Sunday, March 2, 2014

By the Time You Read ThisBy the Time You Read This by Giles Blunt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It would be quite hard to summarize the plot of Giles Blunt's "By the Time You Read This" in any depth without spoiling it. So here's just the beginning premise. Detective John Cardinal suffers a major personal tragedy and is on leave. He is trying, semi-privately, to find proof of foul play in a case that has been ruled an accident. His departmental colleague, detective Lisa Delorme is handling a gruesome child pornography case. I understand this is Mr. Blunt's fourth book in the Cardinal/Delorme series, whose plots are situated in the fictitious, picturesque yet backwoods Algonquin Bay in Canada.

Except for the sickeningly cliché climactic scene toward the end, "By the Time You Read This" is a solid, well-constructed, and well-written mystery. Sure, the characters' portrayals are quite superficial, which is normal for latter books in a series. The plot is interesting, though, and the dreaded "twists and turns" do not feel contrived, as they do in most mysteries. To me, the most important aspect of a book is the writing. Mr. Blunt certainly can write, and uses simple, economical language. He does not describe in detail how the main character recalls the she needs to change the cat litter.

Mr. Blunt's readable and enthralling novel is pretty good for a plain mystery that has no aspirations to serious literature categorization. (Again, let's mercifully forget the stereotypical climax.)

Three and almost a half stars.

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