He started Concordia University in Montreal in 1981 as a mature student in economics and graduated in 1990 with a major in English Literature and minors in History and Creative Writing. In 2002, he completed the Prime Time television Writing Program at the Canadian Film Centre.
He has published four novels since 2002 and has written scripts for the Canadian television crime drama The Bridge. McFetridge writes gritty, dialog-intense crime novels set on the streets of Toronto. His books have been compared to Elmore Leonard"s, with one critic, Linda Richards of January Magazine, noting that McFetridge"s voice is "colder and starker" than Leonard"son
"McFetridge is one of a new breed of Canadian crime fictionists," she writes, "building neo noir that seems touched by both the humor and self-consciousness of life north of the 48th.
But where Leonard tends to favour Hollywood-homicide banter, McFetridge keep the quips to a minimum, preferring punch to panache. As a result, the only time his prose gets purple is when fists are flying.”
In a 2008 interview, McFetridge said his approach to writing is not highly structured.
"I don’t work out plots or outline or plan too far ahead," he said. "My books aren’t mysteries with a crime being solved, they’re about ongoing crimes.
I work from character and theme.
Very basic themes. Dirty Sweet is about opportunity – how is it that some people see opportunity everywhere and some people never see it? Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere is all about how did I end up here? I get characters I’m interested in and then I put them in situations I think are interesting and I see what they do. Then I see what they do next and around about page 250 I start to wonder, wow, how are they going to get out of this (or not get out of it)?.
Quill & Quire reviewer Gary Butler agreed with the Leonard comparison, writing that “both writers seamlessly mix the police procedural with perp procedural to underscore the parallel lives of members of the opposing teams.