A deft plotting, deeply realized characterization, and keen understanding of human psyche make this a must-read mystery…
In Lang’s skillfully layered debut mystery, a decade-old crime, grief, and regret provide the backdrop for an account of vengeance and redemption in the cozy town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. When the reluctant Homicide Chief Detective Bryan Dee is assigned to investigate the killing of 91-year-old retired history professor Edward Mitchell, one of the most respected senior citizens the city has ever had, he is happy to enlist the help of Kris Gage, his best friend and an urban planner. But when Bryan happens upon the victim’s last diary entry with Kris’s name in it, he finds himself torn between his friendship and professional commitment. Meanwhile, following a financial trail, Kris uncovers a dark web of corruption. Lang’s assured, rich prose effortlessly draws the reader into the story, and his tension-filled narrative is rife on unexpected turns, keeping the pages turning. All the main characters, including the victim and the perpetrators carry heavy emotional baggage, and Lang skillfully explores their grief, loss, fear, insecurities, rage, and regrets. In creating the setting of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Lang beautifully evokes its spirit, making it alive in readers’ hearts. Along the way, he examines the themes of revenge, redemption, corruption, and social justice. The minute details of urban planning are infused into the narrative with subtlety. This is a mystery readers will relish for its sensitive characterization, expert plotting, local color, and relentless suspense. Writing both from heart and gut, Lang is an author to watch.
The Concrete Vineyard
By Cam Lang
Pub date December 2, 2020
Price $4.72 (USD) Kindle edition, $27.99 hardcover, $18.99 Paperback