Friday, July 20, 2018

Paper: "By the Time You Read This" by Giles Blunt

Paper: By the Time You Read This by Giles Blunt.

Quite good. Blunt writes about grief and therapy in a way that kept me interested and engaged. Most writing on those topics falls flat for me. Blunt's John Cardinal experiences intense grief but Blunt's story does not bog down like others.

John Cardinal is in his 50s now. Cardinal and his wife Catherine's daughter lives in NYC. One night Catherine heads out with her cameras for an outdoor photography session. That same night Cardinal heads out to work and responds to a dead body.

The corpse is on the pavement at the rear of a brand new high rise in North Bay, Ontario. The body looks to be a suicide but Cardinal is an experienced investigator and knows to treat the crime scene as a possible homicide. He won't screw things up by moving evidence. Until he recognizes the dead woman is his wife, and he drops to his knees and cradles her corpse.

Well, the rest of the book is a look at grief and sorrow. And an excellent look it is. Cardinal is experiencing the mental and physical pains of losing his wife to suicide. Catherine spent years battling her mental illness. She had regular visits to a therapist and several hospitalizations. Cardinal knew her ups and downs and knew that right before her death Catherine was doing A-Ok and making work and family plans. Cardinal does not believe this was a suicide and, since he is a murder detective, he starts to detect. Everyone else, of course, thinks Cardinal floating down The Nile.

As Cardinal starts detecting he starts to interview Catherine's pals, her colleagues, and her therapist. Blunt gives us a despicable villain in the therapist. Therapist is an acknowledged expert on depression but has history of dead patients. He soon learn why and find out how he has manipulated his patients.

Sure, you can read the book for the mystery and catching of a killer, but it's Cardinal and Therapist's lives that are engaging. Blunt, as I said, does an excellent job of showing us Cardinal's grief. He also does a great job in with the dialogue, description, and inner thoughts of Therapists and his patients during therapy sessions. As the Therapist manipulates and slowly guides his depressive patients to their deaths.

1. Blunt's brief autobio on his website is great.
2. I'd like to do a Canada summer trip. Last year we visited South Dakota. This year we visit Wyoming. Canada was in the cards but for the added cost and time of getting passports. I just learned that Passport Cards are less expensive and used for car and boat travel across the boarder. Since we'd be driving that would be the way to go.
3. Hey, North bay is 699 miles when going up WI, through the UP, and entering at Sault St. Marie. A fair amount of that is two lane roads though. And the divided highway sections are partial access highways.

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