Review published on April 9, 2017.
This novel opens powerfully, setting the atmosphere, geography and origins of Bondrée and its peaceful, rural surroundings, but leaving an impression that something sinister is afoot.
The first couple of chapters introduce the characters and the carefree lifestyle of the inhabitants, describing the influx of summer visitors to Boundary pond and the laid-back existence. It’s 1967, the young people tune into the radio and while away their time relaxing, sunbathing and swimming. A carefree and untroubled world where nothing threatens and nothing disturbs the tranquillity.
Michaud evokes the dialogue of the characters well – the friendly distance and faint distrust between the locals, of language, customs and sensibilities. Zaza Mulligan and Sissy Morgan epitomise youth in the late 60s, concerned with fashion, music and boys. But this idyll is about to change dramatically.
As I got further into the story I enjoyed the individual ‘voice’ of each of the characters and the contrast between the first and third person narration. I especially related to the young Andrée Duchamp and her internal monologue on what she saw and felt.
Once the first brutal murder occurs, the atmosphere changes immediately. Sissy’s frantic search is very believable and builds the fear and tension in the community and in the reader.
Prior to the murder, the lack of a real community rings true. The way the various factions have isolated themselves to their own kind is well observed, but this all changes when people start pulling together to rid the forest of Pete Landry’s ancient hidden bear traps. This is cleverly developed and described.
The character of Stan Michaud and his relationship with his deputy, Jim Cusack, is interestingly built up. I started to really care about the characters, especially Michaud and his domestic life, and I began to engage with the emotional life of the individuals: Brian Larue and Emma; Sam and Florence Duchamp and Flo’s ‘third eye’ and nervous twisting of her belt; Gilles and Jocelyne Ménard etc. The tension is building all the time and making this an enjoyable and suspenseful read right to the end.
The climax is unexpected and a nice twist. I didn’t see it coming. A thrilling pace and a thoroughly good read. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys crime genre.
Jane Bell 4/-
Boundary by Andrée A. Michaud
No Exit Press 9781843449980 hbk Mar 2017
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