Sorrow Lake

Sorrow Lake

by Michael J. McCann


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Detective Inspector Ellie March of the Ontario Provincial Police is called in to investigate when a man from the village of Sparrow Lake is found shot to death, execution style, in a farmer's field in rural eastern Ontario.

Leading an inexperienced team of detectives, she probes beneath the wintry surface of the township to discover that the victim had a dark secret--one that may endanger others in the community as well.

For young and enthusiastic Detective Constable Kevin Walker, the chance to work with Ellie March is an honour, until the situation turns ugly and unexpected betrayal threatens to destroy his promising career.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781927884027
Publisher: The Plaid Raccoon Press
Publication date: 04/30/2015
Pages: 316
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.71(d)

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Sorrow Lake 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Tracy A. Fischer for Readers' Favorite I must confess, I do love a great mystery. And one that starts what appears to be a very promising new series, well, that’s even better. And that seems to be just we have in Sorrow Lake by author Michael J. McCann, the first book in the March and Walker Crime Novel Series. Detective Inspector Ellie March of the Ontario Provincial Police is sent to the village of Sparrow Lake to assist in the investigation of a man who’s been murdered and left in a farmer’s field. The story is full of the dark and twisty paths one comes to expect from a great mystery. Teaming up with a group of well-meaning but inexperienced detectives, and especially the enthusiastic Detective Constable Kevin Walker, what Ellie finds out about the victim may have dire consequences. And not just for her, but for everyone in Sparrow Lake, the small, sleepy village she’s come to love. I very much enjoyed this book. The writing was superb, the descriptions of winter in Canada made me feel a chill, and that’s saying a lot since I read the book in August, and the characters developed by author Michael J. McCann practically leapt off the page. Ellie March and Kevin Walker were likable, realistic characters, each with their own baggage as people tend to have, and were interesting enough that I look forward to seeing where this series takes them. Sorrow Lake is a smart read, and for once I didn’t know the end before it happened, a rarity for someone who reads a lot of mysteries. Any lover of mysteries, suspenseful stories, or just plain good books would love this novel. This is the first book I’ve read by author McCann, and I can truly say I can’t wait to start my next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The investigation into the murder at Sorrow Lake proves to be a lesson in crime-solving. The story takes place in a sleepy, backwoods town in Canada and introduces us to inspector Ellie March, the lead investigator brought in specifically to handle this particular case. She has her job cut out for her when she has to work with a local team who's not as experienced as she is when it comes to murder investigations. Her new partner, Kevin, is eager to learn from her, even if he can't keep his stomach contents at bay when viewing his very first autopsy. The book is so well-researched when it comes to police procedure and protocol and I felt myself learning a lot, right along with Kevin. It's a quality novel to kick off a brand new series, in the tradition of several popular TV shows from BROADCHURCH to FARGO—when a small town gets walloped with a big city punch. It just goes to show that violent crime exists everywhere, even in the quietest of regions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kevin Walker has a problem. He has a massive inferiority complex. As a police detective, he thinks he's too soft. He throws up during autopsies. He wears casual clothes to a crime scene. He doesn't like looking at dead bodies. But he has a driving need to protect the good, hard-working people of Sorrow Lake from any dangerous criminals who mean them harm. So when he's called in to investigate his first murder case, his old insecurities kick in. He turns to his mentor, Waddell, the guy who had his job before him, the one who retired to start his own security company. Because Kevin thinks that he'll never be as good as he was, convinced he'll never reach that high level of expertise. He puts himself down, letting Waddell fill his head with even more negative thoughts, when he tells him not to trust anyone and to not let his new female partner, Ellie March, take all the credit for solving the crime. But what makes Kevin even more intriguing is that he's a big strapping guy, a part-time hockey player, who's not afraid to rough someone up against the boards. But deep down, he's a reader, a thinker. He's obsessed with local history and the area's geologic makeup. He's not some dumb jock. He's sensitive, and compassionate, even if at times he comes off as bumbling and naive, especially when those he's questioning tell him he could ask better questions. But he's learning. His dad was a rotten drunk, who abandoned and cheated on his mother before she died. Kevin was left to fend for himself, and he was determined to grow up and be the exact opposite of his father. "I went into law enforcement because I wanted to be the kind of man who's responsible. I wanted to be someone people could look to for help and depend on to do whatever had to be done, no matter how hard it was." But the tendency he has to doubt himself throws his entire career into jeopardy when it comes out that he's actually good friends with the main suspect. Many on the police force begin to look at Kevin differently, wondering if he was involved in the murder or if he tried covering anything up. Kevin feels like the walls are closing in on him when he starts taking drastic measures to prove his loyalty, like disarming a local drug lord during a raid, virtually disobeying orders by putting himself and his fellow cops at risk. But Ellie is an experienced professional, and she's seen a lot. She hates that Kevin's friend took advantage of him and made him look like a fool, but she knows he had nothing to do with the murder. When he comes to her seeking advice on how to keep his head above water, she tells him: "Remember your strengths, and use them to your advantage on the job." Having a heart isn't a bad thing. In fact, it could be what sets him apart from all the rest. And with this being the first of many cases these two plan on investigating together, it's a given that Ellie is only going to help make Kevin into an even stronger and better detective.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorrow Lake sure lives up to its name. In the 1960s, there was a horrific boating accident when a guy ran into the dock, killing himself and all of the children on board. In the 1970s, in one of the lakefront cottages, a man shot his wife and five kids to death, then killed himself. In the 1980s, an elderly couple, who lived at the lake year round, were killed by two looters who were robbing all of the deserted cottages during a January blizzard, not expecting to find them there. The dreadful list goes on and on. So when the town's used car salesman turns up stone cold dead in a farmer's field, it's not like the tiny Canadian hamlet of under 35,000 people hasn't witnessed a tragedy like this before. It's so cold that the body has to be thawed out before the natural process of rigor mortis can begin. It's only November and it's already below zero. The lake is frozen over. Snow is falling. And warm winter clothes are a necessity. Sorrow Lake is an area filled with rough-looking characters. The police even believe that half the hillbillies in the township are capable of shooting down an unarmed man in cold blood. But when Ellie March is called in to head the investigation, she's ready to do battle with the harsh conditions she's up against. She's used to traveling between rural jurisdictions nestled in tiny hamlets and villages over a territory spread out over 2,100 square kilometers. With meagre resources at her disposal, her car becomes the most important weapon she has, and she doesn't plan on getting stuck in a snowdrift any time soon, like she did when she was a young constable just starting out. Much to her chagrin, she finds that she actually likes Sorrow Lake. It's silence. It's solitude. It's natural beauty. But as a seasoned detective, she knows that all is not as it seems, that what goes on behind the walls of these isolated country homes, is no less dangerous or disturbing than what goes on in the big cities. There are secrets hidden here, ones she intends to unearth, along with the partner assigned to her—local bloke, Kevin Walker. When they do eventually put the killer away, Ellie decides to put down roots and make Sorrow Lake her permanent home. Because for the first time, she has found a place that makes her feel really and truly happy. Which makes her do something, that up until then, Kevin has never seen her do—smile.
TheCharacterConnection More than 1 year ago
Ellie March is "the unhappiest person, like, ever." Since she investigates gruesome murders for a living, her job probably has something to do with it. She's quite good at what she does, so good that the men she's in charge of, know it and don't necessarily like it. It's hard being the team leader, especially when: "You're supposed to be perfect. The margin of error in this line of work is slim, at best. Forget the pity party." But sometimes, she's still not taken seriously by her male colleagues. When they call her "our own palace princess" or make snide comments like, "she's not much to look at, but she seems pretty smart." She just tries not to let it show that it bothers her because she's sacrificed everything for her work. She's lost touch with her elderly parents after they went into a nursing home. Her ex-husband remarried, and their two daughters resent her for never making time for them. She has very few friends and doesn't have a boyfriend or a significant other. She's completely and utterly alone. And with the grueling type of work that she does, it really gets to her sometimes. She has no one to come home to and cuddle up next to in bed and talk out her problems. She's left to her own resources. She practices tai chi to calm her nerves and methodically cleans her gun every morning, even though she's never had to fire it in the line of duty. In order to function on a day-to-day basis, she compartmentalizes, shutting out all the personal stuff and focusing only on the case at hand. In fact, she enjoys the silence her life provides because she has the time to sort out all the details of the case in her mind in order to catch the killer as quickly as possible. But Ellie doesn't completely slip under everyone's radar. Her new partner, Kevin Walker, respects her crime-fighting abilities. He's young, and together they're working on his first homicide case. He knows he can learn a lot from her, if he just follows her lead and pays attention to the way that she handles herself. She even encourages him to continually ask questions, and not to make any assumptions, just so he can appear smart in front of his superiors. Kevin even introduces her to his favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant in town, The Silver Kettle, and that's where Ellie meets Skinny Jimmy, the gourmet chef who's now stuck being a short order cook. Skinny Jimmy rarely acknowledges anyone, and speaks to practically no one. He's a loner just like Ellie, but he takes a shine to her when she comes in with Kevin to pass out some police sketches of the murder suspect. He admires her no-nonsense demeanor and when she becomes a frequent customer, he has her Christmas dinner delivered to her door before a blizzard hits with detailed, handwritten instructions on how to serve it. When Kevin finds out about Skinny Jimmy's thoughtfulness, he's impressed since not people receive such one-on-one attention from him. Ellie broke through his shell. Ellie's dedicated, and the people around her come to appreciate that. She wanted to be in law enforcement ever since her parents' shoe store was robbed when she was eleven years old. She felt terrified and helpless then, and she never wanted to feel that way again. Sure, she may often hear, "never send a girl to do a man's job," but she doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. She gets up every morning and enjoys being a free agent, unencumbered to do what she does best—nailing the bad guys to the wall.
Faith4 More than 1 year ago
In criminal investigations one has to be thorough. This is what the main character, Detective Ellie March, personifies in Sorrow Lake, by crime writer Michael J. McCann. Upon first meeting Detective March, the reader doesn’t warm up to her. She’s a terrible mother. But the reader will have to admit that she knows how to lead a criminal investigation. Conversely, March’s cohort, Constable Kevin Walker is likeable, immediately. Even though, the plot puts Kevin in a compromising position, the reader emotionally supports him. (No spoilers) The crime itself is a good puzzle. A well respected business man is found shot to death and left in a farmer’s field. The investigation itself is a developing plot that unfolds as the reader follows the detecting procedures. It’s quite scientific. In fact, the details may be too much for some readers; nonetheless, the investigation demonstrates good police procedures. Michael J. McCann definitely has researched his story. His characters are drawn well. The team of March and Walker is a good one. A series of their collaboration looks to be forthcoming. The novel is good and I recommend it as an interesting crime story, even though I was given book specifically to write a review; it is still my honest opinion. Sorrow Lake will have you looking for another Michael J. McCann book.
Tribute_Books_Reviews More than 1 year ago
People aren't always how they appear to be. It's a message worth remembering when reading a shrewdly written mystery like SORROW LAKE. With an observant eye for detail, author Michael J. McCann introduces Vivian, the wife of murder victim, Bill Hansen. He allows a first impression to form of her that is none to flattering. Her neighbors add in their two cents. The detectives start making assumptions based on the state of her home. Local gossip quickly filters into the picture. Initially, Vivian Hansen is seen through the distorted lens of assumption and secondhand information. In most cases, the spouse usually has some kind of involvement, and that's where most of these investigations start, and sometimes end. So it's no surprise that that's where this novel begins with McCann purposefully guiding the story in that direction. But then it becomes a head-scratcher. Is Vivian Hansen guilty or just a little odd? Is it a crime to keep to oneself? Many in his tiny Canadian community tend to think so. They have Vivian tried and convicted before she's even charged with anything. Residents describe her husband as a talker and a schmoozer, while they think she's stuck up just because she was born and raised in Nova Scotia. In this small rural village, the prejudice of the unknown runs deep. And the black marks against Vivian continue to grow. She doesn't have any children. The only place she's regularly seen is at church. Her late husband owned a used car dealership, yet she doesn't even have a driver's license. She falls under immediate suspicion because she stays in her house and rarely interacts with anyone. When investigators turn up at her door to inform her of her husband's brutal demise, she doesn't even act surprised. For the most part, family members of victims tend to continue to speak of the deceased in the present tense, but Vivian is already referring to Bill like he's long gone. This raises the antenna of the both detectives. As they search her house for clues, they're struck by how clean and orderly it is. Everything is in its place, yet it feels cold and impersonal. The couple's bedroom even has matching twin beds. The female investigator floats the theory that Bill could've been an abusive husband, demanding strict adherence to a sense of order so he could maintain control over his wife. If this is true, it's not a stretch to imagine that Vivian may have hired someone to kill her husband to get out from under his thumb. If only she didn't come off so child-like. But was their marriage really how it seems on the surface? Unhappy. Lonely. Two people living under the same roof yet leading two very separate, and distinct, lives. When witnesses are able to place a man arriving at the house in the hour or so after Bill was killed, questions begin to mount. Did Vivian hire someone to kill her husband? If so, why didn't she flee? Or did the murderer come to the house to threaten her as well? No one really knows what goes on behind the closed doors of a marriage—except the two people who are in it. And the way McCann reveals the true nature of their relationship makes for a fascinating psychological study of a couple who shared, what can only be described as, anything but a boring life.
D_Donovan More than 1 year ago
A small-town man is shot to death in an execution-style murder in a farmer's field in rural Canada, and Detective Constable Kevin Walker must deal with his first homicide investigation. The experienced Detective Inspector Ellie March is called in to lead the investigative team. All the trappings of the typical police procedural are outlined in an introduction featuring an obvious murder, a cold Ontario morning, and a team of investigators.   In Sorrow Lake the real surprises don't lie in the investigative process: they lay in wait in the psychological twists and turns of a crime that turns all too personal when it envelopes its investigators and even threatens their careers, and in an evolving mystery that keeps readers guessing about the perp's identity and the murder's wider ramifications. And here's where Sorrow Lake becomes thoroughly engrossing.   As chapters - and characters - unfold Sorrow Lake is fleshed out both with protagonist development and in the underlying mystery. All the hallmarks of great mystery writing are here: solid, believable protagonists, secrets, the challenges of a professional charged with working with less experienced investigators, and a 'whodunnit and why' that appears to lead down a neat road, only to take some quick turns to leave readers guessing right up to the end.   Add a solid sense of place and community and you have a fine saga that may open with the ordinary but closes with an extraordinary 'bang', leaving readers both satisfied and looking for more in this evolving series.