Adam Norcross is not in a good place. He recently buried his mother and now he needs something more than a power struggle between him and his mother’s cat to distract him from his grief. That something comes in the form of an assignment from his boss, Walter Shapiro, who is not a patient man. Not surprising since he reports directly to the prime minister. Shapiro interrupts Norcross’ bereavement leave to give him an assignment. Norcross’ task is to find out how the country’s most eminent climate scientist ended up dead off the highway in a mountain ravine. Was it an accident or suicide? As soon as he speaks to Shapiro, Norcross’ unique precognitive ability tells him it is something else, something darker.
Sergeant Bethany Leith is not thrilled to have Norcross stepping on her toes. Even though Constable Bighetty is willing to give Norcross the benefit of the doubt. Once he inserts himself into Leith’s suspicious death inquiry, Norcross will use his investigative knowledge and unusual talents to help her uncover who wanted Doctor Flete dead and why.
Salish University is ground zero for the investigation. Among those involved are Flete’s dean, his wife, and his new girlfriend. Then there are his colleagues, some of whom denounced Doctor Flete’s important work, including a woman from Adam Norcross’ past.
I can’t believe how fast time flew while I read this story! I wasn’t sure what I was going to experience but the blurb mentioned the main character, Adam Norcross, had some type of precognitive ability. That intrigued me. Since it is the first book in the series, I figured there’d be some interesting worldbuilding going on. Well, I’m not sure how to explain things but I guarantee you that this book is absolutely interesting.
The mystery takes place in Canada and starts off kind of slow – Adam is having a personality struggle with a cat. What I think is happening is that both the cat and Adam are coming to grips with the loss of Adam’s mom, and they have to turn to each other, in a cat/human kind of way, and adjust. That tiny thread of pet relationship challenges is woven throughout the story, giving it a softer touch given how serious the situation is that Adam finds himself in. It’s endearing and it makes Adam more appealing. I sympathized with him easier because of it. The hero is not a soft guy – he himself is a bit mysterious. I liked that. He’s part of some governmental arm of the law that is quite hush-hush, very influential and Adam reminds me of a low-key James Bond. He’s professional, knowledgeable, and a great observer of people. He has this really amazing memory ability, and he can cook!
I know that Adam is the main focus of the series and it’s told in his point of view, but Sergeant Bethany Leith, the police officer, is the other main character. The death happened in her district and she’s the one assigned to the case. I only get to know her a bit from her dealings with Adam, her dialogue and the author’s descriptions. She’s no nonsense, dedicated and smart as a whip. She is a perfect complement to Adam.
The book reads like a serious detective novel. Adam isn’t referred to as Adam, he’s usually, Norcross. And the Sergeant is referred to as Leith, or ‘the cop’. The story has a certain feel to it, like the original Dragnet, but with a bit more personality. It’s a dogged pursuit of facts gleaned from evidence at the scene and lots of interesting interviews with potential suspects whose personalities liven up the tale. I was fascinated on how the author led me from chapter to chapter, each one bringing me closer to solving the case but leaving me totally dependent on Norcross and Leith to ferret out the truth of who done it. I guessed and was close. However, one of them was a shocker and I didn’t know what to think. Was that person truly guilty? I would have bet that they were innocent. That’s a pretty tricky call and I like what the author did.
One thing that stood out for me was the subject matter the victim was involved in. I haven’t made up my mind about which side of the fence I’m on, especially since it’s very topical right now. But many parts in the chapters made me believe that the author truly did her due diligence and researched the subject. There were many observations that made so much sense to me, at times I just stared at the words, letting them absorb into my brain. I’m like, yeah – yeah, that makes sense! And, yes, it did tie in to the motivation and plot conflict. I thought it was pretty danged cool and it made for a really great mystery.
There is a light dusting of allusion to Norcross actually liking Leith as more than a peer of the law, but it’s absolutely not romantic. I can assure you it’s not indigestion he’s feeling, it’s something else, and it could be a wonderful future development if that’s the direction the author is thinking of going. I liked how they worked together, eventually. They were bouncing theories, ideas and observations off of one another. I enjoyed watching their working association firm up and I liked how they showed mutual respect, once it was earned. There were other important secondary characters Norcross also had to earn respect from, and that was equally fascinating.
Eventually, the puzzle pieces fit together and I was completely satisfied with the end results. I have to say that the blurb on Amazon is a bit misleading. The story is even better than it sounds. I’m extremely glad I gave this book a try because if the next installment in the series is as mesmerizing and clever as this one, then Ms. Rediger has a new fan. A straight mystery is not my typical read but I really enjoyed this novel and I’m looking forward to more from this author.