Wednesday, February 29, 2012
"Crime Machine", by Giles Blunt
Book 5, in the John Cardinal crime series
After two standalone novels I was pleased to see Mr. Blunt returning to familiar territory and his true protagonists, Police Detective John Cardinal and his partner Constable Lise Delorme. In this recent installment John and Lise investigate the beheading of two Russian business people who came to Algonquin Bay to participate in the yearly fur auction.
Since his wife’s death in the previous novel ”By The Time You Read This” John has become ever more obsessed with working his case files even his down time is spent with his partner, they both enjoy watching movies together in his new apartment which is conveniently situated a stone’s throw from hers.
The mystery opens on a snowy night at a cottage on Trout Lake, where a married realtor and a young native woman have decided to meet for a romantic fling. He left early and during the night other people arrived. In a strange house and not wanting to be discovered, the young woman hid and witnessed one of the most gruesome moments of her life. After escaping she makes an anonymous tip to the police and when they come upon the scene, they discover two bodies, a man and a woman wearing expensive fur coats, decapitated and their heads missing. The investigation triggers many questions and scenarios for John and Lise. First: who is the tipster and what is her involvement, another thing to consider is can this be linked to a recent crime spree by a cult-like group or maybe the Russian mafia expanding into the fur trade and the list goes on. John and Lise soon discover this is not a slam dunk case; it is a complex puzzle, an endless supply of information that gradually leads them on a hunt for Papa, a ruthless survivalist gang leader.
The author has painted nature at a time when it tests a person’s will and ability to survive under hard conditions and created an outstanding atmospheric setting. The storyline is captivating, as I kept turning pages I was pulled into a mystery full of intrigue and terror and into a myriad of sub-plots peppered with red- herrings. The twisted evil “family” and the dynamics between its members are particularly well-drawn and are the driving force that overshadows the protagonists in many ways. Although John and Lise take a back seat at times and Lise comes across as the dominate one it does not affect their growing relationship, who knows what Mr. Blunt has in store for the future, we can only imagine that one day there will be some spicy moments….
I am a faithful fan of this author and I am always looking forward to see what Mr. Blunt will pull out of his key board next.