The Dead of Winter (Luc Vanier #1)

The Dead of Winter (Luc Vanier #1) – Peter Kirby

It’s Christmas Eve and the Montreal police are dealing with the discovery of five corpses from the city’s homeless population.  Inspector Luc Vanier doesn’t believe in coincidences and is ruling the deaths as suspicious.  When reports come back that the deceased were poisoned, Luc must race to find the guilty party before more bodies pile up.

I had been searching for a new crime novel to read set during the Christmas season and came across Peter Kirby’s The Dead of Winter.  Not only did it check all the boxes, but it was Canadian and set in Montreal, a city I’ve actually been to!  I couldn’t resist.

With the primary focus being Vanier’s murder investigation, Kirby also has a few other subplots on the go including shady dealings within a homeless shelter, and a crooked real estate deal that threatens to further harm the city’s destitute.  With so much going on coupled with a modest page count (under 300 pages), the novel moved at a brisk pace.

The resolution was not one that I saw coming and when all was revealed, I actually let out an audible “Oh!”  Maybe it may have been obvious to another reader, but I thought it was a great bit of misdirection on the part of the author.

Although I did cringe at the inclusion of the line “crime doesn’t take a holiday”, I thought it was a very good debut novel.  This is the first book in what appears (to date) to be a trilogy, so I have some interest in checking out the two sequels.

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