2016 Unhanged Arthur Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel — Winner
When a phantom stalker targets her friend, Lacey McCrae’s crime-busting skills are tested to their limits.
With her career in tatters and her marriage receding in the rear-view mirror, ex-RCMP corporal Lacey McCrae trades her uniform for a tool belt, and the Lower Mainland for the foothills west of Calgary. Amid the oil barons, hockey stars, and other high rollers who inhabit the wilderness playground is her old university roommate, Dee Phillips. Dee’s glossy life was shaken by a reckless driver; now she’s haunted by a nighttime prowler only she can hear.
As snowmelt swells the icy river, threatening the only bridge back to civilization, Lacey must make the call: assume Dee’s in danger and get her out, or decide the prowler is imaginary and stay, cut off from help if the bridge is swept away.
J.E. Barnard's first book in the Falls Mysteries series, When the Flood Falls, won the Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award in 2016. Her novella Maddie Hatter and the Gilded Gauge was an Alberta Book of the Year and a 2018 Prix Aurora finalist. She lives in Calgary.
This complex, unconventional debut, which revolves around the power of men to instill fear, unfolds slowly, introducing the voices of three individuals suffering from some form of trauma.
Set in the stunning foothills of the Rocky Mountains, When the Flood Falls weaves a compelling, intricate tale of love, community, and betrayal in the high-stakes world of big oil and hockey. In this impressive series debut, Barnard introduces Lacey McCrae, a tough but fragile ex-RCMP officer in search of a new path to dignity.
Beneath the many mysteries of Barnard’s character-driven debut are enduring questions about the complexities of life and the choices people make.
A master at developing characters with believable, deep and rich histories that give authenticity to their psychological states and affect the interactions and relationships within the story.
A taut, high-stakes thriller that is deeply personal, internal, and psychological.
A fine debut, one hopes the first of many Lacey McCrae novels to come.
More than a riveting page-turner, When the Flood Falls also offers readers a stirring celebration of female friendship and the ability of women to summon strength and resilience in times of crisis. I already can’t wait for the next Lacey McCrae adventure.