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The Calling Hardcover – Mar 4 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (March 4 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771088973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771088971
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #147,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This bracingly original mystery from the pseudonymous Wolfe opens with the grisly slaying of an elderly cancer sufferer in Port Dundas, a remote Ontario town that has gone years without a homicide. The murder hits at a particularly tough time for 61-year-old Det. Insp. Hazel Micallef, who's struggling to come to terms with a surprise divorce and battles daily with her acerbic 87-year-old mother. A serious staff shortage and an injured back add to the department commander's woes. A second, even more disturbing killing raises the ante for Micallef, who's already doubtful she can solve the first case. As Micallef marshals her forces, Wolfe fans the already high suspense by cutting between them and their elusive quarry. With the body count climbing, the detective puts herself increasingly at risk in a desperate attempt to foil the grand, demented plan that the killer regards as a mission. Billed as a prominent North American literary novelist, Wolfe convincingly lays claim to a new mantle as a first-rate crime writer. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Review

The Calling is a wonderful, creepy and suspenseful serial killer novel with enough twists and compelling characters to make you want to devour it all at one sitting.” —Peter Robinson

“A superbly written novel with a brilliantly conceived and realized plot, featuring an aging Ontario Provincial Police officer who is unforgettable.” —Margaret Cannon, Globe and Mail

“I couldn’t put the damned thing down. . . .” —Los Angeles Times

“You’re in the hands of a master storyteller. The Calling is a stunner – dark, surprising and utterly compelling.” —Mo Hayder

“Hazel Micallef is a Canadian original. . . . You can’t help loving the woman.” —Toronto Star

“Wolfe creates a compelling, unlikely hero and delivers hair-raising thrills. A–.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Had me from the first page and never let me go.” —Kate Atkinson

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on April 28 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
You know, when The Calling first came out in hardcover last year, I heard nothing but rave reviews. It was voted one of the best mystery books of 2008 by Publisher's Weekly. Well, the paperback releases today from McLelland and Stewart and I'm kicking myself that I didn't grab a copy sooner. What a fantastic read!

The book opens with Delia, a terminally ill woman, letting the mysterious, cadaverous Simon into her home. She has been communicating with him for a while now. As she willingly takes the herbal tea he offers and falls asleep, he chooses between the gun, hammer and knife he has also brought along, finally deciding on the knife. Delia lives in Port Dundas.

The wonderfully different protagonist is Inspector Hazel Micallef of the Port Dundas, Ontario Police Department. Hazel is 61, newly divorced, her elderly mother lives with her, she suffers from excruciating back pain and medicates herself with whiskey every now and then. The Port Dundas department is woefully underfunded and understaffed. The Ontario Police Services is hoping to close them down and amalgamate with a larger force.

With the discovery of Delia's body, Hazel launches her investigation. When she discovers that Delia is not the first victim and that the killer may be operating Canada wide, she chooses not to involve the Mounties - a decision that may have serious repercussions. Her rogue methods may backfire.

Hazel herself is a flawed, realistic character. I also loved the supporting police team - the enigmatic Wingate, crazy Sevigny as well as Hazel's feisty mother Emily. (Her response to someone who offers help to the 87 yr old - "Piss off, I'm not crippled.") The killer Simon is explored in detail as well. Is it love or madness that drives him on his missions of mercy?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER on June 13 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Calling sets a new bar for Canadian crime fiction. I found it very original with extremely engaging characters. Hazel Micallef and her mother, Emily along with an amazing supporting cast are highly believable. My wife is from Renfrew, a true Ottawa Valley Girl, so it was also fun to catch references I have become familiar with throughout (a Deacon's bench, Algonquin Park, Renfrew police). But the story is all Canadian - a coast to coast thriller that maintains a fantastic pace from start to finish.

A small complaint is that the author has thrown in so many woes for poor Hazel (medical, divorce, political pressures at work, alcoholism, family history shame) that it strains a bit too much. The actual crime plot is well constructed and twisted. I loved the small town versus big city tensions present throughout. Perhaps that will allow the author to explore the fact that Canada is a little more diverse in future books. No matter what province you may live in if Canadian you will recognize fictional Port Dundas, Ontario. And another fine mystery is who really is the pseudonymous Wolfe?

Lastly, you do not have to be Canadian to enjoy The Calling - the mystery and police procedures will engage and entertain.
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By Dave and Joe TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 31 2008
Format: Hardcover
OK, I bought this book because of the hype around it. I was curious about the authorship of the book after having read a long article in the national paper. One paragraph in and I didn't care about anything more than the story. Wonderful characters, breathtaking plot and pacing that kept interest high. Did the book in two days. This is a great mystery and and even better thriller - as to the authorship whoever dunnit, dunnit good.
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By Joan Ray on March 25 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book grabbed my attention from the very first paragraph and that interest didn't wane until the last page! IMO it is a thoroughly entertaining read and a real page turner. The mystery surrounding WHO is the person writing is a "bummer" - I think it's Margaret Atwood.
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By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER on Sept. 24 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Book 1 in the Hazel Micallef Mystery

This debut crime-fiction novel released in 2008 is a dark and haunting mystery heavy with suspense, a terrific cat and mouse game following officials hot on the trail of a serial killer.

The story has a clever and devious plot that delivers both psychological depth and emotional heights. It has a gruesome beginning, the body of an elderly woman stricken with cancer is found brutally murdered and drained of all her blood. When the detectives arrive they witness a scene that would be a great opening for any horror movie. Their preliminary instincts are: could this be a desperate assisted suicide or an outright sadistic slaughter?

The 61 year old Hazel Micallef, the protagonist, is the Acting Chief inspector of Dundans, Ontario. Viewing this macabre murder scene is a first for Hazel, since her early days as a police officer she has dealt with drunks, trespassers and occasional domestic disturbances, typical small town issues. The investigation takes another spin when a few days later a man is killed in Chamberlain, a small town some kilometers east. The two cases raise alarm bells for Hazel and her team when they find strong similarities with murders in other jurisdictions. One theory quickly comes to the forefront Canada has a serial killer for hire specializing in the terminally ill and preying on people desperate to end their suffering. As they unravel the mystery the pace accelerates to a wrenching powerful conclusion.

This novel is a great addition to the serial killer genre, a thought provoking and well-written mystery with unique and compelling characters surrounded by a believable and well-drawn supporting cast.
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