Sgt. Windflower is back, untangling another swirling mystery, this one bringing the meth crisis and biker gangs to the quiet Newfoundland town of Grand Bank, feeling the sting of their deadly tentacles reaching all the way from Las Vegas. He’s working with his familiar crew of RCMP characters – but wait, are some of the faces changing? New challenges for Jones, an unknown side of Smithson reveals itself, and what ever happened to Tizzard? In the midst of putting the pieces of the puzzle together, Windflower and his beloved Sheila also find themselves navigating sorrows and surprises on the family front.
Come back to Grand Bank for more fun, food and cool, clean, Canadian crime fiction with Sgt. Windflower Mysteries.
Title: A PERFECT STORM
Author: Mike Martin
Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing
Amazon → https://amzn.to/36sHEBz
This is the first I am reading of Martin’s work and for it to be a cozy mystery was a wonderful surprise. This was number nine in Martin’s stories and frankly it could of been a stand-alone as it was so easy to follow along with the hints of background information to understand what exactly was going on.
Now I mentioned it was a cozy mystery but it was defiantly not the cuddly kind and more easy to fall into. The writing style, plots, pacing of events, scene setting, characters as a whole, relationships and day-to-day life was so well thought out and planned. Then the descriptions of food that Sgt. Windflower and his wife, Sheila Hillier, cooked sounded so delicious. Maybe Martin would do a cook book for us?
We meet RCMP stationed out of Newfoundland in A Perfect Storm although our story actually starts in Vegas. Some unfortunate things unfold in front of Sgt. Windflower and finds himself traveling to Canada. Of course there are more characters than just Sgt. Windflower and Martin did a wonderful job switching between them and did not lose sight in the story to which I got lost into. Then there is hints of paranormal such as Winston receiving guidance from late relatives and spirit animals to help with daily life or his cases. I enjoyed this and would actually really appreciate a series going into Winston paranormal connections.
I’m looking forward to other mysteries in the series, like this one was clean without excessive gore or even in more detail and I would defiantly pick up more of Martins works! In this book thought there is a happy ending we all will enjoy and the bad guys getting what they deserve.
Eddie Tizzard passed his card over the sensor and pushed the door open. He flicked on the light. “Holy jumpins,” he said when he saw what was on the bed in his hotel room— thousands of dollars strewn around like confetti. When he looked closer, he saw something else. There, right in the middle of the bed, was a very red, very large bloodstain.
His first instinct was to run. But his years as an RCMP officer got the best of him, and he had another look around. Soon the source of the blood became obvious. It was a man in a suit lying face down in the bathroom with a visible hole in the back of his head. Tizzard should have trusted his first instinct because when he did decide to leave the room, he walked directly into the path of who he would later find out was the head of hotel security.
He was remembering all of this as he sat in a holding cell with a dozen other men in the Las Vegas jail. Tizzard had gone to Vegas for private detective training, having decided on a new career path after leaving the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or the Mounties. Technically, he was on leave for the rest of the year, but he doubted he’d ever return to his old job. He’d applied for and received his firearms license, but he wanted a certificate to put on the walls of his new office, that is when he got an office. That seemed very far away right now, about as far as he could get from his home in Newfoundland on the eastern tip of Canada.
He’d watched enough police shows on TV to know that he could make one phone call. But nobody had said when he could do that. The duty officer kind of smirked when he pushed him into the lock-up with his dozen new friends and told him, “Yeah, yeah, coming right up.”
Tizzard was confused but tried to look like he fit in with his fellow cell mates. They, in turn, looked like they were measuring his clothes to see if they might be a fit. As long as they don’t find out that I used to be a cop, I’ll be OK, thought Tizzard as he backed up as far as he could into a corner.
It seemed like he had waited forever, but as several of his new friends came in for a closer look, he heard his name called, “Tizzard, Tizzard.”
“That’s me,” he said and pushed by the two large men who had got the closest.
The duty cop opened the door, and Tizzard walked along the hallway to an interview room. He was pushed inside, and the door clicked shut behind him. It was a small, windowless room with a camera in the ceiling, a mirror on the wall, a single chair on one side of a table, and two on the other. Tizzard knew the drill and took a seat on the one-chair side. Then he waited, again. Feels like home, he thought. Just not my home.
On the other side of the continent Mayor Sheila Hillier was wrapping up her town council meeting and was on her way to meet Moira Stoodley who was babysitting her daughter, Amelia Louise. The meeting had been made unpleasant by a couple of contentious issues, including whether the older buildings in the downtown core of Grand Bank should be modernized or restored to maintain their historic character. But Sheila also realized that most of the tension was really about who would replace her as mayor in the election only a couple of weeks away.
Jacqueline Wilson was Sheila’s preference, but there was another candidate, Phil Bennett, who was leading the anti-tax faction of council. Every meeting, Bennett would try to disrupt things to show how influential he thought he could be, but Sheila would have none of it and would put him back in line. Bennett’s behaviour in itself was more than enough reason for her to want to leave, she thought.
Sheila had decided to go back to school part-time, eventually do an MBA once she had cleared up her scholastic records and completed the course load for an old degree program she had started several years earlier. Politics had never really been her thing, even though she was very good at it. She had only taken the mayor’s job to try to improve the town’s economy. And she had succeeded, mostly. The Town of Grand Bank’s fish plant was now operating on a regular basis with a quota for crab and the sea urchins considered a delicacy in Japan and China. The town also had a recycling factory and a solar panel fabrication plant.
Half of the town’s people wanted to not just preserve the past but to live in it. The other half wanted to blow it all up and start over. They had no use for the old and wanted everything to be modern, like the way it was in St. John’s or even nearby Marystown. It seemed there was no middle ground for the residents of Grand Bank, yet Sheila was sure you could have the best of both worlds. Getting others to agree with her, though, seemed impossible.
Sheila gathered up her things and drove to the Mug-Up, which was known through much of the province to be the best little café there was in Grand Bank. That it was the only café in Grand Bank was usually not mentioned. Sheila had owned the place years ago but gave it up after a horrific car accident left her with a slight limp and no desire to stand all day. Moira and her husband, Herb, had taken it over, and it was there that she found Amelia Louise sitting at a table with her Poppy Herb.
“Mama, mama,” she shrieked as Sheila’s heart melted. “Ook, ook.”
“I think she’s got talent,” said Herb Stoodley.
Sheila examined the crayon scrawls on the paper and murmured her approval. “It’s so nice,” she said. “Is it Lady, your doggie?” she asked, making a leap of faith based on the fact that there was one small circle on top of a large mass of scratches.
Amelia Louise smiled and nodded her head up and down emphatically. She had always been able to somehow say no, but now the 20-month-old toddler was happy to signify yes with a grand gesture.
“Well, thank you,” said Sheila. “And thank you, Herb. And here’s Moira, too. Thank you, Moira, for looking after her.”
“It’s our pleasure,” said Moira, wiping her hands on her apron. “I was just finishing off some baking.”
“Em,” said Amelia Louise. “Ook, ook,”
“I can see,” said Moira. “Has Poppy Herb been nice to you?”
“She’s like our baby, too,” said Herb. “It’s easy to be nice to her. ‘Those that do teach young babes, do it with gentle means and easy tasks.’”
“Okay, my soon-to-be-famous artist, let’s go,” said Sheila as she put on Amelia Louise’s jacket. Once outside again, Sheila noticed the November air had lost any tinge of summer warmth, and the wind was picking up, making it a bit of an adventure to walk the short distance to their house. Sheila tried to carry her daughter, but Amelia Louise was determined to walk on her own, while examining every leaf that blew their way.
When they got home, Molly the cat watched them carefully as they came up the walkway. The dog, Lady, was more directly affectionate and showed how much she had missed them both by almost knocking them over in the hall. The only one missing from the happy family was Sheila’s husband and the father of Amelia Louise, Sergeant Winston Windflower of the RCMP Grand Bank Detachment. He was at work, but Sheila expected to hear from him soon because his stomach would be rumbling any minute now, and he’d want to know what was on for dinner.
Mike Martin was born in St. John’s, NL on the east coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have been published in various publications across North America.
The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune, and A Long Ways from Home, followed by A Tangled Web, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year, and Darkest Before the Dawn, which won the 2018 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award. Fire, Fog and Water was the eighth in the series. He has also published Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries, a Sgt. Windflower Book of Christmas past and present.
He is Past Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers and a member of the Newfoundland Writing Guild and Ottawa Independent Writers.
A Perfect Storm is the latest book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series.
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