Blackfly Season


326 pages
ISBN 0-679-31243-9
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Trevor S. Raymond

Trevor S. Raymond is a teacher and librarian with the Peel Board of Education and editor of Canadian Holmes.


The first two novels in this fine series featuring police detectives
John Cardinal and Lise Delorme of Algonquin Bay (North Bay), Ontario,
won awards in Britain and Canada, but Blackfly Season is of a different
style than its superb predecessor, The Delicate Storm (2002). That novel
was a gripping police procedural that made us care very much about its
investigators as we followed them into a tangled and frightening legacy
of the October Crisis during a lyrically evoked northern Ontario winter.
Blackfly’s emphasis is not so exclusively on the detectives and their
painstaking work; nearly half its 56 chapters are devoted to the
backstories, thoughts, and actions of victims and villains. Some readers
might prefer a narrative that focuses more on the police investigation
and the ongoing stories of its chief protagonists. Cardinal’s
daughter, a graduate student, and his sad, mentally unstable wife
continue to be a concern, and readers are best served by reading this
book after first enjoying its two predecessors (the first in the series
being Forty Words for Sorrow, 2000).

Blackfly Season is a riveting tale about a young woman who has
apparently lost her memory after surviving a near-lethal shooting, and
grisly murders involving a horrifying voodoo-like cult in the Ontario
northwoods. Its final chapters are guaranteed to keep a reader up late.



Blunt, Giles., “Blackfly Season,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 22, 2024,