In the inaugural installment of Stephen Legault's Durrant Wallace Mystery series, a murder in the Canadian Pacific Rail camp at Holt City gives the emotionally unstable and one-legged Durrant Wallace a chance to prove himself as a policeman. With his young mute sidekick Charlie as his aide, Durrant must find the killer under the most challenging of circumstances and a brutal winter in the Rockies shantytown. Alan Marriott has a genial demeanor that slowly builds tension as Durrant goes deeper into his investigation, and there's an expansiveness to his style that helps turn Legault's historical mystery into a gripping epic.
It’s the winter of 1884, and five hundred Canadian Pacific Rail workers have halted their push through the Rockies at Holt City, an isolated shantytown in the shadow of the Continental Divide. The men are tired and cold, and patience is as scarce as the rationed food.
Then, Deek Penner, a CPR section boss, is brutally murdered at the end of the track. His body is found frozen on the banks of the Bow River. Durrant Wallace, a veteran of the celebrated March West by the North West Mounted Police a decade earlier, is returned to active duty to investigate the murder. Durrant lost his leg in a gun battle with whiskey traders three years previous, and he struggles with being a Mounted Police officer who cannot ride.
When Durrant arrives, Holt City is ripe with possible suspects: illegal whiskey smugglers, spies for rival railways, explosives dealers and a mysterious Member of Parliament who insists on getting his meddling fingers into everybody else’s business. Durrant must use his cunning and determination to discover to identify the killer before he finds his next victim and derails the great Canadian national dream in the process.
I'm not sorry i listened to this book, but not sure i'd recommend either. It had some good parts, and mostly held my interest, but it seemed a bit flat at times, and the narration just wasn't entertaining.