What looks like a prank lures a Canadian police chief into an investigation of a bone-chilling crime.
Hazel Micallef (The Calling, 2008) is none too pleased to be recuperating from back surgery in the home of her ex-husband. But her mother Emily is too frail to care for her 62-year-old daughter, and Andrew Micallef’s new wife Glynnis seems determined to be nerve-wrackingly kind to her invalid predecessor. So Hazel barely minds being called back to the Port Dundas OPS when DC James Wingate, who never really wanted to be in charge of the provincial Ontario outpost, gets a report of a body pulled from Lake Gannon by tourists. The “body” turns out to be a mannequin, but a number stamped on the headless dummy’s torso leads to a video feed of what looks like someone held captive in a basement. Meanwhile, The Port Dundas Record begins to publish chapters of a work by local writer Colin Eldwin, whose plot eerily tracks the Lake Gannon discovery. Eldwin is gone; his wife suggests he’s in Toronto cheating on her. But the chapters keep arriving, each with a clue to a crime that hasn’t yet been discovered, much less solved. And as the video feed becomes more disturbing, Hazel finds herself at odds with Ray Greene, the former deputy slated to become her boss as the provincial force is consolidated, and with the Toronto police, who resent Ontario’s intrusion onto city turf.
Beautiful writing is just one of the pleasures of this Chinese-box puzzler.