Ottawa journalist Corbett’s (A Grand Adventure, 2011, etc.) first novel is a tale of murder, murder, and more murder in Canada’s Northern Divide.
After one look inside a supposedly abandoned Ragged Lake cabin so isolated it doesn’t appear on any of his maps, a young tree-marker phones the Springfield Regional Police, who send Senior Detective Frank Yakabuski from Lowerton. Although Guillaume Roy, the squatter inside the cabin, hasn’t been literally cut in half by shotgun fire, the scene is otherwise even worse than the young man described it. Not only are Roy and his wife, Lucy Whiteduck, dead, but so is their toddler daughter, Cassandra—and their deaths are only a foretaste of more to come. Yakabuski, investigating his first murder after a long undercover stint that sent Popeyes motorcycle gang chief Papa Paquette to prison for life, can’t help feeling that the new case has uncomfortable ties to the old. Sequestering every local he can find except for ancient Anita Diamond into the Mattamy fisherman’s lodge—a total of nine citizens and passers-by, including the Mattamy cook, bartender, and waitress—Yakabuski hunkers down to read the journal, first evocative, then gripping, Lucy Whiteduck kept on the advice of her therapist and learns that she’d feared for her life long before it ended. All the while, two storms are bearing down on Ragged Lake: Tommy Bangles, a gangster who’d made Lucy’s last months a nightmare, and a blizzard that’s certain to complicate any schemes Yakabuski can hatch to identify the guilty party and protect the innocent. Following a hyperextended standoff Corbett pulls off a lot more successfully than his hero, there’ll still be room for one final surprise.
Familiar ingredients rarely combined—a starkly etched natural setting, a gung-ho cop, a series of soulful flashbacks, a violent climax—are expertly blended and brought to a full rolling boil.