Fiction/Crime/Canada, pub. 2000
Random House Canada, mm pb, 388 p.
Detective John Cardinal series, Book 1
Winner - British Crime Writers' Silver Dagger Award, 2001
(Book #32 for 2007, Summer Mystery Challenge- Book #3, O'Canada Challenge- Book #2)
When four teenagers go missing in the small northern town of Algonquin Bay, the extensive police investigation comes up empty. Everyone is ready to give up except Detective John Cardinal, an all-too-human loner whose persistence only serves to get him removed from Homicide. Haunted by a personal secret in his own past, and hounded by a special investigation into corruption on the force, Cardinal is on the brink of losing his career – and his family.I have to say I loved the setting. Set in mid-winter, the snow and ice sounds quite appealing right now. I’m not very familiar with Ontario, but it was still fun to read a Canadian mystery this time. His writing has apparently been compared to Ian Rankin, so it’s fun timing that I read it just after Rankin’s Knots & Crosses.
When the mutilated body of thirteen-year-old Katie Pine is pulled out of an abandoned mineshaft, only Cardinal is willing to consider the horrific truth: this quiet town is home to the most vicious of serial killers. With the media, the provincial police and his own department questioning his every move, Cardinal follows increasingly tenuous threads towards the unthinkable. Time isn’t only running out for him, but for another young victim, tied up in a basement wondering when and how his captors will kill him.
About half-way into the book, we find out who the killer is and then it becomes a race against time to save the current victim, or as it’s otherwise known, a ‘howcatchem’ (heehee! Love the term!). It was a fast-paced, page-turning read. I’ll be sure to pick up the next one in the series (there are 4 in all so far), next time I’m in Canada.
My Rating: 4/5
The Inuit, it is said, have forty different words for snow. Never mind about snow, Cardinal mused, what people really need is forty words for sorrow.Interesting fact: Murder is a rare event in Canada. So rare that most of the country’s ten provinces are allocated only one forensics unit, usually in the province’s biggest city. (p. 96)