One thing that I took away from this book was that it was a master class on building likeable characters, even the 'villain' of the book, which bounceOne thing that I took away from this book was that it was a master class on building likeable characters, even the 'villain' of the book, which bounces between the headspaces of a number of characters.
Gabriel is a biologist and native. He has disappeared from work, leaving behind an apartment with the names of a long string of environmental disasters written all over the walls and doors. He feels guilt for one particular environmental disaster using a defoliant he helped design, and which killed a lot of people in a reservation, including his mother and sister. The story starts out with a suicide attempt on the coastline damaged by his defoliant, interrupted by the rescue of a group of people from the ocean.
Mara feels equally guilty, but because she'd moved to Toronto to pursue and art career, coming home only after the disaster killed her mother, grandmother, and best friend. Now she's painting portraits of the dead and hanging them on their homes so that they will be remembered.
Sonny is a kid who lives at the motel with his silent father. He wields a hammer with great enthusiasm, and I wondered if he ever went to school.
Nicholas Crisp is a salty local who dispenses wisdom and advice.
Soldier is a dog that seems to be more than a dog.
Dorian is the CEO of Domidion, the company that Gabriel worked for. He's dealing with another environmental disaster in Alberta on the Athabasca reserve, his disappearing scientist, his wife having gone to Florida and is now impossible to reach, and a personal health crisis.
You would expect Dorian to be the villain of the novel, but to be honest, he might even have been the most sympathetic character in a cast of sympathetic characters. The writing had a light touch, pulling me along with a chuckle, while still addressing some pretty serious issues like GMOs, corporations, and the cover-up of environmental disasters.
Annja Creed is brought in by her police detective friend as a consultant on a murder that included a missing historical artifact. She starts followingAnnja Creed is brought in by her police detective friend as a consultant on a murder that included a missing historical artifact. She starts following the track of the small jade elephant from New York to Ukraine, Russia, Japan and finally Cambodia. Along the way, she is accompanied by a charming Russian mobster, and hunted by a Cambodian monk and a Portuguese billionaire with a super assassin.
I could have done without the fact that the detective has lost a fiancée, upped the romantic tension (sigh), and was almost insultingly protective considering his knowledge of Annja's history (at least she doesn't stand for that last part).
But if I was judging based just on the story, I would give this installment of the series four stars. But the sloppy editing knocked it down a star.
1) On one page, the other host of Annja's television show is called Kristie (the usual spelling), then Christie. Sloppy, and should have been caught. 2) In one sentence, the word tucked was used twice. Clunky writing, and the sentence could have been easily rephrased to avoid the duplication. 3) On arriving in Japan, Annja is greeted by the professor they are meeting as 'Creed-chan'. Seriously? Chan is what you call a child, a girlfriend, or someone you are implying is *far* below you. To quote one website, "The only women who are straight out called -chan by strangers are those who are there to 'entertain' their clients (sexually or otherwise) - such as 'club hostesses', 'maids' in anime cafes, and so on". He should have called her Creed-san.
By the time I hit the third item (and was incredibly insulted on the character's behalf), I was wondering if anyone actually *had* edited the book. A great pity, since I really enjoyed the story, especially the character Klykov. ...more