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A Door in the River (2012)
by Inger Ash Wolfe
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This is a Canadian mystery full of twists and turns. This author definitely holds the reader's interest as figuring out one challenge just leads to a new one. Although the subject matter is less than tasteful, this is a well crafted story that is well worth reading.
Did I read somewhere that the author's name is an anagram of another name? oh well, an investigation for another time. I do like these police procedurals a lot. This is the third, and Wolfe strays into somewhat sensationalist territory, but she makes it quite compelling. Equally compelling, of course, is her detective inspector Hazel Micallef, stubborn, instinctual, in-your-face, and definitely in a tough place in a changing department and a changing Canada. Wolfe doesn't shy away from complicated characters, and although the villains here are rather flatly created, they aren't the only menaces in the story. Some complications were a bit more than expected, I found, but the story overall is a real gallop. 4.5 stars, I think.
Finally found out who the mystery writer is for these Hazel Micallef books and was shocked it finod out they were written by a man! He really captures her perfectly. Enjoyed this book as much as the other two.
This is the third book in a series that follows Inspector Hazel Micallef in Port Dundas, Ontario. I had not read the first two in the series, but was not in the least lost; rather, I determined I'd have to download the first two in the series immediately.
A DOOR IN THE RIVER begins with a mysterious death: A local man is found dead outside a native cigarette shop on reservation land. It is determined that he died of a bee sting - but he certainly died at night, and bees are not nocturnal. This investigation (in cooperation with reservation authorities, which adds a frustrating twist) leads to a massive crime operation.
Hazel is a fantastic protagonist: "The force of her will and her peculiar way of building evidence for a case was something to see. He understood why she'd driven Ray Greene crazy. And in the end you had to agree with her! There was no way you were going to make your own logic as internally consistent as hers. Supposedly this was "instinct". He'd never really seen it. Too bad she wielded it like a mallet." I really love her. She's stubborn and sometimes rude, but she gets the job done. Her job is complicated by the necessity of cooperating. She's also affected by a decision to consolidate police departments, which means a colleague with whom she has a thorny past will be her superior.
The mystery itself certainly kept me guessing, though it strained credibility at times. The crimes are particularly brutal and disturbing, almost too much for my sensibilities. But Hazel kept me reading. Recommended for mystery/police procedural fans. The first in the series is THE CALLING, followed by THE TAKEN. I'll be reading both.
Source disclosure: I received an e-galley of this title from the publisher.
Readers of the novels by Inger Ash Wolfe were advised from the start that the author’s name was a fake. Wolfe’s publisher told us that under cover of the pseudonym lurked a distinguished Canadian literary novelist. In more recent news, we learned that an obscure clue to the author’s identity lay in the new book’s dedication to “Wolfe’s” grandmother whose maiden name was Wolfinger.
Wolfe? Wolfinger? A clue maybe, but which novelist filled all the categories? Canadian. Literary. Distinguished. Grandmother named Wolfinger. And probably female.
It turns out that the answer is Michael Redhill who outed himself two weeks ago. Redhill has all the credentials except the gender part, but he’s such a gifted writer that he makes the books’ wonderful sleuth figure, DI Hazel Micallef, into an entirely believable (female) character.
With the author question settled, we can move to the new book’s biggest puzzle. The puzzle, and its triumphant resolution, comes deep in the story, close to its climax. By this stage, we know that a local hardware merchant has been murdered in the part of Ontario cottage country where Micallef handles the cop work. A gambling casino on a nearby Indian reserve comes into the mix. So do other crimes and missing persons. Micallef hasn’t seen anything so ominous in her decades of policing.
Then the book indentifies the driving force behind the crimes, and our reaction is, first, a feeling that this is preposterous, and, second, a sense of disappointment. But within pages, the narrative is restored, the tipped-over plot righted, all becomes well again. Redhill hasn’t changed the facts of the case. He’s just shown how deft he is at manipulating a good story.
As well as the murder case, Micallef deals with on-going burdens from the two earlier books, balancing aplomb and anger in her responses. Her aged but whip-smart mother — Micallef herself is 62— seems on the brink of checking out of this life. And the provincial police bureaucracy and their Queen’s Park masters look like they’re going all Mike Harris on Micallef. In her view, the new bunch of bosses plans to convert her beloved rural county into something elephantine and cheap. What can she do?
All answers now rest in Michael Redhill’s capable hands.
Stinging deaths aren't uncommon in the summertime, but when Henry Wiest turns up stung to death at an Indian reservation, Detective Hazel Micallef senses not all is as it seems. And when it turns out the "bee" was a diabolical teenaged girl on a murder spree with a strange weapon, a dark and twisted crime begins to slowly emerge. The questions, contradictions, and bodies begin to mount, as two separate police forces struggle to work together to save the soul of Westmuir County.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
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This third installment in the series does not disappoint. A good who-dun-it and nice revisit with the inhabitants and police officers of Port Dundas.