After a farm couple is murdered in Montreal in the wake of a blizzard, newly retired DS Émile Cinq-Mars is asked by an FBI agent to look into possible connections with similar killings in New Orleans.
Though there's one major difference—the two cops who first arrived at the Montreal murder scene were killed as well—the FBI agent thinks the crimes are the work of a serial killer who strikes after natural disasters. The killer's signature is cutting off a finger from each victim. Partly to placate his wife, Sandra, who wants him to stay retired, Cinq-Mars agrees to go to New Orleans, where he can mix business and pleasure. But shortly after they arrive, Sandra is kidnapped under odd circumstances. Émile sees everyone—the New Orleans cops, FBI agents, an ambitious hotel security guard—as a suspect. More people are killed. Ransom instructions are issued. The minivacation is off. Farrow, the pen name of Trevor Ferguson, an acclaimed Canadian literary novelist, honors the traditions of the genre while adding enjoyable wrinkles. The slow-moving but fast-thinking Cinq-Mars can be counted on for plenty of frumpy humor, but when things get cold and sinister, he's no pushover, even when making words his weapon. Because he's so good at it, a long scene that would be talky in another novel is gripping in this one.
One of the best mysteries from Canada in some time, this fourth book in a strong series is equally good at capturing the atmosphere of New Orleans and the distinctive qualities of Montreal.