“The trick to being smart is knowing when to play dumb.” – V. Alexander
Author Mike Martin’s novel ‘A Twist of Fortune’ tells the tale of Sergeant Winston Windflower of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A small fishing community called Grand Bank in Newfoundland, Canada reels under the effects of globalization as their local fishing industry is systematically taken apart. But this tight-knit community is rocked even further by the discovery of a couple of dead bodies in a car during a snow storm. And Sgt. Windflower and his efficient team of police force must not only solve the case but deal with a nasty snow storm threatening to double their workload.
Even though this is the fourth book in the series, the narrative never lets you feel like you’ve jumped midway into the timeline of someone’s life story. It patiently goes about setting the background for the town and its characters and you quickly get accustomed to its pace and setting. Another thing that I personally liked was that all the characters in this novel have proper sounding names and along with their personalities, seem like folks you would meet in the real world. The nitty-gritty of police work, the unglamorous side that often goes unnoticed in fiction is really explored here. Does this make the narrative a little slow? Sure, but it also makes the story that more believable.
There are a lot of minor action points that moves the story forward. The description of the cold & gloomy snowy weather incites the reader that something sinister is going to happen soon and you keep flipping the pages forward in anticipation. There are also definite overtones of social activism within the book and subtle commentary on environmental neglect and destruction of local industries as capitalism spreads unchecked.
Sgt. Windflower is unlike any cop or detective that appears in fictional novels. He isn’t a wild card who goes after criminals like a rampaging bull, he isn’t even a reluctant hero who finally steps up and does something heroic. He is the face, body and soul of countless policemen from all around the world that quietly goes about doing their job, solving crimes and putting bad people behind bars. There’s nothing flashy about him, he’s the quiet hero who loves taking plenty of naps, enjoying a good cup of coffee and the best of exotic cuisine. But he’s also extremely disciplined and gets the job done by working extremely hard at it. Even the secondary characters like Tizzard, Sheila, Evanchuck and MacDonald make an impression with their non-stereotypical portrayal and unique personalities.
The snow clad setting, the leisurely pace of the narrative and a no-nonsense but humane lead makes A Twist of Fortune a mystery thriller with a difference. It’s a book that requires and rewards your patience.
Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: Booklocker.com, Inc. (April 1, 2015)