Friday, July 17, 2015

Michael J. McCann - Sorrow Lake - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Detective Inspector Ellie March of the Ontario Provincial Police is called in to investigate when a man from the village of Sparrow Lake is found shot to death, execution style, in a farmer's field in rural eastern Ontario.

Leading an inexperienced team of detectives, she probes beneath the wintry surface of the township to discover the victim had a dark secret--one that may endanger others in the community as well.

For young and enthusiastic Detective Constable Kevin Walker, the chance to work with Ellie March is an honour, until the situation turns ugly and unexpected betrayal threatens to destroy his promising career.

My Review

People aren't always how they appear to be.

It's a message worth remembering when reading a shrewdly written mystery like SORROW LAKE. With an observant eye for detail, author Michael J. McCann introduces Vivian, the wife of murder victim, Bill Hansen. He allows a first impression to form of her that is none to flattering. Her neighbors add in their two cents. The detectives start making assumptions based on the state of her home. Local gossip quickly filters into the picture.

Initially, Vivian Hansen is seen through the distorted lens of assumption and secondhand information. In most cases, the spouse usually has some kind of involvement, and that's where most of these investigations start, and sometimes end. So it's no surprise that that's where this novel begins with McCann purposefully guiding the story in that direction.

But then it becomes a head-scratcher. Is Vivian Hansen guilty or just a little odd? Is it a crime to keep to oneself? Many in his tiny Canadian community tend to think so. They have Vivian tried and convicted before she's even charged with anything. Residents describe her husband as a talker and a schmoozer, while they think she's stuck up just because she was born and raised in Nova Scotia. In this small rural village, the prejudice of the unknown runs deep.

And the black marks against Vivian continue to grow. She doesn't have any children. The only place she's regularly seen is at church. Her late husband owned a used car dealership, yet she doesn't even have a driver's license. She falls under immediate suspicion because she stays in her house and rarely interacts with anyone.

When investigators turn up at her door to inform her of her husband's brutal demise, she doesn't even act surprised. For the most part, family members of victims tend to continue to speak of the deceased in the present tense, but Vivian is already referring to Bill like he's long gone. This raises the antenna of the both detectives.

As they search her house for clues, they're struck by how clean and orderly it is. Everything is in its place, yet it feels cold and impersonal. The couple's bedroom even has matching twin beds. The female investigator floats the theory that Bill could've been an abusive husband, demanding strict adherence to a sense of order so he could maintain control over his wife. If this is true, it's not a stretch to imagine that Vivian may have hired someone to kill her husband to get out from under his thumb.

If only she didn't come off so child-like.

Sadly, she can't even fully explain what her husband does for a living, just that it has something to do with cars. He handles all of the family finances, and she has no clue if they are currently in debt or not. There are two rooms in the house, in particular, that seem to tell the story of their marriage. One is filled with Vivian's doll collection, and the other is an attic office where Bill would unwind with a cigar and a glass of booze.

But was their marriage really how it seems on the surface? Unhappy. Lonely. Two people living under the same roof yet leading two very separate, and distinct, lives.

When witnesses are able to place a man arriving at the house in the hour or so after Bill was killed, questions begin to mount. Did Vivian hire someone to kill her husband? If so, why didn't she flee? Or did the murderer come to the house to threaten her as well?

No one really knows what goes on behind the closed doors of a marriage—except the two people who are in it. And the way McCann reveals the true nature of their relationship makes for a fascinating psychological study of a couple who shared, what can only be described as, anything but a boring life.


Video Trailer:

Sorrow Lake can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble

Prices/Formats: $5.99 ebook, $19.99 paperback
Pages: 316
ISBN: 9781927884027
Publisher: Plaid Raccoon Press
Release: April 30, 2015
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

Michael J. McCann was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. He earned a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) with a major in English Literature from Trent University in Peterborough, and a Master of Arts in English from Queen's University in Kingston, ON.

He served as Production Editor of Criminal Reports (Third Series) at Carswell Legal Publications (Western), where he was also Co-ordinator of Law Reports, before joining Canada Customs, now the Canada Border Services Agency. While at CBSA he was a training specialist, project officer, and national program manager before leaving public service to write novels full time.

Mike now lives and writes in Oxford Station, Ontario. He is married to supernatural novelist Lynn L. Clark. They have one son.

Mike is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada and the Horror Writers Association.

He is an author of crime fiction and supernatural thrillers. His Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel series includes Blood Passage, Marcie's Murder, The Fregoli Delusion, and The Rainy Day Killer. He is also the author of the supernatural thriller The Ghost Man. His most recent novel, Sorrow Lake, is the first book of his new March and Walker Crime Novel series set in eastern Ontario, Canada.

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Blog (mystery)
Blog (paranormal)
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

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  1. Thank you very much for your generous review of SORROW LAKE. I'm very pleased to have the novel featured in this blog tour! -MJ McCann

    1. Mike, thanks for writing such a great book! It's always fun joining forces with you and Lynn :)

  2. Judging by the synopsis and this review it sounds like a great read!

    1. Thanks, Dario. I hope you have a chance to check it out!

  3. The book seems to be my kind of read, so it really catches my interest!