Monday, 16 January 2012

Fall From Grace

Finished January 15
Fall From Grace by Wayne Arthurson
This is a mystery novel set in Edmonton with a very different main character. Leo Desroches is a journalist working for an Edmonton newspaper. He was hired during a newspaper strike. Leo has a gambling problem, one that cost him his wife and kids, and a lot more. At one time he was living on the streets of Edmonton. This is his second chance.
When he gets offered the opportunity to see the body when covering a story on the murder of a young native prostitute, he includes the information gained in his story. That leads to a much bigger story, one that involves the police and stretches years into the past. Leo hangs on despite real danger, and finds a way to the truth.
Leo is an interesting character, growing up on military bases with a French-Canadian and a Cree mother and no knowledge of French or Cree. His father was a distant present and he doesn't have fond recollections of his childhood. Leo still struggles with the urge to take risks that led him to gamble, and not always successfully. Leo is also assigned to be the paper's native issues reporter going forward and he's a bit ambivalent about this role, as he hasn't really had any contact with the native side of his family. He is a very complex character, struggling with life, and trying to do better.
The story around the murdered native prostitute and the lack of action by police is one common in Canada until recently. This apathy around disappearing native women is a story that will only be getting bigger in the next few years as police across the country face up to the change they need to make to their culture to serve their community better than they have in this area.
With both these issues present in the book, this is a strong new presence in mystery books.


  1. Thanks Shonna for the great review of my book.

  2. Glad to Wayne.
    It was a great read.

    PS. I lived in Edmonton when I did my BA, and St. Albert from Grade 4-7, so I'm familiar with the area. Plus my adopted brother is native.