The John Cardinal Crime Series

By the Time You Read This

Publisher: Vintage Canada
The Planet Grief. An incalculable number of light years from the warmth of the sun. When the rain falls, it falls in droplets of grief, and when the light shines, it is in waves and particles of grief. From whatever direction the wind blows–south, east, north or west– it blows cinders of grief before it. Grief stings your eyes and sucks the breath from your lungs. No oxygen on this planet, no nitrogen; the atmosphere is composed entirely of grief. [By the Time You Read This, page 37]

Catherine Cardinal, wife of Sergeant John Cardinal, is dead. Ruled a suicide, it comes as no real surprise to those who knew her. Catherine had suffered from manic depression for over twenty years. Long stints of hospitalization were followed by healthy periods permeated by worry and anxiousness that everything would once again disintegrate. Her last hospital stay had been over a year ago. Catherine had been finding peace and fulfillment in her photography and taking her medication regularly. From years of experience, Cardinal had taken all of these signs to be positive and hopeful.

So along with coping with devastating grief, Cardinal is confused. Although a suicide note in Catherine’s handwriting was found at the scene, Cardinal isn’t convinced that his wife was responsible for her own death. She was distracted when she left to take pictures the night she died, but she was nowhere near the despondent state she attained when she was ill. It wasn’t adding up.

Everyone in the department, even his partner, Lise Delorme, believes Cardinal’s refusal to accept his wife’s suicide is only the denial that comes with the agony of his loss. Even his daughter, Kelly, has accepted her mother’s fate. But when Cardinal receives a card with a typewritten note inside taunting him about his wife’s death, he is resolute that someone has murdered Catherine.

In Cardinal’s line of work, a man can pile up a lot of enemies. The first likely suspect that comes to his mind is Kiki B., an “associate” of a drug dealer, Rick Bouchard, who he had sent to prison. Kiki B. knew where Cardinal lived and he had an axe to grind–Bouchard had been killed while serving his sentence.

With Delorme wrapped up in a nasty sex crimes case, Cardinal goes it alone. When Kiki B. turns out to have made a career change, Cardinal moves on to other members of the criminal element he’d had the pleasure to put away. As he moves through a long line of suspects, Cardinal finds himself settling on perhaps the most unlikely suspect of all.

From the Hardcover edition.


Nothing bad could ever happen on Madonna Road. It curls around the western shore of a small lake just outside Algonquin Bay, Ontario, providing a pine-scented refuge for affluent families with young children, yuppies fond of canoes and kayaks, and an artful population of chipmunks chased by galumphing dogs. It’s the...
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“An emotionally involving and intellectually challenging journey from night in to day. A fine and moving novel about bereavement.”
–Reginald Hill

“Blunt writes a taut, gripping tale of suspense that is loaded with gritty realism. . . . Few can match his wit, wry observations and emotionally charged background sketches.”
Edmonton Journal

“If Blunt ends the Cardinal series here, he has created a colourful parade of seasonal mysteries. But his readers will hope to meet Cardinal again, as a lion in winter.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“Blunt, who has received Canadian and international awards for this series, once again proves he can set the scene better than almost anyone else in the crime genre. . . . There is something else Blunt excels at, and that is shedding light on the chilling inner workings of the criminal mind.”
The Globe and Mail

“The most beautifully written, deeply felt page-turner of the year.”
Kirkus (starred review)

“In a series that has already taken home numerous awards, this volume, Blunt’s fourth, stands out for its grace, compassion and the elegance of his writing. … It is a poignant literary work that nonetheless offers all the gritty satisfaction of a standard police procedural. This is, quite simply, a great book from a writer at the top of his form.”
Calgary Herald

Praise for Giles Blunt:

“Giles Blunt is one of the top crime writers around.”
National Post

“Giles Blunt writes with uncommon grace, style and compassion and he plots like a demon.”
–Jonathan Kellerman

“Blunt writes a taut, gripping tale of suspense that is loaded with gritty realism . . . Few can match his wit, wry observations and emotionally charged background sketches.”
Edmonton Journal

“Giles Blunt has a tremendous talent.”
–Tony Hillerman

“Blunt should be considered among the new practitioners of crime drama’s elite.”
Publishers Weekly

“[Blunt] can join the select group of writers – such as Ian Rankin and Tony Hillerman – who can locate their readers in a fictional universe as physically real as the chair they inhabit.”
The Observer