This month, BookPage's Tip of the Ice Pick Award goes to Canadian author Giles Blunt for his stylish and intense mystery novel, Black Fly Season. When the black flies come to Algonquin Bay, Ontario, you have two choices: stay inside or become dinner for the voracious little beasts. When a young woman trips into the World Tavern covered in fly bites, the disbelieving locals think she must be high, or perhaps just a bit retarded. The truth is somewhat stranger: Red has a bullet lodged in her brain and no memory of the events leading up to it; in fact, no real memories at all, including her identity. Homicide detectives Lisa Delorme and John Cardinal quickly realize that Red is in danger; whoever tried to kill her will certainly try again if/when he realizes his first attempt was unsuccessful. Meanwhile, the decapitated remains of a very unlikable biker turn up at a local waterfall. These two events are, all in all, more violent crime than the town has witnessed in a very long time. It seems likely that the crimes are connected, though the explanation is more convoluted than might initially meet the eye, and includes a twist or two to keep things interesting. Blunt, a former screenwriter who has won the Silver Dagger and Arthur Ellis awards, knows all too well how to sustain the suspense. All the genre superlatives apply here: taut, gripping, visceral, riveting (not to mention that the book appears just in time for black fly season!).

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