NEGATIVE IMAGE by Vicki Delany, Book Review: Cosy charm

Negative Image (Constable Molly Smith Novels, #4) by Vicki Delany was the 2019 recipient of the Derrick Murdoch Award from the Crime Writers of Canada. Read our review.

Negative Image - Vicki Delaney - ReviewNegative Image Synopsis

As the mountain town of Trafalgar, British Columbia, shakes off a long hard winter, famous photographer Rudolph Steiner arrives to do a feature on mountain tourism. Steiner is accompanied by his assistant and his sexy young wife, but he has another reason for the visit: to re-connect with the woman who left him 25 years ago to marry another man. That woman was a young, beautiful, naive, internationally known super-model. Today Eliza Winters is no longer young, and definitely not naive, but she is still beautiful and married to Trafalgar City Police Sergeant John Winters.

When Steiner is found shot in his luxury hotel room, suspicion falls upon Eliza who had, inexplicably, visited Steiner there. John Winters is forced into the most difficult of dilemmas: loyalty to his job or to his wife. As the RCMP dig into secrets hidden by both Steiner and Eliza, Wintersslowly comes to realize that he doesn’t know his beloved wife as well as he thought.

Meanwhile, Constable Molly Smith has her own troubles. A series of break-ins has the peaceful town in an uproar, her overprotective boyfriend from the Royal Mounted Police is fighting with her colleagues, and a vengeful stalker is watching her every move. When tragedy strikes at the heart of her own family, Molly can’t even turn to her mother for help.

Genre: Mystery, Crime-Detective, Thriller

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This police procedural is set in the seemingly sleepy small town of Trafalgar, British Columbia. But this town is not quite as sleepy as it might seem – the reader finding themselves in the middle of the action from the word go.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many plot lines Vicki Delany has managed to weave into Negative Image, a novel of less than 300 pages. Murder, extortion, a string of burglaries, a stalker and a personal tragedy are all on the bill.

Vicki Delany’s prose is unpretentious and easy to read – her focus is telling a compelling story.

Protagonist Molly Smith is a very genuine character with a very real family and set of real-life problems to deal with. She has baggage from the past haunting her, and it is this past that provides one of the many storylines skilfully intertwined in this mystery novel.

Delany also devotes time to the development of several characters other than Molly, providing a nice ensemble feel to the cast and bringing the town of Trafalgar to life. I had a soft spot for the all-seeing Chief Constable’s personal assistant, Barb Kowalski.

She’d worked here for almost thirty years; several Chief Constables had passed through her office. She considered it part of her job to train him, always a ‘him’ so far, as to how she did things. Paul Keller had proved easy to train.

Although Negative Image, the fourth title in the Constable Molly Smith series, is the first of Delany’s works I have read, I felt I had all the information needed to fully appreciate the story and charming characters.

BOOK RATING: The Writing 3.5 / 5 ; The Story 4 / 5  –  Overall 3.75

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About the Author, Vicki Delany

Having taken early retirement from her job as a systems analyst in the high-pressure financial world, Vicki Delany is settling down to the rural life in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario, where she rarely wears a watch. Check out her website for more about all the books she has published.

A big thank you to Poisoned Pen Press for providing a copy of Negative Image for review purposes via NetGalley.

* My receiving this book free of charge for the purpose of review did not in anyway influence my expression of my honest thoughts and feelings about this book.