March 6, 1934. Hundreds gather outside City Hall to celebrate the Toronto Centenary. In the crowd, pickpocket Mona Kantor and her partner, Chesler, are 'in the tip,' finding easy pickings among the jostling masses. Eli Morenz, city man for the Daily Star, is covering the festivities and uncovering the pickpocket racket working the scene. A surreptitious photo and some keen research lead him to an underworld dive in Kensington Market where Toronto's pickpockets converge - and to Mona.
Moving from a tense newsroom on King Street to the frenetic grift at Union Station, The City Man is a romance that begins in an instant and careens towards peril. Akler's prose is as deft as a thief's fingers, as precise and powerful as a heavyweight's punch. Packed with enchanting, arcane period slang and comparable in its evocation of a lost Toronto to Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion, this is a novel of exceptional grace, excitement and beauty.