#761 Murder & misgivings in North Van

River of Lies
by R.M. Greenaway

Toronto: Dundurn, 2020
$17.99 / 9781459741539

Reviewed by Valerie Green

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River of Lies is the fifth book in the B.C. Blues Crime Series by R.M. Greenaway, but it was the first one in the series I had read. Although the same characters appear in all the books, the story in each one stands alone.

This particular book is set during February — usually the month for romance with Valentine’s Day on the horizon — but this is not the case in rain-drenched North Vancouver where two detectives, Cal Dion and David Leith, are working together to solve many crimes — the murder of a young black female janitor, a missing child case, a drowning, and an apparent suicide. Only when they find the missing link between all these incidents, do they begin to make some progress.

R.M. Greenaway of Nelson

But the two detectives are often at odds with one another, their lives having gone off course into two different directions. Dion is recovering from a brain injury after an earlier car crash, around which a murder has occurred. Leith is becoming bitter about police work in general and has misgivings about having a second child with his wife. He adores his daughter but the missing child case makes him think twice about bringing another child into the world.

Added to the mix are other intriguing characters the two detectives work with plus a range of witnesses they interview in order to make some kind of sense of what happened. The parents of the missing child obviously hate one another and each blames the other for their bitter divorce. The mother, Gemma, has remarried into wealth. The father, Zach, has a new girlfriend in his life and lives more modestly while also caring for the two children of his brother and sister-in-law, who died in a car crash.

R.M. Greenaway with Creep, a previous book (2018) in her B.C. Blues Crime Series

As the North Shore RCMP traipse through the rain looking for clues as to who left a young woman to die in a school parking lot, they are confronted by the mysterious disappearance of this toddler from a wealthy home while her mother and new husband, Perry, are hosting a dinner party.

Constable J.D. Temple, who has her own personal problems, is dispensed to work the parking lot murder while Leith and Dion concentrate on the possible kidnapping on Riverside Drive. Could the child still be alive and in the hands of a childless couple — or is there more to the story?

Other children become involved in the story, which only adds to the intrigue. More tragedy evolves, coupled with lies that must be unveiled before the whole truth can finally emerge.

R.M. Greenaway, 2017. Photo courtesy Facebook

This book is an absolute page-turner for anyone who loves a rich crime mystery full of twists and turns to the very end. My only criticism would be the plethora of characters, sometimes making it hard to distinguish them all.

But author R.M. Greenaway, who lives in Nelson, B.C, is a master of criminal intrigue having worked in probation and travelled the province as a court reporter. Her first novel in this B.C. Blues Crime Series, Cold Girl, won the Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award. I feel sure River of Lies is set to win more awards when released by Dundurn in Canada in March 2020 and in the U.S. in April.

River of Lies is an absorbing whodunit that holds the reader’s attention to the very last page.

R.M. Greenaway with the previous titles in her B.C. Blues Crime Series

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Valerie Green

Valerie Green was born and educated in England where she studied journalism and law. Her passion was always writing from the moment she first held a pen in her hand. After working at the world-famous Foyles Book Store on Charing Cross Road, London, followed by a brief stint with M15 and legal firms, she moved to Canada in 1968, where she married and raised a family, while embarking on a long career as a freelance writer, columnist and author of over twenty non-fiction historical and true-crime books including Above StairsUpstarts and OutcastsIf these Walls Could TalkVanished: The Michael Dunahee Story, and Dunmora: The Story of a Heritage Manor House on Vancouver Island (Hancock House, 2017, reviewed in Ormsby #434 by Patrick Dunae). She is currently working on her debut novel Providence, which will be published soon as the first of The McBride Chronicles, an historical four-generational family saga bringing early BC history alive. Now semi-retired (although writers never really retire!) she enjoys taking short road trips around the province with her husband, watching their two beloved grandsons grow up and, of course, writing.

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Publisher and Editor: Richard Mackie

The Ormsby Review is a journal service for serious coverage of B.C. books and authors, hosted by Simon Fraser University. The Advisory Board consists of Jean Barman, Robin Fisher, Cole Harris, Wade Davis, Hugh Johnston, Patricia Roy, David Stouck, and Graeme Wynn. Scholarly Patron: SFU Graduate Liberal Studies. Honorary Patron: Yosef Wosk. Provincial Government Patron since September 2018: Creative BC

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R.M. Greenaway at False Creek, Vancouver
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