I had the great good fortune to receive an advance reader’s copy of Open Secret by Nelson, BC writer Deryn Collier. This is Deryn’s second book, and it has confirmed what I already suspected – this lady is the Louise Penny of the West.
Open Secret was a delightful read. Deryn’s stories take place in a sleepy, smoky mountain town peopled with a whole collection of characters who wouldn’t fit anywhere else. Bern Fortin, a Rwanda-damaged soldier turned town coroner, has a hunter’s eye and some serious baggage. He is dedicated to speaking for those who can no longer speak for themselves, and in this story he’s kept busy.
Deryn brings to life an isolated village just left of anywhere, where evil comes as a shock and nothing gets in the way of the morning coffee. The story takes you in deep, and a week after finishing the novel I’m still wondering what happened next in the characters’ lives. Just like Louise Penny, who has done wonders for backwoods Quebec in world literature, and is sweeping every writing award in the English world with her work. With these two novels under her belt, Deryn is on her way.
I am a convicted thriller fan, and Open Secret doesn’t have the blood-curdling, run for your life pace of that genre. One or two minor subplots don’t quite get explained. But this isn’t a thriller, it’s a mystery, and it’s also part of a series. I am sure there will be answers, and more questions. I’m definitely waiting.
Open Secret is available here. If you like a deep dive into a compelling mystery and some uniquely BC characters, pick it up. Then come back here and tell me what you think!