by J. C. Paulson
Published by Joanne Paulson
Review by Shelley A. Leedahl
$20.00 ISBN 9-780995-975620
Broken Through is former Saskatoon journalist J.C. Paulson's follow-up to her first genre-blending novel, Adam's Witness, and the author's only getting better. In the new book, heroine Grace Rampling - a Saskatoon StarPhoenix reporter - digs into another gritty story after a friend's neighbour's dog is shot on the same day there's been a fatal hit-and-run in Saskatoon. Then: the neighbor, a young dental hygienist who recently kicked a drinking problem, is found brutally murdered in her home. And - spoiler alert - she was pregnant. The father? The philandering dentist she worked for.
That's hardly all: Rampling's romantic partner, Detective Sergeant Adam Davis (from the earlier book), is investigating the murder, and the handsome and capable cop quickly connects this crime with others committed against petite, long-haired brunettes in Saskatoon and Winnipeg. Can you say serial killer?
The novel definitely earns the moniker of a mystery, but one could also call it a romance. New lovers Rampling and Davis are extremely passionate about one another, but both are also being careful. Davis suffers from PTSD, which manifests in violent nightmares. "I feel like a piece of glass, sometimes; the tiniest chip makes me shatter," he tells Rampling. With their complementary careers, the lines between personal and professional sometimes get blurred for this love-struck couple.
In her notes, Paulson writes that whether one reads this "as a murder mystery, a love story, a morality tale or a fury, [she supposes] it was intended to be all of those." Mission accomplished.
In the final two chapters of this satisfying story, Paulson opens the door for further adventures for her crime-fighting duo. I'll be waiting.