Short-listed for the 2005 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel
When the naked corpse of a girl known only as Sparrow is found wrapped in barbed wire on a storm-swept beach, community coroner Elias McCann must investigate the sadistic killing. Suspects abound in The Family, a gaggle of homeless youths led by a grizzled veteran of Canada's mean streets. But menace also seems to lurk around the neglected property that so fascinated Sparrow before her death. The property is slated for transformation into a seaside resort by a developer who seems intent on acquiring all of Tofino -- and Elias's girlfriend, Vhanna Chan. To find the killer Elias must first unravel the mystery of Sparrow's past.
Mark Zuehlke lives and writes on Vancouver Island. This is the third book in the Elias McCann Mystery series. The first, Hands Like Clouds, was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. It was followed by Carry Tiger to Mountain. Zuehlke's other books include Juno Beach -- Canada's D-Day Victory and Scoundrels, Dreamers, and Second Sons.
This is the third novel in the Elias McCann series by Zuehlke, and the best. Zuehlke, who lives on Vancouver Island, has really caught the culture and pace of his Tofino setting, and McCann, the local coroner, is a well-developed character with smarts and charm. The plot is solid. A young woman named Sparrow is murdered, her naked body wrapped in barbed wire on a cold and isolated beach. The crime is brutal and sadistic, and there's no shortage of suspects. Sparrow was part of a group of street youths known as the One Earth Family, and there are many references to the worst days of the Manson family. But McCann sees more in Sparrow and her association with the barren land she died on, and he must uncover her past to find the answer to her death. Excellent. -Globe and Mail, November 13, 2004
"Sweep Lotus is well crafted, with interesting characters and relationships and a beautiful West Coast setting.
Henry G Macleod, Canadian Book Review Annual