While trekking in the Himalayas, Paul Wood and another backpacker come
across a Canadian murder victim whose corpse has been mutilated – there
is a Swiss Army knife stuck into each eye. For Paul this sick crime
is all the more horrifying because it brings back memories of the murder
of his girlfriend two years earlier in Cameroon. Her eyes had been mutilated
the same way. Paul doubts that this can simply be a coincidence, which
leads him to wonder if this killer preying on backpackers is someone
he knows. In both cases the local police force do not want to investigate
or publicize the murders of foreign tourists, so Paul reluctantly concludes
that stopping the killer is up to him.
Paul is an appealing hero – determined to get justice, clever
and resourceful, but also vulnerable. He is a computer programmer whose
expertise and income allow him to spend a third of each year to travelling
in remote areas. He knows how to track the killer across the internet
and across the world, but he also knows that face to face he’ll
be no match for this extremely strong, extremely twisted serial killer.
Paul’s friends and fellow backpackers are deftly described. The
killer’s motivation is discussed briefly but not really explained,
as it’s not that kind of novel. The killer’s choice of victims,
however, is scarily logical and possible.
Evans makes the most of the exotic settings – the Himalayas, Indonesia,
Africa – without allowing description to slow the pace. He also
manages to explain the investigations in the Internet clearly without
being patronizing or getting bogged down in technical details. It all
adds up to an impressive debut thriller.
For more information about Jon Evans or the Paul Wood books,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
(Biography from Harper Collins Canada website ©2005)
"JON EVANS grew up in Waterloo and is a graduate of the University
of Waterloo. Taking breaks between jobs across North America and
Europe, he has travelled the world, searching for the perfect
settings for his fiction. Blood Price will also be published in
the US and
the UK. Jon Evans lives in Toronto."
The above reviewed novel Dark Places won the 2005
Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel.