Whiteoutby Vicki Delany
Joanna Hastings wants to escape from her life: from the high-pressure politics of a large computer company, from the drudgery of suburbia, from the emotional fall-out of a troubled teenage daughter. On impulse she quits her job, rents out her house in the city and takes possession of a run-down old shack deep in the woods of Northern Ontario. All she wants is to be left alone, to work in solitude and to recover some remnants of her shattered equilibrium. But in a town like Hope River, being left alone is a lot harder to achieve than a city-woman like Joanna realizes.
Unwillingly she becomes embroiled in the lives of her neighbors, an elderly widow and her troubled teenage granddaughter, who reminds Joanna too much of her own pain. At the same time Joanna becomes aware of unusual noises at her door, and flashes of deepest black in the woods. She is plagued by realistic dreams, of a teenage girl living with a brutal family in what appears to be her own cabin, circa 1930, depression era Ontario.
Then murder strikes at the heart of the little community and as the harsh winter storms close in and the mysterious dreams intensify Joanna realizes that not even death can end the troubles of a lost teenager.
- LTD Books
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REVIEW This book grabbed me with the first sentence, the first paragraph: `Footsteps were following her. She was sure of it. Every nerve twitched as she stopped walking and strained to listen. Nothing. She laughed at herself, a quick embarrassed laugh. Must be my imagination; imagine me being frightened like some kind of snotty-nosed little kid.¿ Whiteout by Vicki Delany is set in a location she obviously knows and loves: far north in Ontario. The landscape is alive, as are the characters, sketched in with a sure hand. This is very much a woman¿s book, full of the kinds of details a woman would notice and want to find out about, but without becoming tedious. The language is crisp, though my pre-publication copy still had a few mistakes. I found it refreshing that the heroine was called Joanna. It seems to be a fashion among authors nowadays to give their characters unusual names, to the point where I don¿t know if it¿s a boy or a girl. This drive for realism and immediate relevance to modern life shows in the rest of the book too. So, when Joanna comes in increasing contact with the ghost of an unfortunate young woman, the supernatural seems real too. Whiteout is a murder mystery, but an unusual one. Just the same, in the tradition of murder stories, Delany gives us hints. See if you can deduce the identity of the killer. I found the best part near the very end: a woman and a girl, lost in a blizzard. It was so real that I was shivering, in the heatwave of an Australian summer.
Likeable characters,also, as a local reader,enjoyed the familiar locales mentioned. Pretty good sense of suspense maintained,tho' I did know 'whodunit' before it was revealed by the author.