This book left me with mixed feelings. We follow Detective Chao and a cast of other characters as the mystery of three strange murders with ritualistic elements smothers a tiny Canadian town. The rituals harken back to the Native Americans who live in this town, and of course, the racial divide is all aflutter.
The story itself was tantalizing. We have all the fun bits of Native American religion maligned for the killer’s purposes. There’s a healthy list of suspects, and the small town nature of the crime lent itself to some fun gossip flavoring.
Note the followed a cast of characters. We end up seeing from no less than 7 character’s POVs. In a book this size, seven POV’s doesn’t enhance the story. Unfortunately, it gave so much away that the mystery became more of a pseudo-thriller. While I don’t oppose multiple POV’s, there’s a reason few mysteries go beyond two POVs—any more and the suspense drops. In some books, it can work if done very well and suited to the story. This was neither.
I did enjoy the characters. Each of them had their own distinct outlook and it certainly dictated their actions. Sometimes in a mystery characters can run together or sound alike, neither of which happened here.
Unfortunately, after being introduced to these interesting fellows, the swapping around caused the story to become quite lethargic. Large informational monologues slowed the story down further, and between all of these different pieces, we didn’t get to really know the characters and sink into them. I didn’t get the chance to be part of that story and really get into it. It picked up after about halfway in, but the problems were still there.
Capping it off, I found grammatical errors, some typesetting issues, and a few typos. As a big reader, this was quite annoying. All of these issues could be fixed with a stiff editing.
If you can overlook these sort of problems, the story is good and provides entertainment. It’s all in the eye of the reader.