Kala Stonechild, a First Nations police officer with a troubled background, arrives in Ottawa, Ontario for a new job just a few days before Christmas. She has been hired by Detective Jacques Rouleau, who heads a specialized unit in the Major Crimes division. Very shortly after Kala reports in for her new job, wealthy businessman Tom Underwood goes missing. Kala is assigned to the case before she even has time to find a place to live. As she and other members of the team interview his family and business associates, they uncover dysfunctional family relationships and disagreements within Underwood's business, pointing to many people who might want him dead.
The story is told from multiple viewpoints. Kala's. Rouleau's. Geraldine, the missing man's daughter. Susan, a friend of Tom and his first wife. The story moves along quickly. The characters are well developed, especially Kala and her boss. Enough background about the characters' lives is provided so that they are believable, although Tom Underwood's family is an exceptionally mixed-up, conflicted group. The gradual reveal of various relationships and issues they have is very effective.
I enjoyed reading this book; for those who like police procedurals, I recommend it. I would like to continue the series, and see what happens next in the lives of Kala and Rouleau. They are both likable characters, dealing with issues in their lives, but in a healthy way. Kala is a strong female, secure in her abilities as a policewoman, and dealing well with the racism and sexism she encounters. Detective Rouleau is older, recently divorced, and dealing with that loss in his life.
As noted above, I picked this book to read and review at this time because of the Christmas setting. It does not have a Christmas theme as such, but Kala does arrive in Ottawa shortly before Christmas, and Tom Underwood disappears after leaving a company Christmas party. And because this is Canada, there is snow and cold weather and it really feels like Christmas time... unlike Southern California at Christmas. There are more parties and the buildup to Christmas is going on during the investigation, and the characters are having to deal with trauma in their lives in one way or another during the Christmas season, which should be bright and merry (in theory). Of course, Christmas is often not so merry for those who work in law enforcement.
See other reviews at Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan and Peggy Ann's Post.
Publisher: Dundurn, 2014.
Length: 389 pages
Format: Trade Paperback
Series: A Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery, #1
Setting: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Genre: Police Procedural
Source: I purchased this book.