Sometimes the smallest towns have the darkest secrets.
Siblings Wendy and Jason Wyatt-Yarmouth and their friends are in British Columbia, enjoying a two-week vacation. Tragedy strikes the group of privileged students when two of them crash through the ice into the frozen river.
It's Christmas Eve and the snowstorm of the decade has settled over the peaceful Canadian mountain town of Trafalgar, British Columbia. Constables Smith and Evans have a busy shift, attending fender-benders, tumbling pedestrians, and Christmas-tree fires. At the stroke of midnight, they arrive at the scene of a car accident: a vehicle has gone off the snowy road into the icy river. It seems to be an accident. But when the autopsy reveals a shocking secret, Constable Molly Smith and Sergeant John Winters are plunged into the world of sexual predators, recreational drugs, privilege, and high living.
Meanwhile, Charlie Bassing is out of jail and looking for revenge, a handsome Mountie is giving Molly the eye, and her mother, Lucky, is cheerfully interfering in the investigation.
©2009 Vicki Delany; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
On Christmas Eve in the small town of Trafalgar in British Columbia a car goes off the road into a frozen river. Despite the efforts of police and rescue workers the two men in the car, Ewan Williams and Jason Wyatt-Yarmouth who were in town with a group of friends on a skiing holiday, are pronounced dead. When he learns that there is something peculiar about one of the bodies Sergeant John Winters has to delve into events that led to the car ending up in the river.
Winter of Secrets shares some of the same features as Valley of the Lost, the second book in this series. We see the same depiction of the interconnectedness of small town life and most of the likable characters return. I do like the way John Winters approaches his investigations in a very logical fashion and by listening to what people say (and don't say). Delany also does a great job showing the learning curve experienced by a relative newcomer to police work as Molly Smith makes some mistakes and is uncertain about her approach.
However I didn't enjoy this book as much as the previous one and the one big difference was that I didn't care a jot about the two victims or the annoying friends and family they left behind. It became clear quite early on that the two men who died were spoiled, rich young men who treated the women they knew pretty terribly. The group of friends they had travelled with were the kind of whingeing people I would go out of my way to avoid in real life and Jason's parents and sister are a textbook dysfunctional family. Of course I don't believe that anyone 'deserves' to die but in fiction I become much more engaged with a story if can identify with the victims in some way or empathise with the loss felt by those left behind and here I didn't experience either feelings.
The book is well-plotted (though I'm not a huge fan of cliffhanger endings) and, once again, I thoroughly enjoyed Carrington MacDuffie's excellent narration.
Vicki has another Molly Smith story right at Christmas in the mountains. We learn a little more about each of the characters, and she keeps you guessing right to the end!
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