Sunday, 26 November 2017

Shallow End

Finished November 8
Shallow End by Brenda Chapman

This is a mystery novel, part of a series featuring Stonechild and Rouleau, but the first I've read. Taking place in Kingston, Ontario, the book starts as a woman is getting released from prison. She's spent four years in jail after being convicted as a child predator. Jane Thompson had been a teacher, and was accused by one of her students, one that she'd been spending extra time helping. Throughout the trial, she insisted on her innocence, but more recently she made an admittance of guilt. Her husband, Adam, divorced her while she was in jail, and has been keeping their children, Ben and Olivia, away from her, despite her being approved for visits with them. She's got a small apartment and a part-time job, but seems to be living in a kind of limbo. A month after she has got out, the student who accused her, Devon Eton, is found dead on a beach. He's been murdered, and Jane immediately becomes a suspect.
Jane's ex-husband has a new woman living with him, a student teacher that he'd been having an affair with before Jane went to jail. Naomi is young, jealous of Jane, and insecure enough to snoop on Adam when he isn't with her.
We also see into the lives of the police investigating the case. Rouleau is in charge of major crimes, and still mourning the death of his wife. He assigns Kala Stonechild, a female native officer with a history of drug abuse, and Paul Gundersund, who's been separated from his wife for a while and is now considering a divorce. Kala has made a new start, although her past has meant that the niece she was caring for was taken from her and placed in foster care, something she is fighting to change. Paul's wife Fiona, is a local coroner, and is fighting to keep her marriage from ending. Other police officers include Woodhouse, an older male officer who resents Kala and who is often abusive to those he works with. Bennett is a younger officer, recently recovered from a gunshot wound, and eager to get back to work. Another character with a meaningful role here is local reporter Marci Stokes, who tried to make it in a bigger city, but is now back and working to regain her reputation for good reporting. As she tries to approach various players in this story, she also finds herself trying to do the right thing, especially for those who are vulnerable.
A great read.

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