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John Cardinal Books In Order

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Publication Order of John Cardinal Books

Forty Words for Sorrow (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Delicate Storm (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Black Fly Season (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
By the Time You Read This / The Fields of Grief (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Crime Machine (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Until the Night (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

The “John Cardinal” series are a series of novels by Canadian screenwriter and novelist Giles Blunt. The first novel of the “John Cardinal” series was “Forty Words for Sorrow” that was first published in 2005. However, while the series is one of the most popular of his works, Blunt debuted his writing career with a psychological thriller titled “Cold Eye”. Blunt grew up in North Bay, which forms the basis for the Algonquin Bay, the setting for his John Cardinal novels. The novels retain the major physical features of his hometown including the lakes that town straddles and the street layouts. Over the years, his novels have won several prestigious awards such as the Arthur Ellis Award by the Crime Writers of Canada for The Delicate Storm, and the Silver Dagger by the British Crime Writers for the debut novel “Forty Words for Sorrow”. Most of Giles Blunt’s work has drawn comparisons with the work of Cormac McCarthy and Ian Rankin.

Giles Blunt was born to English parents living in Canada and hence he got to live and school in both Canada and England. Since he for the most part schooled in the UK, he never felt like he was a true Canadian and hence he moved to New York in 1980. Living in New York renewed a sense of home and the exotic in his small home town of North Bay. His changed perception of North Bay made it possible for him to write so eloquently about it in the “John Cardinal” series. However, his writing career started way before his move to the US when he used to write poetry that was published in several influential Canadian magazines. Soon after, he got interested in movies and decided to study script writing which is when he moved to the United States to pursue his dream. It was not easy going as he would spend much time in low paying jobs such as bar-tending and room service attendant for a ritzy hotel. He soon got a job in script writing and got his big break writing for Grosso Jacobson who was the producer of “Night Heat”. Over the years he has been known as a co-writer of the scripts on “Law and Order” the popular legal thriller. Some of his novels such as “Cold Eye” have been adapted into movies set in New York. Even though her debut novel “Forty Words for Sorrow” could not find a home at any of the big American publishers, he never lost hope and soon got Random House’s Canada Division to publish her novels.

The “John Cardinal” otherwise known as the “John Cardinal-Lise Delorme” is a series of police procedurals featuring police officer John Cardinal, who works alongside Lise Delorme his colleague. Blunt writes eloquently about police procedures in tracking down criminals, processing intelligence, and solving crime. He draws excellent characters from the primary characters right to the tertiary and secondary characters to make for very real and relatable characters. The author does not turn the lead character or their supporting cast into a cardboard figure as he fleshes him out in the very first novel of the series, and shows him developing over the course of the series. For instance, he draws attention to the protagonist’s humanity when he shows concern for a girl who goes missing and is believed dead. He also makes Algonquin Bay a character in itself as the plot-lines for the most part rely on the town to move the story forward. What makes the novels so great is the skillful meshing of different plot lines to make for an intriguing whole. John Cardinal teams up with Lise Delorme to solve crime outside of the rules, regulations, and bureaucracies of the police force. While Cardinal is an effective detective, he faces his own demons from years back. He had once ripped off a criminal boss when he was an investigator in Toronto. While he did it to take his daughter to a great university, he always feels that karma is coming back to haunt him by striking his wife with bipolar disorder. Nonetheless, this never slows him down one bit or make him a lesser man give that he drowns all his sorrows with works. He is a good man who can risk his very life in trying to serve the society that he lives in which often brings him some grief.

“Forty Words for Sorrow”, the first novel of the series is an exciting novel that introduces the lead in the series John Cardinal. John Cardinal’s career is not doing so well, add to the fact that his wife has been diagnosed with clinical depression. The partner he usually works with is unavailable since he is working on a different case. Lise Delorme who has been with the special Bureau becomes his new partner in homicide. Some higher ups in homicide believe that Cardinal is crooked and hence when he is assigned a new partner he immediately suspects that she may be some kind of spy sent to investigate him. But with all the going ons in his life he does not have time to think about that, particularly with his wife clinically depressed such that she has to be hospitalized. He also needs to resolve a case of a girl’s body thrown into a mine shaft that had gone missing a few weeks past. Cardinal had always thought the girl had been murdered and hence needed to be available to complete his investigations. Moreover, it was his obsession with the case that had gotten him stripped of rank in those early weeks after her disappearance. With so many things on his mind, being investigated by his partner is the last thing in his mind.

“The Delicate Storm” is the second novel of the John Cardinal series of novels. John Cardinal and his partner Lisa Delorme have discovered something gruesome in the desert beyond the city. It seems that a cold-blooded killer had been using an out-of-the-way cabin as his dumping ground. But things get thick when the detectives find another body shrouded in ice and stark naked. Investigations reveal that one of the dead is carrying an American passport necessitating the Mounties to be informed of the situation. But the Canadian Secret Service response raises more questions than it answers. Could they be dealing with something sinister or a possible terrorist link? Northern Ontario is in the midst of one of the bitterest winters amid a storm of the century that gives the woods a lethal and glittering beauty. But John has no choice but to track down and apprehend or stop a vicious killer.

Book Series In Order » Characters » John Cardinal

One Response to “John Cardinal”

  1. Denise E Trinkle: 2 years ago

    Love the series I am sure I would like the books.


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