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Haunted Hearts

by John Lawrence Reynolds

It’s been almost a decade since Boston cop Joe McGuire last appeared in print – and he’s been greatly missed by discerning crime fiction readers. Since 1994, John Lawrence Reynolds has been favouring the more lucrative, or perhaps fascinating, fields of non-fiction, consigning McGuire to the shelf. Now Reynolds has resurrected McGuire, who has retired early from the city’s homicide squad and is looking for ways to pass the time while his housemates, a paralyzed ex-patrol partner and his spouse, sort out their matrimonial problems.

The hard-nosed McGuire blows his chance for part-time re-employment with the police by going against orders and confronting a pair of hold-up artists he’s been hired to trap. McGuire’s role was strictly as a decoy, but he tries to nab the thieves, one of whom escapes.

He eventually finds employment as in-house investigator for a corporate law firm with very little criminal investigation work. Before long McGuire is immersed in fraud investigations, coffee breaks, a doomed office relationship, and an off-the-books case assigned to him by one of the lawyers, who shortly turns up dead in the Charles River. McGuire becomes a suspect when one of his old departmental foes sets out to get revenge for past grudges, but McGuire persists enough to unravel a complex murder case and humiliate his old adversary.

The city and suburbs of Boston are expertly evoked, becoming a significant part of the story as the cop-who-never-quite-quits roams the metropolis in search of the truth. Reynolds’ easy-to-read narrative, complex characters, and intentionally convoluted plot make for excellent reading, and a welcome return to the ranks of Canada’s top mystery writers.