Title: Shallow End by Brenda Chapman
Stonechild and Rouleau Series Book Four
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Still waters run deep.
English teacher, mother, wife, and convicted child predator Jane Thompson has made parole and she has a plan. She begins her life in the shadows while she bides her time. One month later, the bludgeoned body of the student she was found guilty of corrupting four years earlier is found on the shores of Lake Ontario.
Officers Stonechild and Gundersund head up the investigation and Jane Thompson quickly becomes the prime suspect. But knowing guilt and proving it are two entirely different things.
Wading through deeply buried secrets to the truth will take Stonechild and the team on a twisted journey into the heart of evil. The question is: who will come out the other side?
Shallow End by Brenda Chapman is a riveting mystery that has plenty of unexpected twists and turns. This fourth installment in the Stonechild and Rouleau series can easily be read as a standalone but I highly recommend the other books in the series.
After teenager Devon Eton is murdered, Staff Sergeant Jacques Rouleau assigns Detectives Kala Stonechild and Paul Gundersund to the case. Devon’s parents, Hilary and Mitchell are convinced Jane Thompson, the teacher who was convicted of sexually abusing their son four years earlier, is responsible for his death. Recently released from prison, Jane is attempting to rebuild her life and reconnect with her two children. Stonechild and Gundersund’s investigation turns up no evidence against Jane and in fact, they are having a difficult time uncovering any leads in the case. Does Devon’s best friend Charlie Hanson know more than he is telling? What possible motive would Jane have for killing Devon? Stonechild and Gundersund hope the answers to these very intriguing questions will help them unmask Devon’s killer.
Rouleau, Stonechild and Gundersund are seasoned detectives but their investigation quickly hits a brick wall. Stonechild is very intuitive and she relies are her instincts just as much as she does the evidence. Not wanting to reveal her theories until she has more information, Stonechild is a bit of a loner who plays her cards very close to her vest for much of the investigation. Gundersund cannot help but be a little concerned that Stonechild is reverting to old habits, but he knows she will confide in him once she the evidence to back to up her hunches.
Kala and Paul are not as certain as the Etons that Jane is responsible for their son’s death. They turn up a few inconsistencies during their interviews with Devon’s teachers and classmates. By all accounts, he is an incredibly smart young man who is well-liked by his peers but his coach’s assessment of his player is not quite as positive as everyone else’s. They are also quite certain that Charlie knows much more than he is telling but he is rather uncooperative during their interviews with him.
In addition to the ongoing investigation, the detectives assigned to the case are struggling with personal issues as well. Kala grows increasingly worried about the situation with her niece Dawn, who is not settling in with her foster family. Paul despairs of ever getting free of his estranged wife, Fiona, who refuses to believe their marriage is finally over. Rouleau is still grieving his ex-wife’s death and he continues to be concerned about his father. Fellow detective Woodhouse continues to be a thorn in everyone’s side due to his off color jokes and sly behavior.
Shallow End is an incredibly well-written police procedural with a clever storyline and brilliant plot twists. Brenda Chapman keeps the murderer’s identity and motive for the crime tightly under wraps right up until the novel’s explosive conclusion. An absolutely outstanding addition to the Stonechild and Rouleau series that old and new fans do not want to miss.