Authors:Fraser C. Heston and Heather J. McAdams

ISBN-13: 978-1514193945    ISBN-10  1514193949

Desolation Sound is a captivating whodunit where the “who” is not merely a murderer but apparently a psychopathic serial killer. More than captivating, it’s hard to put down once started.

The seed for this fictional mystery lies in a weird actual occurrence. Since August, 2007, fifteen running shoes containing disarticulated human feet have washed up on Pacific Northwest beaches. Not crudely sawed off but rather separated by skillful surgery or the work of underwater scavengers over a lengthy period of time. Far too many for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police position of no foul play detected.

Enter authors Heston and McAdams with a creative story of what might have happened. Coming on the heels of the pig farmer serial killings just east of Vancouver, their version seems far more plausible than the official RCMP position. In fact, the story is so engrossing one gets caught up in believing it to be the real explanation. If the actual mystery is ever solved, it will be interesting to see how close the authors came.

Characters are well-developed starting with the drummed out, renegade, alcoholic ex-policeman and beautiful young RCMP Corporal who fits the serial killer’s target model exactly. Both are easy to like and pull for as conflict engulfs them. All others are realistic too, some colorful, the rest doing their job.

Desolation Sound is being developed into a movie by the authors and their use of the present point of view throughout the book seems to pave the way to a screenplay. Some might find this unusual for a mystery, however, it keeps the story moving at a great pace.

As a person born and raised in the Gulf Islands and familiar with the story locale and ways of its inhabitants, I expected to find numerous geographic and cultural faults There are none of any significance. The story is true to the region and its people. For someone who grew up with considerable respect for the RCMP, their derogatory treatment grates even if it is deserved. Skookum, the name of Jack’s sailboat, means “sturdy, strong” to most natives rather than a name for Sasquatch (though they would be skookum if they exist). But these are nits.

Desolation Sound is a well-written, intriguing interpretation of what might have caused the missing feet and it will keep you turning pages to the surprising end.