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The Calling (Hazel Micallef Mystery #1)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  1,445 ratings  ·  246 reviews
‘That rare unplug-the-phone, skip-all-meals, ignore-your-bedtime thriller.’ GILLIAN FLYNN

Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef is making her way towards retirement after keeping the peace in the sleepy town of Port Dundas for many years. But when a local woman is found murdered – her mouth gruesomely shaped into a silent cry – Hazel and her department are faced with their big
Paperback, 512 pages
Published December 18th 2008 by Corgi (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

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The hardest part of writing a mystery for North American audiences has got to be getting the ending right. Because in American mysteries, the whole affair travels the arc from procedural to personal, concluding with the inevitable – and once upon a time, appreciated – face-to-face confrontation between law and disorder. It’s a formula that becomes more tiresome the more the genre adheres to it, and only Europe has truly embraced tossing a little mystery back into the business of, um, mysteries a ...more
Jul 27, 2008 Mascanlon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers
Wow! The most compelling book I've read in a long time. The characters have lots of depth and the plotting is twisty, sharp and very, very creepy. Not at all the mid of book I usually enjoy. It was recommended on a mystery book list I read so I took a chance and was rewarded. Set in Northern Canada, the female lead is 61, divorced and troubled by the very bad back and lack of support from regional headquarters. Enter what turns out to be a very scary serial killer who comes only by appointment. ...more
Aug 16, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Binti Jua
Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym for "a North American literary novelist," so I was curious to see a (presumably) skilled novelist put his or her genre instincts to work. It was a disappointment.

There were way too many characters and names introduced at the outset. By page 23, 23 characters had either been met in person, or mentioned (including two named Gord); some of those mentioned would later appear, others didn't. By the end of the book, this number had more than doubled. All the expected p
May 16, 2008 Charlotte rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: aspiriing detectives, people who like western omelets, scaredycats
Shelves: mystery
woah. this was a seriously good murder mystery. a friend who is a book distributor told me that "this is the new margaret atwood," & I thought he meant it metaphorically, but now I'm wondering if he meant it literally. the back cover says "Inger Wolfe is the pseudonym of a prominent North American literary novelist." hmmm. in any case, if you have a stomach for gore and like salty 61-year-old female police chiefs, buy this book. I couldn't put it down.
How do you review this book? It held great promise, the characters were well drawn and interesting but acted irrationaly. The plot was complicated but lacked direction and believabilty.

Spoilers Follow:

I'm still not sure what motivated the killer. Nor am I sure why Det Insp Hazel Micallif refused to call in the Canadian Mounted Police when she realised there was a serial killer on the ramage. It would seem the logical thing to do. No, instead she kept silent and eventually called in a TV true cr
I finished this last night and I must admit it turned out better than I'd been thinking it would. Probably about two thirds of the way through, I was pretty much convinced that it was going to be a let down. But it did pick up in the dramatics later on, so that's good.

I really enjoyed reading about Hazel Micallef, Detective Inspector in a small town called Port Dundas. She wasn't perfect, not by a long shot, and I like that she made the sort of mistakes one can totally see a small town cop with
This first portion of my review does not contain spoilers. Please do not read beyond the bolded comments below if you don't wish to be spoiled on the ending.

I really enjoyed this book. The mystery element is solid and when the point-of-view switches to the killer, it is creepy, frequently gross, and thoroughly engrossing. I think this book would have suffered without the reader being able to get an understanding of the killer’s mindset and his “victims”. Oddly enough, sometimes I understood the
THE CALLING is one of those books. One of those books that I found sometimes utterly compelling; was bored witless in some passages; laughed out loud in others; found myself heartily confused about some of the procedural elements; and was slightly repelled by some parts.

It is a serial killer book, and I will admit that I'm getting to the point where I'm over the whole serial killer thing. I'm particularly over the barking mad, out there motive serial killer thing. And there's certainly a barking
A novel recommended to me.
As I've probably told already, crime novels aren't my first pick. I can see the plot coming a mile ahead and I don't like that in a novel.

The Calling was something else, though.
It's centers around Hazel Micallef, a 61 year old woman leading a police force in a small, happy place in Canada, until a grisly murders takes place. Or seems to anyway, because the deeper they dig, the more it seems as if the victim had agreed upon the murder.

Hazel acts like a dog with a bone, n
Heidi Gonzalez
I loved that the main character of this book isn't some svelte young beauty who is new to the job and solves the mystery all by herself with hardly a clue. Instead the main character Hazel is a 61 year old woman, recently divorced, and close to retirement who abhors technology. Hazel is also hobbled by a bad back for which she relies on pain killers and whiskey to help, and has an 80 year old mother who is constantly torturing her to lose weight so she can find a new husband. Her department is i ...more
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
I read "The Taken" before I read this one, so I read out of order. However, it did not take away from the story. The story follows D.I. Hazel Micallef, in a small town called Port Dundas in Canada. The body of an elderly lady Hazel knows all her life, is found in her home, drained of her blood and yet it would appear, humanely killed. The woman has a terminal illness and it would have seemed to have been an assisted suicide, had it not been for the strange post-death mutilation. When Hazel hears ...more
Iowa City Public Library
Mystery number one : who wrote this book? The book jacket says, "Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym for a North American literary novelist." Mystery number two is actually less of a mystery because almost from the beginning of The Calliing you know who is killing and mutiliating old people with terminal illnesses. The killer is working his way across the breadth of Canada meeting a precise schedule of pre-arranged appointments, focusing on small towns in rural areas where police resources are stre ...more
This was an excellent new author for me to read. The book was original in plotline and mostly stayed at a fast pace. All of the characters were "real" to me and for most of my reading I didn't want to put the book down. The book was a little slow in the beginning then there was some less edgy parts in the middle which is why I marked it down to 4 stars. When I think of the characters, plotline, and setting, it reminded me of Lois Penny's series of books with Detective Armound Gamache, only the f ...more
I'm definitely a fan of this series. I would say ranking by favorite, book 3, 1, then 2.

The story is very engaging, and as usual the dialogue is memorable in the way it seems to undercut the drama. There are a lot of moment where in a typical detective novel, you would have someone just lay down a powerful line and walk out. Instead, in this book the replies are lifelike in their lack of heightening tension (I tried to find a passage to quote but it was taking too long to find).

In some ways it
More like 3-1/2 stars.

The Calling is about 61 year old Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef who is divorced, battles a bad back, and is readjusting to living with her mother who recently moved back in with her. In her small Ontario town, Hazel begins to look into a death that becomes more mysterious than it appears at first glance. Hazel begins to discover that the death in her town may be one of many -- that she may be dealing with a serial killer.

Wolfe provides little tidbits of insight into Haz
What a horrifying tale of physician assisted suicide...

I wanted to read this book because Inger Ash Wolfe is a pseudonym for a Canadian literary author, and it just could be Margaret Atwood. After finishing it, I would not be surprised if she's the author, but I'm not convinced she is. It was a good book, with compelling characters and a very creepy villain. Some of the tying up of details at the end was clunky, though.
It was a long read, but worth all the time I spent reading it. At first, I couldn't feel Hazel's character - for the most parts of the book it felt as if James Wingate had a better exposure than the book's main character, but towards the end I understood her leadership style.

This is a mystery novel, but unlike some of the mystery novels I have read, the "unsub" is not really unidentified, so if you are the type of a reader who usually gets upset when your hunch as to who the unsub is was right,
I have been having a hard time deciding how many stars to assign this book and how to write a review because, although I did enjoy reading it and liked the story and most of the characters, I found too many of what I consider major flaws to allow me to give it a high star rating. It probably deserves better than the non-allowed 2.5 rounded down to a 2! I have had this book along with the next two by Inger Ash Wolfe in my eBook library for some time based on my preference for reading crime novels ...more
The Calling is the first book by Inger Ash Wolfe, who is the pseudonym for Michael Redhill.
Hazel Micallef is the Detective Inspector of Port Dundas, where barely anything exciting happens. That is, until Simon pays a visit to Delia, who is terminally ill and wants Simon's assistance in ending her life. Simon successfully carries out Delia's wishes but with a little disturbing extra. He has been doing this for a while and has a high body count left in his trail. Just as DI Micallef starts connect
Kate Potter
Wow. This mystery was a real page-turner. An unusual premise and an unusual heroine helped. However, the ending floundered. It seemed the author wrote herself into a corner, so she pulled a cheap trick out of her hat. Still, for a winter read, I'd say go for it
Amy Paget
This summer the driver for my reading appears to be setting. I've returned to reading Canadian novels set in places that I have lived or visited. The Calling is one such title. While I missed (and haven't joined) the guessing game regarding the identity of the North American literary novelist who has slummed in this terror genre, Inger Ash Wolfe has captured my interest with this title. It's set in the small town of Port Dundas, Ontario. The Calling's chief protagonist is 62 year-old Detective I ...more
Not even sure why I checked out this one, maybe a Goodreads recommendation?? Anyway, I picked it up from the library. This is a Canadian based series, similar to Louise Penny’s series that is so popular.

I really wanted to like this. I had a lot of sympathy for the protagonist, a Detective Inspector with a chronic pain injury, recently divorced and dealing with some issues related to alcohol and to not being able to let of her ex. Hazel is a well drawn character, however her actions and even atti
Marilyn Heyman
Wow, another exciting book by Ms. Wolf. She writes an amazing story about a serial killer/mercy killer who travels around on a mission of killing terminally ill people wanting to die. But there is more from this religious fanatic that makes for a terrific and horrifying tale that Hazel must untangle. Of special interest is James, a gay young man who is so loyal to Hazel and who does such good police work wanting to make a difference. THE CALLING has an excellent plot with no lag as it takes the ...more
This book will have you at the edge of your seat. You can feel every emotion and the cool Canadian air. You will love Hazel and her mother Emily. You may never look at mushrooms the same again.
I am not quite half way through this and it is amazing! If you like Cody McFadyen then this book is perfect for you!
Finished it and loved it!
Chloë Yates
Not quite as smart as it thinks it is or as good as it's purported to be, but an enjoyable read. Too many characters and self-conscious references to them throughout (calling them by their first name then, a couple of sentences later, their surname, and having to go back to check it's still the same character etc). It was sometimes as though the author knew more about law enforcement from the television than actual research, and the motivations of Micallef and Mallick weren't entirely clear or w ...more
This book is written by a Canadian author. I think his idea for the book is good but there are too many characters, some by the same name and the scenes can be confusing.

I like the creation of the older woman police chief, but she seemed to be inconsistent in her handling of the serial killer.

I didn't feel the reason for the serial killing was adequately explained and the ending was too long, the killer was not true to form, and I felt the author was simply leaving the chief alive to use her in
I loved that the setting of the story was in Canada, and the main character a woman of a certain age. Great plot line, engaging characters and not a lot of "fill" so often found in fiction.

I was happy to have found a new author to read. That it was a woman was an added bonus. I later discovered the author was in fact a man. Oh well.

I have since read "The Taken" and "A Door In The River" by this author featuring the character Hazel, love her.

I look forward to the next great read by Inger Ash Wo
Toni Osborne
Book 1 in the Hazel Micallef Mystery

This debut crime-fiction novel released in 2008 is a dark and haunting mystery heavy with suspense, a terrific cat and mouse game following officials hot on the trail of a serial killer.

The story has a clever and devious plot that delivers both psychological depth and emotional heights. It has a gruesome beginning, the body of an elderly woman stricken with cancer is found brutally murdered and drained of all her blood. When the detectives arrive they witness
Lukasz Pruski
I really wanted to like Inger Ash Wolfe's "The Calling". It has good writing, interesting plot, and a refreshingly different main character, whom I can relate to because of my age. However, this police procedural suffers from a major implausibility, detection shortcuts, and overly theatrical ending.

Hazel Micallef, a 61-year old Detective Inspector, serves as an acting commander of a police detachment in a small town in Ontario, Canada. After a very long marriage she is recently divorced, has to
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Who is Inger Ash Wolfe? 3 51 Jan 22, 2014 01:55PM  
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Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym of the Canadian fiction writer Michael Redhill.

Michael Redhill is a poet, playwright and novelist whom has written two novels, a collection of short fiction, three plays, and five collections of poetry. His play, Building Jerusalem (2001) garnered him the Dora Award, the Chalmers Award, and a nomination for the Governor General’s award. His first novel, Martin Slo
More about Inger Ash Wolfe...

Other Books in the Series

Hazel Micallef Mystery (3 books)
  • The Taken (Hazel Micallef Mystery #2)
  • A Door in the River (Hazel Micallef Mystery #3)

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