Crime Machine

By Giles Blunt

With his recent book, Crime Machine, Giles Blunt has returned to his tried-and-true wonderful protagonist, detective John Cardinal.

Working with his partner and best friend, Lise Delorme, Cardinal tackles the latest gruesome murder in Algonquin Bay, the beheading of a visiting Russian couple. Cardinal and Delorme must sift through the many distractions, red herrings and real leads (attractive American reporter, annual fur auction, “family” of criminals in hiding, 20 year-old cold-case file) before they can determine the solution to this brutal crime. There are many threads to the story but Blunt’s conclusion weaves them together nicely, and there is plenty of suspense to keep us hooked right to the end.

Apart from the mystery to be solved, it’s always a pleasure to read another story about John Cardinal. He is still dealing with severe grief and loss over the death of his wife. Catherine suffered terribly from depression, and after her death John felt guilt as well as grief, despite all he had done to support her. His vulnerability and humanity add another dimension to the novel so that we are just as interested in his own personal story as we are in the mystery.

This novel brings Blunt back to his best writing. His attempts to write outside this detective series are not as successful; story-lines and protagonists are not as well developed and seem flat compared to his mystery novels. With Crime Machine, we return to familiar territory, peopled with strong and colourful characters. Let’s hope Blunt maintains this series a bit longer because I’m sure John Cardinal still has a lot to tell us.

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