A former "oilrig roughneck,"; Trevor Clark has also worked as a photographer and bookstore manager, and in the TV movie production industry in London, but he's equally at home on the mean streets of big cities. His works of fiction include stories in Born to Lose (ECW Press) and a 2009 novel Dragging the River (Now or Never $15.95), the story of a down-and-almost-out warehouse worker named Lane Courtney. After an affair with a volatile stripper who becomes pregnant, Courtney cultivates raising the profile of the family name by assassinating President Ronald Reagan. "I am a universal vagabond,"; he says. He ultimately contemplates putting a .22 in his mouth and blowing all his thoughts against a filthy wall, "but I look at those sparkling lights and I don't."; Trevor Clark moved to Vancouver in 2008.

Clark's next novel, Love on the Killing Floor (Now or Never Publishing, 2010), is about a down-and-out photographer in Toronto in 1992 who has an unexpected love affair with a black woman who is none-too-keen on white folks.

Trevor Clark creates such complex and diverse characters in Escape and Other Stories (Now or Never Publishing, 2012) that it's like reading ten different stories from ten different authors.

In the title story, Escape, a father picks up his ten-year-old daughter for their weekend visit. He has no intention of bringing her back to her mother. From the outset of the story, the narrator makes himself look exactly like the bad dad his estranged wife makes him out to be. His hope for becoming his daughter's primary parent rests solely on a forged document that will get them across the border. He has not considered the most important element in his dreamed future wherein he will raise his daughter solo: Is this something his daughter wants? When he shares his plan with her, we are stuck somewhere between sympathy and revulsion. "Later, there was a scene in the room when I wouldn't let her call her mother. During the night I tossed and turned, wondering how other fathers who took their children away managed it. Did they just lie? Say the mother was dead, that she didn't love them-what? It had to be traumatic any way you cut it."; He feels the need to redeem himself in his daughter's eyes, but at what cost?

Escape is all too believable. Life is painfully awkward much of the time, and we disappoint ourselves as much as we disappoint others.

Real life bank robber and author Stephen Reid has endorsed Trevor Clark's novel containing an armed bank robbery and a drive-by shooting, Hair-Trigger (Now or Never $17.95). It's about a struggling bookstore manager and bank robber in his forties, Derrick Rowe, who bails out a friend, Jack Lofton, from jail. After Lofton's bedding of a stripper proves highly problematic, Rowe enlists Lofton and a fellow bookstore employee for a bank heist that generates heat from both police and gangsters. Meanwhile Clark has had his latest story collection, Escape and Other Stories, from Vancouver-based Now or Never Publishing, recognized with a ReLit Prize nomination. The ReLit Prizes are for literary works from presses outside the (mostly Toronto-based) literary establishment. [Stephen Reid won Victoria's Butler Prize in 2013 for his story collection, A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden: Writing From Prison.]

A plot synopsis for Hair-Trigger: "Derrick Rowe finds himself at forty-four chasing stray women and stealing from the store he manages. Having decided that it is time to stop spinning his wheels, he has robbed two banks and is now working on a bigger heist.

"After Rowe bails his friend Jack Lofton from jail, they go to a bar where Lofton has been infatuated with a stripper. She agrees to join them for a drink after her shift, and later finds herself in bed with the burly Lofton. She doesn't know that he was charged but not convicted of attempted murder in the U.S., and has been in an alcoholic free-fall since his wife left him. Although he is a guy who can handle himself, his new girlfriend proves less than stable, and involves him in a dispute with her ex-lover and his posse.

"Rowe manages to enlist both Lofton and a tough young clerk at the store in another bank robbery. Robert O'Hara is a part-time dealer with troubles of his own, however, and has been dodging two men who have beaten him with a lead pipe over a coke sale, and want two thousand dollars back. This sets the stage for an armed bank robbery, a drive-by shooting, and further complications for O'Hara."


Hair-Trigger (Now or Never 2014) $17.95 978-1-926942-62-9
Escape and Other Stories (Now Or Never, 2012) $19.95 978-1-926942-04-9.
Love on the Killing Floor (Now or Never, 2010) $19.95 978-0-9739558-8-0
Dragging the River (Now or Never, 2009) $15.95 978-0-9739558-5-9

[BCBW 2012] "Fiction"