Jacques Rouleau has moved to Kingston to look after his father and take up the position of head of the town’s Criminal Investigations Division. One hot week in late September, university student Leah Sampson is murdered in her apartment. In another corner of the city, Della Munroe is raped by her husband. At first the crimes appear unrelated, but as Sergeant Rouleau and his new team of officers dig into the women’s pasts, they discover unsettling coincidences. When Kala Stonechild, one of Rouleau’s former officers from Ottawa, suddenly appears in Kingston, Rouleau enlists her to help. Stonechild isn’t sure if she wants to stay in Kingston, but agrees to help Rouleau in the short-term. While she struggles with trying to decide if she can make a life in this new town, a ghost from her past starts to haunt her. As the detectives delve deeper into the cases, it seems more questions pop up than answers. Who murdered Leah Sampson? And why does Della Monroe’s name keep showing up in the murder investigation? Both women were hiding secrets that have unleashed a string of violence. Stonechild and Rouleau race to discover the truth before the violence rips more families apart.
This was a new author to me and after reading Butterfly Kills I’ll be checking out her other titles too. This was a well-layered mystery story that kept my interest throughout the book. It begins with what you assume are two very unconnected events but as the story advances you along with the police begin to put the pieces together. Nothing’s rushed but the pacing is far from slow.
The characters are well drawn and each have their own backstory (even the secondary characters) which I felt added just another layer to this novel. I especially liked the setting and have to admit it’s the first Canadian based mystery I’ve ever read and given me an incentive to seek out more. What I liked best was the author revealed elements in the story at the same time the detectives found out about them. It felt like you were the detective rather than being one step ahead of them.
The dialogue is natural sounding and many of the problems the characters faced in this story are ones I think most of us can relate to as well. Caring for aging parents and balancing that with a career. Lost and new loves, and moving on with your life.
If you like a good whodunit, and want to discover a new author and locale for your mystery fix then I’d say this is one definitely worth checking out.