Monday, March 3, 2014

The Delicate StormThe Delicate Storm by Giles Blunt
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Giles Blunt's "The Delicate Storm" is surprisingly unremarkable. It is the second novel in the Cardinal/Delorme series, and it does not match the quality of the first book in the series ("Forty Words for Sorrow"), which is one of the better police procedurals I have read. Maybe the "sophomore slump" effect jinxed Mr. Blunt's effort.

Body parts of a man, severely nibbled on by bears, are found, and detectives Cardinal and Delorme have to determine the identity of the victim, and then find the killer. Another murder occurs, and the roots of the case point deep into the past, back to 1970s. I do not find the plot that interesting, and I have had real trouble to keep focused on the action. The resolution of the plot depends on long and detailed confessions of several people involved in the past events, and to me the circumstances of these confessions seem contrived and implausible.

Of course, "The Delicate Storm" is written well. It is hard for a good writer to suddenly lose the artistry. Toward the end of Mr. Blunt's novel there are some well-written scenes that are dramatic in a real-life sense rather than in idiotic Hollywood-style drama manner. The ending takes place during a severe ice storm and the descriptions of Algonquin Bay and other places during extreme weather conditions feel quite realistic. I have also learned a lot about FLQ (Front de liberation du Quebec) and the portrayal of ridiculousness of a resistance movement that is not universally supported by people is acutely painful. I also like the ambiguous (thus sort of real-life) ending.

I am glad to have read the book, yet it could have been so much better than an average, run-of-the-mill procedural, which it is now.

Two and a half stars.

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