Five-year-old Jamie was in the midst of a time-out for bad behavior when he decided to make a mad dash into the Canadian forest in search of adventure. He and his family had come over from England to visit relatives for a month, and he was bored. By the time his family realized he was missing, Jamie was nowhere to be found.
Constable Adam Tocek of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the dog handler assigned to that area, received the call of the missing boy. He and his friend and comrade, Molly Smith, and his search dog Norman, headed out to Koola Provincial Park to join in the search. It didn't take long to find Jamie in spite of a rainstorm, but the pair also found more than they bargained for - they found human remains.
Although investigators didn't have quite enough evidence to identify the body, there was enough to reopen a missing person’s case from fifteen years before. One Sunday morning shortly after dinner, Brian Nowak headed to the local grocery store on foot for a pack of cigarettes. He was never seen again.
The cold case was assigned to Sergeant John Winters who brought in his boss, Paul Keller, then a detective sergeant and lead investigator at the time of the disappearance. The two also enlisted the help of none other than Constable Molly Smith. Known as Moonlight as a child, she was a friend of Nicky Nowalk and stayed overnight at the house the night before Nowalk disappeared. She was the last person outside the family known to have seen Brian Nowalk alive.
Among the Departed is author Vicki Delany's fifth novel in the Constable Molly Smith traditional village mystery series. The novels also feature Sergeant Winters and the scenic mountains surrounding Trafalgar, British Columbia.
The novel smoothly moves between characters, scenes and time periods as Delany takes her time laying out the groundwork of the disappearance and the steps investigators take in an effort to solve such an old case. Relationships are established, feelings and emotions acknowledged, and secrets slowly and painfully come out until the satisfying end.
Fans of the series will welcome this installment, while newcomers will want to start at the beginning to see what they have missed. The search will no doubt be worth the effort.
A special thank you goes to Poisoned Pen Press for providing a complimentary copy of Among the Departed. If you are interested in purchasing any of Vicki Delaney’s novels, they are available on Amazon.com.