By John Farrow
Publisher: St Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: 5/26/2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
City of Ice, John Farrow's first book in his acclaimed Emile Cinq-Mars series, which has been hailed by Booklist as "the best series in crime fiction today," has been published in over 17 countries.
Now with The Storm Murders, the series continues.On the day after a massive blizzard, two policemen are called to an isolated farm house sitting all by itself in the middle of a pristine snow-blanketed field. Inside the lonely abode are two dead people. But there are no tracks in the snow leading either to the house or away. What happened here? Is this a murder/suicide case? Or will it turn into something much more sinister?
John Farrow is the pen name of Trevor Ferguson, a Canadian writer who has been named Canada's best novelist in both Books in Canada and the Toronto Star. This is the first of a trilogy he is writing for us called The Storm Murders trilogy. Each book features Emile Cinq-Mars, the Hercule Poirot of Canada, and extreme weather conditions.
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
THE STORM MURDERS by John Farrow is a suspenseful crime thriller mixed with tons of wit. Loving this so called “retired” Emile Cinq-Mars, Montreal police detective, who cannot seem to stay in the senior zone, or away from trouble, even in the US. Emile is called out of retirement as the FBI wants someone on the ground in Canada after a murder of a married couple at an isolated Quebec farmhouse, during a severe storm. When several murders began occurring around the US, in the aftermath of a natural disaster, the FBI wants to bump up the investigation especially after the last one when two cops on the scene were gunned down. A hurricane—Katrina in New Orleans, a tornado in Alabama, a North Dakota flood, and California, a small earthquake with mild property damage. In the aftermath, a killer strikes. So is this individual traveling to disaster zones to perpetuate his crimes? So possibly the killer got impatient waiting for a disaster, and settled for a local storm, which could mean he was nearby—a Quebecois? Cinq-Mars does not suffer from any lack of activity and contrary to his prior speculations he hardly missed his job. His wife did not want him to get killed on the job, so she was the guiding principal behind his retirement. The former Montreal city detective weighed more than his wife’s concerns about his imminent and violent death before choosing to retire. Emile, a religious man and his younger wife, Sandra who has a horse business, decide to mix a little business with pleasure and take off to New Orleans, as a background investigation to see what all the cases may tell him or if they are connected in some way. After all it is just a consult, so how dangerous could it be? (this part was so much fun) They rarely traveled, with the horses, unless it was a week in New Hampshire where her mother resided or horse fairs and competitions or an occasional trip to Florida and the islands. However, now New Orleans, where they hoped to find the city in revival mode after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, but really did not know what to expect and hopefully would have some downtime to enjoy one another for some casual fun. The murderers seem to be methodical and precise. Calculated, and more professional than normal. The victims seem to have died early and were spared any prolonged physical or psychological agony. Each victim loses his or her finger, and the rings on it, but in Alabama the medical examiner declared positively that the fingers were removed postmortem. So they did not suffer. From Louisiana, to Connecticut depended on the ME. How are these victims targeted? A serial killer? A copy cat? Does the killer hate cops as is he trying to outsmart them? However, when the couple arrive in NOLA, they no more than check in to their hotel, The Hilton Garden Inn, when strange things begin happening, from robbery, a break-in, an abduction, and then demands. The abduction occurred when the local authorities took him out drinking and on the town--he knows all too well about investigations being corrupt. Where is his wife? With all this action, Emile is back in the game and is questioning the Big Easy’s finest, the FBI, and the hotel staff about his wife’s whereabouts. When Cinq-Mars hears the words, Danziger Bridge from the kidnappers, he is feeling anything but southern hospitality, and someone wants him out of this state. With the shock of their misadventure lingering, they could not wait to return home, to some peace, even with more snow than when they left. He hopes he is off the case, and not interested in any more drama, as after all he is retired and does not need the garbage; until he decides he may want to after all. It may be too good to pass up, when the next of the storm murders occur in Alabama, and back to Quebec where the intensity and danger heats up, focused on Emile and Sandra. This was my first book by Canadian writer, John Farrow(pen name of Trevor Ferguson), and really enjoyed his well-developed characters, especially Cinq-Mars, and Sandra (and her mouth); loved the author’s style with a perfect mix of wit, corruption, money laundering, mystery, crime, and suspense. Look forward to reading more of this series!
About the Author
Trevor Ferguson, a.k.a. John Farrow, (born 11 November 1947) is a Canadian novelist who lives in Hudson, Quebec. He is the author of eleven novels and four plays. He has been called Canada's best novelist both in Books in Canada and the Toronto Star.
City of Ice, written under the penname John Farrow, has been published in 17 countries. The Vancouver Sun called the book the best ever produced in Canada in genre fiction. The second in the series, Ice Lake, caused the New York library journal Booklist to claim that the series is among the very best in crime fiction today. Die Ziet, a major cultural newspaper in Germany, declared the series the best of all time. River City was the third of the three and was equally well received.
A new trilogy of John Farrow crime novels, The Storm Murders, has been sold to Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press in New York and will appear under the Minotaur imprint. The first comes out in May, 2015, under the same name, "The Storm Murders." The second. "Seven Days Dead" follows in 2016, and the third, "The Talisman Quarry," will come out in the same year or in 2017. More crime novels are to follow the trilogy.