In Port Dundas, Ontario, Inspector Hazel Micallef, a sixtyish woman living with her eighty eight year old mother, returns to work after back surgery and a serious addiction to pain medication, when a local man is found dead in the parking lot of a smoke shop on native soil. When the band police conduct their own investigation and rule the death accidental, Inspector Micallef is not convinced. She knew this man. He was not a smoker. So what would he being doing so far out from town in the middle of the night… buying cigarettes? She decides to start digging and in the process turns up corruption so deep and disturbing, she’s uncertain whom to trust, where to turn and if she can get to the truth before anymore people die.
Having never read any of Wolfe’s previous novels I was glad to see a “thriller” story based out of Ontario, as most Canadian novels fall into another category altogether. I found the Micallef character quite sympathetic yet; the fire that drove her was what I identified with more. I love reading novels with strong woman, especially one in her sixties, as they are so few. Her control of the storyline, and the way she dealt with the other characters around her, was what propelled me through this book, more than the story itself. The mystery here was really tired. A “ripped from the headlines”, plot I’ve read many times before. I saw the bad guy from a mile away and had the ending nailed before mid book.
But I still recommend this novel, for the simple fact that Wolfe has created a character that could be your next-door neighbor, not one of those “perfect” women who always wins the prize and gets the man.