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Fall from Grace [Hardcover]

Wayne Arthurson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 10 2011
Leo Desroches goes straight—off the streets, into the newsroom, and up to his neck in murder

Marking the debut of Leo Desroches, one of the most unusual amateur detectives ever to appear in Canada or points south, this fast-paced, enthralling mystery is the story of a man who had everything, lost it all, and is trying to get it back. Leo Desroches doesn’t look like a native, but his mother was Cree, and he understands the problems of indigenous Canadians of the First Nations. Which is probably why the Edmonton newspaper he writes for decides he should be their Aboriginal Issues reporter.

He has his own issues to deal with: his compulsive gambling that he couldn’t stop even after it cost him his wife and children; his alcoholism; the risk-taking that threatens to derail him every time he starts to get his life back together.

When he’s assigned to cover the murder of a young native prostitute, it’s just one more story...until the cop in charge lets him view the corpse, something the Edmonton police never do. When Leo writes his article, it starts a chain of events that leads him to discover a much, much bigger story, one that could bring down the entire police department...if it doesn’t get him killed.

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“Wise and compassionate, vivid and witty, Leo is the kind of character you feel you’ve known a long time, and Wayne Arthurson is a writer to watch. What a great read. I couldn’t put it down.” —Sparkle Hayter, bestselling author of the Robin Hudson mysteries

“It’s about time someone set a kick-ass crime novel in Edmonton, and Wayne Arthurson is the man to do it.” –Giles Blunt, bestselling author of the late John Cardinal mysteries


“It’s about time someone set a kick-ass crime novel in Edmonton, and Wayne Arthurson is the man to do it.” –Giles Blunt, bestselling author of the late John Cardinal mysteries

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars the mystery is the best part April 30 2011
By Novel Girl TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a mystery and indeed a "who-dun-it" that is not revealed until the end.
The being said the portions of the book that focus on solving the mystery are the best; but sadly they dont make up the larger parts of the book. It seemed sometimes the author forgot about the mystery. There are many side stories and information bits which could be taken as character development but come across as convoluted and off track. I also found the main characters way of handling stress to be not believeable. Yes this book has redemption, and a really great ending, but it also has a repetitive writing style, and sections that could have been taken out to make it a better read. An ok book by a first time author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!!! June 29 2011
Awesome first book by a Canadian author from Edmonton, Alberta situated in Edmonton & thou a murder mystery has an extremely original story line.

It is also educational about Western Canada, our First Nations people & Canadians in general. I found the approach 'totally original'. I did not find the character development took anything away from the story - i always find the 'best stories' are embedded within the complexities of the main character & this character strays from perfect hero - he has major issues.

I was blown away!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart, Suprising and Satisfactory April 19 2011
Wayne Arthurson is a fresh confident voice in the mystery field. His character, reporter Leo Desroches, has normal problems...separated from his children, a spotty unemployment record...but he deals with them in unique and unexpected ways. Fall From Grace, in addition to a well laid out plot, provides timely insights into the workings of a daily newspaper. Hard-edged, yet heartfelt. A seminal work in what should be a long writing career. Enjoy!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fall From Grace April 3 2011
By Andrew Stone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just finished Arthurson's debut novel Fall From Grace in one day because I couldn't put it down. He captured so perfectly the essence of life in Edmonton, sense of place and a view into a particular culture so accurately that I felt like I was once again walking the bitter cold streets of Edmonton. His mystery thriller story is overlaid with layers of story. His flawed journalist's war with his palpable addiction and how he dealt with it was a picture of the war of good and evil and mundane that exists within all of us, and came with its own little shocks throughout the book. Sometimes I like the smart talking, jaded Desroches, many times he horrifed me. Amost a story of redemption, almost a story of the sorrows of the Aboriginal people and the misfit dilemma of someone who is part Cree, part French, almost a travelogue about a cold prairie town and definitely a good detective story. I always guess 'whodunit' well before the end, Arthurson kept the trail well hidden, but enough there that I didn't feel hoodwinked at the end.

I'll look forward to his next book!

Terry Lynne Meyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Different, but good. Nov. 27 2012
By Penny Coates - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This is an offbeat, yet very entertaining journalist/detective story. I live in the city that is the location for the story, so that added to my enjoyment, but I think many would like it. The protagonist has psychological problems that might interest someone who studies addictions.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cold Winter's Death March 15 2012
By Marlyn - Published on Amazon.com
Leo Desroches is a reporter for an Edmonton newspaper. When we first meet him, at a crime scene in a field just outside the city, we are told little else, except that he has A Past. We learn more about him slowly, as the story develops. Since the narrative is in the first-person from Leo's viewpoint, he controls when and what information we receive.

One of the first things he shares is that he is a descendant of the people who settled the area, not just those who came from Europe to hunt and trap, but those who crossed the Bering Strait, the aboriginals. We soon learn that he knows little of the native side of his heritage, his mother having only recently acquired treaty status.

The book opens as he is invited by the ranking detective (in a move atypical for most law enforcement personnel) to view a murder scene in which the victim is a young native woman named Grace Cardinal. When his editor learns of this, he assigns Leo to write a story that shows the humanity of the victim.

Completely coincidentally, the newspaper (which is never named) appoints Leo as their Aboriginal Issues reporter, and he meets people who had known Grace before she became a prostitute. As he delves into Grace's background, he realizes that there might be much more to the story than he'd first imagined.

At the same time as he's investigating Grace's murder, he is attempting to rebuild his own life. Exactly why this rebuilding is necessary is also shared with us a little at a time, but it's not a spoiler to reveal that Leo once had a gambling problem, which caused his wife to divorce him and distance herself and their children from him. One of the reasons that Leo is working so hard to succeed at the newspaper is the possibility of rebuilding a relationship with his son and daughter.

As well as being a well-constructed mystery and an extremely well-written story, Leo's story rings true to someone who grew up in the Edmonton area. Although Leo's editor would fire me for drifting into personal territory, I have experienced the bitterly cold winters and have seen the inner-city homeless (both native and non) huddling in the foyers of buildings to keep from freezing to death.

It is very true that aboriginals who have visibly native features are treated very differently from others, and Arthurson handles the delicate subject matter with tact and grace. The continuing adventures of Leo Desroches are eagerly anticipated.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong Début for Arthurson April 15 2011
By RB Gustafson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Newspaper reporter Leo Desroches needs to feed his addiction. Estranged from his family, his coworkers, and life itself, Leo's impulses manifest themselves in startling ways as he delves into the murder of a Native woman found in a farmer's field outside Edmonton, Alberta. Leo's contradictions will have readers rooting for him even as they wince at the depths of his depravity.

Wayne Arthurson's début novel, Fall from Grace, tackles issues such as addiction and the plight of Natives in Canada, while delivering the grit of a thriller and the suspense of good mystery. The story twists from the opening sentence, "Do you want to see the body?" and continues to shock as Leo challenges local law enforcement on his way to a confrontation with a killer.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diamond grade grit and a great mystery May 18 2011
By A.M. Dellamonica - Published on Amazon.com
You know how, in a certain type of (often-British) mystery, your protagonist has some big, self-destructive flaw? He drinks too much, he has intimacy issues, he's all hung up over his lost love or he's Sherlock Holmes and shoots heroin? It's sort of grittily romantic, if you have that thing where you sometimes imagine taking people home, feeding them soup and kindly sorting out their lives?

Yeah. So Wayne Arthurson has raised the bar on this particular literary convention. The sport isn't even high jump anymore... he's taken it into the realm of pole vaulting.

In Fall from Grace we meet Leo Desroches, a guy so spectacularly screwed up he makes Cracker seem cuddly and functional.

Leo's a journalist and a full-time mess on legs. He's been in jail, he's been homeless, and even though he currently has a job, it's in Edmonton. <em>(Okay, Edmonton, sorry for the swipe. Where was I? Ohhh... balmy balmy Vancouver.)</em> He has a regular gig at a local paper and a place to live, but he's also a howling black hole of gambling addiction and bad choices, and he's found a devilishly inventive and thoroughly shocking way to keep himself out of the casinos.

When he is first on scene at a murder, Leo gets a chance to put his career back on track. And since there are two Leos--the Gambler, and the earnest guy who wants to put his life together and maybe even reboot a relationship with his kids--he makes the most of it, turning one anonymous murder victim into front page news. As he digs deeper, of course, it turns out that poor Ruby Cardinal is hardly the first strangled sex-trade worker of Aboriginal descent to turn up in an area wheat field. The police are officially unaware of the trend, but they're also more than a little sensitive about the suggestion that there may be a serial killer in the city.

Which is great for Leo, because what self-destructive person wouldn't want to antagonize the hometown police?

Leo's investigation brings him all the danger his self-loathing side could hope for and then some. Because Fall from Grace doesn't pretend to be gritty--it embodies grit. It's rough-edged and scary, a fascinating crime novel about a guy who can't quite surrender to his own darkness, even as he continually, compulsively sets himself up to lose every single thing he's got.
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