For Sophie Gillette, Detective-Sergeant Homicide of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), it starts out as a routine investigation of a hit-and-run during a January snowstorm in Montreal. It ends in a terrorist plot to disable the electrical grid, behead a visiting governor, and kill thousands of hockey fans with poison gas. These two events sandwich between them a generous filling of biker wars, arms smuggling by First Nations warriors, militant student activists, drug financiers, and a rogue professor with a doctorate in chemical toxicology.
As if that weren’t enough to keep Gillette occupied, she’s recently suffered the loss of her brother to a covert military operation in Afghanistan, and her mother has turned to the bottle to assuage her grief. She also has to deal with being an attractive woman in a male-dominated work environment. As with author Alan Annand’s other novels, the lead character in his latest offering, Al-Quebeca, has more than a heaping helping of issues with which to deal.
How his detective, Sophie Gillette, follows the trail of brain matter and paint chips from the hit-and-run scene to the terrorist cell makes riveting reading. Annand is a master craftsman of reader anxiety. Much of his magic lies in his painstaking research. As with his other novels, he’s been meticulous in attention to detail, and ensuring what he writes is credible.
He also faced the challenge of writing from a female perspective. When asked about it, Annand says that he’d wanted his protagonist to “face the challenges of discrimination, physical struggle and self-doubt that made the choice of a female lead seem appropriate.” Annand succeeds in not only making Gillette a believable character, but also manages to make the reader forget she was written by a man.
All of the above make Al-Quebeca an exciting, suspenseful novel with well-rounded characters and richness of setting and plot. But what makes it particularly compelling, as well as frightening, is how plausible it all seems. In an April 2013 blog entry, Annand talks about the likelihood of something like this happening, and says, “I wrote the first draft of Al-Quebeca in 2009 and revised it several times since then. Each time it all seems even more inevitable.”
Fans of astrologer/palmist/private investigator Axel Crowe will be delighted to hear that Annand is currently writing a sequel to Scorpio Rising called Felonious Monk. He’s also rewriting his first published novel, an SF mystery set in post-apocalyptic New York, called Antenna Syndrome.
Get Al-Quebeca in Kindle or paperback at www.amazon.com/Al-Quebeca-ebook/dp/B00CHQOY8O
All other digital formats at www.smashwords.com/books/view/309140
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