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Demons, the Great White North and the Blind Detective

Demons, the Great White North and the Blind Detective

By: Shawn Adair Johnston
Published by: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: January 15, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-6398-8145-1
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
Review Date: February 22, 2022

This was my first experience where this author is concerned and, I must say, I was floored!

There are many instances out there, in reviews, where the reader states that they are looking or hoping for a new idea. This happens a great deal when it comes to mysteries or suspense. Why is that? To put it simply, the plotlines of mysteries have been done...a lot. From the whodunits to the missing relics that if not found could bring about the end of the world, etc., these ideas have been regurgitated. Some authors have created titles that make the reader gasp in surprise at every page (ie., Christie, King, Dan Brown with The DaVinci Code); yet there are many who attempt a “new” way to murder that does not produce a gasp in the least. Well, I have to say that if you are one of those who longs to experience a tale you’ve never read before, then this is the book to pick up immediately. Now, the cover won’t jump out at you; in fact, it’s very plain. But when you open that cover and begin, in the first five pages you are introduced into a world that currently exists – the Arctic coast of Canada – but is completely unique because it is the year 2080, and you see things like flying cars being utilized for a whole new mode of transportation.

Beginning on the porch of a shaman by the name of Akaga, readers sit with him while he rocks in his chair and stares out at the dark blue water of the Arctic Ocean. He’s upset, to say the least, as he grips a thousand-year-old ivory statue depicting the Inuit peoples’ primary protector, Sedna. This shaman knows that something is coming towards him...ready to take out both him and the village he loves. And whether the goddess of the sea can reappear and save them all, like she has in the past, is something that’s more than doubtful.

Thousands of miles away is Watson. This “special” golden retriever’s master is Peter Straw, the blind detective. They are a team that has gotten a lot of praise for their work, becoming the most famous blind P.I. and augmented canine detective agency in the entire world. Yes, Watson is an intellectually augmented dog who works with a computer and who’s on his way to becoming the first ever canine to achieve a high school diploma.

But canines are not the only augmented animals in 2080 Canada. We soon also meet Aristotle Jones, an augmented chimp, who is being transferred from the Canadian Mounted Police in Quebec to the Yukon territory with his boss, Billy Fenwick.

Let us just say that all of these incredible creatures end up playing huge parts in a murder mystery that is beyond belief. Various Inuit villages have been attacked; unbelievable brutality has been brought down on these families and (unfortunately) their sled dogs and caribou. There is more than one suspect, as well, when it comes to putting these villages and their occupants in danger, and these suspects are from the past and the present and come from a pool of both human and in-human demons.

A small village on the Arctic called Inupiak suddenly witnesses this agony first-hand. This is a place where the idea of an ancient demon stirring is prevalent. However, the reader is also introduced to a person “walking through town” who has nothing but revenge on his mind, lives in a cave, and is not remotely frightened of wielding his chosen murder weapon.

Peter Straw and Watson come in to help law enforcement and attempt to unveil what or who is creating all this bloodshed; or, perhaps, if an alliance has been made by an ancient evil presence with a soulless human in order to bring about complete destruction. Add in Aristotle, the transferring chimp and his boss, as well as a cast of colorful characters and tyrants, like a Lt. Colonel stationed at a Space Force Base who’s beyond offensive, and you have a mystery with a plotline that has definitely not been written before.

I commend the author immensely for his imagination, dry wit, and the ability to weave very real topics of worry into the story, like how the world could look in 2080 because of global warming issues happening right this second. Each chapter brought about a new character for me to study, and with interesting scenes and intense thrills and chills, he most certainly drew gasps from this reader.

Quill says: Demons, the Great White North and the Blind Detective, has a unique storyline that will keep you guessing, while bringing up subjects that will make you rethink life and the choices we make.

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