Reviews of Snow Candy

by Margaret Cannon, The Globe & Mail
Sat. April 12, 2008
This is the second in the series featuring small-town detective Carl North, and its better than the first. This time, Carroll is well in control of his plot and his characters.

Elderly Hugh Campbell awakens to find snowmobilers on his farm. Hughie is not about to put up with trespassers. He hauls himself up, loads his rifle and shoots out the nearest machine’s headlight. That, he figures, is that. But these aren’t kids on a joyride. They roar right up to Hughie’s back door, rip into his kitchen, rip into Hughie.

It’s up to Carl North, newly promoted to sergeant and separated from his wife, to find the criminal. We also have a new setting. North is now in St. Thomas, Ont.

Carroll’s strong suit is building character, and we’ve learned a lot about North, who is still developing. Being single gives him added depth, although his rather complicated relationship with a stripper is a bit of a diversion. Just what happened at the Campbell farm makes for a fine plot with some nice twists.

by Don Graves, The Hamilton Spectator
Sat. March 29 2008

Carl North is a small-town Ontario cop. St. Thomas is the town where he ends up, separated from his wife and ready to employ his promotion to police detective.

He’s running an investigation into a double murder and arson at a farmhouse outside of town, and a second fire at the town’s strip club. A local biker gang is involved, along with a stripper found all but dead in North’s apartment. Loner North is suspended, a colleague commits suicide and a biker, trying to escape the noose he’s put around his own neck, gets his throat slit.

The action is gutsy, almost overpowering with raw emotion as the tension escalates, one deadly layer after another. Friends and partnership boundaries blur, complicated by greed, parental desperation and love.

Carroll writes with such urgency, the pacing pushes the heartbeat. The skilful dialogue shows some of the best character development I’ve read in a while.

Small-town Ontario, with its casual simplicity and disturbing underground, is described in a style that fits the novel like a glove — short, precise, with energy that snaps with anger and remorse.

The realism within the plot is sudden and shocking. Snow Candy is a well-written mystery. Terry Carroll has a considerable career in front of him.

Snow Candy

By Terry Carroll

(The Mercury Press, $17.95)