Friday, November 19, 2010

Negative Image

by Jean Henry Mead

Negative Image is a book that’s hard to put aside. The author, Vicki Delany, delivers a powerful blow to her one of her prime series characters: Sergeant John Winters of the Trafalgar, British Columbia, police department. When his wife Eliza’s former lover is found murdered, her picture is found at the scene.

Famous photographer Rudolph Steiner arrives in town to allegedly photograph the small mountain town’s tourist trade, with his attractive young wife and assistant, only to be found murdered not long after. Was Steiner’s real reason for traveling to Trafalgar to reconnect with Eliza Winters, the women he had an affair with twenty-five years earlier? And who hated Steiner enough to kill him? Eliza Winters is the prime suspect.

Meanwhile, Constable Molly Smith, a friend of the Winters, finds herself in a dilemma as well, when a series of local burglaries and a serious family problem confront her as she struggles to support Winters when the world seems to be caving in on him. Winters loves his wife, a beautiful former super model, and thinks he knows her, but does he really?

Molly Smith’s problems are compounded by her Royal Mounted Police boyfriend, who’s at odds with her fellow policemen as a stalker wreaks terror in Molly’s life. Delany skillfully ties up all the loose ends after dangling an array of suspects before of her readers’ eyes. The fast-paced, suspenseful novel explores not only the question of spousal trust but the secrets of all those involved.

Vicki Delany has been called one of Canada's most promising practitioners of crime fiction by Dick Adler of the Chicago Tribune. The former bank systems analyst and single mother of three daughters took early retirement to write, and has come up with some interesting subjects for her mystery series.

Molly Smith, the series protagonist, is with the Trafalgar City Police. Delany says, “Trafalgar is a small town in the British Columbia Interior. Outside of the big cities most policing in B.C. is done by the Mounties, but there are a few exceptions. Trafalgar is a fictional town, but it is based on a real place and that real town has its own city police force. They rely on the RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] for a lot of things, such as major crime investigations and forensics.

“In British Columbia over 20% of all police officers are women, so they can now essentially be women. Molly does have a problem with one of her colleagues, a constable whose ambitions exceed his ability. But she deals with it. In later books Molly will begin a romantic relationship with a fellow officer and it will not go well, as he will keep trying to protect her.”

The book was released this month in hardcover, paper, ebook and audio by Poisoned Pen Press.

1 comment:

Jaden Terrell said...

Sounds like a great book with provocative ideas, Jean.