Novels still a mystery

Castlegar News bi-weekly columnist covers some of the reading he's done of late

Gord Turner

I was looking through the opening pages to the detective writer Robert Crais’s novel, Suspect. In a brief note, he spoke about his admiration for fellow detective writer Gregg Hurwitz.

Gregg Hurwitz? Why didn’t I know about this writer? I soon discovered our library has several copies of his books, and I’ve now read five of them—including his most recent, The Survivor.

The Hurwitz mystery I liked the best was a novel called They’re Watching. At first I thought the protagonist, an English teacher, was simply extremely paranoid, but as I read deeper into the novel I realized he and his wife had been targeted for some reason.

This English teacher has been involved in a movie production from a screenplay he wrote. He believed this movie would be his first step toward great acclaim.  Unfortunately, he is fired from the set, accused of attacking the star actor, and the focus of a huge lawsuit.

What follows is a weird sequence of events where his home is bugged, he receives CDs giving him tasks to do (or else), and he scrambles throughout the city doing some unknown group’s bidding. And then the star actor in this film is killed—and the writer becomes the number one suspect. The unraveling of this mystery is quite complex.

At the same time, I came upon a new mystery-noir novelist after she had been suggested to me by master reader, LCF. The author in question is a female British writer, S.J. Bolton, whose work compares favourably with the Nordic-noir novels of Mankell, Lackberg, and Nesbo. She’s a disciplined, intelligent writer who tackles difficult scenarios and character psychology.

Again, I’ve read most of her novels, but I had to get a few of them through Kootenay Connect, our regional library exchange system. Bolton came into prominence with three disparate novels, Sacrifice, Blood Harvest, and Awakening, particularly frightening because the bad guys use snakes to scare and kill people with. This book is true to its dark experience, but it’s not an easy read.

In her more recent mysteries, S.J. Bolton has created a female British detective who manages to get involved in bizarre situations and ultimately survive. Her character is named Lacey Flint. As the detective tells it she is, “Lacey, which is soft and pretty” and “Flint, which is sharp and hard as nails.”

These novels, including her most recent, A Dark and Twisted Tide, are police procedure mysteries of a sort.  They don’t, however, go beyond ordinary police work to worlds beneath the streets of London and into bleak landscapes. A Dark and Twisted Tide focuses on a new role for Lacey as she takes on the role of a regular policewoman on the Thames River patrols.

Lacey has decided to live on the river and enjoys swimming after dark in the murky Thames. Initially, her life is much more pleasant than when she was a detective trying to catch the evil criminals in various areas of England. But, one night while swimming she comes upon a female body wrapped in a shroud—and her life changes again. Other similar murders are discovered, and we follow Lacey as she pursues the perpetrators and justice.

I had one other novelist I wanted to tell you about—Christopher Reich. My friend L from Slocan Junction referred Reich’s works to me. Here is a master of the financial thriller. I can’t say enough about his first three books—Numbered Account, The Runner, and The First Billion. Read any of these, and you’ll marvel at the intrigue and the way his plots work.

Just Posted

Castlegar wildlife conflicts down in 2018, though problems persist

Official Bear Smart Community status still elusive for city

How long can Castlegar support a repertory cinema?

Cinema owners find audiences with older, obscure movies

Castlegar Search and Rescue gets early Christmas gift

Boston Pizza donated $1,107 to local search and rescue group

Castlegar family in need of ‘Christmas miracle’ to treat 4 year old’s diabetes

All Jack Sekel wants for Christmas is a monitor that neither insurance or government will provide.

KBRH on watch for bed bugs after two recent cases

Spokesperson Mandy Lowery says there has not been a bed bug sighting at KBRH since Dec. 8

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

Most Read