Detective John Cardinal is based in the fictional Northern Ontario town of Algonquin Bay, where for years he supported his wife Catherine in her ongoing struggle with bipolar disease. When she plunged to her death from a newly-constructed high-rise Cardinal was overcome with grief and guilt, not made any easier by the fact that he was the first investigating office on the scene, and it fell to him to identify the victim. Not surprisingly a year later Cardinal is still coming to terms with the tragedy, aided by his longtime friend and partner, Sergeant Lise Delorme.
To ease the transition Cardinal has been assigned a cold-case file reaching back more than three decades. The task seems hopeless, but every inch a policeman, he delves into it. Cardinal's efforts are interrupted when the bodies of two American visitors to Algonquin Bay are found beheaded in a secluded cottage, and for reasons of her own the only witness to the killings is afraid to come forward. Drawn into the ensuing investigation Cardinal is soon dogged by an FBI agent sent to look into the deaths of the Americans and a persistent out-of-town reporter who seems to know more about the case than the police.
When the heads of the victims are found displayed on the railing of the town wharf, it's apparent that Algonquin Bay is faced with a very twisted and formidable adversary, and soon Cardinal begins to suspect there is a link between the recent deaths and his cold case.
The Crime Machine is Giles Blunt's fifth novel featuring John Cardinal, and it confirms his position among the very best of contemporary thriller writers world-wide. Skillfully blending the details of a convincing police procedural and a rivetting terror tale with an unexpected twist near the end, Blunt weaves an intricate and original saga around the engaging detective and his partner, effortlessly integrated into a seamless narrative. No one pays more attention to his craft, and to better effect. If by some chance you haven't yet discovered this talented author, do yourself a favour and seek out his books.