You may remember me raving about Inger Ash Wolfe's first book - The Calling. Trust me - I raved and I've been waiting for the sequel.
The Taken again features OPS (Ontario Police Services) Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef. When the novel opens we find her recovering from surgery for the back injury that plagued her in the last book. Hazel is recuperating in her ex-husband Andrew's basement, likes her pain medication a little too much and has Andrew's new wife looking after her.
Second in command Detective Constable James Wingate comes to visit her and to try to entice her back to work. The local paper is running it's annual serialized summer novel. This year the story starts off with a body literally fished out of the lake. But the local detachment gets an actual call - local fisherman have reported a body snagged on their lines. When the body is recovered, a cryptic clue leads to yet another puzzle. And the next part of the serialized novel isn't so fictional any longer.
Micallef is pulled back into heading up the Port Dundas detachment. Is she really solving the case or is she being led along the path a killer wants her to take?
The plotting is intricate and devious. Just when I thought I had things figured out, the story takes yet another unexpected twist and changes yet again. I love it when I can't solve the crime!
What I love just as much is the character of Micallef. She is an utterly original protagonist. Sixty two years old, irascible, still in love with her ex, battling addiction, dedicated and a heck of a cop. She follows her intuition, not always the rules. Sometimes that's not the best decision.
"She realized she had accepted this, no matter the danger it posed her, or the rules it broke. Her hunger to know the rest of the story was greater than her sense of self-preservation."
Just a fantastic read - even better that it's set in Canada. How fun to read and relate to Timmy's double doubles, Loblaws and G2 licences!
Another page turner, one that I devoured in two days.....I'll be waiting for number three.......
In the debut novel in this series, 'The Calling,' we learned that DI Hazel Micallef suffered a severe back injury. In the interim between that time frame and this sequel she has undergone two operations and we find her flat on her back, dependent on pain killers, in the basement apartment of her ex-husband's house and being tended to by his present wife. Hazel is regularly visited by her apparent second in command, DC James Wingate, who recently transferred from Toronto to the small town of Port Dundas.
But you can't keep a good man (or woman) down, and when a couple of tourists believe they have found a body at the bottom of a lake, and the local paper begins a serialization of a story in which such an event is described, Hazel jumps out of bed to take charge of an investigation during which she is led by the nose with clues placed by an unknown person. The maverick Detective Inspector really has nothing more to go on than her intuition.
This is an extremely complicated plot, not only confusing to the reader but also to Hazel and James. Nevertheless, they plod on, determined to solve the case, by criminy. Along the way the various characters learn more about the meaning of love, toward others as well as themselves. Hazel remains the interesting protagonist she appeared to be in the first installment and presumably she'll be back to entertain us soon once again.
Reason for Reading: Next in series.
Summary: Reports of a body found at the edge of a nearby lake have Detective Inspector Micallef and her sidekick DC Wingate investigating. What appears to be an apparent drowning is by no means a mere murder but only the beginning of a twisted game being played out by a psycho. The drowning seems familiar and is found detail for detail in the last issue of the local paper's summer serial story. When the next installment is printed the police begin a frantic investigation to save the life of a kidnap victim before he is killed or not enough of him is left to be rescued.
Comments: This second book by Wolfe was even better than the first. A very unique murder mystery case unlike any I've read before kept me riveted to the book. The gruesome factor is enough to make the squeamish squirm and keep the interest of hardened thriller readers as myself. A well-paced story with a mystery that kept me guessing to the end and I really enjoyed the read. The book also focuses on Hazel's personal life and progresses her character forward to a more likeable one than in The Calling, yet I still just do not find her someone I particularly like. I think there are also moments within the story when one must suspend reality a tad. I suppose that is inevitable with most crime thrillers, to a point, but this just stands out for me with a 62 year old woman taking on so much action. Ultimately, though, the plot is unique, the case is quirky and The Taken is a compelling read. I'll be looking forward to seeing what case Hazel must solve in her next book.
The Taken is an improvement from the author's first effort, The Calling, which I also enjoyed. Character interaction is more engaging, Hazel's woes garner more empathy, and the villains' motivations are more layered and plausible. What Wolfe does so well in both books is humanize the characters as they go about their difficult and mostly thankless profession. The Taken does tread a bit of crime common ground; the live internet baiting, jurisdictional scrapping and problems with the media, however, it comes across fairly fresh. It has great pace and the reader is left wanting to know how straight-shooting Hazel will get on - so bring on the third installment.
I loved Inger Ash Wolfe's first book and when I saw this one bought it without hesitation. I should have hesitated. The story here is way to BIG for the setting, it loses all credibility and every now and then I wished for some restraint from the author. What's frustrating is that Ash Wolfe is a talent writer and the book is easy to read and has characters that are easy to care for - but the plot just seemed completely implausible. I love a good mystery, this was not a good mystery. I didn't guess the ending because I didn't even care to. A quick light read and if you have the ability to REALLY suspend disbelief, I imagine it's an OK book. I'll give the author one more try. I hope next time she appreciates the setting she has created rather than so obviously feels constrained by it.