Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT A LONG WAYS FROM HOME by @Mike54Martin #Cosy #Mystery

Today’s Team Review is from Noelle, she blogs at http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading A Long Ways From Home by Mike Martin

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This is the first Sgt. Windflower book I have read, and I was curious about a book with a Native American member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as the protagonist. The series takes place in Newfoundland on the east coast of Canada. Sgt. Winston Windflower is an RCMP officer and a Cree from Northern Alberta, who is stationed in the small town of Grand Bank.

The story is fairly straightforward with a few twists: A large crew of outlaw bikers terrorizing the town of Grand Falls leaves behind the bodies of two people, a man and a woman, shot execution style in the head. The bodies are believed to be linked to the Bacchus Motorcycle Club, whose members are professional criminals who deal in prostitution, drugs, and brutality. The club is not only the nexus for a large drug distribution ring but is fighting another club for the territory. Sgt. Windflower, whose wedding to Sheila Hillier is rapidly approaching, is called to the town to clean up the mess. Budget cuts, meaning fewer officers to cover the territory, means trouble not only in Grand Falls but also at home, where his future wife is the mayor. A complication arises when the motorcycle belonging to Sheila’s cousin, Carol Jackson, is found abandoned by the side of the road outside of Grand Bank. Windflower learns from Sheila that Carole has been a member of motorcycle gangs in the past.

Windflower has to rely on his fellow Mounties to assist him in solving the crime and neutralizing Bacchus and its leader. He is supported by Sheila and his dog Lady, who is sensitive to his feelings and who is an important part of his life. Windflower’s Cree background also figures into his emotional support – helping him interpret his dreams through his uncle and aunt who are dreamwalkers, and beginning each day with the smoke of his smudge pot to remind him to be kind, strong, and determined.

The one word I can think of to describe this book is ‘nice.’ Such an overworked word, but it means good and enjoyable, kind, polite, and friendly. The characters in the book who are not part of the biker gang are believable, well drawn and, well, nice. The story moves along at a sedate pace, serene in its descriptions, and detailed in the police procedures. Even the tension-filled scenes are not high octane, and the dialogue is almost stately. The lives of the police are realistically portrayed in this way with lots of detail and even the occasionally boring parts. Most significantly, their contributions to helping people and communities overcome new and very difficult challenges is emphasized.

There is food in this book – delicious, mouth-watering in its description – and I am a sucker for food. I was introduced to bakeapples, another term for cloudberries, which are somewhat similar to raspberries of strawberries, but found in cool temperate, alpine climates, arctic tundra and boreal forests. I can’t wait to try them.

One other character that has to be mentioned is Newfoundland itself, an island whose natural beauty the author describes so well that I want to visit.

This was a slow read, but a ‘nice’ one.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

Guest Author Mike Martin

Today our guest is Mike Martin, author of yesterday’s book Beneath The Surface. Here is a link to the book review if you missed it. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5D1

Mike Martin

Let’s find out more about Mike and his writing.

Where is your home town? 

I was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on the eastern tip of Canada

How long have you been writing? 

I have been writing all of my life, but professionally for about 20 years. I have been a freelance writer, a ghost writer, an editor and a publisher. I have always written short stories but I started writing fiction about 5 years ago.

Beneath the surface is the 3rd book in the Sgt Windflower series are they all set in Newfoundland? 

All three books in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. The Walker on the Cape, The Body on the T and now Beneath the Surface are all set in small communities on the southeast coast of Newfoundland.

Tell us a bit about Sgt Windflower. 

Sgt. Winston Windflower is a Cree from Northern Alberta. He is an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and as part of a national police service he gets posted all over Canada. For the last couple of years he has been in Grand Bank, Newfoundland and although he is a complete outsider he has been welcomed warmly into the community. He even finds himself a girlfriend who just happens to own the local café where Windflower can indulge his hearty appetite.

Windflower is a Cree descendant, tell us a bit about the history of the Cree in Newfoundland .

There are no Crees in Newfoundland, and apart from a few isolated bands of First Nations there are hardly any Aboriginal people in Newfoundland. There was a major First Nation called the Beothuks who were there when the first Europeans arrived, but they were driven off the land and disappeared.  In Beneath the Surface Windflower finds out a little bit about the Beothuks and what really happened to them.

If I came on holiday to Grand Bank I would be really excited to see a moose, how much of a problem on the roads are they? 

Last year there were over 800 moose-vehicle accidents and there were a dozen fatalities. They are nice to see on the side of the road when you are driving slowly but they are a very real danger when travelling at night or in poor visibility.

Why were the Chinese visitors to the area not reported as being unusual? 

They were seen as unusual but not in a bad way. That area is used to tourists and welcomes their attention and money. The other factor is that the southeast coast of Newfoundland has a long history of smuggling and in some communities the RCMP is not exactly seen as their friends or allies.

What was the strike at the fisheries about? 

For centuries people fished off the coast in this part of the world and for most of that time there was plenty of fish for anybody who wanted it. But in the 1970’s and 80’s the fishing became so widespread by large factory ships and trawlers from all over the world that the main species, Atlantic cod, became near extinct. That resulted in a massive downsizing of the industry and a fight by everyone involved for what was left. The strike at the fish plant in Beneath the Surface was about a fight over who would get a share over what was left in this area.

Tell us briefly about the first 2 books in the series.

The Walker on the Cape. A dead man’s body is discovered along a well known but seldom used pathway in the hills above Grand Bank, Newfoundland. At first a heart attack or stroke is suspected but soon it is discovered that a main cause of this man’s death was arsenic poisoning. The case of discovering how this could happen in such a quiet small community is assigned to Sergeant Winston Windflower of the RCMP along with his trusted side-kick Eddie Tizzard.  Along the way Windflower also discovers two more things; a love of living in a small Newfoundland community that is completely different from his up-bringing in a Northern Alberta reserve and maybe the love of his life. He gets a taste of Newfoundland food and hospitality as well as a sense of how crime and corruption can linger beneath the surface or hide in the thick blanket of fog that sometimes creeps in from the nearby Atlantic Ocean.

The Body on the T is the second book in the Windflower mystery series. The story begins when a body washes up on a beach near Grand Bank, Newfoundland. There is no identification on the body and few clues to identify who the person was or where they came from. But this is just the beginning. There is also a devastating accident on the highway and another suspicious death to deal with. Throw in a rogue police officer and an international drug ring operating in the waters off the coast and Windflower’s peaceful world is turned upside down. Windflower also continues to enjoy the food and home-style hospitality of this part of the world. Cod tongues, pan seared scallops and even figgy duff become part of his diet, and his long list of favourite foods. Windflower may be a long way from his Cree home in Northern Alberta but he has found a new place to love in the fog and mist of Newfoundland.

10) Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?

beneaththesurface.co

Twitter @mike54martin

You can follow Sgt. Windflower on Facebook at

Windflower Mysteries

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Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com or Amazon.ca