Review of Whiteout

by Vicki Delany

Published by LTD Books
ISBN Disk: 1-55316-084-3
ISBN Rocket: 1-55316-918-2
ISBN Paperback: 1-55316-084-3
Price: PDF: $4.95 HTML: $6.95 CD: $8.95

Cover of 'Whiteout' by Vicky Delany

 

   This book grabbed me with the first sentence, the first paragraph: 'Footsteps were following her. She was sure of it. Every nerve twitched as she stopped walking and strained to listen. Nothing. She laughed at herself, a quick embarrassed laugh. Must be my imagination; imagine me being frightened like some kind of snotty-nosed little kid.'

   Whiteout by Vicki Delany is set in a location she obviously knows and loves: far north in Ontario. The landscape is alive, as are the characters, sketched in with a sure hand. This is very much a woman's book, full of the kinds of details a woman would notice and want to find out about, but without becoming tedious. The language is crisp, though my pre-publication copy still had a few mistakes.

   I found it refreshing that the heroine was called Joanna. It seems to be a fashion among authors nowadays to give their characters unusual names, to the point where I don't know if it's a boy or a girl. This drive for realism and immediate relevance to modern life shows in the rest of the book too. So, when Joanna comes in increasing contact with the ghost of an unfortunate young woman, the supernatural seems real too.

   Whiteout is a murder mystery, but an unusual one. Just the same, in the tradition of murder stories, Delany gives us hints. See if you can deduce the identity of the killer.

   I found the best part near the very end: a woman and a girl, lost in a blizzard. It was so real that I was shivering, in the heatwave of an Australian summer.


   Vicki wanted to write for many years but the pressure of a growing family and career made it impossible. But now that her children are older, and her career as a Systems Analyst well established, Vicki devotes most of her spare time to reading and writing. Whiteout is her first completed novel. It was a semi-finalist in the Chaptersí Robertson Davies First Novel Competition for 2000.

   Vicki lives in Oakville, Ontario but her first love is the Canadian Wilderness where most of her stories are set. With one daughter living in Nelson, B.C. and another summering in Sioux Lookout, Ontario (plus another daughter attending the University of British Columbia), she has plenty of opportunity to discover the more remote areas of Canada. "I want to write what I love," she says. "The trees and rocks and lakes and rivers of Canada are where I want to be, so I put my characters there." Her second novel, Murder at Lost Dog Lake, takes place on a wilderness canoeing expedition in Algonquin Park.

   She has a collection of short stories, both for adults and children. One of her stories, My Seat was the runner-up in the 2000 Bloody Words Convention short story contest.

   Vickiís other interests include hiking and quilting, which has lately taken a back seat to her writing. "I started a quilted wall hanging for a good friendís twenty-fifth wedding anniversary," she says. "But then I got so involved in the book, that I might get around to finishing it for their fiftieth."

   Visit Vicki at her website http://www3.sympatico.ca/vdelany/. She is happy to correspond about her writing, email address being vdelany@sympatico.ca.

 

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