“Death in Sioux Lookout” (Book One in the Death in Sioux Lookout Mystery Trilogy) is both a fish out of water story and an intriguing mystery that reveals the truth about character and place as it twists and turns and surprises and tells the story of a love affair that has ended in murder. The novel follows Chris Allard, a social worker from Toronto who moves to a remote and starkly beautiful area of Northern Ontario for work. He is very much a city dweller and the author presents his observations that way: they are the descriptions of someone seeing the beauty and strangeness of the area for the first time. The images of the landscape and people of the town of Sioux Lookout are poetic and evocative and create a perfect backdrop for the mystery.
Except for a few brief vignettes seen from other points of view that help set the story in context and move it forward, the story is told from the point of view of Chris Allard. Early on in the novel, Allard, a social worker, says “On some level social workers are always calmed by the distress of others.” And though he is not without his emotional problems, Allard does, in fact, make a reliable narrator who is aware of his own flaws and the precariousness of his position, but still wades into the murder mystery.
The author’s sensitivity to character and his ability to create a sense of place that is integral to the story are what make this mystery so special. It is similar, in some ways, to the work of Andrea Camilleri, whose mysteries cannot be separated from the place in which they take place. “Death in Sioux Lookout” is a top notch mystery that is at once haunting and enthralling and well worth reading.
About the Author
Richard Schwindt is a therapist, hypnotherapist and writer in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He is the author of the Sioux Lookout series, as well two other novels, a book and workbook on workplace bullying and a self-help book on how to recovery emotionally from infidelity.
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