by Bruce TierneyFebruary, 2007
Mystery of the month
The last time BookPage reviewed a Giles Blunt novel, it won the coveted Tip of the Ice Pick Award; this month, Blunt ascends to a lofty plateau, becoming one of only a handful of authors to win the award twice. His current winner is By the Time You Read This, the title referring to the opening line of a suicide note . . . or is it? The suicide in question is that of the wife of Algonquin Bay (Ontario) police detective John Cardinal. On the surface, it seems like a pretty open-and-shut case: Catherine Cardinal had wrestled with manic-depressive disorder for years. Nonetheless, her medications seemed to have been sorted out of late, and she appeared happy and engaged, both in her personal life and in her work as a photographer. Then, for no apparent reason, she took a header off a rooftop, leaving behind a husband and daughter, and a note. Cardinal can't believe it; he feels as if he should have seen it coming. Without any help from his colleagues (indeed, with their active disapproval, as they think he is too distraught to be thinking clearly), he launches a quiet investigation into his wife's death, and begins to unearth some disturbing information about her therapist, whose patients have been dropping like flies. All are apparent suicides, but the numbers are well over the norm, even for a therapist who treats seriously depressed patients. The case dovetails with an ongoing child pornography investigation, two seemingly disparate cases, but with one tragic common denominator. By the Time You Read This is a thought-provoking, complex novel of suspense, with one of the most chilling literary villains since Hannibal Lecter.