cover image Shallow End

Shallow End

Brenda Chapman. Dundurn (IPS, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $14.99 trade paper (380p) ISBN 978-1-4597-3510-1

The intriguing fourth book in Chapman’s Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural series (following Tumbled Graves) seems to present detectives Kala Stonechild and her partner Paul Gundersund with a straightforward case. When 17-year-old Devon Eton is found murdered, the prime suspect is Jane Thompson—a beautiful teacher who was charged and convicted of having sexual relations with Devon when he was a student in her junior high school classroom. Jane was recently released on parole after serving a three-year sentence, but, as the detectives and Staff Sergeant Jacques Rouleau investigate, they begin to think things may not be not what they seem. Chapman’s tightly constructed mystery introduces readers to a variety of interesting characters and other possible suspects, including Jane’s former husband, Adam, and his young girlfriend, Naomi; Devon’s family members; and his best friend Charlie. The interplay between Rouleau, Stonechild, and Gundersund, who are all well-developed characters dealing with their own personal problems, will draw readers into the story, too. As they dig deeper into the mystery, they uncover lies and terrible truths that take this story into darker territory and questions of the nature of evil. It’s a gripping read. (Apr.)