THE NIGHT BELL by Inger Ash Wolfe


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In this fourth installment (A Door in the River, 2012, etc.), Ontario police inspector Hazel Micallef becomes intimately involved in a case connecting back to her childhood.

The trouble starts with Tournament Acres, a new housing development in Port Dundas that has fallen short of its promises. Unhappy tenants find bones on the empty land intended to become a golf course, and soon DI Micallef is in the office of property manager Brendan Givens. He's being harassed and wants protection, and tenants want something done about the development's failures, but these problems seem like child's play when the bones turn out to be human. Micallef orders the land, which used to belong to the Dublin Home for Boys, to be canvassed. This task yields even more bones, but during the search, an officer goes missing after a threatening voice speaks over his radio. The situation intensifies further when a couple from the development is brutally murdered overnight (in a scene that will give you chills). It becomes clear that something much larger is going on at Tournament Acres, and it goes back decades—Dublin Home has been in ruin for years. The realization that the bones belong to adolescent boys hits Micallef hard, since her brother, Alan, was adopted from a similar home in the 1950s. This takes the narrative back to 1957, when troubled Alan is suspected of foul play when a teenage girl goes missing. To complicate things, Micallef and her friend Gloria Whitman, the daughters of the mayor and the town doctor respectively, are the last to see the girl alive. The two timelines feel like separate stories for most of the book, but you’re safe to suspect that the dots will be connected—though with great haste. Wolfe's main character is alert, hard-bitten, and extremely loyal, and it's a pleasure to get to know her more deeply through her precocious younger self. The pleasure runs out by the final chapters, which read like a chaos of competing sounds; you'll be deafened before the final note.

DI Micallef is sure to win your favor, but expect your initial excitement to slowly fizzle out.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-68177-165-6
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Pegasus Crime
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2016


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