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Fiction Women Sleuths

Shallow End

A Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery

by (author) Brenda Chapman

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2017
Women Sleuths, Native American & Aboriginal, Police Procedural
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2017
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2017
    List Price

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Still waters run deep.

English teacher, mother, wife, and convicted child predator Jane Thompson has made parole and she has a plan. She begins her life in the shadows while she bides her time. One month later, the bludgeoned body of the student she was found guilty of corrupting four years earlier is found on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Officers Stonechild and Gundersund head up the investigation and Jane Thompson quickly becomes the prime suspect. But knowing guilt and proving it are two entirely different things.

Wading through deeply buried secrets to the truth will take Stonechild and the team on a twisted journey into the heart of evil. The question is: who will come out the other side?

About the author

Brenda Chapman grew up in Terrace Bay, Ontario, near the border of Minnesota. She has a BA in English from Lakehead University and a B.Ed from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Brenda taught reading and language arts to children and adults for nearly fifteen years before entering the federal government to work as a writer/editor. She is currently working as a senior communications advisor in Ottawa, Ontario. Chapman began her fiction career with children’s fiction. Running Scared (Napoleon, 2004) was her first YA novel featuring Jennifer Bannon. She then went on to pen three more in the series. Hiding in Hawk’s Creek (2006) was shortlisted for the 2007 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children. Where Trouble Leads, set in the Georgian Bay wilderness, was published in 2007. Trail of Secrets (2009) was the final instalment in the series. In Winter’s Grip is her first mystery for adults.

Brenda Chapman's profile page

Excerpt: Shallow End: A Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery (by (author) Brenda Chapman)

Chapter One

Sunday, September 4
Jane Thompson lifted a hand to the window and widened two slats of the metal blind so that she could see the street below. The sun struck her full in the eyes, and for one disorienting moment, blinded her. She tilted her head and squinted through the dazzling light toward the sidewalk across the street. The homeless man who’d taken up residence was gone. The media camped outside for the past week also appeared to have given up their daily vigil. By the angle of the sun, darkness would have completely descended in another hour. The reporter and photographer would be off having supper, likely complaining about their thankless assignment. Hopefully, they’d tire of waiting for her by morning.
She wasn’t counting on it.
She let the slats fall back into place and turned to look around her new living quarters on Regent Street. She’d deliberately picked this cramped second floor apartment in a three-unit rental outside of the downtown. The building was a converted house with two units on the main floor and hers taking up the second. One of the downstairs units was empty, the young couple with a baby slipping off in the night the week before, owing two months’ rent. The landlord was having trouble renting it again since most of the university students already had places for the upcoming school term. Not helping his cause were the three university boys who shared the larger unit below her. They played their music loud through most of the day and enjoyed entertaining their buddies at odd hours. Jane couldn’t afford much but she had enough to make the first and last month’s rent and felt lucky to have found this one-bedroom apartment even with the annoyances. Where she lived hadn’t mattered so long as she remained in Kingston.
The confined space made her feel safe.
The bedroom and living room came furnished with somebody’s castoffs. The bed, visible from where she stood, consisted of a saggy mattress on a frame — not even a headboard to make up for the discomfort. An old dresser with a mirror filled one wall, the mirror warped with age so that her reflection came back slightly distorted. The closet was small with room for a few pairs of shoes. A crooked pole at eye level was empty except for the green fall jacket she’d been given.
She made the three steps to the couch and slowly lowered herself onto the cushions. The slanted roofline had meant pulling the couch out from the wall so that she didn’t bang her head. The window that she’d been looking out toward the street was behind the couch, wide and narrow, halfway up the wall. The couch faced an old, cumbersome television sitting on a wood veneer stand — and that was it for furniture. Not even a carpet to soften the space. The first evening, she’d gotten down on her hands and knees and crawled across the hardwood floor, counting twenty-three cigarette burns on its pitted face in the living room alone. A scarred space. Like her.
Jane stared at the blank television screen. She hadn’t turned it on yet, not wanting to let the outside world into her private space. Not yet.
Should she chance a walk to the grocery store for milk and bread? It was several blocks from her apartment in a high traffic part of the city. The idea of going there scared the hell out of her in daylight when she could be recognized. Her trips outside had all been done under the cover of darkness up until now. But she needed an early night. Maybe, if she settled in earlier, she’d be able to sleep. She closed her eyes. Tomorrow morning, she had to go out, regardless. Eight thirty she was to be at the Sally Ann on Division Street to begin her job sorting clothes. The store was open from ten to five thirty, six days a week, but she’d be in the back and had to get there before opening time. She’d leave the apartment extra early to avoid the reporter in case he was sent another day.
The higher you go, the harder the fall. Her God-fearing mother had been right about that. Wrong about a whole lot of other stuff, but bang on with the dire predictions.
Jane stood and crossed the narrow space to the bedroom. She opened the closet door and for a moment stood staring into the empty space. Adam had promised to come by with her clothes but hadn’t returned her calls. She knew that he was away. She’d walked the back streets to her old home on Silver Street her first night out and three evenings after that, each outing filled with disappointment.
She took her jacket off the hanger and slipped it on, pulling the hood over her head. Adam knew her release date was Monday. He’d deliberately taken Olivia and Ben out of town to send her a message. He wanted her out of their lives. He’d let her see them when he was ready, on his terms. She felt resolve course through her. She had nothing left to lose except her relationship with her children. Adam may have divorced her a year in, but she was still their mother. Adam couldn’t make that go away, much as he’d threatened to sever their ties with her.
She paused for a moment in front of the mirror. A diet of prison food had made her lose weight. So much so that she barely recognized the jutting cheeks and narrow jaw of the woman before her, even considering the wavy effect of the glass. Her last haircut, two days before her release, had shorn the length into a cap — long bangs and cropped short above her ears. A pixie cut, the girl had called it, before Jane’s locks of blond hair fell to the floor.
Jane had called it a fresh start.
She grabbed her keys from the top of the dresser and headed for the door. She’d sneak out the back way just in case someone was lingering out front. The fence behind the detached garage had a gap that she could easily slip through. It led into an alley with the brick wall of a house lining the other side of the path. The opening allowed her to come and go unobserved — an escape route already coming in handy as she began her new life in the shadows.

Editorial Reviews

Great cast of characters and very clever plotting.... Altogether a very satisfying mystery!

Ann Cleeves, author of the Shetland murder mysteries

Shallow End is an excellent psychological thriller with a driven protagonist and a pair of good detectives digging into a very complex plot.

Globe and Mail

Ranks among the very best of recent Canadian crime writing.

The Rap Sheet

A textured, nuanced account of complex people caught up in the whirlwind of a major criminal investigation. It features a carefully paced, well-structured plot with finely drawn characters, and ranks among the best of recent Canadian crime writing.

Ottawa Review of Books

? A gripping read.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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