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A knock on the door of his dockside home one evening reveals an attractive woman who tells Frank Anderson she may have found a body floating on peaceful Awan Lake. Anderson recognizes a lady in distress, but his willing response leads both of them into a fourteen-day search for answers - that yield even more questions - as the lake becomes the center of a web of conflict, environmental activists, international criminals and murder.
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Once again because of my 2019 Arthur Ellis awards reading project I broke my rules and bought a debut novel by a new to me Canadian author but once again I was really lucky and found a book I really liked and I’ll sure read more by Mr Kingsmill. There’s not very much I can find wrong with this book and I’ve rated it 4 stars which I very seldom do for a debut novel. The writing style is very readable with great descriptions of the area, the weather and small town Northern Ontario life in Spirit River and Maple Falls and a well developed but somewhat large cast of likeable good guys and just as unlikeable bad guys. Lots of suspects and red herrings with reasonable motives for the various mysteries but it all comes down to the common drug thing and another solid ending where the perp doesn’t make it to the crowbar motel. Now I do have to say that it takes a huge suspension of disbelief to accept the main characters here and much of the action but, of course, we read these stories for escape and entertainment and we sure get lots of that here even if characters like the Webster sisters are a bit over the top and Frank Anderson seems like Jack Reacher combined with Spenser and Travis McGee and Willy is a wonderful character. There’s sure lot’s of shoot em up action and some technical stuff that I guess is accurate but I wouldn’t really know and The Beaver is sure some kind of a ship. I thought the romances were very well handled and there were quite a few little humorous exchanges with Frank and Arnold and Marjorie to lighten things up a bit. There are a couple of things that I found either a strange coincidence or a bit too far fetched to be believable but they didn’t detract from my enjoyment. I was surprised by what may be a coincidence that Mr Kingsmill has used the fictitious Ontario Police Service (OPS) as his police force in 2018 when the OPS was introduced by Inger Ash Wolfe in “The Calling” in 2008! Also the way the OPS allowed Frank and his civilian crew to plan and run the big operations may possibly be a bit too far over the top to even be acceptable but it sure made for good reading. I’ll definitely read more by Mr Kingsmill. (Canada (Phil), April 2019, 4 stars on Goodreads)
Sunset at 20:47 is a well-crafted story that’ll be sure to touch the hearts of nature enthusiasts, environmentalists, and anyone who likes a good mystery. It’s chock-full of interesting well-developed characters. I enjoyed it immensely and am looking forward to the next novel in the series. (Canada, February, 2019, Amazon customer, 5 stars)
This is a great first novel! Peter builds suspense with an intriguing group of characters, and a sense of place that is clearly built on a love of lakes and boats. I look forward to the next one. (Canada, March 2019, 4 stars on Goodreads)
Satisfying mystery, interesting setting. I’ve never been to Canada but the setting, people and lifestyle in this story ring true to me. The mystery was satisfyingly complicated. I’m looking forward to another book by this author. (USA, February, 2019 on Amazon, 5 stars)
In this, his first novel, Kingsmill develops an intimate portrait of, apparently, a fictional lakeside village. Coulda fooled me. Awan Lake is as real to me now as any of my own favourite places, and he's inhabited it with characters just as compelling. Detailed descriptions of people and locations fill the book and describe the search for a missing girl, an environmental miscreant, and love. (Canada, December 2018, Amazon customer, 5 stars)
Great storyline and a great mystery read. I have never visited Canada but this book is how I imagine it to be. First of the author I've read and will definitely be looking for more. (USA, July 2018 on Amazon, 4 stars)
This is a good story that kept me turning pages long after I should have been doing something else. I always like a mystery that includes a little romance and discussion of societal issues. (Canada, April. 2018 on Goodreads, 4 stars)
Peter Kingsmill is the author of the Awan Lake mystery series. Peter is a recipient of the Governor General’s Conservation Award (Canada) and the founder of the Redberry Lake (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserve in Saskatchewan. When he is not writing novels, he serves as publications editor with the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists and works as a consultant on regional development projects. Peter joined Crime Writers of Canada as a Professional Author Member in 2018.
Peter has been a frequent writer and editor since leaving high-school in Montreal and college in Vermont. He recently retired from many years as a riverboat captain and owner of a small-waters marine services business, and has worked at an eclectic mix of tasks which include logger, trucker and cattle farmer. He is passionate about Canada’s rural spaces and has served two terms as Mayor in his home community of Hafford, where he lives with his wife Valerie, an artist and the author/illustrator of the Redberry Tales series of gentle children's books.
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