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by R J Harlick
Rendezvous , February 2012
304 pages
$17.99 CAD
ISBN: 1926607244

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Have you ever arrived late to an event and regretted it? I sure have! Somehow, author RJ Harlick's Meg Harris mystery series flew under my reading radar until now, and I found myself playing catch up with the fifth book in the series, A GREEN PLACE FOR DYING.

Those who are already familiar with Meg's adventures and know more about the supporting cast of characters than I are probably at an advantage going into this book, but the author did a good job of balancing back story with current plot. I was quickly engrossed in the opening scene: an Algonquin Aboriginal smudging ceremony, held to seek knowledge of, and safety for two missing teen age girls. The ceremony ends in tragedy when the arrival of the local police brings the news that the body of one of the girls has been found, brutally murdered.

With the help of Teht'aa( the grown daughter of Meg's former lover, band chief Eric Odjik), Meg soon finds herself hot on the trail and travelling to Ottawa, the last known whereabouts of Fleur, the remaining missing girl. As Meg and Teht'aa try to recreate Fleur's activities, they gradually are made aware that Eric had been doing the same thing and is also AWOL.

The author says in the acknowledgments that she chose the theme for the book because she has long been troubled by the indifference of both the police and the society as a whole to marginalized people, especially to the number of aboriginal women that disappear yearly in Canada never to be seen again. Kudos to Harlick for not allowing Meg to travel alone to the remote location she suspects the missing girl has been taken. Feminists may sneer, but it is the very fact that missing women often travel alone that makes them so very vulnerable. She also brings to the fore a very valid question. When you are dealing with an adult, or almost adult, how much time must pass before you wonder why you haven't heard from them?

There's a thought that should have us all reaching for the phone.

I found a lot to like about this book; solid writing, strong characterization, a tight plot and a wonderful sense of place. I will be adjusting my radar settings and looking forward to Harlick's next book.

Merrill Young lives on an acre in rural Langley, BC where she has given up trying to win the war on clutter, cat hair and blackberry vines, and has settled for losing as slowly as possible.

Reviewed by Merrill Young, February 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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