Friday, May 17, 2013
Twilight is Not Good For Maidens
by Lou Allin
This third outing in the Corporal Holly Martin series had me riveted right from the beginning. Here we have the quiet Vancouver Island community of Sooke, not far from the ocean, a vacation dreamland. Sounds ideal, doesn't it? The perfect setting to be marred by an attempted sexual assault, and later, a murder.
That's what mystery authors do. They pick the perfect setting and then turn it on its head by inflicting a crime. The fact that Allin is adept at describing her setting so that the reader actually sees it, adds to the drama. Another aspect of Allin's writing that keeps the reader turning the pages is how she manages to weave reality into the fiction. RCMP Corporal Martin relates what's happening in her small detachment to the broader spectrum of recent police tribulations in the province. It turns the fiction into another story from the headlines.
This time, her constable, the amiable Chipper Knox Singh, is accused of sexual assault by a teenage driver he stopped. Holly believes he's innocent but realizes, because of regulations, she's unable to help him. Then there is another attack at the oceanside campgrounds, this one ending in the murder of a young woman.
When a third attack at French Beach results in the victim giving a description of her attacker, the wary police officers are hopeful of putting an end to the crimes. But Holly is a lowly Corporal and the RCMP hierarchy has the Integrated Crime Unit from West Shore in charge of the cases. But it's just a matter of time until she's putting the clues together and ends up as the killer's next target.
An ongoing thread in the three Holly Martin books is the unanswered question of what happened to her Mom who went missing several years earlier. This time around, Holly finally gets some leads and her determination to get some answers sends her on another quest.
The two earlier books in the series are, And on the Surface Die, and She Felt No Pain. They do not have to be read in order but you'll want to start the journey with Holly from the beginning. She's a vulnerable, determined, smart young police officer; a fine addition to the police procedurals set in Canada. I'm already waiting for the fourth!
Lou Allin is the author of two series, the Holly Martin and Belle Palmer mysteries. After teaching for many years at Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario, she now lives near Sooke on Vancouver Island. Her Rapid Read novel, Contengency Plan has been shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis Best Novella Award this year from Crime Writers of Canada.