In Thuss’ (The Effect on the Soul, 2011, etc.) thriller, a vacationing widower becomes ensnared in an international terrorist plot in Newfoundland, Canada.
Three years after his wife’s death, Richard Fredrickson finds solace where he can. When he’s not spending time with his daughters and grandchildren, he often takes long, serene motorcycle rides on back, country roads. Unfortunately, one trip takes him to a tiny Canadian town named Port Aux Basques. There, he discovers a nearly decapitated man in his hotel room and is unwittingly drawn into a plot against the United States. Fredrickson is a writer and an amateur sleuth, and he also has a background in advanced electronics. When he discovers horrific information encoded on a business card, he realizes that he’s up against a couple of very mean terrorists indeed. As Richard works to solve the case, his folksy demeanor endears him to several women in town; a fling with a local restaurateur goes nowhere fast, but Richard soon grows close to a headstrong police chief (herself a widow) as the case progresses. Meanwhile, the chief’s daughter is a nascent author, and she gives Richard some unexpected advice—a development which adds subtle and intriguing layers to the story. The action is neither hurried nor plodding; it pleasantly ambles along, often reminiscent of a kindly grandfather telling an old tale. Richard’s voice is self-deprecating and charming, even if the casual tone sometimes keeps the story from having a real sense of danger. His numerous asides, although appealing, become somewhat unnecessary as the story reaches its surprising conclusion.
A laid-back and enjoyable mystery.