When the badly decomposed body of thirteen-year-old Katie Pine is found in an abandoned mine shaft, John Cardinal is vindicated. It was Cardinal who'd kept the Pine case open--insisting she was no mere runaway--and Cardinal who'd been demoted to the burglary squad for his excessive zeal. But Katie Pine isn't the only youngster to have gone missing in the rural town of Algonquin Bay, and Cardinal is now given the go-ahead to reopen the files on three other lost kids. When another youth is reported missing, he begins to see a pattern that screams "serial killer."
Meanwhile, the brass have partnered him with Lisa Delorme, newly shifted to homicide from the Office of Special Investigations, and Cardinal can't help but wonder if she's been sent to keep tabs on him. A guilty conscience makes him think so.
Superbly paced, with fully fleshed characters and utterly convincing police detail, Forty Words for Sorrow is also a novel of place that transcends genre. Blunt puts us in a small Canadian town in the dead of winter and makes us feel the cold, then turns the cold into a metaphor for the destruction of young lives.
It gets dark early in Algonquin Bay. Take a drive up Airport Hill at four o'clock on a February afternoon, and when you come back half an hour later the streets of the city will glitter below you in the dark like so many runways. The forty-sixth parallel may not be all that far north; you can be much farther north and still be in the United States, and even London, England, is a few degrees closer to the North Pole. But this is Ontario, Canada, we're talking about, and Algonquin Bay in February is the very definition of winter: Algonquin Bay is snowbound, Algonquin Bay is quiet, Algonquin Bay is very, very cold.
John Cardinal was driving home from the airport where he had just watched his daughter, Kelly, board a plane bound for the United States by way of Toronto. The car still smelled of her--or at least of the scent that had lately become her trademark: Rhapsody or Ecstasy or some such. To Cardinal, wife gone and now daughter gone, it smelled of loneliness. ...
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