Summary and book reviews of Forty Words For Sorrow by Giles Blunt

Forty Words For Sorrow

by Giles Blunt

Forty Words For Sorrow by Giles Blunt
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2001, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2002, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Superbly paced, with fully fleshed characters and utterly convincing police detail. "Blunt has done for Canada's north what James Lee Burke did for Cajun Louisiana."

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.

Chapter 1

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. ...

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!

Reviews

Media Reviews

Toronto Globe and Mail - Margaret Cannon

Blunt has done for Canada's north what James Lee Burke did for Cajun Louisiana.

Bookpage

[H]e populates his novel with vivid and complex characters....And, as far as villains go, they don't come much more evil than this.

Harper's Baazar

Blunt's chilly, gruesome tale gets into the fascinating minutiae of police work without ever losing its grasp on the human element.

Kirkus Reviews

Polished, at times poetic but more frequently horrific, and especially moving in dealing with Cardinal's wife Catherine, hospitalized for depression. Former TV writer Blunt (Cold Eye, not reviewed) is a helluva storyteller, and his John Cardinal probably has a long career ahead of him.

Booklist

Blunt's handling of procedure...is masterful....A completely absorbing series debut...

Author Blurb Tony Hillerman
I wish I had written Forty Words for Sorrow...If you miss it you'll miss one of best novels of 2001.

Author Blurb Lee Child
Intensely vivid characters, terrible crimes, and a brutal deep-frozen landscape all prove beyond a reasonable doubt....

Reader Reviews

lu-anna

i thought this was an awsome book! amazing from start to finish. the fact that youre not only in one person's view, but others aswell, makes it unique, and a great read. if i could, i would give it a 6/5

Mary

We read Forty Words for Sorrow in a mystery readering group. Lately, our choices have been so-so at best, but this book was completely engrossing. The writing is vivid and free of the usual clutter and bumbling that distract the mind from a story. ...   Read More

Karim

I picked 40 Words for Sorrow up from an Amtrak station bookstore to have something to read on the train. And I will tell you this, I now enjoy my hour and a half coming and going to work. This book is lively, with believable characters and an ...   Read More

Kittie

I was reading an other great book Daddy's Little Girl and I was almost done with it so I need an other book to read because Daddy's Little Girl is for school. I took my mom's book which happend to be Forty Words for Sorrow Which I haven't been able ...   Read More

Write your own review!

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!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Forty Words For Sorrow, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
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!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...
  • Book Jacket: Temporary People
    Temporary People
    by Deepak Unnikrishnan
    In this powerful and innovative collection of 28 short stories, Deepak Unnikrishnan presents a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Manderley Forever
    by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay pays homage to Daphne du Maurier.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    If We Were Villains
    by M. L. Rio

    An intelligent and captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the thought is staggering.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

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.

 
Modal popup -