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Confined Space

(Bern Fortin #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  166 ratings  ·  46 reviews
When respected ex–Canadian Forces commander Bern Fortin cuts short his military career to take a job as the coroner for a small mountain town in the heart of BC, he’s hoping to leave the past behind. Bern’s looking forward to a quiet life, but the memories of what he witnessed during his stints in Afghanistan and other war-torn countries haunt him still.

When the body of o
Paperback, 391 pages
Published June 2012 by Simon & Schuster
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  166 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Ien van Houten
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The arrival of a good new mystery writer is always a cause for celebration. Drink a toast to this one, and make it a Kokanee, the popular beer out here in the Kootenays where the story takes place.

Meet the sleuth: Bern Fortin has retired from the Canadian Armed Forces to the small town of Kootenay Landing. His past includes harrowing tours of duty in Rwanda, Bosnia and Afghanistan. In his new life he hopes to heal his soul by learning to garden, and expiate his survival guilt by bearing witness
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book as the result of a Good Reads giveaway.

Let me start off by saying that I only hand a book to my hubby when I know he might enjoy it. At most, he may see six books a year from me, all of them fantasy related. You can imagine his surprise when I thrust a book at him that is totally off his genre choice. His eyebrows raised, he read the back cover. He looked back to me and said,"Interesting."

Interesting is a pretty weak word when it comes to describing t
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, first-reads
Wow! I really enjoyed this book!

Deryn Collier`s debut novel is more like an already established series. I was really impressed by her style. Collier`s writing is mature, thoughtful and well-rounded.

The characters are well-formed and realistic. I immediately liked Bern Fortin, the coroner, and can`t wait to learn more of his layered past.
The entire "whodunnit" storyline will keep you wanting to discover more and more. It`s a "curl-up and hang the do-not-disturb sign"
Jeannette ★
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I won this novel thanks to Goodreads First Reads. What a roller coaster ride! I automatically became entranced in the story line. It's been awhile since I've felt so involved with the characters. The whole entire time I did not want to put this book down - I just had to know what really happened and who did it! Absolutely captivating and amazing, exceeded all my expectations. This was a fabulous debut by Deryn Collier and I would definitely read all her novels in the future.
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Read with some Reservations. I broke one of my rules and bought this book while not having read any others by this author but the blurbs sounded good and I'm trying to read any books that sound like my type and have won or been shortlisted for Arthur Ellis awards. In this case I didn't get burned as I quite enjoyed this story even though it has a few flaws. Most of the key characters are fairly well developed and the setting in the Kootenays is well described but I really didn't think that ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent debut novel by fellow Canadian Deryn Collier! However, I am still unclear about the role of a BC coroner and why one is needed; the role is seemingly redundant when the RCMP are factored in to investigate crimes/murders. The coroner doesn't conduct the autopsy but is an independent body that helps with the investigation? This isn't a criticism of Collier as she isn't responsible for the system in BC, but I still don't get it. Confusion aside, I look forward to reading the next book ...more
Dini Widyani
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it
The idea of the confined space makes me excited but when i read it there is some part that takes more space than the actual story. i think because this is the 1st book of bern fortin so it must be for character building. i love how fortin & evie progress in their relationship and fortin & mrs K too. i think i will try the second book of fortin series and i hope there is more space for the main story than the side story
Ellen Dark
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the first Bren Fortin mystery. Bren is a coroner in a small town in British Columbia. He is also a recently retired officer with the Canadian Armed Forces, suffering PTSD after having served in Rwanda and other war-torn areas of the world. The mystery involves an industrial accident and a drug addict who has ties with the dead worker. I hope to read the second in the series shortly. Readers will also learn about how beer is made.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was an awesome read. Could not put it down!
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Margaret by: Writers Alive 2019
Shelves: 2019
Not often you read a book where you're acquainted with the author and really appreciated it being set in the Kootenays. Locale well captured.
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
*** This book was provided to me free-of-charge by Simon & Schuster through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. Thanks! ***

FIRST, I want to say that I really want to give this book 3.5 stars.

Confined Space is a thriller/mystery taking place in the Kootenay region of BC. The story begins with an attention-grabbing kidnapping and murder. The reader is then introduced to the charismatic Bern Fortin, a Lieutenant-Colonel, who retired from the Canadian Forces under mysteriou
Jennifer Rayment
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Good Stuff

Author is Canadian and it is set in a brewery (Hmm that sounds suspiciously like they make Kokanee)
Suspensful and on many occasions I was holding my breath wondering what was going to happen
Kept me guessing who the bad guy was, I was right, but there were some nice red herrings to throw me off and make me doubt
Reminded me a little of Brad Smith's writing -- which is a good thing
Loved, Loved, Loved the character of Bern Fortin, sort of imagined him as a younger Romeo
Kristene Perron
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As a mystery/thriller, Confined Space hits all the right notes – a compelling cast of characters, an ever-escalating threat, intriguing setting, nail-biting suspense, and enough clues smattered throughout the story to keep you guessing. Coroner ,and former soldier, Bern Fortin is a deeply damaged but immediately likable hero, who sees his job as a duty; a duty to the dead. Another reviewer commented that Bern reminder her of a young Romeo Dallaire, and that is precisely the image I had as I read ...more
Stacey Cornelius
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
We know small towns have secrets. Sometimes horrifying secrets. But that doesn't stop us from being seduced by an idyllic setting, or from hoping there are no dark places hiding in the picturesque.

The sleepy mountain town of Kootenay Landing is the setting for Deryn Collier's debut mystery, Confined Space. She chooses an unlikely location - a brewery - for a pair of unlikely deaths. A man dies in an apparent accident while repairing a bottle-washing tank, and his abducted girlfriend, kept
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
This was offered to me by a co-worker of mine, who also happens to be the author's relative. I was intrigued by the concept and setting: a gruesome murder takes place in the Kokanee mountain brewery in Creston BC (names changed of course). While it had its moments, I can't say the novel was particularly gripping or polished. For one thing, the characters need a lot of work. The two protagonists are about as complex as cardboard, and really have no business tag-teaming as Mulder and Scully (a Pro ...more
Tobin Elliott
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hard-copy
This was a fascinating one for me. I read this book four years ago when it was still an unpublished manuscript and I was a judge for the Unhanged Arthur award for the Crime Writers of Canada. And, at the time, while I did vote for the novel to be a finalist, I chose a lot of other manuscripts above it. My comments were less favourable than the other two judges and, at the time, I didn't like the Rwanda angle, I didn't like Evie at all, and questioned why there was even the subplot with her husband Dir ...more
Jun 16, 2014 rated it liked it
In Confined Space, Deryn Collier introduces Bern Fortin, retired military officer living in a small company town in British Columbia, now working as a coroner. The reasons surrounding his retirement are somewhat shrouded in mystery and relate back to his tour of duty in Africa.

I don't know quite what to make of the coroner. Fortin is not a tough guy, like Jack Reacher. However, like Reacher, he is a man reinventing himself outside of the military. I like that about him and I wanted t
Aug 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Bern Fortin is a retired Canadian army officer who has moved to a small town in the B. C. Kootenays. He is living next door to an elderly Russian lady who is teaching him how to grow and preserve his vegetables. He is finding peace in this hobby as his past army experiences while serving in Afghanistan and Africa frequently come back to haunt him. Bern has obtained a job as the local coroner. Most of his cases are fairly routine until he is called to the local brewery where an employee has been ...more
May 06, 2012 rated it liked it
I received this book from a Good Reads giveaway (thank you, Good Reads!)

I enjoyed this book very much. I love mysteries and I also love books that take place in parts of the country that I know or recognize!

This story was well-written and the characters were believable. The book was fast-paced and I experienced a feeling of urgency and dread as I turned the pages - I wanted to keep reading to find out what was coming next. The plot was credible and there was just enough information
Dec 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Confined Space is the first book in the Bern Fortin series. At the moment there are two books written by Canadian writer, Deryn Collier. Bern Fortin is an ex-Canadian Lieutenant - Colonel, with a past that haunts him, who has retired and become the Coroner of a small British Columbia town in the Kootenays. This first mystery involves a death (murder?) at the local brewery. At the same time the body of a young woman is found in a field next to the brewery. Fortin, along with the Safety officer at ...more
Alexandrea Hills
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book through Goodreads giveaways.

I really enjoyed Deryn first novel. I can't wait to read more.

The story is well-written, informative, descriptive and realistic. Although I guessed at who committed the crime she really does keep you guessing until the end. She throws in a few curve balls that make you second guess who you think committed the crime. Deryn writes in a way that you can imagine yourself there, very enjoyable.

The characters were believab
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
When I first read the title of this book, I envisioned victims trapped in coffins underground. But nope. The title is much more nuanced than that and, as such, leads you to see all the different ways of confinement and how they all interweave as the book progresses. This was a book I had trouble putting down. The characters were engaging; the mystery thought through well and not hidden by clichéd or artifical devices; the plot complex and some of it not revealed fully because it will (I assume) ...more
Robin Spano
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime, can-lit, mystery
I was sad to close this one. Deryn Collier introduces Bern Fortin, a warm man with a cold past, looking for peace in the Kootenays and finding murder instead. I especially enjoyed his sexual tension with Evie Chapelle, an anything-but-cookie-cutter safety manager at the brewery where the murder occurred. Does Deryn satisfy the tension? No - she leaves us hooked to read book two in the series.

The writing is sensual and atmospheric. I could feel the plump tomatoes Bern is learning to g
Heidi W
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Received this end of last week and am now half way through. Love the description of the characters and am trying to figure out now who is the "bad guy" in this book...guess i need to keep reading!!

All done this book now....i thought it was a great read and once i was half way through i found myself picking it up every chance i could to finish it. There were twists and turns throughout and i found myself hanging on to every word until the end to sort out who was responsible for
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. The second book in a row where I feel like I really lucked out :) I enjoyed the main characters in this one, they felt real enough to me that I'm excited to see where the next book in the series goes. Deryn Collier did a great job of giving just enough backstory to Bern Fortier (it was reminiscent of how Louise Penny started her series about Chief Inspector Gamache).

This book deserves 4.5 star review, although I will confess the more I've thought about it today, the more plot
Linda Fast
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian-mystery
For some reason my previous review disappeared so hear I go again.
I received Confined Spaces free from Goodreads and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Ben Fortin who is the coroner has just left a previous job in the military. On one of his firsts deaths to investigate is a body floating dead in a bottle washing vat which contains acid. Evie who heads up safety at the beer plant tries to help Bern. This leads to Evie almost getting killed herself as she tries to determine what is actually hap
Neill Smith
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
When a new millwright at the Bugaboo Brewery in Kootenay Landing decides to do an extensive repair on a bottle washing tank as a weekend overtime job while the plant is apparently empty someone starts the washer and kills him. The police and Bern Fortin, new coroner and ex Lieutenant-Colonel in the Canadian Forces, feel that this must have been an accident until the millwright’s girlfriend is also killed. As Fortin deals with the escalating events in the small one-employer town he is also strugg ...more
Jina Howell-Forbes
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Everyone was a bit guilty, no one was very admirable. Many things remained unresolved at the end. I felt cheated, and forced to "read the next book if you want to know what happens" like some grade-school book report. I don't think I care enough about the characters to go on with the series. Too bad, because the main character might have turned out to be interesting, but there are too many small pieces of a great secret that the reader might learn about more completely in the future. I just don' ...more
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as the result of a Goodreads giveaway.

Having said that, it in no way impacts my opinion of the book. I found it to be a captivating book and a quick read. I had a hard time putting it down as it was well written and had enough of surprises to keep me guessing. I'd love to read more from this author.
E.R. Brown
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The small town atmosphere is both friendly and claustrophobic. Bern Fortin is tough and smart, but haunted by ghosts of his past. Once I opened the cover I was hooked - Confined Space sucked me into the world of Fortin and Evie Chapelle and the goings-on in the Bugaboo Brewery. Collier has a unique voice and a nice way with a plot. Highly recommended.
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Chilling Thrillers: CONFINED SPACE by Deryn Collier 2 12 Aug 02, 2012 10:30AM  

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Deryn Collier grew up in Montreal and attended McGill University. She lives with her husband and two sons in Nelson, BC, where she is currently at work on the next Bern Fortin novel.

Other books in the series

Bern Fortin (2 books)
  • Open Secret (Bern Fortin mystery, #2)