The discovery of the body of a supposed thirteen-year-old runaway and the disappearance of another youngster in the rural town of Algonquin Bay force local cops John Cardinal and his new partner, Lisa Delorme, into a desperate search for a possible serial killer. By the author of Cold Eye. Reprint.
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It gets dark early in Algonquin Bay. Take a drive up Airport Hill at four o' clock on a February afternoon, and when you come back half an hour later the streets of the city will glitter below you in the dark like so many runways. The forty-sixth parallel may not be all that far north; you can be much farther north and still be in the United States, and even London, England, is a few degrees closer to the North Pole. But this is Ontario, Canada, we're talking about, and Algonquin Bay in February is the very definition of winter. Algonquin Bay is snowbound, Algonquin Bay is quiet, Algonquin Bay is very, very cold.Read the evocative opening of Giles Blunt's novel and you may begin to understand why Tony Hillerman says this is the novel he wishes he'd written. Keep reading, and you may wonder why other authors haven't joined the vicarious narrative line. With devastating precision, Blunt effortlessly weaves together strands of lives both led and taken in this tiny Canadian town, limning a hauntingly paradoxical picture of isolation and community, two sides of a fragile bulwark against violence.
John Cardinal was taken off homicide investigation after a fruitless and expensive quest for 13-year-old Katie Pine, a Chippewa girl who disappeared from the nearby reservation. After months of insisting that Katie was no runaway, Cardinal receives the cold comfort of vindication in the form of Katie's corpse, discovered in an abandoned mine shaft. But the case, when reopened, becomes a Pandora's box of horror. Katie's body is only the first to be found, as Cardinal uncovers a pattern that links her death to those of two other children. When another boy is reported missing, Cardinal knows he is in a race against time to find the killer (so trite a phrase, while technically accurate, does radical injustice to Blunt's razor-sharp plot and eerily pragmatic balance between the cop and his prey).
His new partner, Lise Delorme, is trying to uncover her own pattern. Drafted by the RCMP to find proof that Cardinal has been accepting money from drug runner Kyle Corbett to derail the Mounties' investigations (three attempted busts good for absolutely nothing), she sifts through the minutiae of Cardinal's life. Proud father, loving husband, dedicated officer--at what price has this edifice been constructed? Suffice it to say that Cardinal's past and present link him in ironic counterpoint to those people for whom he is inevitably the bearer of bad tidings, leaving them "trying to recognize each other through the smoke and ashes" of grief.
Blunt has created a world in which every conversation can seem as ominous as the moan of the wind and the bullet-like report of shifting lake ice ("It was a new art form for Delorme, picking shards of fact from the exposed hearts of the bereaved. She looked at Cardinal for help, but he said nothing. He thought, "Get used to it."). But it is also a world whose bleak landscape is touched with unexpected humor. Witness this description of one of the many minor, but always beautifully detailed, characters who populate the novel's pages: "Arthur 'Woody' Wood was not in the burglary business to enhance his social life. Like all professional burglars, he went to great lengths to avoid meeting people on the job. At other times, well, Woody was as sociable as the next fellow."
Part police procedural, part psychological thriller, part exploration of a region's landscape and people, the novel is an astonishing, powerful hybrid-- worthy of far more than a mere 40 words of praise. --Kelly FlynnFrom the Back Cover:
“The highest praise a writer can give another is to say he wishes he had written this book. I wish I had written Forty Words for Sorrow. Giles Blunt has a tremendous talent. If you miss Forty Words for Sorrow, you'll miss one of best novels of 2001.” —Tony Hillerman
" Forty Words for Sorrow is brilliant - one of the finest crime novels I've ever read. Giles Blunt writes with uncommon grace, style and compassion and he plots like a demon. This book has it all - unforgettable characters, beautiful language, throat-constricting suspense." —Jonathan Kellerman
“ Forty Words for Sorrow is a smart, superbly written novel which tests a likeable, fallible pair of investigators with some intriguing ethical questions as they use their considerable skills to solve a set of monstrous and disturbing crimes.” —Thomas Perry (author of The Butcher’s Boy, Death Benefits, Blood Money, Sleeping Dogs, etc)
“Intensely vivid characters, terrible crimes, and a brutal deep-frozen landscape all prove beyond a reasonable doubt that cold nurtures good and evil as readily as heat ... and that Giles Blunt is a really tremendous crime novelist.” —Lee Child
“ Forty Words for Sorrow satisfies right down to the marrow.” — Quill and Quire
“Blunt’s complex plot has history and a lot of nuance. His characters, particularly Cardinal, have the depth and resonance readers demand…don’t read it just because it’s a good crime novel and because once you’ve begun, you won’t put it down until you’re finished. Read it because it’s excellent.” — The Globe and Mail
“This highly readable combination of mystery and suspense (with a sequel already in the works) raises the bar of Canadian crime writing and is a dead certain nomination for multiple writing awards.” — National Post
“The clues unfold in convincing ways, with no impossible surprises, no flukey bits of luck to defy belief…the final pages present the sort of ending rare in crime fiction, one which compels readers to congratulate everybody in sight — themselves, the book’s characters and particularly the author, Giles Blunt.” — The Toronto Star
"A superbly rendered descent into modern-day hell…sensational." — Publishers Weekly
“Giles Blunt creates a frosty world of hidden agendas, prejudices and murder in this fast paced and thought-provoking thriller… Forty Words for Sorrow is a wonderful mystery about human character with murder as the compass.” — The Edmonton Sun
“Cardinal is not especially likeable (no one here is), but he is meatily complex enough to sustain a series. The several plots dovetail skillfully, red herrings and twists are well placed, the narrative has verve and humour.” — The Mystery Review
“[A] riveting tale of twisted minds…Definitely, Blunt is a writer-craftsman. Unlike many crime novels where the plot moves so fast you don’t have time to recognize the poverty of text, Blunt’s writing ability is obvious from the start. He lives comfortably in the world of descriptive, but not overworked phrases and has the ability to weave the elements of the crime into the plot so successfully that one feels one is getting a history lesson, a criminology briefing and a good story all in one…[The characters] are people flawed enough to promise some twists, yet solid and believable enough to move into your neighbourhood of fictional favourites.” — The Nugget (North Bay)
'Extraordinary for its psychology and tension. The market abounds with serial killer thrillers, which are mostly written by writers who people their lurid worlds with cardboard cutouts, and a book like this shows them up for what they are. Giles Blunt manages to inhabit the minds of killer, victim and investigator alike, a feat that very few writers can manage. It moves his work to a different level. Watch out, the Canadians are coming, in crime-writing now as well as in the conventional literary novel.' - Jane Jakeman, The Independent
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Book Description Berkley, 2002. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0425185168
Book Description Berkley, 2002. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110425185168