The Weight of Stones
A Charlie McKelvey Mystery by C. B. Forrest
Review: Detective-Constable Charlie McKelvey, in his early fifties and a thirty-year veteran of the Toronto PD, has the weight of the world on his shoulders. His runaway teenaged son, Gavin, has been killed and the killer is still at large. His family is falling apart as he and his wife, Caroline, stumble through "the battlefield of marriage", she seeking solace in counselling, he believing, "you can only talk about things for so long." Charlie's time for talking is over. Now he wants action. Especially when his pleas for an extended investigation into his son's death are rejected by his supervisors, including his boss, 38-year-old Inspector Tina Aoki. So he sets out, a vigilante of one, to get the weights of his world – "the weight of stones" as author C. B. Forrest calls them - off of his back - his grief over his son's death, his guilt over Gavin leaving home, his frustrations over his crumbling career and his disintegrating marriage. His successes and failures form the absorbing story that Forrest adeptly weaves about a father's bloody-minded obsession to avenge his son's death.
In detailing his story and introducing Charlie and his colleagues, friends and enemies, Forrest portrays a dark world of drug-dealing bikers in rival gangs, a cop on the take, a wife who wilts under the weight of her sorrow, a son who gets entangled in a world of drugs for which he pays with his life, and a grandchild a grandfather never knew he had. There's a "black-haired girl" caught up in prostitution until she's abducted by Charlie, an unwanted gift of a neighbour's dog with a persona all its own, and there's Charlie's female police partner, Detective Mary-Ann Hattie, willing to provide classified evidence to him, even to substitute as his wife when Caroline departs for the West Coast and Charlie takes forced early retirement for medical reasons. And ironically, there's a 30-year-old widowed school teacher for whom Charlie reluctantly agrees to become a mentor and grief counsellor. And for Charlie as he suffers through "the status quo of hauling grief around like a bag of stones," there isn't a day goes by "that he didn't envision revenge." But the tension-laden problem that Forrest so masterfully twists, turns and teases out as Charlie struggles with his burden is whether he has targeted the right perpetrator and for the right reasons.
In a story heavy with atmosphere, Charlie watches "people come and go from the cemetery, human traffic manoeuvring through the landscape of grief." He tastes the city "in the back of his throat, wet dirt and ash." He suffers from "this weight on my chest, these thoughts on my mind." Even a gangster sees Charlie's loss of his son as "a weight [for Charlie] to carry for the rest of his life." And, later when justice has been served, Charlie feels "the weight of the years dripping from his shoulders." And then, Charlie recalls early days with his son, Gavin, "skipping stones across the green-blue water of a lake. He feels the presence of their bodies as strong as the sun on a hot day, hears each of their hearts beating, just slightly out of time."
Special thanks to M. Wayne Cunningham (firstname.lastname@example.org) for contributing his review of The Weight of Stones.
Review Copyright © 2009 — M. Wayne Cunningham — All Rights Reserved
Reprinted with Permission
Location(s) referenced in The Weight of Stones: Toronto
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The Weight of Stones by C. B. Forrest — A Charlie McKelvey Mystery
Publisher: Rendezvous Crime
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: April 2009
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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