Three new crime novels are reviewed by Margaret Cannon in the Globe and Mail.
The Watcher in the Wall
By Owen Laukkanen, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 368 pages, $35
The essence of a good thriller is the writer’s ability to foresee scary real-world events; B.C.-born Owen Laukkanen’s The Watcher in the Wall is as current as last week’s news. Kids in a Minnesota high school are committing suicide. It seems random but the numbers tell a different story, and when the friend of Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Kirk Stevens’s daughter dies, she begs her father to find out the truth. That story becomes Laukkanen’s best novel to date. This isn’t a whydunit or whodunit. We know early on that the watcher in the wall is 15-year-old Nathan Gruber and that his first victim was his stepsister Sarah. But Stevens and his FBI partner Carla Windermere just have the clues in front of them: names, grades, computers and a ghostly online presence that leads troubled teens to death. I found this novel irresistible. If you haven’t already discovered Laukkanen’s Windermere-Stevens series, this is the book to start.
By R.M. Greenaway, Dundurn, 432 pages, $17.99
R.M. Greenaway’s debut bills itself as the first in a series: “A B.C. Blues crime novel.” There are some first-novel missteps but Cold Girl was good enough to win the Unhanged Arthur Award for the best unpublished novel of 2014. The story, about Mounties and local cops in search of a missing rockabilly singer, starts slowly, with the disappearance of a woman in the Hazelton Mountains of northern British Columbia. RCMP investigator David Leith is in charge of the case, but there’s also a problematic young constable named Dion, who seems to be off on his own …
Read the full review here