Saturday, April 23, 2011


by Vicki Delany
Poisoned Pen Press

Vicki Delany's Const. Molly Smith & Sgt. John Winter series just keeps getting better. And that's no mean feat, since they've been an engrossing read since book #1. That's four books ago.

What keeps this series fresh are the characters and the setting. Const. Molly Smith is young and eager. She's at the lowest point on the police roster but eager to learn and get ahead. Fortunately, she gets that opportunity time and again when Sgt. John Winters involves her in the major crimes cases, having her ferret out information and attend crime scenes. She comes by that part naturally in Among The Departed, accompanying her RCMP boyfriend Adam Tocek and his police dog Norman as they're are called in to search for a small boy lost in a wilderness camping ground outside the town.

Don't worry, this is not a child-in-jeopardy story. But one with many layers that has at its core the remains of a man Molly knew as a child. He was the father of a childhood friend who disappeared 15 years ago. Norman uncovers his bones and the cold case takes on a new life.

We're learning more about Molly Smith each time out. We see her handling the tough brawlers on her beat, relating to her recently widowed Mom, and growing in her relationship with Tocek. She's an interesting character, tough and yet vulnerable, caring and yet insular, doing a tough job in her hometown.

Sgt. Winters is also a complex guy. A dedicated cop with a beautiful wife and a home life that's recently taken on new meaning to him. He's smart and knows the importance of some mentoring when it comes to Molly and her career.

Trafalgar is its own character. A small town nestled in the B.C. wilderness that keeps going because of that location. In winter it's a tourist mecca with great ski trails on nearby mountains. In summer, the tourists eat up the wilderness experience. Its charm is its size and location but like any town or city, it has a dark side.

This case has special meaning as it delves into the lives of Molly's childhood friend and her family. It present new challenges to Molly, both personal and professional, and is a journey worth taking with her.

Linda Wiken

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