Summary and book reviews of By the Time You Read This by Giles Blunt

By the Time You Read This

A Novel

by Giles Blunt

By the Time You Read This
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2007, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2008, 352 pages

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Book Summary

Detective John Cardinal is on the hunt for an ingenious killer even as he mourns his own wife’s tragic death in this thriller of heart-stopping suspense. Published in the UK as The Fields of Grief.

Autumn has arrived in Algonquin Bay, and with it an unusual spate of suicides. The most shocking victim yet is Detective John Cardinal’s wife, who has finally succumbed to her battle with manic depression. As Cardinal takes time to grieve, his partner, Lise Delorme, handles an unsavory assignment: a young girl appears in a series of unspeakable photos being traded online, and background elements indicate she lives in Algonquin Bay. Delorme is desperate to find the girl before she suffers more abuse.

When Cardinal receives a string of hateful anonymous notes about his wife’s death, he begins to suspect homicide. His colleagues believe he is too distraught to think clearly, and he’s forced to investigate alone. In doing so, he comes up against a brand of killer neither he—nor the reader—has ever seen before. In his most masterful and thrilling novel yet, Giles Blunt confirms his reputation as a rising international star in crime fiction, and positions Detective John Cardinal among the finest characters in the genre.

Published in the UK as The Fields of Grief.

1

Nothing bad could ever happen on Madonna Road. It curls around the western shore of a small lake just outside Algonquin Bay, Ontario, providing a pine-scented refuge for affluent families with young children, yuppies fond of canoes and kayaks, and an artful population of chipmunks chased by galumphing dogs. It’s the kind of spot—tranquil, shady, and secluded—that appears to offer an exemption from tragedy and sorrow.

Detective John Cardinal and his wife, Catherine, lived in the smallest house on Madonna Road, but even that tiny place would have been beyond their means were it not for the fact that, being situated across the road from the water, they owned neither an inch of beach nor so much as a millimeter of lake frontage. On weekends Cardinal spent most of his time down in the basement breathing smells of sawdust, paint, and Minwax, carpentry affording him a sense of creativity and control that did not tend to flourish in ...

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    BookBrowse Awards
    2008

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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 sensitively, while reaching the pulse-pounding heights of the best thrillers. If you have yet to discover Giles Blunt, start now!   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews

Entertainment Weekly - Daniel Fierman

The resulting novel resembles a photocopy of a photocopy of the elegant, spare work of Northern European crime specialists like Henning Menkell — readable stuff that lingers poorly in the mind. C+

The Globe & Mail

In By the Time You Read This, Blunt, who has received Canadian and International awards for this series, once again proves he can set the scene better than almost anyone else in the crime genre, putting the reader right into Algonquin Bay with all its autumnal glory, its painful lives and sordid little secrets. . . . Blunt, unlike some series authors, never writes the same book twice.

The Telegraph - Susanna Yager

By identifying the perpetrator early on Blunt has turned a conventional whodunit into a fascinating psychological duel between the detective and the murderer.

Publishers Weekly

Sharp dialogue, complex characters and a satisfying conclusion.

Booklist

Starred Review. Suspense and a relentless sense of doom pervade this latest offering from Blunt....here even the most minor characters are rendered in vivid detail.

Kirkus

He makes a story drenched in sadness almost unbearably exciting. The result is the most beautifully written, deeply felt page-turner of the year.

The Toronto Star

Giles Blunt's fourth and most affecting crime novel .... makes for great sleuthing. It also makes for heart-breaking stuff, the kind of thing that forces the reader to turn away from the page and give the horror a rest.

Reader Reviews

Pedantic Englishman

Where was your editor?
An otherwise above average crime novel spoiled for this reader by one glaring error. At one point the English psychiatrist's English wife suggests they retire back to England. She has her eye on a small cottage just outside Nottingham a short walk ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Giles Blunt was born in 1952 in Windsor, Ontario, and grew up in North Bay, Ontario. He describes his parents as being "so English that the space on their passports for citizenship could only be filled in" British Beyond Belief". He spent most of his education at a Catholic boys' school called Scollard Hall, moving to a "regular school", Algonquin Composite, for his last two years.

His career started with poetry which was published in various publications including Grain and Poetry ...

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