no words came out, only bubbles.
From 419 by Will Ferguson. Copyright © Will Ferguson, 2012. Reprinted by Permission of Penguin Canada Books Inc.