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Forty Words for Sorrow

Blunt, Giles

2,436 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0399147527 / ISBN 13: 9780399147524
Published by Putnam Adult, 2001
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Southron Books, LLC (Lexington, SC, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Signed by Author 0399147527 This hardcover book is Fine, being square and tight. The boards and spine have no wear with pristine lettering. The pages and endpages are clean, with no markings or folds. The dustjacket is As New. Original Price is intact. Not ex-lib. No remainder mark. This is the first novel of the John Cardinal series. This copy is signed by the Author on the title page without inscription. Bookseller Inventory # 006210

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Forty Words for Sorrow

Publisher: Putnam Adult

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

A riveting portrayal of two monstrous sociopaths and the cops who track them, Forty Words for Sorrow is tense and terrifying as it crosscuts between the cops in pursuit and the killers toying with their latest victim.

"Blunt has done for Canada's north what James Lee Burke did for Cajun Louisiana."
-Margaret Cannon, Toronto Globe and MailWhen the badly decomposed body of thirteen-year-old Katie Pine is found in an abandoned mine shaft, John Cardinal is vindicated. It was Cardinal who'd kept the Pine case open-insisting she was no mere runaway-and Cardinal who'd been demoted to the burglary squad for his excessive zeal. But Katie Pine isn't the only youngster to have gone missing in the rural town of Algonquin Bay, and Cardinal is now given the go-ahead to reopen the files on three other lost kids. When another youth is reported missing, he begins to see a pattern that screams "serial killer."

Meanwhile, the brass have partnered him with Lisa Delorme, newly shifted to homicide from the Office of Special Investigations, and Cardinal can't help but wonder if she's been sent to keep tabs on him. A guilty conscience makes him think so.

Superbly paced, with fully fleshed characters and utterly convincing police detail, Forty Words for Sorrow is also a novel of place that transcends genre. Blunt puts us in a small Canadian town in the dead of winter and makes us feel the cold, then turns the cold into a metaphor for the destruction of young lives.

Review:

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 Flynn

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