Whodunit: Jack Batten (Toronto Star)
In the Toronto writer Scott Thornley’s fourth and most accomplished novel featuring MacNeice, he puts readers on edge in the opening pages and leaves them hanging out there until the authentically spectacular windup.
MacNeice is head of the police homicide division in the city of Dundurn, a stand-in for Hamilton, Ont., Thornley’s own native town. For a copper, MacNeice is uncommonly sophisticated and maybe a trifle weird. He regularly engages in lengthy two-way conversations with his wife, which is charming — except that she died of cancer 10 years ago.
A murderer who deserves the term diabolical is loose in Dundurn. His victims have nothing to distinguish them, but the way the killer arranges the bodies does. He places them in set pieces that echo gruesome paintings from the past, a Goya, a Daumier. MacNeice, our man of wide ranging taste in all the arts, is just the man for this dense and scary case.
For readers who latched happily on to MacNeice in the earlier books, Vantage Point will come as a leap forward, bringing Thornley’s plotting and narrative skills into the major leagues of crime writing.