BookBrowse Reviews By the Time You Read This by Giles Blunt

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

By the Time You Read This

A Novel

by Giles Blunt

By the Time You Read This by Giles Blunt X
By the Time You Read This by Giles Blunt
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2007, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2008, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


'The result is the most beautifully written, deeply felt page-turner of the year.' - Kirkus Reviews

By The Time You Read This is the fourth in Giles Blunt's excellent series set in Algonquin Bay, a loosely disguised version of North Bay, Ontario, where Blunt grew up. Long time visitors to BookBrowse may remember us profiling Forty Words For Sorrow in 2001, the first volume in the series which introduced Canadian Detective John Cardinal and his photographer wife Catherine, who suffers from bipolar disorder.

Catherine's illness and her regular hospitalizations have been an ongoing thread through the series, but within a few pages of By The Time You Read This we are shocked to discover that Cardinal will never have to worry about his beloved wife's illness again when she takes a fatal fall from the top of an apartment building. Despite it looking like a clear case of suicide John is suspicious, he's known Catherine for years and knows her moods intimately and had detected no signs of her falling into another depression. Even the note she left behind seems a little odd - it's definitely in her own writing but it's all a bit too neat for somebody in her supposed condition; and why did she jump with all her camera equipment?

Cardinal steps on multiple toes as he violates department rules with his own unauthorized investigation; Chief R.J. Kendall, trying hard to be sympathetic but increasingly out of patience, tries to redirect Cardinal's interest by putting him on to a case led by Detective Lise Delorme, who is on the track of a sickening pedophile. As the two cases start to interconnect, it doesn't look like Cardinal will find the distraction Chief Kendall hopes for, but he just might find resolution to the mystery of his wife's death, and save a number of other souls, if only he and Lise can put the clues together in time.

The opening pages indicate that Blunt is as keenly interested in developing his characters as he is in delivering pulse-pounding action. Unlike so many thrillers that throw us straight into the crime scene, Blunt opens with a scene of domesticity, throws in a quick red-herring that we think might be the central story, and then, only then, gets down to the business of a dead body.

Some mystery-thrillers keep the reader in the dark as to who the killer is right up until the final pages, which keeps the tension ratcheted to high but tends to limit how much we know about the killer's motives, mentality and background, for the obvious reason that if one knows everything there is to know about a person one also knows who he is! Other thrillers reveal the murderer to the omnipresent reader long before the detectives can possibly have worked out the clues, which allows for a greater depth of characterization but can make it difficult to keep the suspense at maximum.

Giles Blunt follows the latter path. Readers will tag who the bad guys are in By The Time You Read This significantly before the detectives do, but will be driven to read on by the finely crafted storytelling and their own heart-pounding righteous anger to see justice served, and the truly nasty villain or villains (no plot spoilers here) put away for good.

With its themes of mental illness, physical abuse and dealing with loss By The Time You Read This could be a deeply depressing story, but in fact it's an absolutely riveting character-driven mystery, a thinking-person's novel that tackles big issues with sensitivity, but reaches the pulse-pounding heights of the best thrillers. If you have yet to discover Giles Blunt, start now!

This review was originally published in February 2007, and has been updated for the July 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Immortalists
    The Immortalists
    by Chloe Benjamin
    On a summer day in 1969 in New York City, the Gold children agree to seek out a mysterious ...
  • Book Jacket: The Kites
    The Kites
    by Romain Gary, Miranda Richmond Mouillot
    Published by New Directions for the first time in English, Romain Gary's The Kites tells a story of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Kites
    The Kites
    by Romain Gary, Miranda Richmond Mouillot
    Published by New Directions for the first time in English, Romain Gary's The Kites tells a story of ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Hearts of Men
    by Nickolas Butler
    Set mostly in the woodlands of north Wisconsin, Nikolas Butler spins a familial saga that explores ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

A story that is at once quirky, charming, heartbreaking, suspenseful and poignant.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Days When Birds Come Back
    by Deborah Reed

    A graceful testament to endurance, rebuilding, and the possibilities of coming home.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Driest Season

Win One of 50 Copies of This Exceptional Debut!

A deeply affecting story of loss, heartache, and—finally—hope.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A J O A Thousand M B W O S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.