What the blurb says: “In a remote mountain valley in British Columbia, a human monster preys on innocent lives. After teenagers discover the body of a missing girl in Chalk Valley, searchers find the remains of two more victims secreted deep in the woods. A serial killer is at work.
Chalk Valley police detective John McCarty is picked to lead a task force to find the murderer, but inexperience, politics and McCarty’s own inner demons quickly overwhelm him and the investigation falters.
Meanwhile, on a dark, lonely highway many miles from Chalk Valley, RCMP Sergeant Dave Kreaver comes across a van crashed at the side of the road. The driver is anxious to leave the scene, but Kreaver discovers an unconscious teenaged girl in the van. Kreaver feels in his gut that the driver could be the serial killer everyone’s looking for, but his inquiries are ignored. The task force is in well over its head, buried by thousands of leads and potential suspects. His supervisors tell him to back off and let the task force do its job.
Kreaver finds himself in a deadly cat and mouse game with a murderous psychopath, a race against time with innocent victims in play. Operating alone and without official sanction, can he stop the Chalk Valley Killer before he claims more lives?”
This complex, multi-agency and multi-location police procedural has the big picture feel of a television show like The Wire. Told through the point of views of a range of characters involved in the case – including police officers, journalists, victims and the killer – it shows how incidents that at first seem unconnected all fit together into a web of violence and terror.
The twists and turns of the story sprint along but there’s still plenty of procedural detail to satisfy fans of the sub-genre. With the killers point of view included, readers discover their identity before the police have collaborated all of the evidence – this ups the tension for the reader as you will on the various police departments, hoping that they’ll find the connections before it’s too late.
With a dramatic finale and a poignant ending this is a story well worth checking out.
D.L. Johnstone lives in the Toronto area. He’s co-authored several medical research publications and is a semi-dedicated fitness freak with a second degree black belt in Taekwondo. CHALK VALLEY is his debut novel.
You can find out more about him and his writing at www.dljohnstonewriter.com