Atmospheric tale of small-town mayhem by Toronto-based mystery writer Barclay (Trust Your Eyes, 2012, etc.).
Barclay may live over the line, but he’s got a fondness for upstate New York, especially that within earshot of Niagara Falls, where bad guys can dump their victims and watch them bob in the waves just for grins. It takes a certain sadistic type to do so, of course. Check: Barclay’s got one. Maybe more than one, given the strong-arm ways of the local gendarmerie. The story takes off with a start from the get-go, when private investigator Cal Weaver, lost in a depressed fog since the death of his son, picks up a hitchhiker who claims to have been a friend of the boy—and perhaps more. Bad idea, picking up a young woman in the rain, but that’s where that insistent tap on the window comes in, and that’s where things begin to go haywire. Suffice it to say that by the end of the tale, there’s a pile of bodies to account for (“You don’t think he did it,” says his wife of one suspect. “I don’t,” Cal replies. “But I’ve been wrong before”), and Barclay has skillfully hidden the identity of the perp behind a couple of barrels’ worth of red herrings. Barclay turns in a taut procedural. His prose is often relaxed, even conversational; “It struck me that she was dressed for much colder weather than we were currently having” lacks the smart-alecky zinginess of a Raymond Chandler, but it’s also exactly the sort of thing a real-live gumshoe on a cooling trail might think.
A smart whodunit with satisfying twists and turns. Mystery buffs couldn’t ask for more.