288 pages
ISBN 978-1-894898-59-1
DDC C813'.54






Reviewed by Matt Hartman

Matt Hartman is a freelance editor and cataloguer, running Hartman Cataloguing, Editing and Indexing Services.


Memo to B.C. writer Ron Chudley: contrary to Shakespeare, there is a lot in a name. Populating a mystery novel with characters named Bud, Mimi, John, and Libby and expecting the reader to take it seriously makes the job of creation unnecessarily difficult.

Stolen, Chudley’s third novel, is less a mystery than a chase story. It tells the story of the kidnapping of a three-year-old child from his father while on a camping trip. John, the divorced dad, sets out with Nate, his toddler son, on a bonding mission. At the same time (in parallel chapters), in a rented motorhome, Bud and Mimi Wetherall, a couple from Alberta, set out to try to help Mimi forget the recent death of their own son, Gabriel. Chudley makes sure the reader understands very early that paths will cross and that young Nate will end up being at some risk. Mimi’s sanity is in question early in the novel. Since the death of her son, Chudley writes, “she’d been numb, inpenetrable, sinking ever deeper into depression.” When the youngster is spirited away by the Wetheralls and presumed drowned, John has a dream (ah, yes, a dream) that tells him his son is alive and in the clutches of the grieving couple.

But how do you get angry at a “Bud” and a “Mimi?” Can they really be as murderous and as villainous as Chudley wants you to believe? And John, the estranged dad, is also unconvincing. Even Nate, at the tender age of three, is peculiarly familiar with the guns that make their appearance toward the end of the book.

Chudley would have more success if he spent more time on his characters. The plot moves along acceptably, and he is able, at times, to induce some suspense into the story. But the characters fall flat, in name and in dialogue, and, without them, there can really be no successful novel.


Chudley, Ron., “Stolen.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024,