Fire, Fog and Water (Sgt. Windflower Mysteries) by Mike Martin
Author Guest Post
Enjoy the Story
In fiction, you have to suspend belief in order to follow the story. That means things like pretending to be in a different location with people that you don’t know in order to experience the full effect. Those who can’t do that often claim that they don’t like fiction books or stories, but I think it may be that they just don’t know how to let themselves go and be captured by the story or the characters. I also think they are missing out on a great deal of fun!!
What most people don’t realize is that writers have to do the same thing. Suspend our belief in the ordinary and escape to another reality, inside our heads. In my Sgt. Windflower Mystery series I use the very real town of Grand Bank, Newfoundland, as a backdrop for my stories. It settles the stories in a solid foundation of place that many people who have read the series now think they know. I hope so. But the setting is truly just the beginning. Because, with the exception of a few historical facts and bread crumbs, the rest is all imagination.
The main character, Sgt. Windflower, came out of the fog one night in Grand Bank and started telling me his story. All I did was write it down. Once I did that, all these other characters came along and I started writing their stories too. My main job today is to try and keep them all happy and allow each of them the appropriate time to tell their part.
If that’s not enough to stretch your imagination, there’s more. Two of Windflower’s family, his aunt and uncle, turn out to be dream weavers. They can interpret dreams, their own and others. Windflower learns how to do that too, and soon he is awake while he is dreaming and understanding the messages that come to him. I know it sounds crazy, but it really happens, at least to Windflower. He uses it to access the spirit world, the other side.
At first, Windflower appears skeptical about this whole spirit and dreaming thing. Until he starts to realize that there might actually be messages and information about himself that he can learn. That’s when he decides to ask his relatives to teach him how to do it. After a while, he comes to see that reality might be more than just what we can see in front of him. Once he accesses this power, his life becomes richer, and of course, the story gets better.
Now dreams and dream interpretation have become a central part of both Windflower and the series. In the latest book, Fire, Fog and Water, Windflower uses them to figure out what’s wrong with him, and of course, to help solve the mystery. But he has to let go of his old thinking in order to get there.
This all gets me back to the first point. You have to suspend your belief in order to enjoy the story. That is true in all fiction, and more particularly in mystery fiction. It works for Sgt. Windflower.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Winston Windflower is having a bad day. First, he has a fight with his wife. Then, he discovers that the roof on his B&B needs replacing. Finally, the weather in his hometown in Grand Banks, Newfoundland is foggy and wet. The ground still maintains its melting snow, now brown after mixing with the underlying dirt. At least, it’s not snowing. It is hard to realize that spring has sprung in Canada’s northernmost territory. It is March after all.
Attempting to forget his troubles by running on a nearby trail with his dog named Lady, Windflower accidentally falls and slides off the path into a snow-covered boulder. The incident seems to fit perfectly into his bad no-good day (and mood). However, when Lady begins digging at the boulder, Windflower quickly realizes his day is infinitely better than the day of the dead man that slowly emerges from the snow…
It is snowing outside as I read Fire, Fog and Water. This wouldn’t be remarkable if I lived in Michigan. However, I live 65 miles from Los Angeles in the desert. It was 79 degrees outside four days ago. However, this is the perfect book for winter weather. The descriptions of the scenery are so vivid that I feel like I should see snowflakes when I glance up from my Kindle.
With a dead man, an intentional hit-and-run, and an arson, there is plenty of plot running through Fire, Fog and Water. The Sergeant sets out trying to find the perps thinking that the crimes must be related. Since the murder victim was a low-level drug dealer, could all the crimes be related to the wave of purple fentanyl recently killing people in Canada?
The characters within Fire, Fog and Water were my favorite part of the story. There are no paper-thin characterizations here. The Sergeant seems like a real person dealing with getting older and becoming a father with depression and muted feelings. His interest in great literature and his indigenous peoples’ roots make him truly unique as a detective and a man.
I also loved the seamless merging of social issues into this Canadian police procedural. Drugs and depression are common in real life but are seldom shown so realistically in mystery fiction.
Because of the exquisite atmosphere, in-depth characterizations of rarely represented sub-cultures, and delicious food descriptions, Fire, Fog and Water definitely deserves five stars! It is highly recommended to police procedural fans! 5 stars!
Good luck in winning one of three print copies of the book
Sergeant Winston Windflower and his trusty crew at the Grand Bank detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have more than a few mysteries on their hands. Windflower suspects that the three cases—a homicide, a near-homicide and a fire on Coronation Street—are somehow connected, but how is proving difficult to determine, especially now that he must battle his unusually cranky mood, the never-ending winter that has gripped the coastal region of Newfoundland and his new, power-hungry boss.
In Fire, Fog and Water, award-winning author Mike Martin is true to form, retaining the light crime genre for which he is known while delving into the most perplexing social issues of our time, including mental health, addictions and workplace harassment. Windflower must not only solve the drug-and-death crimes that threaten the otherwise tranquil lives of Grand Bank’s residents, he must resolve his own internal conflicts before they consume him as surely as the blaze that engulfed the house on Coronation Street
About Mike Martin
Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland, Canada. He is the author of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series. Fire, Fog and Water is the 8th book in the series. A Long Ways from Home, was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year and Darkest Before the Dawn won for the 2018 Bony Blithe Award. Mike is currently Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers.