Cold Mourning – Brenda Chapman

Dundern Press

Publication date  – 1 March 2014


3.5 of 5 stars

I was provided with a copy of this book by the publishers via Net Galley, in exchange for an honest review.

“It’s a week before Christmas when wealthy businessman Tom Underwood disappears into thin air — with more than enough people wanting him dead.

New police recruit Kala Stonechild, who has left her northern Ontario detachment to join a specialized Ottawa crime unit, is tasked with returning Underwood home in time for the holidays.  Stonechild, who is from a First Nations reserve, is a lone wolf who is used to surviving on her wits.  Her new boss, Detective Jacques Rouleau, has his hands full controlling her, his team, and an investigation that keeps threatening to go off track.

Old betrayals and complicated family relationships brutally collide when love turns to hate and murder stalks a family.”

Tom Underwood is unhappy with his life. He has come to loath his beautiful younger wife, finding his young daughter the  only thing worth anything from the relationship. He’s also dissatisfied with work, feigning interest he no longer has in the company he helped build from scratch. But is all this unhappiness enough to cause him to vanish from everyone and everything he knows?

Officer Kala Stonechild, newly arrived in Ottawa is given the task of finding out what has happened to Underwood. She’s used to working alone so feels uncomfortable working with others in her team. She has come to Ottawa to escape on aspect of her past, and to track down an equally as painful other part of her history. Together with her boss Jacques Rouleau, who is dealing with his own demons, they find out what has become of Tom Underwood, uncovering a tale of betrayal, heartbreak and murder.

This is the first book by Brenda Chapman I have read and is set to be the first in a series of Stonechild and Rouleau mysteries. I found this to be an enjoyable read. Having been lucky enough to visit Ottawa in the past I found the descriptions of the various locations easily conjured up memories of the lovely city. The depiction of winter also made it easy to envisage the deep snow drifts and people using skis and ice skates to get about.

The mystery itself was engaging, there were enough suspects to keep you guessing and the right level of rapport between the two detectives to pull the story along. I found this an easy to read novel, in fact I read the last 80% in one day.

I look forward to read the next installment in the series.

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