Stylish, atmospheric psychological police thriller featuring detectives Cardinal and Delorme
'It lay there, fishbelly white, hair curling along one side. Toward the wrist end, the flesh still bore the zigzag impression of a watch with an expandable bracelet. Even though there was no hand attached, there was no doubt that the thing lying in Ivan Bergeron's backyard was a human arm.'
The gruesome discovery in the wilderness above Algonquin Bay is assumed to be the work of bears. Until the search for body parts leads detectives Cardinal and Delorme to a remote trapper's cabin that has served as an abbattoir for a cold-blooded human predator. Until the woods give up a second body, naked and shrouded in ice.
Having narrowly survived an RCMP investigation into police corruption, John Cardinal is less than thrilled when the first victim is identified as a US citizen and the Mounties are called in to assist. It's the Canadian Secret Service, however, that pose the real problem. Is their interference in the case merely a question of preserving jurisdiction over cases involving terrorism – or something more sinister?
Even the elements seem to be conspiring against the police, with Northern Ontario in the grip of an ice storm of once-in-a-hundred-years severity. The woods take on a glittering, lethal beauty, the eerie silence broken only by the crash of falling branches and power lines. And against this backdrop Cardinal comes face to face with a killer.
Second in the series featuring John Cardinal and Lise Delorme, central characters in the widely acclaimed Forty Words for Sorrow.
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In The Delicate Storm, it's January in the northern Ontario town of Algonquin Bay, and the foul smell of murder permeates the chilly air when the remains of a bear's dinner in the woods turns out to be the body of an American tourist with a shadowy past. Time for Detective John Cardinal to track down the scent. The mystery deepens when another corpse, that of local doctor Winter Cates, is discovered in the same woods, and Cardinal suspects a link. Unearthing the connection takes Cardinal back to a very different time and place: Montreal circa 1970, a city gripped by the fear of separatist violence. A single incident from that era turns out to have deadly repercussions in Algonquin Bay 30 years later.
Giles Blunt's first thriller to feature John Cardinal, Forty Words for Sorrow, was an international hit, which earned Blunt the British Crime Writers' Macallan Silver Dagger Award. With The Delicate Storm, Blunt delivers another imaginative and entertaining mystery. The author honed his craft writing scripts for such popular TV crime series as Law and Order and Street Legal, and his tight plotting is neatly complemented by a vivid yet never overly extravagant writing style. His depictions of the political scenes of both Quebec in the 70s and contemporary Ontario are fascinating (he shows a deep contempt for his novel's neo-conservative Ontario premier, Geoff Mantis, who bears a striking resemblance to a recent real-life premier from Blunt's hometown of North Bay). He is less successful when exploring the sexual tension between Cardinal and colleague Lise Delorme. Creating a plumbing problem in a hotel so they must share a room is just a little forced.
Toward the end of The Delicate Storm, the author explains how to avoid being electrocuted by downed power lines. That makes it a book that could literally save your life. Failing that, The Delicate Storm is certain to provide you with hours of pleasurable reading. --Kerry Doole, Amazon.caReview:
‘This is the book I’ve been waiting for through twenty years of reviewing crime fiction. With Forty Words for Sorrow, the Canadian crime novel finally comes of age’ Margaret Cannon, Globe
‘Forty Words for Sorrow is a haunting journey into the human heart in all its complexities’ Val McDermid
‘This atmospheric account … is extraordinary for its psychology and tensions. 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’ Jane Jakeman, Independent
‘A highly professional tour-de-force: excellently plotted, with fleshed-out characters and a well-portrayed, interesting setting’ TJ Binyon, Evening Standard
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 7115725