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.

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The Body On The T ~ Sergeant Windflower #2

  • BodyontheTAuthor: Mike Martin
  • Kindle Edition
  • Published: September 2013 by Baico Publishing
  • Category: Murder, Mystery
  • four-stars

The Body on the T is the second book in the Windflower mystery series and it follows up on the highly acclaimed premiere, The Walker on the Cape. The story begins when a body washes up on a beach near Grand Bank, Newfoundland. There is no identification on the body and few clues to identify who the person was or where they came from. The case becomes the responsibility of Sgt. Winston Windflower of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and his trusted side-kick, Corporal Eddie Tizzard.

Sergeant Winston Windflower’s peaceful days and straightforward police work ‘dodging moose and reckless teens’ comes to an end when an unidentified body is washed up on the shore of the interestingly named ’T’ near Grand Bank. As he and Corporal Eddie Tizzard begin their investigation it’s soon apparent the case is much more involved than first thought, especially when thousands of dollars are found sewn into the dead man’s jacket lining. And to make matters worse Windflower has to suspend one of his officers. On the plus side his relationship with Sheila from the Mug-Up café has progressed and they are a solid couple.

Windflower is recruited by Inspector Arsenault of Marystown for temporary special assignment to his drug task force team to stop a huge drug running operation. The situation is further complicated by the discovery of a second body which points to a continuation of the drug related crimes in the first book. Windflower leaves Tizzard in charge on Grand Bank while he works out of Marystown. If all that wasn’t enough Windflower has to divide his time in order to manage a critical situation in his personal life.

RCMP Sergeant Winston Windflower had lived in this small Newfoundland community on the east coast of Canada for a little over three years. He had grown to like the rugged coastline and its hardy and sometimes quirky people who were reluctant to embrace outsiders. But Windflower had managed to win most of them over through his friendly form of community policing but even more so because he got things done. People still remembered him as the one who ended the criminal empire of Harvey Brenton and even though he was a Cree from Northern Alberta they had almost adopted him as one of their own.

There are several short references to the first book that only add to the story and don’t confuse or detract, if you haven’t already read The Walker on the Cape.

I like Windflower as a protagonist very much and although there was a little more mention of his native Cree culture and traditions I felt these could have played a bigger part, perhaps more so than knowing what he ate for every meal. I did enjoy the setting very much, and the vivid scenic descriptions of the area. Also the fact that Windflower is enjoying his job running the RCMP division in Grand Bank and has become an integral part of the community.

The narrative itself is very straightforward making for an easy read. The police procedural develops at steady pace, along the lines of a cozy mystery. I love the cover image, it looks like a photograph and makes me want to visit.

Book links ~ Amazon US Amazon UK

The Walker On The Cape (Sgt. Windflower #1)

  • TheWalkerOnTheCapeAuthor: Mike Martin
  • Published: November 2012 by BookLocker.com, Inc
  • Category: Whodunit, Murder/Mystery
  • three-half-stars

A man’s body is found in a small fishing community on the East Coast. First, everyone thinks it’s a heart attack or stroke but then it’s discovered that he was poisoned. Who would do this and why? Finding that out falls to Winston Windflower and his side-kick Eddie Tizzard. Along the way, they discover there are many more secrets hidden in this small community and powerful people who want to keep it that way.

The people of Grand Bank, on the coast of Newfoundland, could set their clocks by Elias Martin. Every morning, whatever the weather, he walked from his house over the hills to the Cape. Until one day his body was discovered on the path by two tourists. His death was attributed to natural causes until the suspicions of Sergeant Winston Windflower of the RCMP were aroused. He and Constable Eddie Tizzard began an investigation into Elias Martin’s death and as new evidence comes to light it’s apparent murder has been committed. 

This solitary pilgrimage allowed him to mourn his wife Eileen without anyone intruding on his grief. More importantly, it allowed him to talk to her without anyone thinking he was crazier that he was. This walk was one that they had shared for almost forty years until she took sick and he still missed her and still needed to feel her comforting presence. He thought her long, painful, and ultimately fatal battle with cancer would be the worst part of his life. Now he knew that being without her was even worse.

There’s a lot I like about this story. Sergeant Windflower is a great character, a full-blooded Cree who has only been in his this post for a year. I enjoyed the glimpse into Windflower’s native culture and customs and I’d love for these to be explored in more depth as the series progresses, along with increased character development. There’s the beginnings of a sweet relationship between Windflower and the owner of the local cafe running in the background.

Windflower and Constable Tizzard work through the motives, opportunities and means of the suspects, and as the interrogations gain momentum they begin to fit all the pieces together. They have no help from their Inspector who seems to want the case closed as quickly as possible. Hmm, could Inspector MacIntosh be working to his own agenda? 

There are plenty of suspects with motives for murder to choose from, including Harvey Brenton and his wife Marge, who has a history with the victim. Roger Buffet and Ginger Grandy’s parents who all had a grudge against Elias Martin. Georgette Sheridan and her son, James also have ties to Grand Bank and Elias. Windflower’s investigation uncovers more than he expected, the discovery that corruption can reach to the higher levels even in small communities. The investigative procedure is realistic, the plot is well thought out and keeps the story moving.

Unfortunately, there were grammatical errors which should really have been picked up during the editing process. I’ll follow on with the second book in the series because this is a good story with interesting characters and hopefully the editing will be a bit tighter in the next instalment. 

About the author

MikeMartinI have always been a writer, even as I have earned a living doing many, many other things. For the last 15 years I have been a freelance writer, specializing in workplace and social policy issues. I have been published in newspapers and magazines acrossC anada, the United States and New Zealand. My first published book was Change the Things You Can: Dealing With Difficult People, published by Booklocker in 2011. TheWalkeron the Cape is my first published fiction book although I have published a number of short stories in periodicals and on-line.

For more information about me and my writing experience and samples of my work please visit www.mike54martin.com