14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2008
In the Shadow of the Glacier is a good, quick read. It is the first in what the author expects to be a mystery series featuring her main character, Constable Molly Smith of the Trafalgar, British Columbia Police Department.
Although the town of Trafalgar is fictitious, the general setting, an important element in the story, is not. The Kootenay Mountain region of southeastern British Columbia became a haven for draft dodgers, resisters, and deserters of the American military back in the era of the Vietnam War. Trafalgar, like many of the real towns in this part of BC, took these people in without much question, and many chose to remain and create new lives for themselves, even after the offer of a Presidential pardon. When one of the more successful of this particular group passes away, he bequeaths land and money to the town of Trafalgar to establish a garden commemorating the area's population of draft resisters. This controversial bequest is in conflict with the plans of a local developer who wishes to build a large-scale international-style resort. He worries that many Americans will find the sentiments of the garden, and perhaps therefore those of the townspeople, offensive, and that his project may not be a success. Opposing factions form; should the town remain true to its 1960's hippie roots or is it time to move on and bring in some new and bigger money? When the developer is found murdered in a back alley, questions and accusations fly. Rookie Constable Molly Smith is called into the investigation alongside Detective Sergeant John Winters, a veteran of the Vancouver Police Department.
The case picks up international attention via a Fox Network-style news reporter who arrives in Trafalgar, intent on escalating the situation. There are several sub-plots at work as well. One involves Molly's mother, a long-time activist from the 60's, who is deeply involved in the garden memorial. Another concerns Molly's friend Christa, who is stalked and subsequently assaulted, leaving Molly to feel that through her inattentiveness, she has let her friend down.
Delany handles all this material well. The writing is sharp and fast-paced, making the reader feel the stress and pressure under which the police must work to solve the crimes. The characters all have substance. The author provides background on each of the key players and we are able to form a clear picture of them and their motivations. Initially, I found that Delany dropped the names of the various characters a bit too fast and furiously and thought it difficult to follow the thread of the story. That fell into place soon enough and the plot progressed well.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book--a good debut for Ms. Delany's planned series.
by Janet Caplan
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2012
The storyline is interesting in this book, however there are many odd sentences. The author throws in some gratuitous sexual remarks and language at moments in the book where they are unnecessary and inappropriate. This is coupled with many editorial errors: Improper sentence structure, fragmented sentences, misspelled words, and even word confusion (for instance the author uses parental grandfather instead of paternal when referencing the character's grandfather on her father's side of the family, there are several other word confusions).
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2011
This first in what I hope is to be a long series about bucolic, hippie dippie Trafalgar, British Columbia, is simply a delight. Although it starts a bit slow, it soon picks up as we learn the ins and outs of the very outspoken townspeople, and get to know our heroine, rookie constable Molly Smith, aka "Moonlight," so named by her "stuck in the 60s" mother.
Told with gentle humor and obvious love and respect for the characters, this murder mystery unfolds with tension so subtle, that the reader is drawn in and holding his breath without even realizing it! Seemingly mundane in nature (a loved-hated developer, who has a lot of opposition in Trafalgar, is found brutally murdered and everybody and nobody is the suspect), the plot proverbially thickens until just about everybody is a suspect.
I just loved the combination of love and humor Delany uses when describing Molly's over-the-top mother and other hippies who don't know what year it is--having lived in that generation, I could relate!
Excellent novel; on to the next!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2015
There are currently 7 offerings in the Constable Molly Smith Series. I have completed all of them and these are my comments.
Trouble understanding why it is the Constable Molly Smith Series, it could just as easily be the Sargent John Winters or Lucky Smith series.
I have to assume this is a home published series because if it had been professionally done surely there would not be so many errors. There are words in the wrong order, words that do not make sense, words that are duplicated etc. and I don't mean a few, they are everywhere.
As what is basically a police procedural category it would be nice if there was actually more of the procedure. Also some of the main characters show a remarkable lack of character and honor.
One last thing, in one of the books Sargent Winters phony wife fails to tell him that there are pornographic photos of her about and then goes to a mans hotel room without telling her husband. With this scenario the author chooses to have the arrogant wife upset with her husband because he was upset. The wife lied and sneaked around, in my opinion divorce would be in order but obviously the author has her own agenda.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
During the Vietnam War there were men of draft age who fled to Canada to avoid serving in the army. In this novel, Trafalgar, British Columbia, is characterized as a center of such settlement, and apparently will be the site of a new series featuring Constable Moonlight ("Molly") Smith.
One such draft evader who prospered north of the border upon his death bequeathed his land to the town for a garden to be dedicated to honor draft dodgers, thus setting the stage for conflicts between the "peaceniks" and their opposites, especially businesses fearing antagonizing U.S. tourists upon whom they were dependent. One opposed to the garden was the developer of a proposed luxury resort who is found by Molly dead, presumably murdered, in an alley.
Molly is but a lowly beat cop, but she is assigned to assist Detective Sergeant John Winters in his investigation of the death. Further trouble is fomented by a TV personality and outside agitators. Winters and Smith continue seeking clues. While he resents her presence, he teaches and she learns. The DS has his own fears haunting him, which caused him to leave the Vancouver police department for the small town, and these are increased by the frustration of not solving the case quickly.
The author has a way of coming up with unusual themes, and this novel certainly lives up to this ability. In addition, the descriptions of the small town, its citizens and environment are handled exceptionally well. It is a good, solid mystery.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
First Line: People were of two minds about Reginald ("Call me Reg") Montgomery.
It's not easy having a name like Moonlight Legolas Smith-- and having a brother named Samwise-- but that's what happens when you're born to two hippies who came to Canada to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War. Moonlight is used to it, and prefers being called Molly, thank you very much. She's a new beat cop in small town Trafalgar, British Columbia, and although her choice of occupation doesn't please her parents, it pleases her. She wants to do her best and work her way up the ladder.
It's not going to be easy, especially since one of the big names in town, Reginald Montgomery, has been found murdered. Reg was in Trafalgar to build a huge resort and take his chunk out of the area's tourism dollar. Half the town applauds the chance at added revenue, the other half hates the whole idea because of the probable impact on the environment.
The case is made more complicated by two things. One, due to a shortage of manpower, Molly is assigned to assist veteran Detective Sergeant John Winters in the investigation, and Winters makes no secret of the fact that he doesn't want her rookie help. Two, Reg's death has brought into the spotlight the fact that money and land have been left to the town to build a garden to honor draft dodgers-- and Molly's activist mother is at the forefront of those supporting the controversial memorial.
I dove into this book headfirst and almost didn't come up for air. Superficially, Molly doesn't seem to be likely law enforcement material. She's pretty, "too pretty to make an effective officer. Her voice was soft-- it would have a problem carrying authority--and had the unfortunate tendency to crack under stress." What she does have is intelligence and desire.
The teaming of Smith and Winters is perfect. Here we have a veteran cop from a big city who wants nothing to do with a young female rookie cop. It's all too easy for him to see all the negatives. But he just happens to be married to a former super model who's a canny businesswoman. Eliza Winters helps keep her husband from being permanently narrow-minded.
Although the murderer was rather transparent to me, the motivations weren't. Besides, there were so many well-drawn characters and such a well-paced plot that I didn't care. The media converging on the town whips the action into high gear, and the riot scene in particular held me in thrall. The book has so many interesting facets that I'm just scratching the surface in this review.
It's going to be very interesting to follow young Molly's path in the Trafalgar police force, and I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2013
I admit I like free stuff. I also admit I'm not entirely rational in my thought process. For example, I happily hand over my Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime Conference fees and feel like I've won the lottery when I receive a bag filled with books. Seriously, this ends up being one of the major highlights of these conferences. So in my continued pursuit of this high, minus the conference fees, I have decided to scour Amazon for the best free short stories and books available. With that being said, let's get to the review.
If I didn't pursue mysteries with such determined passion that I simply can't imagine a world without them (despite an active imagination) and actually feel incomplete and unfulfilled whenever one doesn't strike my fancy, I might have enjoyed IN THE SHADOW OF THE GLACIER more. Instead, I felt like I never came out of the shadows of this tale, the light nothing more than a distant memory. The void left in this story's wake could rival the destruction of Greenland, and I have a feeling by the end of this review even I will probably have questioned my own objectivity. But all I can say is I'll endeavor to do my best.
To say I didn't like Constable Molly Smith is probably an understatement, but I'll handcuff myself from using stronger terms, and we'll leave it at a strong dislike. I could write multiple paragraphs on her level of incompetence, but I can sum it up thusly: She reminded of Stephanie Plum. Only Smith was in a paid law enforcement position and wasn't funny on purpose, entertaining the masses with her hijinks, and she certainly didn't exhibit any promising police skills that I noticed. In short, if you're a criminal and want a taste of the good life, then Trafalgar, BC is your new utopia, the Promised Land if you will. Look it up on a map and then you can swarm across the border in droves.
The dialogue reminded me of a college dissertation. To say it's stilted probably proves to be a severe underestimation. I'd find my body pulsing involuntarily, and sometimes spasm uncontrollably, at the way some of these conversations were executed. Dialogue should be a condensed version of how folks talk, without all the noise and filler, except when used in slight doses to create verbal tics. Needless to say, many of these discussions didn't measure up.
Maybe the text reads better in print, but the formatting errors on my Kindle were bad enough that I couldn't overlook them. And their abundance interrupted the flow of the story for me. If I were Poisoned Pen Press, I'd ask for my money back.
I could talk about the plot, but let's just say Constable Smith spends more time on tangents and not working than she actually does solving crime and chasing down the bad guys. In other words, she's the model government employee that the media loves to idealize, and she gives the rest of us a bad rep. She may be a new constable, but she could have displayed a modicum of competence.
Which brings me to the ending. This might just be the worst ending I've ever read in my entire book reading existence. You can take your cliffhangers, your unresolved resolutions, and speed racer sprints to the finish line, and this book laughs at every last one of them. I'll just put the whole shebang in spoiler tags and you can read at your own accord. If nothing else, it does provide a certain amount of entertainment, just not in a good way.
*BEGIN SPOILER* One of my biggest pet peeves, and I've stated this before in my reviews, is when the killer starts spouting off why he committed the crime. If the criminal is smart enough to elude the detective, constable, PI, amateur sleuth, what have you, he should be smart enough to keep his mouth shut, in the vast majority of cases. When he starts flapping at the gums without any real provocation, other than to give the reader and detective insights that could have been provided over the course of the story, that's even worse.
Constable Smith stumbles upon the solution to the crime while going out on a date with the killer, during which the truck breaks down, and she just happens to root around in the back of his pickup, and he doesn't even bother to physically stop her. Heck, he doesn't even really discourage her. So I just read 300 pages of a mystery novel, and now you're going to tell me she's not only incompetent but also extremely lucky and that the killer is a moron?
It's no secret that I'm not really much of a fan of SUVs. There are those SUV drivers out there that think their car is bulletproof, ice and snow proof, pothole and standing water proof, and maybe even tornado proof. So I had no problem with the vehicle of choice for the killer's demise. But it's way too convenient and seemed completely at random, and I felt like Vicki Delany stole the Infinite Improbability Drive and used it for her own devices. *END SPOILER*
Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2009
In the Shadow of the Glacier (2007) takes place in the small mountain town of Trafalgar, British Columbia, Canada. When the first murder in rememberable history occurs, veteran Detective Sergeant John Winters, a homicide detective relocated from Vancouver, is partnered with enthusiastic rookie constable Molly Smith, born and raised in Trafalgar. The victim, Reg Montgomery, was right in the middle of a town conflict. An American Vietnam draft dodger has left money to the town for a park to honor fellow draft dodgers. The business community, led by Montgomery, opposed the park as bad for tourism. Smith's mother, a long-time activist, leads the local group supporting the park. Smith's father, also an American draft dodger, is unsure of his stance. The awkward partnering of Winters's investigative experience with Smith's local knowledge provides additional conflict as both grow to appreciate the other's strengths.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2012
Being a great fan of the crime thrillers produced by a number of excellent Scandinavian authors, I find in contrast that many of the American/ Canadian crime thrillers I read have predictable plots with poorly developed characters that can be quite boring( fortunately there are also many exceptions) but I loved "In the Shadow of the Glacier" and am looking forward to the next book in this series. Interesting plot and sub-plots with local characters that kept me entertained to the last page. Molly is a gem! I strongly suggest that you give this author a try; It's a good light read and at this price it's a Kindle book bargain not to be missed.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2012
I had high hopes after reading great reviews and a long hold list at the library but the book was so so. Not only was the plot predictable but the sentences were too. I like to read a book that says things a little differently then I would; the magical ability to describe people, places and things using imagery through words is missing. You will get an okay read with okay characters but nothing exciting.