Darkest Before The Dawn by Mike Martin (Sergeant Windflower Mystery Series) Cosy #Murder #Mystery @mike54martin

Author: Mike Martin

Published: September 2018 by Ottawa Press and Publishing

Category: Cosy Murder/Mystery, Book Review

Darkest Before the Dawn is the latest adventure of Sgt. Winston Windflower, a Mountie who finds himself surrounded by a new family and a new life in tiny Grand Bank, Newfoundland. There are signs of trouble that may disturb his pleasant life, including a series of unsolved break-ins and the lack of supports for young people in the most trying time of their lives. But there are always good friends, good food and the sense that if we all pull together, we can find a way to get through even the darkest days.

Although Darkest Before The Dawn is the latest in a series of cosy murder/mysteries set in the small town of Grand Bank, Newfoundland, it could be read as a standalone at a push but like any series started half way through means the development of the characters and their storylines are missed.

Sergeant Winston Windflower, an RCMP officer, is a full-blooded Cree from Northern Alberta who practises the native customs of his ancestors. He begins each day with a smudging ritual and gratitude for the good in his life. Also passed down the generations is the ability to learn to experience dreams and take note of the predictions/insights they may offer. Windflower is friendly, an advocate of community policing and has won over the residents of Grand Bank, who can initially be disinclined to welcome outsiders.

Windflower and his wife, Sheila, are the proud parents of one month old Amelia Louise, and completing their lovely family is Lady, the collie. It’s a refreshing change, once in a while, to have a protagonist without issues and one who is more than happy with his lot. Windflower loves his family, his job and gets on well with most people. He and Sheila are also in the process of opening a B&B. I enjoy the way the author captures life in a small town and the interactions between the residents. The setting descriptions are lovely, food is a big part of life in Grand Bank and shown to be so.

He and Sheila prepared the vegetables together until she heard the familiar squeal of the baby monitor. She went upstairs to look after Amelia Louise while Windflower finished putting the final touched on the dinner. He loved Sunday nights most of all. It felt more like a big family dinner, the ones that you see on TV, the ones that Windflower never had growing up. But he could certainly have them now.

A dark cloud casts a shadow over the town when a teenager seems to have attempted suicide, then two murders are discovered. The first, reclusive computer techie, Jacob Crowder has been found dead in his home, stabbed repeatedly. The second had a link to Crowder. As the investigation into the murders gains momentum, Windflower and his team uncover more than they could have imagined.

Darkest Before The Dawn was a pleasurable and easy going read. Windflower, Sheila and his team are an asset to Grand Bank, in more ways than one. Sheila, as mayor, is trying to advocate a mental awareness program to help deal with issues such as an increase of people using drugs, along with male depression and suicides, which seem not to have been recognised in the past. The relationships between the well defined characters plays a large part in the story, woven in with credible plot lines which develop at a steady pace. The area, characters and community are appealing—a very enjoyable read.

I chose to read and review Darkest Before The Dawn based on a copy of the book supplied by the author.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Goodreads | Amazon US

About the Author

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

Author links ~ Website | Twitter | Facebook

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