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FALL FROM GRACE by Wayne Arthurson


by Wayne Arthurson

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2417-7
Publisher: Forge

Newspaper gumshoe yarn from the author of Final Season (2002).

Fighting compulsive gambling and consequent mental problems, estrangement from his wife and children and homelessness, Leo Desroches—half Cree, half French-Canadian—has dragged himself off the streets and into the newsroom of a busy Edmonton daily newspaper. When Leo's first on the scene when a corpse is found in a field outside the city, a sympathetic detective gives him unprecedented access to the crime-scene tent, and his scoop is that the victim was a young Native prostitute. Unfortunately, Leo is still a compulsive gambler and robs banks to feed his addiction—all it takes is a note passed to the teller and a look of determination. The police drag their feet over the case, yet Leo learns from the victim's friends that girls all avoid a yellow pickup. More, Leo finds a series of similar crimes going back decades, but again the police show no interest. The paper's editor, whom Leo once hired, gives Leo the job of Aboriginal Issues reporter, an assignment he accepts reluctantly, though it does help him reconnect with his Cree roots. Then a retired detective, Mike Gardiner, gives Leo an old, stolen file whose contents threaten to expose wrongdoing among swaths of the Edmonton Police Service's brass. Regrettably, watching Leo piece his life back together is far more rewarding than observing his fitful and inexpert investigations of typical crimes where motives are obvious, evidence lacking and suspects in short supply.

A promising protagonist is marred by tepid sleuthing and an ending that leaves a bad taste in the mouth.