Giles Blunt






Harper Collins, April 2005
Reviewed by Sally Roddom

It's early summer in Algonquin Bay, Canada, and the biting black flies aren't the only ones out for blood. A young red-haired woman has wandered into a bar shot in the head with a small-calibre weapon. She cannot remember her own name or where she's from, let alone why anyone wants to hurt her. She is taken into protective custody. A few days later a body turns up, horribly mutilated. The head, hands and feet have been removed but there are some tattoos that can only belong to one person. The body is identified as Wombat Guthrie, biker and drug dealer. Could the two cases be linked?

The name 'Red Bear' keeps cropping up as John Cardinal and Lise Delorme follow up various dead end leads. An Iroquois shaman, Red Bear, has recently moved into the drug trade, enlisting the aid of the spirit world to direct his followers to rival gangs' drugs and money. In return, the 'spirits' demand sacrifice - human sacrifice. Who is Red Bear? Is he really an Iroquois? A shaman or charlatan? Or just a drug dealer with an appetite for brutal murder? Somehow Cardinal and Delorme must find the answers before the spirits claim another sacrifice.

In BLACK FLY SEASON, Giles Blunt returns to the fictional small Canadian city of Algonquin Bay. This is the third Detective John Cardinal story, and once again, the action scenes, as well as the forensic details, and the bureaucratic nuances of Canadian law enforcement are all firmly characterized. The bad guys are perfectly evil, and the stupid sidekicks are deliciously stupid, even the mysterious young woman is more complicated than she seems initially.

John Cardinal continues to grow as a character, particularly as we see his private troubles with his estranged daughter and manic depressive wife. BLACK FLY SEASON is an excellent read with short, well-paced chapters, and a plot that could easily be adapted for the big screen. I was on the edge of my seat all the way to the end. And this is where my only gripe is. I thought the end was very weak. It could have been so much more; in fact, the build up of the tension promised more. All the ingredients were there but it just didnít happen. It was almost as if Giles Blunt had reached his quota of words and decided to stop. Despite this, it is an excellent book.

January 2006 Review originally published on Murder and Mayhem


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