Justice for the Cardinal (Tudor Saga #3), by David Field

Eight stars

David Field continues his new Tudor series, perfect for fans of this time in history. The focus turns to Thomas Cromwell, the endearing close advisor of King Henry VIII. With Anne Boleyn on the throne, there is talk that she might be losing her lustre. With only a female heir to her name, Henry is getting tired of waiting and there are whispers about Anne’s past infidelities that could ruin Henry’s future. Cromwell does what he knows best, spreads loose facts mixed with rumours to create an insurmountable case against Anne. Cromwell also learns some disturbing news about the line of secession before the current Henry’s father, which could, if it comes out publicly, could cause series issues for the Tudor line. He holds onto it as Anne is executed by the maritally fickle King, whose eyes turn to another woman. During Jane Seymour’s brief time on the throne, Henry got his male heir, but lost a wife in the process. Cromwell turned to finding the next great wife for Henry, all the while holding onto this major bit of news that could make heads—literally—roll. When a foreign princess, Anna of Kleve, arrives to wed Henry, there is a serious breach and panic ensues. Henry must save face and denies having ever wanted this German woman as his wife. Surely the portrait sent did not depict the woman Henry thought he loved. Someone must be to blame and Cromwell seems the easiest target. David Field does well with this piece, dazzling those who like historical fiction with his attention to detail. Recommended to those who have been following the series, as well as readers who love the Tudor era.

I am so happy to see that David Field continuing with this series, which mixes some of the well-known parts of history with lesser published bits. Field injects a wonderful narrative and balances it with the development of a key character of the era, this time Thomas Cromwell. The man who served as Henry VIII’s right hand man on some issues proved to have the most difficult of positions. Trying to keep the King happy and the Court running well proves to be problematic, with so many balls up in the air. Cromwell feels the pressure from all sides but continues to do his best to keep everything working well. However, there comes a time when something must give and Cromwell may become the victim of his own attempt to keep a crazed man satisfied. Others make a mark in this tale that helps push forward the Tudor narrative. Some great characters from history are peppered throughout this story and Field develops them effectively to keep the story on point. A great piece with a mix of different length chapters to keep the reader intrigued and ready to learn a little more. Field has done well with the past novels in this and other historical series. New fans are in for a treat, when they discover how well he presents the issues here. A little deeper than some of his other writing, but well worth the invested effort.

Kudos, Mr. Field, for a great link from the past book. Field has so much to share and does it effectively in a concise manner.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

A Gambler’s Jury, by Victor Methos

Eight stars

In another of his stunning legal thrillers, Victor Methos ekes out a unique approach to the law with a case that will keep the reader curious throughout. Dani Rollins is a brash lawyer whose clients may be sitting as criminal defendants, but are never certain to face jail time. She fights the good—and dirty—fight each day, though sometimes cannot distinguish which side she wants to join when it comes to fraternizing with those who pay her salary. When Teddy Thorne and his family enter her office, Rollins is baffled. Thorne is seventeen and has an intellectual impairment, though is being charged with dealing over 8 kgs of cocaine. Oblivious to all of this, Thorne wants only to share his love of movies and early-morning cartoons. When Rollins agrees to take the case, she is baffled as to why the judge would automatically agree to negate juvenile court. As the case progresses, it soon appears obvious that something odd is taking place, as Thorne is abandoned by his family and the court seems ready to fast-track a trial and conviction. Balancing a shaky home life, Rollins soon realises that this case might be too much for her, as she is fighting against a well-built brick wall. With nothing to lose, save a night in jail for contempt, Dani Rollins is prepared to find out what ulterior motives are being used and how Teddy Thorne is being railroaded for someone else’s benefit. A well-paced piece that Methos uses to open the eyes of the reader at every turn. Recommended for those who love a good legal thriller, as well as readers who enjoy Victor Methos and his writing.

I stumbled onto Victor Methos a while back and find that I can never get enough of his books. Filled not only with great writing but poignant cases, Methos shows that his work as a lawyer is not lost. The themes that emerge are ones that the reader can enjoy or hate depending on their mood. Dani Rollins is a wonderful protagonist, as she takes no prisoners and is always on the defensive. Gritty and determined, Rollins is always looking for the loophole that will keep her client safe, even if that means sacrificing her own freedom from a judge’s contempt citation. She balances work with a home life that sees her trying to process a pending divorce, but never gives up on either. Her courtroom magic might be diluted by a corrupt legal system, but she forges onwards as best she can. Other characters create a wonderful addition to the storyline and they help to highlight the legal pitfalls of the system. There is much to say on the topic and Methos has chosen well with his cast of characters. The story is one some may call far-fetched and completely fabricated, but Methos assures readers in the author’s note that it is founded in reality. With a strong narrative and wonderful plots, Methos explores the law and all its faults. Sure to captivate many, Methos is one author not to dismiss when looking for superior legal thrillers.

Kudos, Mr. Methos, for another great legal piece. I am addicted to all you have to share.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

The Titanic Secret, by James Becker

Eight stars

James Becker is back with another story of espionage shrouded in a memorable time in history. After a man is gunned down in Berlin, mere feet from the British Embassy, questions remain. These questions climb all the way to the top of the Secret Service Bureau (SSB), the elite spy agency in Britain in 1912. There are whispers of an American alliance with German to overtake the British. Armed with this news, the SSB call on one of their premier agents, Alex Tremayne, to take on the massive task of killing three German agents before they can reach New York City. Plans are drafted to put Tremayne on-board the new transatlantic liner,Titanic, where he will be tasked with eliminating the Germans and disposing of them before anyone knows of their deaths. Tremayne and his female companion take on the roles of the Maitlands. Keen to complete the mission, Alex locates his targets and seeks to reconnoiter before striking. However, his elusive tactics are caught by the Germans, who begin their own plan to stop Tremayne however they can. As the higher-ups in London await news, they have sent a submarine to monitor the mission, perhaps ensuring nothing goes wrong. With the Titanic inching across the Atlantic, Tremayne is running out of time, but soon discovers that there are many other problems that require his attention. However, no one could have predicted what came next, aboard the unsinkable Titanic, as history takes over the narrative and turns the tale on its head. Well developed and on point, Becker shows why he is the master of his art. Recommended to those who enjoy stories layered in actual history, as well as readers who find pleasure in all things related to espionage.

I have read many of James Becker’s novels over the years and find his mix of history with thrills is like few others. In a piece that take the reader back to the early part of the 20th century, Becker keenly develops a story that puts Alex Tremayne in the driver’s seat. Tremayne is a man wanted by many, who has mastered his job. He is gritty and little derails him, though there is surely a weakness to his having no family. He is happy to serve King and Country, though he is surely one who is not ready to pack it up and admit defeat. Tremayne does well to blend into his surroundings, but uses code breaking skills to stand out from the others. There is a handful of other characters who seek to flavour the narrative effectively. A mix of backgrounds and positions within the story help Becker to effectively tell the tale he seeks to shape. While there are surely a few characters based on those from history, Becker shapes them effectively in his own image. The story remained strong and kept my attention throughout, particularly because I have a great interest in all things Titanic. With a narrative that builds with each passing chapter, the reader will not be disappointed. Short chapters keep the story moving and forces the reader to read “just a little more” before putting the book down. I was able to finish in a sing;e day, which surely speaks to Becker’s style of writing. Opening the reader’s mind to ‘what if’ at one point, James Becker is one storyteller not to be forgotten in a supersaturated genre.

Kudos, Mr. Becker, for another wonderful story. I always enjoy your pieces and cannot wait to see what else you have in store for the reader.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

The Lake of Learning (Cassiopeia Vitt #3), by Steve Berry and M.J. Rose

Eight stars

Steve Berry and M.J. Rose return with another novella in which Cassiopeia Vitt is able to take centre stage. Exploring some of the older aspects of European based religions, the reader will learn much and be dazzled by the intricate detail. While excavating for her ongoing castle project, Cassiopeia Vitt and her team uncover an old book whose contents make it not only rare, but extremely valuable. When she is visited by an interested party, Cassiopeia gets a bad feeling about Roland Beláncourt, who insists that he needs this book. While Cassiopeia is able to dismiss him, Beláncourt persists, telling her all about the history of Catharism, something about which Vitt is familiar. It would seem this book not only speaks of the Cathars, but also speaks of an ancient relic and location that could be key to enlightened discoveries. As Vitt seeks some outside assistance to find this ‘Lake of Learning’, she continues to encounter trouble from Beláncourt, who will stop at nothing to ensure he gets his hands on the book. Vitt does not have Cotton Malone to help her, but she will need to find some way of staying ahead of the the trouble that awaits her. Berry and Rose have come up with an interesting tale here, mixing history with a female protagonist. Recommended to those who have long enjoyed Berry’s work (which includes Cassiopeia) and likely readers who are familiar with Rose’s style of writing.

I have long been a fan of Steve Berry’s writing, which has included minor roles for Cassiopeia Vitt. When I noticed that Berry had teamed up with M.J. Rose, I was interested to see how they would elevate this most interesting character without losing some of the intriguing history that is woven throughout each tale. This novella touches on an era that I suspect Rose uses regularly, which meshes well with some of what we know about Cassiopeia. This female protagonist does well guiding the story along. While she is away from the love of her life—Cotton Malone—she does well to keep the reader interested in her medieval building project, which spills into talk of the Cathars. She is by no means a damsel, but also does not seek conflict where she can help it. There are a few other characters whose presence add depth to the story, including the gritty Roland Beláncourt, whose determination helps fuel some clashes surrounding the possession of the book. The story gathers momentum in the early chapters and never loses its speed. I am happy to see an ongoing ability to mix history with action in yet another piece by these two authors. I can only hope that they continues an annual tradition of working together to develop some wonderful stories.

Kudos, Mr. Berry and Madam Rose, for an interesting piece that kept me curious throughout. This is a collaboration that is growing on me.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Napoleon’s Hemorrhoids: And Other Small Events That Changed History, by Phil Mason

Seven stars

Phil Mason introduces readers to some interesting tales in this collection of ‘what ifs’ and ‘did you know’ trivia in history. As the title of the book suggests, some things are quite random, but there is seemingly a great deal of curiosity surrounding these feats, accidents, and anomalies in history. Mason organises his book into some larger themes and proceeds to offer up facts—sometimes in a few sentences and at other times a page or two—that will both baffle and intrigue the reader. How things might have been different had Hitler stayed longer during a speech he delivered, or Napoleon been in better health the day of the Battle of Waterloo. Exploring sports, history, and business as well, Mason provides a seemingly endless set of examples of how the world might have changed on a whim. I am a great fan of alternate history, though I usually like longer tales or more meat to the explanations. While I suppose Mason wants to allow the reader to ponder on their own, it may have been fun to see some speculative narration when Mason presented some of the anecdotes in this piece. Full of eyebrow-raising stories, Mason lets the reader see how one small change in history could have completely changed the path taken and altered things significantly. With a number of substantive chapters, the reader can use what they learn here at their next dinner party or on a road trip to fill dead air. A fun read, though I won’t go do far as to offer a formal recommendation.

Kudos, Mr. Mason, for this interesting collection. I can see this is something you enjoyed preparing quite a bit.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

The Girl in White, by John Nicholl

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to John Nicholl and Bloodhound Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Always a fan John Nicholl, I was pleased to get my hands on his latest work, which pushes the reader well outside their comfort zone. His work mixes the sharpness of a police procedural with some psychological elements that add not only a degree of evil but a heart-stopping element to an already wonderful piece of writing. Harry Gilmore is distraught after the recent end to his relationship and finds himself at the local pub to drown his sorrows. Little does he expect to be the target of a beautiful woman, but that is precisely what happens. While things seem to be going well, there is a motive here, preying on his vulnerability. Harry is drugged and carted off, taken as part of a recruitment for a local religious community. It would seem this was all pre-ordained as part of the order from one ‘Master’, who has his following beg for worthiness as they wear white robes and follow his every lead. When Harry does not answer any calls for over a week, his mother approaches the West Wales Police, where Detective Inspector Laura Keyes agrees to speak with her. With little to go on, DI Keyes agrees to keep an eye open, but there is little when it comes to any leads surrounding Harry Gilmore. After some interviews and CCTV footage, there may be something, as Harry is seen being taken, but that is not enough to give the authorities the needed information to pursue his disappearance. After a plea to the public, DI Keyes receives a disturbing visit from the sister of one of the religious group adherents, who discusses the cult-like nature of the group and the hierarchy that bears some semblance to a Jonestown or something Manson might have led in decades past. Armed with a warrant, DI Keyes and her team storm the property, with little success. However, this intrusion may be the catalyst to a series of events the Master demands and his followers follow. Retrieving Harry Gilmore may only be the beginning, in a tale that has deep-seeded psychological disturbances. Nicholl does well to pull the reader in with a social commentary on religious communities and their hierarchies. Recommended to those who enjoy a quick read that packs a punch, as well as the reader well-versed in all things John Nicholl.

There is never a lack of action when it comes to John Nicholl and his work. He has laid the groundwork for many wonderful stories that mix disturbing psychological happenings with a police presence that tries to stay one step ahead. His usual goal is to pull the reader into the middle of a powerful story that has deeply criminal elements, with no character safe from harm. DI Laura Keyes takes the reins of control as the somewhat protagonist of the story. Those familiar with Nicholl’s work will know that Keyes has some large shoes to fill, though she does well. Her grit and determination standout throughout the piece, particularly as she faces some of the more problematic aspects of the criminal element. Pushed well outside her comfort zone, Keyes must catch a killer who is surrounded by underlings willing to do whatever is asked of them. Some of the other characters within this story portray the wonders of mind control and religious adherence. Whether Nicholl is seeking to comment on the herd mentality of religious communities or the power of persuasion, he does well to depict both through these secondary characters who are on a mission throughout to ensure Master is pleased. The story is strong and well constructed, flowing with ease as the reader loses themselves in the narrative. Nicholl’s style of writing leads the reader to be able to push through the book in a short time period, gasping as they finish and wanting even more. Many of his past books have left me highly disturbed by the content, though gore is not usually a central element. Nicholl has many wonderful ideas from his past professions and uses them well. Not a book to be missed by those who enjoy a little awkwardness in their reading.

Kudos, Mr. Nicholl, on another successful book. While not my favourite of your pieces, this novel does pack a punch and makes me eager to see what else is to come.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Evangeline, by D.W. Buffa

Eight stars

D.W. Buffa presents this intriguing standalone legal drama, leaving the reader to serve as thirteenth jury member. The Evangeline is a massive cruising sailboat, destined to make a major journey on its inaugural trip from Nice and around the African continent. However, while out at sea, something went terribly wrong and the few survivors turned up off the Brazilian coast forty days later. Among the six survivors is a body, obviously killed and feasted upon by the others. Captain Vincent Marlowe, one of the six who lived, is brought up on murder charges. Marlowe’s defence is that he had to authorise the killing of one to save the others. In a novel told almost exclusively in the courtroom, Buffa presents the case of the Evangeline and how Marlowe played a role in keeping those who were able to flee the boat’s sinking from perishing themselves. Could Marlowe have done anything else and still kept the survivors alive? What of the boat’s owner, who decided at the last minute not to take the voyage? Was the boat seaworthy? Buffa explores these questions and more in this scintillating story that will leave the reader wondering where they find themselves while the trial progresses and eventually awaiting the jury’s verdict. Recommended to those who love a great courtroom drama that has more twists than simple answers, as well as the reader who is a fan of Buffa’s other work.

I did some binge reading of D.W. Buffa not long ago, but held onto this one for a time. I picked it up during a flight home and could not put it down. How a case of murder on the seas could pull me in so readily surprised me, but Buffa’s style is one that tends to do that with ease. With a large cast of characters and some wonderful developments throughout, I could not help but feel as though I were in the front row of the jury box, weighing all the evidence. Marlowe comes across as less than remorseful, though he is calm in his presentation that there were no options other than to turn on one survivor. As the story moves along, new plot twists arrive with the various witnesses who testify, turning what would seem a fairly straightforward case on its head. The narrative moved along with ease and I was energized to see how things would turn out from the outset. Buffa knows how to lure an audience in and uses his legal experience to weave a tale like no other. This is one novel that does not sink, though I wish it had ascended onto my radar sooner!

Kudos, Mr. Buffa, for another wonderful novel. I cannot wait to see what else of yours I have yet to discover.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West, by David McCullough

Eight stars

David McCullough is back with another of his interesting tomes on American history, this time turning to some of the early settlers. In this piece, McCullough explores those who ventured outside the original thirteen states to explore the newly opened and vast territories of the Midwest. Armed with the passion to explore, these men sought to develop a way of life not seen on these lands before, encountering much in the wilderness, from well-established Indian settlements to countless animals who had made the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin their home. Led by the decorated Revolutionary War General Rufus Putnam, these men did all in their power to expand the land and population control by those in the American Government. McCullough explores the ideas of a handful of men, through their letters, diaries, and other documents that would shed light on the plight of the settlers and their encounters with things unknown. As the tome continues, McCullough mixes history with political drama, showing that the exploration included some controversy, particularly among those who did not want to create too democratic a region that was still on shaky legs. Slavery and limited suffrage became themes, both in the tome and history, that wove their way into the story, all a part of the larger story that created modern crises. McCullough effectively examines the thoughts and sentiments of these curious men, fuelled by a desire to open the uncharted lands and expound the virtues of American ideals as America sought to leave infancy and enter a more mature and stable way of life. Wonderful for those who enjoy learning about some of the lesser-documented pieces of American history and recommended for readers who have long found David McCullough to be easy to comprehend.

I always enjoy finding myself in the middle of a David McCullough piece, particularly because I am sure to learn something and never be resting on my haunches. McCullough has a way of telling a story that pulls the reader into the middle of the action, surrounding them with key documents and arguments from the time. While I am sure history books speak generally of the settling of the Northwest Territory, McCullough seeks to fill some of the many gaps with his own research and first-hand documents that enrich the reading experience. From diary entries about the daily/weekly findings to the letters home that describe things of a more passionate nature, McCullough personalises the lives of these men. In addition, McCullough puts much of the exploration into historical perspective, while life in the big cities became a political and social battle. Politics was surely all about how to acquire land and settle it, but also to create territorial governments and legislatures to better run things on a local level. With large chapters full of information, McCullough gives the reader a chance to be part of the action without getting too bogged down in minutiae. One can only hope that others will take this rubric and run with it in their own depiction of history, while McCullough finds more areas worthy of exploration, sure to entertain those who love his writing.

Kudos, Mr. McCullough, for a fabulous addition to your collection. I am eager to see what you have next and will tell others who much I enjoyed this piece.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

The Inn, by James Patterson and Candice Fox

Eight stars

Powerhouse duo James Patterson and Candice Fox return with a standalone novel that offers some insight into how the world works away from a formal police setting. With some great narrative development and a cast of unique characters, Patterson and Fox show that they are a team far above others. After being summarily fired from the Boston PD, Bill Robinson works with his wife to create a new life in the rural community of Gloucester. Opening up a bed and breakfast, the Robinsons think they have it made. However, after the passing of Siobain, Bill is left to run things at The Inn all on his own. While the cop is out of Boston, Robinson is the curious type and stumbles upon a string of deaths that are all attributed to a tiny yellow pill, later revealed to be potent fentanyl. Robinson follows the path of distribution to a sly dealer by the name of Mitchell Cline, who is happy to pepper the bucolic community with addiction and line his pockets. When Robinson makes a play to stop all of this, he engages the services of the local sheriff, who also happens to be one of his residents. As the pressure mounts, more locals find themselves working with Robinson on a way to remove Cline, plotting their response from inside The Inn. Cline will not go down easily and has a large crew ready to follow his every command. Barricaded inside The Inn, Robinson must work with his makeshift team to decide how to handle the situation, knowing full well that it may end tragically before the night is out. Patterson and Fox show their strength in this story that pulls on issues from today in this dazzling one off novel. Recommended for those who like a police procedural with a different flavouring, as well as the reader who has long enjoyed the Patterson-Fox writing style.

While I enjoy both authors on their own, as well as their series work with Harry Blue, I was not sure if I could take a standalone as seriously. While things took a little while to warm up for me, I did become invested before too long and found myself readily turning pages to see what would happen next. Bill Robinson is as jaded as they come, having been forced on his turf early for actions his partner started. Saddled with this and the loss of his wife soon thereafter, there is no doubt that Robinson is seeking something to set himself straight. While the story reads like a police procedural, there are elements of a vigilante leader seeking revenge and wanting to protect his town. The banter and planning work well, but there are certainly some aspects that are quite cliché for me, yet the story still works. Others who grace the pages of this book work their own magic and the story comes to life with ease, flavoured by the backstories and unique approaches the authors inject into those who work with (and against) Robinson. The story had some predicable elements, but I could see this working well on the big screen. Drama increases throughout and there is no let down as the pages turn with ease. The traditional short chapters force the reader to commit to large portions in a sitting and begs for more action with ease new chapter heading. While not their best collaborative work, I cannot fault this duo, who have never failed to impress me.

Kudos, Mr. Patterson and Madam Fox, for another interesting collaborative effort. I am eager to see if you will return to some Harry Blue soon, or if you have more you want the world to reader before then.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

A Deadly Divide (Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak #5), by Ausma Zehanat Khan

Nine stars

Having binged all novels (and a short story) in the series to date, I can assert that Ausma Zehanat Khan seeks not only to tell a story to the reader, but to impact them with her powerful narrative and poignant topics. While the issues likely occur all over the world, Khan debunks the ‘Canada is a peaceful place of love and harmony’ with these novels, using her knowledge of Islam and through the genre of police procedurals. After a shooting at a mosque in a small Quebec town, Community Policing sends Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty to be part of the team to investigate. While the local priest was discovered with one of the guns in his hands, it was a paramedic of African descent who was seen fleeing soon thereafter and speaking in Arabic that garners the most attention. All this, while the Premier of Quebec is trying to balance new legislation that neutralises outward religious symbolism and practice with keeping everyone safe. While Khattak and Getty seek to work as part of the team, there are blogs and a call-in radio show that are fanning the flames about assimilation and vilification of all things Islamic. The community is torn, though the fires of xenophobia burn hot and no one is yet ready to douse them. While Khattak and the rest if the investigators seek to work on leads, they face a local white supremacist group that hides their views behind wanting to keep Quebec ‘pur laine’ or as traditional as possible. Getty sees that these sentiments may have leaked into the police force, compromising the investigation at its highest level. Meanwhile, Khattak receives some news that shakes him to the core, placing his spot in the investigation and personal safety at risk. Might this small community be a microcosm of the larger sentiment about the Muslim community in Canada? Could Khattak’s future with Community Policing be coming to an end? And what of his decision to settle down with a woman he only recently admitting to loving? Khan does not stop in her chilling tale and forces the reader out of their comfort zone as they explore the propagation of hate in Canada and the sparks that lit the fire. Highly recommended for fans of the series, as well as the reader who is prepared to invest the time and emotional effort it takes to understand all the issues on offer.

Khan seems keen to work outside the box and deliver a set of powerful novels that tell more than a simple police case with a killer on the loose. She wants the reader to see the deeper level of Islamic beliefs and the generalised treatment received in Canada and on the world stage. This novel really punches Canada in the stomach, deflating the ‘love everyone’ mentality that the country seems to have. With xenophobia on full display in other parts of the continent, Khan places the microscope on Canada and shows all the pitfalls that have emerged, particularly with the recent legislation in Quebec, shielded behind ‘Quebec values’. Esa Khattak returns to be both the face of the law and Muslim-Canadians, which proves to be the most difficult of all in this novel. Torn between trying to find the mass shooter and yet not compromise his personal or religious views becomes the struggle he cannot overcome. While sifting through the ashes of what’s happened, he is constantly a target of ridicule and generalisations. This only hurts his ability to do his job and causes insurmountable grief at the worst times. His need to decide about the future of his place within Community Policing is key and Khan uses this subplot as a real punch to series fans who have come to adore him. Rachel Getty is still on a steep learning curve when it comes to the job, though she knows all too well what it is like to be targeted. Bigotry and sexism are rampant in law enforcement agencies, something that cannot be stopped with a memo or two. That being said, Rachel has also become highly protective of her boss, Khattak, and seeks to shield him from the onslaught, whenever possible. Getty can no longer rely on her wit and intuition, but must challenge those who are outrightly fanning the flames, even if it costs her a position at Community Policing. This struggle is real and could lead to some major changes within the organisation. Khan uses a great cross-section of characters, each of whom plays an integral role in the larger narrative. The complexity of this story demands something out of the usual collection, though Khan handles it masterfully. The reader is taken on a wonderful ride throughout and can see first hand just how problematic things can become. From hate group members to those within the police, there is an inherent bias or racism that cannot be erased or hidden. The series reader will know that the stories take on a life of their own, with a narrative full of twists as the plot thickens. There is much to be gleaned from the story, with facts and sentiments woven into the fabric of the piece, which allows the attentive reader a more impactful story. Khan will not sugarcoat and rarely lets the reader sit back and ‘enjoy’ the progress of the case. She has a message and it is one worth hearing, even if it tells of something we do not want to admit.

Kudos, Madam Khan, for putting this topic out there. It needs to be discussed and the current situation in Canada is turning your work of fiction into something of a reality with each passing day!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons