Canadian detective John Cardinal (Black Fly Season, 2005, etc.) won’t have to worry about his depressive wife anymore: She’s taken a fatal plunge from the roof of an apartment building.
If ever there was an open-and-shut case of suicide, it’s Catherine Cardinal’s. She’d been hospitalized a dozen times for depression; her psychiatrist, Dr. Frederick Bell, acknowledges that she was “no stranger to suicidal thoughts”; she left a clear-headed note to her husband; and the rooftop where she’d gone to take pictures shows no signs of anyone’s presence but her own. Even so, the more closely Cardinal looks into her death, in flagrant violation of departmental rules, the more convinced he is that Catherine didn’t kill herself—or that if she did, her death is only one of a suspicious rash of suicides in little Algonquin Bay. Chief R.J. Kendall, livid at Cardinal’s cowboy sleuthing, tries to pull him off the case by assigning him to Lise Delorme’s search for a pedophile who’s spent five years documenting in photographs his abuse of a young girl. But Delorme’s investigation offers no relief, partly because it’s equally grim and unsparing, partly because it turns out to have a sickening, surprising connection to Cardinal’s own. Along the way, Blunt pulls off a remarkable feat: He makes a story drenched in sadness almost unbearably exciting.
The result is the most beautifully written, deeply felt page-turner of the year.