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Blackfly Season (John Cardinal and Lise Delorme Mystery #3)

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,144 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
Red Bear stood close to the fire and stretched toward the sky, every muscle in his body straining. The veins in his neck stood out like electrical cords. His voice had gone thin and raspy and the words came streaming out of him with a terrible urgency. The words– if in fact they were words – collided with one another. [Blackfly Season, page 94]

According to Detective John C
Paperback, 448 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Seal Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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Aug 15, 2016 Phrynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this book without being aware that it was number three in a series until I was reading the reviews after I finished it! Now I will have to go back and read the first two.
This is an excellent police procedural with several really appealing main characters on the side of the law. On the other side, the baddies are really bad and some of the events gruesome in the extreme. It all made for excellent reading and I raced through it.
A really good book from a new to me author with th
Rebecca McNutt
Black Fly Season takes readers on an exciting and gripping journey to a rural town affected by an unforgettable mystery. This book was really well-written and a very evocative story.
Ellen Keim
Nov 21, 2013 Ellen Keim rated it liked it
I more than "liked" this book, but I "really like" the author and his writing. So this was a mostly enjoyable read for me. I always enjoy the descriptions of life in northern Ontario because my family has a cabin there and I can relate to what it's like there. One thing I'd heard about but not experienced is "blackfly season," and now I know I never want to experience it! We always avoid it when we go to our cabin (or cottage, as Canadians would call it).

I wasn't crazy about how over-the-top the
Mar 28, 2016 Larry rated it it was amazing
The third John Cardinal novel is as good as the first two. It begins with quite a narrative hook: a young woman is brought in who has no memory of her life or identity. It soon becomes clear that she was shot in the head with a handgun using old ammunition. Who is she? Who shot her? Why? Not long after her shooting, the dismembered body of a biker (member of a really ugly motorcycle gang) is found behind a waterfall at a provincial park. Is there a connection between the two events? Cardinal and ...more
Lukasz Pruski
Jun 21, 2013 Lukasz Pruski rated it it was ok
Giles Blunt's "Blackfly Season" is the third novel in the Cardinal/Delorme series (and the fourth that I have read). While the first book in the series, "Forty Words for Sorrow", is a good and engaging police procedural, this novel is again quite unspectacular, despite the author being out of the usual "sophomore slump".

Detectives Cardinal an Delorme are now trying to solve the case that begins when a young woman who seems to have lost her memory and does not know who she is wanders into a bar i
This third police procedural in the Detective John Cardinal, Algonquin Bay, Canada, has a lot of potentially intriguing things going on at the same time, and a good semi-rural Canadian setting to recommend it. But the pacing is patchy, at times becoming almost incoherent as the reader tries to figure out just who is speaking, and where/when they are. It’s a major flaw in an otherwise strong mystery story about a nice guy policeman and one of his more interesting cases.

A young stranger with a bul
Lucy Crowe
Jan 08, 2016 Lucy Crowe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have happily moved into Giles Blunt's world, and with the rest of his books on order I may stay there for awhile. By now, I feel completely invested in John Cardinal's life - personal and professional - and there is enough at stake that I want to see the outcome. But, more than that, Blunt is a born storyteller with a gift for atmospheric description and the ability to carry the action through all the way to the end. "Black Fly Season" finds our cold weather characters enduring Spring, which i ...more
Michele Drier
Feb 25, 2013 Michele Drier rated it it was amazing
Someone in an onlne writers' group recommended Giles Blunt and I'm happy he did! John Cardinal is a multi-layered protagonist in the northern wilds of Ontario and Blunt makes the geography of this area come alive.
Marjie Smith
Jan 03, 2015 Marjie Smith rated it really liked it
Spoiler alert
When a young woman shows up in Algonquin Bay suffering from apparent amnesia and blackfly bites, suspicions of something not quite right prove to be correct. She has been shot, but due to the age of the gun used, the bullet didn’t explode. As she recovers and her memory returns, the police who are trying to protect her discover that she is not working fully with them and wonder what she has to hide. An action thriller, there is a dark side to this novel beyond the murders as it delv
Jan 07, 2016 Swuun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blunt is a good writer. His books aren't whodunnits - you get to follow both the detectives and the criminals. It doesn't make them less exciting. His characters are solid, and intriguing, and nicely human. (Or inhuman - his bad guys are bad.) There are lots of details, but not enough to bore - though there are occasionally enough to gross out, and always enough to make things genuinely scary.

As I'm not a huge fan of the genre, I consider it quite an accomplishment that the book held my attentio
Oct 14, 2014 Farhan rated it it was ok
It's a very decent police procedural. Blunt has written a very competent novel, but the problem is that the book is competent, gritty and realistic as a police procedural should be, but it is like a paint-by-the-numbers job. It's a novel written by a seasoned author who knows how to get the job done even if his muse is not entirely by his side. The finale was short and suspenseful, though the rest of the book was kind of mechanical. Having said all this, it is still a better-than-average crime n ...more
I like his writing, especially when he is discussing the main characters personal life.
I was expecting a lot more after Forty Words for Sorrow, but with this novel Blunt moves a little closer to the paint-by-numbers “genre novel” and a little farther away from what would be a true innovation: the literary detective story. Blunt gets carried away here with plot elements that seriously strain credibility, and he replaces the psychological depth of Forty Words with splatter-film detailing that you can read in any of about 32,281 other serial-killer novels. There are also continuity e ...more
May 02, 2010 Maddy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2006-reads, tops
PROTAGONIST: John Cardinal and Lise Delorme, homicide detectives
SETTING: Ontario, Canada
SERIES: #3 of 3
RATING: 4.75

Located far north in the province of Ontario, Algonquin Bay is normally a placid place of scenic splendor. However, there's one time of year that's a trial for every person that dares to go outside of their home, and that's "black fly season". The flies attack viciously, covering the victim in bites and bloody red marks. Most people don't voluntarily expose themselves at all during
Sep 29, 2011 dubh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nachdem ich von 'Blutiges Eis' so begeistert war, habe ich mir einen weiteren Fall um John Cardinal und seine frankokanadische Kollegin Lise Delorme besorgt.
Dieser entwickelt sich allerdings in eine ganz andere Richtung - während in Blutiges Eis die Spuren in Richtung politische Machenschaften und die terroristische Vergangenheit der 1970er reichen, behandelt Kalter Mond einen scheinbaren Ritualmord und das Drogengeschäft Kanadas.
Was mich auch dieses Mal schwer beeindruckt hat, sind die souverä
Richard Thompson
Feb 05, 2012 Richard Thompson rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Blunt is a new "find". Picked up THE FIELDS OF GRIEF at Book and Co. on the bargain table. Maggee read that one and really enjoyed it. We picked up two more, BLACKFLY SEASON and THE DELICATE STORM at the libary. I finished BLACKFLY SEASON last night and she finished THE DELICATE STORM a few minutes later. Now we will switch.

This series features, John Cardinal, a police detective in a the small northern community of Algonquin Bay. He has a manic-depressive wife to whom he is devoted (but who make
Nov 12, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense
This series continues very strong, although here the focus was mostly on Cardinal and less on his female partner, Lisa Delorme. Again, excellent, compelling suspense with Cardinal's bi-polar wife -- painful suspense with regard to her condition and safety.

My only complaint (quibble, really) is my lack of comfort with his treatment of Palo Mayombe, an offshoot of Voodoo or similar African diaspora religion. I looked it up in Wikipedia and it seems like Blunt did some reasonable research into the
Feb 09, 2010 L rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Blunt gives us a mystery that includes a beautiful young woman with amnesia, organized drug trafficking, a biker gang, an esoteric religion that uses torture to gain power, dedicated police detectives, and the requisite dead bodies, with just a touch of mental illness added, mostly to flesh out a key character.

Blunt has creatively and effectively used flies as a key organizing theme. Apparently this novel is based on a crime that actually happened, though who knows how close to the "facts" the
Aug 02, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#3 in the John Cardinal & Lise Delorme series. Finalist 2006 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel.

John Cardinal & Lise Delorme look into the background of a young woman who shows up with no memory and a bullet in her brain. The investigation leads to biker drug runners, a form of Voodoo most common to Cuba, and another attempted murder with weak bullets. Cardinal's wife is back in the psychiatric hospital.

Apr 26, 2011 Doreene rated it liked it
This is the first book I have read by this Canadian author. I found it a good story. I will read more of his work in the future. The police from this northern part of Ontario seemed to be a little rough around the edges, and I wonder if that is the way they really are. It would seem that this author captures the speach patterns of this group of officers.

Interesting part about the towns that the arm forces built in the 1950's and what had become of them and what they how the government of the day
Jun 24, 2015 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third in a series of police procedurals set in the fictional Algonquin Bay, Ontario (which has many things in common with the real city of North Bay). Local police officers John Cardinal and Lise Delorme are presented with a young woman who doesn't know who she is or where she is; upon examination she has a bullet wound to the head. Then, a hiker stumbles on a dismembered body. And all this is taking place during black fly season, which makes everyone irritable. There are the usual j ...more
Sep 27, 2013 Mirra rated it liked it
Shelves: graduate-school
For my Reader's Advisory class, we have to read a different genre each week and then write about it. For Mystery, I chose this book (I admit, based on it's cover). I tend to not like mystery novels in a traditional sense (find clues, help detective solve a mystery, lots of series) but have a new found love for thrillers and this proved to be more of a historical reference and crime based thriller mystery. You know all the pieces of the mystery and feel tension as you watch the characters slowly ...more
Tina Siegel
Sep 29, 2014 Tina Siegel rated it liked it
It's a perfectly adequate example of crime fiction (if you don't mind your crime fiction heavily informed by CSI type TV shows). And I still enjoy the Northern Ontario setting, and the characters. I just wish there was a little more subtly, a bit of grey area, instead of everything being so black and white. Blunt does what he does well, but there are many who do it better.
Jan 25, 2016 Bill rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any police drama reader
Recommended to Bill by: part of a series that I discovered
This is the third John Cardinal story I've read so far. None of them have let me down and this one in particular was excellent. It was a bit grittier than the others, nicely suspenseful and well-paced. I enjoy the main characters, John Cardinal is an interesting protagonist, a good cop, with personal issues as well. Lise Delorm, his partner, is also one I want to be developed more in future stories. The surrounding characters add to the plot and keep the story moving nicely. I especially like th ...more
Mar 03, 2010 Scilla rated it liked it
A beautiful redheaded girl shows up in a Tavern in Algonquin Bay acting rather strangely and covered with black fly bites and leaves. She has no memory of who she is or what happened, but they discover she has a bullet in her brain. The bullet is removed, but homicide detectives John Cardinal and Lisa Delorme assume she is in danger, and try to protect her. She suddenly regains the memory of who she is, but still doesn't remember the shooting. She also doesn't give full information to the police ...more
Feb 18, 2013 Philip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now we're talking! A VERY good read and much more what I expected from Giles Blunt after the great "40 Words of Sorrow" and the massive letdown of "The Delicate Storm". Has returned my faith in great Canadian mystery writers and I'm on my way to the Library, when they open tomorrow after today's holiday, to pick up "By The Time You Read This". I still believe you have to read these series in published order to really get the most out of the character development even if if each book contains eno ...more
Aug 14, 2013 Shane rated it did not like it
Shelves: dont-do-it
After finding this book in a community book share library I thought I would give it a try.

To be honest I found the thriller aspect of this book was really quite good. But I felt that the underlining depiction of immigrants and Indigenous peoples drowned out the thrill. Blunt depicts these folks as harbouring some alter corrupt motive (i.e. drug dealing to "get ahead"), which perpetuates the stereotypes that exist. It makes me question how much 'actual' research Blunt carried out. Sure one of the
Robert Mackay
Aug 24, 2015 Robert Mackay rated it it was amazing
This is a police procedural, moody and fast-paced. It is set in Northern Ontario, featuring detectives John Cardinal and Lise Delorme. The action moves at a smart pace, and the story is deftly plotted. I will read more by Giles Blunt.
Alan Zube
Apparently bases on a true crime story about a small town Canadian detective, who has some family issues (that weave through the story). However, the main story line is about a lady who ends up in the emergency room with a GSW wound to the head, which results in a loss of long term memory.

Plenty of suspects emerge, and a few more dead bodies, as the detective tries to determine who is this lady, why she was walking wandering around Algonquin Bay, who shot her, and will they try again when the fi
Kent Hayden
Jan 20, 2016 Kent Hayden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My third Giles Blunt book and very entertaining. Good plots and good character development. The relationship between the main detective and his female partner is reminicent of Rebus and Sioban in Ian Rankin's series.
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Giles Blunt (born 1952 in Windsor, Ontario) is a Canadian novelist and screenwriter. His first novel, Cold Eye, was a psychological thriller set in the New York art world, which was made into the French movie Les Couleurs du diable (Allain Jessua, 1997).

He is also the author of the John Cardinal novels, set in the small town of Algonquin Bay, in Northern Ontario. Blunt grew up in North Bay, and Al
More about Giles Blunt...

Other Books in the Series

John Cardinal and Lise Delorme Mystery (6 books)
  • Forty Words for Sorrow (John Cardinal and Lise Delorme Mystery, #1)
  • The Delicate Storm (John Cardinal and Lise Delorme Mystery, #2)
  • By the Time You Read This (John Cardinal and Lise Delorme Mystery, #4)
  • Crime Machine (John Cardinal and Lise Delorme Mystery, #5)
  • Until the Night (John Cardinal and Lise Delorme Mystery, #6)

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