Move over Nordic noir, the Canadians are coming !
It is an understated fact that so often in modern crime fiction, with books by the bucket-load appearing fortnightly, that style is the accepted collateral of a plot as fluid as a rushing stream.
There are notable exceptions, Andree A. Michaud for one.
Michaud, multi-award winning author of ten novels, is not in a hurry, and her sentences turn into paragraphs pregnant with the shifting contours of mood.
And though the sun shines brightly over Boundary Pond, a holiday haven in the late 1960’s on the US Canadian Border, it is an illusion, for the tight knitted community is being stalked by a killer with a lust for the blood of teenage girls.
And whilst they lark about during the summer of love, belting out A Whiter Shade of Pale and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds with flowers and whatnot in their hair, a more appropriate soundtrack for Michaud’s turf is The End by The Doors.
For in Boundary Pond there is a killer on the road, and he lurks in the woods, which offers both refuge and sustenance. You can live off what the woods has to offer, but only those on the margins of Boundary choose to.
Like Pierre Landry, or war veteran Little Hawk, who survived the bloody Omaha Beach landing, and at some time or another were cloistered by the embrace of the wild.
Meanwhile, Michaud’s protagonists are not whisky-swilling loners bent over crosswords in a back street dive, listening to Wagner or Stan Getz, or sleepwalking out of another marriage. Stan Michaud, in charge of the police investigation, is determined ‘to knock on every door and to grill every last halfwit in Boundary’, for he has an acute grasp of the perils which young women expose themselves to.
Despite the obstacles –bilingualism, hostile terrain – what motivates him is a personal sense of duty to get to the bottom of the unpremeditated murder of Zaza Mulligan, by someone whose skill set includes trekking and setting traps.
And then Zaza’s best friend disappears: the randomness of the teenager’s brutal murder now acquires a more purposeful bent.
Murder and abduction aside, nothing much happens in this place, bordered by a lake and mountains, but Michaud’s prose excels in the vacuum of the ordinary, excels in the minutiae of the commonplace, where violence is a geyser in waiting.