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Forty Words for Sorrow [Paperback]

Giles Blunt
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
IT gets dark early in Algonquin Bay. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes it is North Bay!! April 7 2003
By Sue L.
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I haunted the same streets of North Bay as did the author at about the same age and time. For me, reading this book was like going home...but what a place. Far less interesting things happened in our home town and for Giles to turn the place into the fictional Algonquin Bay is amazing. His writing (and note..this was his second novel...not his first) is tight, the characters believeable (and angst-ridden) and the story line interesting without being far-fetched. I enjoyed immensely this book and can't wait to read the new one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, disorienting, and utterly absorbing April 2 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Unable to sleep one winter night, I began reading this book at one a.m. while wind whistled and wailed outside the windows. At five a.m., I was nearly finished, having been completely entranced by Giles Blunt's story and its fascinating-yet-flawed characters. Granted, the real-life weather outside helped promote the story's atmosphere of relentless cold, but I think the keen writing and pace would have achieved the same effect had I been on a beach at high noon.
John Cardinal was originally assigned to the missing person's case of 13-year-old Katie Pine. Leads turned up no evidence of foul play, and, after an exhaustive search, Cardinal was told he had spent too much time and money on the case. As punishment, he was reassigned to work on burglary cases. The discovery of Katie Pine's mangled body sets him once again on the now-cold (literally and figuratively) trail of her murderer. The process of finding those responsible for her death, and the death of other children whose disappearance mirror Katie's is the path of Cardinal's vindication and absolution.
Cardinal is exactly the kind of protagonist a reader can relate to, yet pity. His interactions with his clinically depressed wife, his bright and talented daughter, and his would-be partner, Lise Delorme, are believably awkward, and his inner voice, rife, by turns, with turmoil, determination, and self-loathing, is painfully true. His need to find the killers is hypnotic; his quest becomes ours.
Blunt's decision to introduce us to the killers midway through the novel is a master stroke of suspense. Once we find out who they are, and we begin to understand their perverted obsessions, we become helpless voyeurs to their crimes.
Whether you're Canadian or from the Lower 48, it's well-nigh impossible not to become engrossed in this tale of serial killings in the dead of winter.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What A Chiller May 2 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This thriller is set in the bleak winter of Canada's Algonquin Bay. The weather serves to act as a mirror of the mood of the local police force after they discover a body out on the bay.
We are introduced to Detective John Cardinal who, we learn, had been obsessed with a number of cases of missing youths. Cardinal was sure the cases were related and could turn out to be more than just missing persons. His superiors disagreed and ended up taking him off the cases. When a body is found, it looks as though it could be one of the missing people, so Cardinal is rushed back onto the case again. The greatest fear of the Algonquin Police Department could actually be reality - they may have a serial killer in the city.
When Cardinal is reassigned to work the homicide, he is also given a new partner. Lise Delorme has come straight from Special Operations to help out on the case and, unknown to Cardinal, is secretly investigating him thinking he may have been tipping off a known criminal in return for payoffs.
Around halfway through the book we are introduced to the killer and get an insight into his world. The pace of the book suddenly steps up a notch as the two storylines begin to run in parallel to one another, comparing Cardinal's progress in the investigation with the actual focus of his attention.
Tension is heightened by allowing us to be privy to the killer's identity, particularly when he takes a new victim. The case then turns into a race against time.
I found this to be an excellent thriller combining a tight storyline and methodical detective work with a strong sub-plot that threatens to unravel the whole investigation. The uncertainty provided by this sub-plot was very effective in creating doubt in the reader's mind as to what the outcome could possibly be.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Icy Morality Play April 30 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Algonquin Bay in northern Ontario is not just bitterly arctic---it spends the long winter snowbound and the cold is a living force that invades like a sledge hammer. Could-be, dirty cop John Cardinal has spent a fruitless, expensive five months trying to locate missing 13-year old Katy Pine. His credibility is suspect with his superiors. When Cardinal finds the missing girl brutally murdered in a mineshaft near an isolated lake, he is given the dubious honor of leading the investigation of this clueless, highly publicized crime. He is assigned a partner who may or may not be investigating his background. The killings increase in number along with the frustrations of the police force.
The pace picks up a bizarre momentum when the killer is brought into the narrative. His machinations always are two jumps ahead of the authorities, and he seems hopelessly invincible. This tale is for the steely of heart, for the violence is graphic and horrific. Yet there are light moments as when the police are questioning a well-known burglar and asking him about his known associates. Burglar says in tones of disgust "If I wanted to MEET people, I'd be a mugger." One of Cardinal's fellow detectives is a constant complainer, and his rants about everything from the Mounties to his ex-wife are brilliant, ferocious and unending.
"Forty Words For Sorrow" has an "it's not over till it's over" gambit that enchants me every time. The suspense becomes well nigh unbearable, and entirely unpredictable. I'd nominate this book for best title of the year and certainly one of the very good reads.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
A terrific book, superbly paced, with vivid and complex characters, and detailed police work. This is the first in a series of spine-chilling thrillers featuring detective John... Read more
Published on June 29 2007 by Toni Osborne
1.0 out of 5 stars Police procedural
O Canada, your Ontario setting was the only good thing in this novel. Everything else was... well, blunt. Read more
Published on Sept. 25 2004 by Ez
4.0 out of 5 stars Baby, its cold outside
... let me emphasize that this spine- (and whole body) chilling book takes place in the *fictional* town of Algonquin Bay, Ontario, CA. Read more
Published on July 12 2002 by TundraVision
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, disorienting, and utterly absorbing
Unable to sleep one winter night, I began reading this book at one a.m. while wind whistled and wailed outside the windows. At five a.m. Read more
Published on April 2 2002 by Kimberly Nedrow
5.0 out of 5 stars A good, solid mystery
This is a superb mystery story. Good dialogue, believable characters and a plot that grabs the reader make for a great read. The locale of the story appealed to me. Read more
Published on March 26 2002 by Pangloss
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written & haunting
This is a wonderful book with well-developed characters that I cared about. A prior reviewer complained that the "killers" were revealed midway through the story &... Read more
Published on March 20 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written & haunting
This is a wonderful book with well-developed characters that I cared about. A prior reviewer complained that the "killers" were revealed midway through the story &... Read more
Published on March 20 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars for a chilling and chilly book
The atmosphere of the cold harashness of the canadian landscape is brilliantly evoked by Giles Blunt. When reading it you really juat want to shiver... Read more
Published on March 13 2002 by RachelWalker
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning debut by an original new voice in mystery writing
First off, let me say that this book does not follow the typical formula for a mystery and is far more character-oriented than action oriented, at least at the beginning. Read more
Published on March 12 2002 by K. Corn
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