Dark, atmospheric and terrifying psychological serial killer thriller set in a freezing Ontario winter, guaranteed to chill readers to the bone: ‘Forty Words for Sorrow is brilliant’ Jonathan Kellerman
When four teenagers go missing in the small northern town of Algonquin Bay, the extensive police investigation comes up empty. Everyone is ready to give up, except Detective John Cardinal, an all-too-human loner whose persistence only serves to get him removed from homicide.
Then the mutilated body of thirteen-year-old Katie Pine is pulled out of an abandoned mineshaft. And only Cardinal is willing to consider the horrible truth: that this quiet town is home to the most vicious of killers. With the media, the provincial police and his own department questioning his every move, Cardinal follows increasingly tenuous threads towards the unthinkable. But time isn’t only running out for him: there’s also another young victim tied up in a basement wondering how and when he will die.
‘Intensely vivid characters, terrible crimes and a brutal deep-frozen landscape all prove beyond a reasonable doubt that cold nurtures good and evil as readily as heat…and that Giles Blunt is a really tremendous crime novelist’ Lee Child
‘One of the finest crime novels I’ve ever read. Giles Blunt writes with uncommon grace, style and compassion and he plots like a demon. This book has it all – unforgettable characters, beautiful language, throat-constricting suspense’ Jonathan Kellerman
‘A taut and enthralling tale that is as dark as the Canadian winter setting is cold. Humane, intelligent and gripping, Forty Words for Sorrow is a haunting journey into the human heart in all its complexities’ Val McDermid
‘A fine debut that deserves to do well, and promises much from a talented new author’ Jim Driver, Time Out
‘A superior Canadian police procedural with an evocative sense of place: the frozen lakes and forests are as integral to the plot as the flawed detective … an impressive achievement’ Maxim Jakubowski, Guardian
About the author
Giles Blunt grew up in North Bay, Ontario, and now lives in New York City. He’s written scripts for Law & Order, Street Legal and Night Heat. He is at work on his next crime novel, The Delicate Storm, also set in the fictional town of Algonquin Bay, and featuring John Cardinal.
This brooding tale of a search for a serial killer in rural Ontario takes its title from the often-quoted fact that Eskimos have 40 words for snow. "What people really need is forty words for sorrow," thinks Det. John Cardinal, whose glum outlook aptly mirrors the mood of Blunt's atmospheric thriller. The story begins when the frozen body of 13-year-old Chippewa Katie Pine is discovered on one of the Manitou Islands near Algonquin Bay, Ontario. Cardinal, whose obsessive search for the missing girl when she first disappeared six months earlier got him kicked off the case, ends up back in the good graces of his superiors. Or so he thinks. But his new partner, Lisa Delorme, fresh from the Office of Special Investigations (think Internal Affairs), has been paired with Cardinal so she can covertly investigate him at the same time. Dogging Cardinal's record is his connection with drug dealer Kyle Corbett. Each time the police tried to bust Corbett, he was warned by someone on the inside; Cardinal, who is burdened with a guilty secret and a wife who's in and out of mental institutions, is the prime suspect. Focusing initially on Cardinal, Blunt (author of the praised Cold Eye) opens up the plot by chronicling what happens to the next potential victim of what the newspapers are calling the Windigo Killer. While the plot is formulaic (combining both a least-likely-suspect twist and a you-may-think-it's-over-but-it's-not finale), the plangent atmosphere gradually and effectively permeates the reader's consciousness. The characters achieve dimension slowly, like figures in a developing Polaroid, and then become vivid. Sorrow is palpable, and readers making their way through the book will feel like they're walking hunched over against a steady, chilling wind but the final destination, like Cardinal's final redemption, is well earned and well worth the trip.