Monday, 16 November 2015

Tumbled Graves by Brenda Chapman

Publisher: Dundurn
Rating: 4.5*

Hallelujah! Book #3 is here and it doesn't disappoint.

I’ve been a fan of this series since I picked up “Cold Mourning” last year. With each book, you not only get a proper mystery to unsnarl but further insight into the 2 main characters as their relationship deepens and titbits from the past come to light. That continues here.

At the end of “Butterfly Kills”, Det. Kala Stonechild took on one of the toughest jobs of her career…"Mom" to a teenager after the girl’s mother went to prison. It’s been a big adjustment for both,  particularly Kala who has always led a solitary life. Any attempts at establishing a routine are further complicated when a young woman and her daughter go missing.

Kala & colleague Paul Gundersund take the call. Ivo Delaney has no idea where his wife Adele and daughter Violet have gone. Unfortunately, it’s not long before the cops have a pretty good idea. But the real mystery is why & as Kala and Paul continue to dig, it turns out Adele was keeping a few secrets from her husband.

Meanwhile, Staff Sgt. Jacques Rouleau continues to juggle the problems of running their department. There are budget concerns, meetings and a new member of the team to get up to speed. But when a local reporter approaches him about the case, it’s clear he has something else to worry about. Someone is feeding her information. In alternate chapters, we listen in as she meets her source and slowly realize this will have huge repercussions for Kala.

It’s a well paced story that pulls you in from the get-go. The investigation heads off in surprising directions before reaching a tense conclusion. Even then, a couple of nice twists near the end ensure your attention never wavers.

As usual, we also get to catch up on the characters’ personal lives. Kala and Paul definitely click as partners at work but she’s unsure she wants to take it any further, especially with his estranged wife hovering in the background. All Paul knows is he’s never met anyone like Kala. The comfort and sense of peace he gets when they’re together is something he never experienced in his marriage. But you get the feeling the author is in no rush and will let this develop with a slow burn.

As for Jacques, he continues to be the strong, solid centre of the series. In this outing, part of his past will reach a heartbreaking resolution & it strengthens the bond between him and Kala. They first worked together in another unit and when he moved to Kingston, she followed. He’s always respected her as a colleague but as they both face personal challenges, you get to see an almost father/daughter aspect of their relationship.

There are several side stories that carry over from the previous book but if you’re jumping in here, no worries. Enough background is provided to get the gist of what’s happening. Peripheral characters range from other cops and family members to sinister bikers and their crews. (At this juncture, I would like to make a special plea to the author. Without spilling any beans for readers, there’s one character I’d like to see get the smack down they so karmically deserve. You know who I mean. Please.)

Police procedurals are probably my favourite genre and I have read countless books from many different countries. In this crowded field, it must be difficult to create characters that aren't already out there running around in someone else’s story. Jacques and Kala grow more compelling with each instalment as layers are slowly peeled back & their characters continue to develop. By the end, there are a few loose strings left dangling and I look forward to seeing what happens next.

My sincere thanks to Dundurn for allowing me to receive a copy.

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Reviewed for MCT by Sandy S.

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