Confined Space Paperback – Jun 5 2012
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“Fans of Dana Stabenow and Deborah Crombie rejoice! Deryn Collier's maiden outing is superbly written, densely layered, and marvelously suspenseful. Confined Space is a tour-de-force heralding an explosive new series guaranteed to please the traditional mystery lover.”
-Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times-bestselling author of One Was a Soldier
"The kind of book to curl up with and savour...but maybe not with a beer. Bern Fortin is an enigmatic coroner with a deeply layered past. Believable characters and a multi-layered plot. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Deryn Collier's debut novel keeps you up late reading to find out more."
-Peggy Blair, Author
“A great debut novel. Confined Space perfectly captures the unique beauty of the Kootenay area of British Columbia as it introduces two conflicted, engaging, completely realistic characters."
-Vicki Delany, Author
About the Author
Deryn Collier grew up in Ottawa and Montreal and is a graduate of McGill University. She now lives in Nelson, British Columbia, with her family and welcomes visitors to her blog at DerynCollier.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
The sleepy mountain town of Kootenay Landing is the setting for Deryn Collier's debut mystery, Confined Space. She chooses an unlikely location - a brewery - for a pair of unlikely deaths. A man dies in an apparent accident while repairing a bottle-washing tank, and his abducted girlfriend, kept captive in the same building, dies while attempting to escape.
Enter former soldier turned part-time coroner Bern Fortin. He's a man with heavy burdens: post traumatic stress disorder, one of his men awaiting trial for an unexplained crime, and a journalist digging into his past.
The townspeople surrounding Fortin are just as complex as they are ordinary, and Collier draws them with the skill that comes from a deep understanding of the human condition. For better or worse, they are as real as our own neighbours.
As for the mystery, Collier has constructed an engrossing plot that kept me up at night wanting to know what would happen next. There are no car chases here, no blood-curdling screams, and no obvious answers. The scale is utterly human, and the everyday Collier deftly weaves into the book - Bern Fortin sharing breakfast with his neighbour, tending his vegetable garden - makes the undiscovered murderer all the more menacing.
There are turns that are entirely unexpected, which is what every mystery reader craves. I will reveal nothing, and as someone who routinely blurts out lines before a character utters them, I don't mind admitting Collier delivered some genuine surprises.
The ending of Confined Space leaves plenty of unanswered questions. I have no qualms about the quality of sequels here. I'm eagerly anticipating the next installment.
Meet the sleuth: Bern Fortin has retired from the Canadian Armed Forces to the small town of Kootenay Landing. His past includes harrowing tours of duty in Rwanda, Bosnia and Afghanistan. In his new life he hopes to heal his soul by learning to garden, and expiate his survival guilt by bearing witness for the dead: he has a part time job as a coroner. To the job he brings a soldier's sharp instincts, as well as a struggle with PTSD.
Bern is a wonderful character. Likable and complex, his outsider status in a small Western town is made even more obvious by the fact that he is originally a Francophone. Like so many fictional crime solvers he has a nosy neighbour who fusses over him, the formidable Mrs K., short for Kalesnikoff. Named not for the gun but for the sawmill, a real family-owned business thriving just West of Nelson. The town may be fictional, the location is real. The description of place and local culture adds real depth to the novel.
The story is set in a brewery. A worker has gone into a confined space by himself to fix a machine and come to a rather horrid ending. His death is a blow to the safety manager, whose rigid protocol should have prevented the accident. Or was it an accident? Could there be a connection between the death and some games played by corporate management? There is the usual thriller stuff with the usual surprise ending. Evie, the safety manager, is a well developed secondary character, a combination of damsel in distress and fellow sleuth. It is well done.
I hope this novel is the first of many.
Safety Officer Evie Chappelle is the perfect counter/companion to Bern. Their secrets and their inner lives, combined with their natural attraction, makes the sexual and romantic tension between these two buzz.
What impressed me most, however, was how effectively Collier used location in this story, and how accurately she portrayed life in the mountains of British Columbia. What makes the deaths in Confined Space so impactful is not just the ‘how’ or ‘who’, but the ‘where’. In a small town, such as Kootenay Landing, where everyone knows everyone’s business, a single death can impact the entire community. A murder? Unthinkable.
Kootenay Landing is its own character. A refuge for some, a trap for others. Breathtaking natural beauty contrasted with a gritty, blue collar population. As with so many small towns, its life hinges on the success or failure of a single industry – the brewery, in this case. A threat to the brewery is a threat to everyone, and so the stakes are high from the moment a dead body is discovered in the bottle washer, and continue to climb.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
First two books in a series set in British Columbia, Canada. A retired Canadian army officer retires to a small BC community and becomes the town coroner to atone for all the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Paleo Granny
The small town atmosphere is both friendly and claustrophobic. Bern Fortin is tough and smart, but haunted by ghosts of his past. Read morePublished on May 20 2013 by ERBrown
Ex'-Canadian Forces commander Bern Fortin has moved to a small town in British Columbia, to escape the memories of Afghanistan and Rwanda. Read morePublished on June 27 2012 by Sheilagh Lee