Monday Book Review: The Delicate Storm


The Delicate Storm

 

The Delicate Storm by Giles Blunt

 

From the Amazon Description:

Algonquin Bay is wrapped in a thick blanket of fog; an eerie prophecy of weather on its way, or perhaps something more ominous. When a local man discovers a dismembered arm in his front yard, it seems that the long fingers of fog that strangle the city are also hiding a grisly secret. While at first the discovery is thought to be the work of ravenous bears, woken early from their long winter hibernation, the coroner later confirms that the victim was actually sawn into pieces rather torn. The case becomes even murkier when a local trapper confesses to cutting up the body and scattering the remains but claims to be innocent of committing the murder.

Detectives John Cardinal and Lise Delorme have their work cut out for them. After identifying the victim as Howard Matlock, New York city resident, a new player enters the ring: the RCMP. In any case involving an American, the RCMP shares jurisdiction with the Algonquin Bay Police Department and that means Corporal Malcolm Musgrave. A blustering wall of self-importance and attitude, Musgrave has Cardinal bristling, and he reminds Delorme of a betrayal she’d rather forget. To add insult to injury, Delorme is pulled off the case and Cardinal ends up in a partnership not only with Musgrave, but with the unbearably obsequious Calvin Squier, an agent of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

When Cardinal makes the surprising discovery that Howard Matlock is alive and well, he begins to suspect that not everyone involved in the case is working towards the same goal. The body parts add up to one Miles Shakeley, a CIA operative in Montreal in 1970, and Cardinal becomes suspicious that CSIS is somehow involved.

Meanwhile, the case of a missing woman in Algonquin Bay is occupying Delorme. When the body of Dr. Winter Cates is uncovered in a glaze of ice, Delorme is convinced that a jealous boyfriend is to blame. But when blood evidence bonds Cardinal and Delorme’s cases, they are back together and travelling to Montreal to track down tenuous leads. And it is there that they discover that their cases reach far beyond the town limits of Algonquin Bay. Untangling the secrets of a government in crisis, cover-ups, and the meddling of American intelligence agencies, they are eventually led back to where they started–and to a suspect who is untouchable.

My Review:

Great mystery by Giles Blunt, an in-depth study of character and place.  The dark days of winter are vividly painted by Blunt, watching bodies pile up and personalities clash. What is a good detective story without infighting?  And Giles Blunt ensures plenty.

There isn’t much else I can say that other reviewers have stated over on the books’ page over on Amazon.com, but for readers here, I’ll say the characters are well-written, three dimensional, feeling like real people.  Some you will cheer for and others, not so much.  The place, an area in Canada, is dark, unforgiving, especially in the cold and harsh northern winter, with snow and ice. It is almost a character in and of itself.

Add in multiple federal and country agencies involved in murders and crimes, and you have a twisting, winding story.  Blunt takes his time and paces beautifully, as well.

I would give this book 4 1/2 stars.

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