Photo by Mark Bradfield
Small Dead Things
A gripping plot, surprising twists, depth of character, and insights on animal behavior - including humans.
Sandy Stoppard is not renowned for her quivering sensitivity. That may have been an advantage in her job as a detective with the Waterloo Regional Police, but when she fails office politics, she is bounced to Victims’ Services to help those impacted by crime.
But Sandy can’t let go of loose ends from her previous case. Although the accused serial killer, known as the Riverside Basher, is in custody, Sandy is still obsessed about strange details surrounding him and his life. She also secretly searches dumpsters and landfill for the missing body parts of a little girl kidnap victim from a cold case. Grisly aspects of the work don’t torment Sandy whose own childhood bruises are a bridge to life’s dark side. She fears nothing except intimacy.
Yet, Sandy allows her armor to be pierced by her nephews when she joins them in their school project following life in a loon nest via webcam. In a loop of fate, the loon nest leads Sandy to a breakthrough in her former kidnap case, and to the smart, sexy bird biologist Hamlet Mar who is responsible for the webcam project. The twists spiral rapidly with Hamlet Mar’s suspicious connection to a newly-abducted child whose parents are clients of Sandy at VS. Laurie Channer reserves her most terrifying twist for the end when the real Riverside Basher is revealed.
In Laurie Channer’s skillful rendering, this police procedural soars beyond genre to become a spellbinding tale layered with fascinating detail and psychological insight.