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Stephen Legault's Cole Blackwater: An Amateur Detective to be Reckoned With

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009 at 3:47pm

The Cardinal Divide has everything a mystery lover could want: a bloody murder, a host of suspects each with a different motive, a fast paced plot, and a likable, if not completely perfect, detective. Cole Blackwater, freelance environmental consultant, is not your average amateur detective, but he's not afraid to put his own body on the line to solve the murder that?s put his only paying client's cause in jeopardy.

You start reading to see whodunnit, but it's Stephen Legault's characterization of even minor players that keeps you entranced. You know people like Peggy McSorlie, the wild life biologist/farm wife who calls Cole in to help her group of kitchen table environmentalists stop a mining venture sure to damage the fragile ecosystem of the Cardinal Divide, you've debated politics with David Smith, the president of the Chamber of Commerce with political plans beyond his small town and you've had a beer with George Cody, the small town bartender and motel owner who played football in high school but missed his chance at the CFL because of injury.

The other major player in this well plotted first mystery is the location itself. Set against the lush backdrop of the Alberta foothills, Oracle, has all the elements that make a believable small Canadian town and there is something quintessentially Canadian about the entire novel, despite the fact it deals with the global issues of multinational corporations and environmental degradation. Cole Blackwater is a welcome addition to the ranks of Canadian and international sleuthing, sure to be ranked up there with other Canadian greats such as Anthony Bidulka's Russell Quant, Gail Bowen's Joanne Kilbourn and Kathy Reichs's Temperance Brennan.

Categories: Reviews, Staff Pick, Mystery & Crime

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Carry Tiger to Mountain

- Stephen Legault

Trade paperback $24.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $22.46

This fascinating and useful book is a modern-day interpretation of Lao Tzu's Tao te Ching for those concerned with social issues and activist movements in Western civil society. It's a thoughtful examination of how the Tao, and Taoist thought, might be applied to the challenges, conflicts, and obstacles that activists and concerned citizens face as they deal with such issues as poverty, workers' rights, environmentalism, freedom of expression, gender and sexual equality, and social justice. The book also includes a verse-by-verse interpretation of the Tao te Ching, one of the most important historical works of Chinese philosophy and is the basis of Taoism (or Daoism). This is a timely book about the role of spirituality in activism in the 21st century, and how we--not only activists per se, but those for whom issues of social and political justice are important--can forge new paths in our daily struggles to make the world a better place, and at the same time restore personal balance to our lives. It includes a foreword by Dr. Jim Butler, a political activist for the past 30 years who is also a Buddhist monk.