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Forty Words for Sorrow


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About the Author

Giles Blunt grew up in North Bay Ontario, and now lives in Toronto. He has written scripts for Law & Order, Street Legal, and Night Heat. His first psychological thriller, Forty Words for Sorrow, which also features Detectives Cardinal and Delorme, won the 2001 Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger Award


Detective John Cardinal, once of homicide, now of burglary, has just been reassigned back to homicide and partnered with Lisa Delorme, formerly a detective with the Special Investigations squad. Delorme is investigating Cardinal undercover while ostensibly working with him to locate five missing, possibly dead children and teens in Algonquin Bay, Canada. Convincing police detail and realistic depictions of a Canadian winter combine with a well-paced story and fleshed-out characters to create an enticing and intriguing tale. James Daniels combines tonal variations with changes in pitch to differentiate among the characters. His diction is clear, and his speech is paced to the story. Recommended for popular fiction collections and public libraries with a demand for mysteries set in Canada. Laurie Selwyn, San Antonio P.L. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

'This is the book I've been waiting for through twenty years of reviewing crime fiction. This is the first great Canadian crime novel. Giles Blunt has done for Canada's north what James Lee Burke did for Cajun Louisiana. With Forty Words for Sorrow, the Canadian crime novel finally comes of age' Margaret Cannon, Globe 'Intensely vivid characters, terrible crimes and a brutal deep-frozen landscape all prove beyond a reasonable doubt that cold nurtures good and evil as readily as heat...and that Giles Blunt is a really tremendous crime novelist' Lee Child 'One of the finest crime novels I've ever read. Giles Blunt writes with uncommon grace, style and compassion and he plots like a demon. This book as it all unforgettable characters, beautiful language, throat-constricting suspense' Jonathan Kellerman 'A taut and enthralling tale that is as dark as the Canadian winter setting is cold. Humane, intelligent and gripping, Forty Words for Sorrow is a haunting journey into the human heart in all its complexities' Val McDermid 'A fine debut that deserves to do well, and promises much from a talented new author' Jim Driver, Time Out 'A superior Canadian police procedural with an evocative sense of place: the frozen lakes and forests are as integral to the plot as the flawed detective ... an impressive achievement' Maxim Jakubowski, Guardian

This brooding tale of a search for a serial killer in rural Ontario takes its title from the often-quoted fact that Eskimos have 40 words for snow. "What people really need is forty words for sorrow," thinks Det. John Cardinal, whose glum outlook aptly mirrors the mood of Blunt's atmospheric thriller. The story begins when the frozen body of 13-year-old Chippewa Katie Pine is discovered on one of the Manitou Islands near Algonquin Bay, Ontario. Cardinal, whose obsessive search for the missing girl when she first disappeared six months earlier got him kicked off the case, ends up back in the good graces of his superiors. Or so he thinks. But his new partner, Lisa Delorme, fresh from the Office of Special Investigations (think Internal Affairs), has been paired with Cardinal so she can covertly investigate him at the same time. Dogging Cardinal's record is his connection with drug dealer Kyle Corbett. Each time the police tried to bust Corbett, he was warned by someone on the inside; Cardinal, who is burdened with a guilty secret and a wife who's in and out of mental institutions, is the prime suspect. Focusing initially on Cardinal, Blunt (author of the praised Cold Eye) opens up the plot by chronicling what happens to the next potential victim of what the newspapers are calling the Windigo Killer. While the plot is formulaic (combining both a least-likely-suspect twist and a you-may-think-it's-over-but-it's-not finale), the plangent atmosphere gradually and effectively permeates the reader's consciousness. The characters achieve dimension slowly, like figures in a developing Polaroid, and then become vivid. Sorrow is palpable, and readers making their way through the book will feel like they're walking hunched over against a steady, chilling wind but the final destination, like Cardinal's final redemption, is well earned and well worth the trip. Agent, Helen Heller. (June 25) Forecast: Glowing advance praise from the likes of Jonathan Kellerman, Tony Hillerman and Lee Child augurs well for this deserving, intelligent thriller. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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