Friday, April 11, 2014


There's always good reason to cheer when a new mystery series hits the scene. Those of us officially hooked on reading this genre are usually on the lookout for new settings, new characters, and new plots to keep us happy. Well, here's one to add to your reading list!

Kala Stonechild, an aboriginal female who is both running from and to her past, brings an unique voice to the Ottawa Police Service. On her first day on the job with the Ottawa Police, Stonechild, so new to the Ottawa area that she's staying at the Y, is made a part of a specialized police task force, a unit that feels unsupported and doomed from the start. Because it's Christmas, the detectives are handed a missing persons case that quickly morphs into a murder investigation. They're under the gun to solve it before the New Year, after which it gets passed on to Major Crimes. The future of this unit depends on the successful conclusion of this case. No pressure there.

Stonechild has been a police officer for a while but this is her first time in the big city. The missing person is Tom Underwood, a wealthy businessman. The suspect list is a long one including his business partner, his ex-wife, his current wife, his son, and possibly his daughter. Not a very happy family. The detectives are split on who is the guilty party -- the business partner or as Stonechild suspects, someone closer to home.

Stonechild is a complex person. She tries not to let feelings of loneliness and homesickness overcome her. She's left a lot behind but this is where she needs to be. She's juggling the case with her own search for her cousin, who's been moving around for several years and is now believed to be in Ottawa.

The New Year dawns and no one is in jail so Major Crimes steps in and Stonechild is sent on media relations training while the rest of the unit is solving more mundane cases. However, a chance remark sets her back on the trail of a surprising killer.

What's unusual about Cold Mourning is the multiple viewpoints which at times allow the reader to have more information than Stonechild. Chapman handles this style smoothly and it's very effective in moving the story along. She is a skilled writer with nine books already under her belt. This is her second adult novel.

If you live in Ottawa, Cold Mourning will be of particular interest because that's the setting and Chapman makes it come alive. However, you don't have to live here to enjoy the read. I hope that the Stonechild and Rouleau mysteries by Brenda Chapman have a long run. And I strongly advise readers to join in the trek, starting with Cold Mourning.

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