Paperback, 408 pages
Expected publication: May 11th 2019 by Dundurn
Rated 3.75 of 5 stars
Brenda Chapman is a superb suspense writer that knows how to masterfully weave multiple story lines into one cohesive novel. I found the sixth book in the Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery series to be executed well from a writing standpoint. There was a constant ebb and flow of suspense. While there were some glaring and distracting issues with formatting (major need for symbols separating a change in the storyline), I worked quickly through the novel and stayed pretty entertained throughout.
Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:
Former teenage runaway and new single mother Nadia Armstrong moves to Kingston to turn her life around. But six months after she rents a low-end apartment, her body is found on a concrete slab at an isolated construction site.
Major Crimes begins piecing together her last days, uncertain if this is a case of suicide or murder. To make matters more difficult, a member of the team is leaking information to reporter Marci Stokes, putting Staff Sergeant Rouleau in a precarious position.
Meanwhile, Officer Kala Stonechild’s niece, Dawn, is secretly corresponding with her father, who’s out on early parole. Dawn’s friend Vanessa is also keeping a dangerous secret — her relationship with an older man named Leo, who preys on young girls. And it’s not long before he has Dawn in his sights.
Chapman breathes life into her story through sweeping descriptions of the atmosphere (the sun, sky, greenery, etc.) and it takes the reader into the character’s domain. We felt the grittiness of the cities underbelly all the way to the beauty of a house on the water. As readers, we’ll find a yearning to feel a closeness to the characters that are supposed to be the main characters. I felt a connection to Fisher (a paroled Dad wanting to forget his sullied past and rekindle his relationship with his daughter). I wanted Fisher’s redemption and it carried me through his scenes in hopes that I’d get an emotional payoff.
Chapman also throws many characters into the story very early and it had my head spinning trying to figure out what I missed. So for readers that aren’t familiar with the series, you may find yourself overwhelmed within the first 30 pages. Although we learn more about the character’s pasts as the book progresses, it may be too little too late for readers that want to be gripped hard and early in a suspense book. I would have liked to have had a prologue with Nadia’s demise as a precursor, so that we wouldn’t have had to wait for over half the novel for ironclad clues. Luckily, Chapman had other storylines to steal the readers interest as the case of Nadia’s death is slowly investigated.
As a reader of police procedurals, I found that some police activities may have been overlooked for the sake of the story and came across as far-fetched (i.e. 3 men in the woods, one gets away seconds before police arrive yet no one goes after him nor does the main character send someone after him when backup arrives OR police calls in a witness, gives him a weak case and subsequently must let him go with all the knowledge they have OR a suspect tells a reporter the truth of his story but not the police OR someone waking from a coma to give pretty detailed info only to die seconds later). Also, while I love dogs, the author didn’t explain thoroughly enough if Taiku, the protagonist’s dog, was a tracker dog in this novel and therefore, seemed far fetch that he could find people by name with a simple word command, no sniffing required. So while you must suspend your logical mind sometimes in the story, you still find the suspense gripping enough to continue on. This book is recommended for readers who do not mind underage rape, human trafficking but enjoy a police series with multiple layers.
Raging Book Reviews Recommended
*Special thanks to Netgalley and Dundurn for sending the ebook to review.