cover image Fire in the Stars

Fire in the Stars

Barbara Fradkin. Dundurn (IPS, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $19.99 trade paper (324p) ISBN 978-1-4597-3239-1

Fradkin, author of the Inspector Green series, two of which won Arthur Ellis awards, now introduces readers to a new mystery series. The adventurous Amanda Doucette was an international aid worker, but after surviving a horrific incident in Nigeria, she returned to Canada. When she learns that her fellow aid worker Phil Cousins has disappeared into northern Newfoundland with his young son, she embarks on a quest to find them. Fradkin does a marvelous job depicting the fierce beauty and isolation of Newfoundland and the post-traumatic stress both Amanda and Phil experience. Amanda is buoyed by her retriever Kaylee and RCMP officer Chris Tymko, who takes vacation time to assist her. Along the way there are many troubling developments: a dead foreigner fished out of the sea, the sighting of a lifeboat carrying several men hurrying away, and an old fisherman found ax murdered. Amanda’s task becomes more difficult and dangerous as she not only has to find Phil and his son in the wilderness but also has to figure out who the murderer is. Fradkin, a retired psychologist, creates well-drawn, complex characters, and she knows how to build tension and drama that hold readers to the end. (Sept.)