Top critical review
3.0 out of 5 starsGood mystery series with interesting investigator
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on April 9, 2019
This is a lighthearted book which touches on some serious issues. It is the latest in a four-book mystery series featuring former policeman Thumps DreadfulWater. He is a Cherokee man now works as a photographer in the town of Chinook. The crime story is told with dry wit and deadpan humour. I have not read the previous books in the series, but I thought it worked fairly well as a stand-alone.
I have only read two other books by Thomas King and found them highly enjoyable.; The terrific Back of the Turtle which won the Governor Generals Award for fiction, and also The Inconvenient Indian winner of several non-fiction awards which mixed history and humour.
Thumps is experiencing a bad time in his life. His girlfriend, recovering from an illness, has gone away. Her whereabouts are unknown to him, and she is not answering the phone. He is without transportation since his car was totalled. His pet cat has gone missing. He has just learned that his diabetes is worsening, and has to switch from pills to insulin injections.
During this streak of bad luck, Thumps is asked by the producers of a TV reality show Malice Aforethought to participate. . The popular show focuses on true crime cases with the intent of bringing out new facts and perhaps solutions. This time they are shooting a film in Chinook, investigating the death of a young girl from a wealthy family. It was believed to be accident or suicide, but the question of murder will add to the shows’ drama. Thumps is reluctant to do have anything to do with the show. A producer who does exhaustive research on each episode’s crime topic is found dead at the same place and in the same manner as the teenaged girl whose death was being investigated for TV.
Thumps becomes an unwilling participant because his past in law enforcement would give greater authenticity to the program. He has been tricked and bribed with files about a past unsolved case which interests him greatly.
Despite all Thumps personal problems, he manages to solve three murder cases. I felt there was a lack of tension and suspense on my part. I do want to know more about Thumps DreadfulWater, his personal life and his investigative skills. His character and personality were very well developed. I did not come to know his friends and townspeople as well as I hoped, probably because I had not read the former books in the series.