When Canada’s retired Minister of National Defense, Leland Warner, is murdered in his home, the case is handed to Corporal Danny Killian, an aboriginal man tortured by his wife’s unsolved murder.
The suspect, 60-year-old Sally Warner, still grieves for the loss of her two sons, dead in a suicide/murder eighteen months earlier. Confused and damaged, she sees in Corporal Killian a friend sympathetic to her grief and suffering and wants more than anything to trust him.
Danny finds himself with a difficult choice—indict his prime suspect, the dead minister’s horribly abused wife or find a way to protect her and risk demotion. Or worse, transfer away from the scene of his wife’s murder and the guilt that haunts him…
Mâtowak: Woman Who Cries by Joylene Nowell Butler is part psychological thriller/part mystery/part police procedural. It is set in Canada, so I found some of the investigating and political information was something that was ‘new’ to me as a reader. This book is a sequel, however, I read it without having read the earlier book and I was able to read the story.
The mystery and psychological aspects of the story were well-plotted. Points of view switched between the detective, Corporal Danny Killian, and the suspect, Sally Warner. Both of these characters were majorly flawed and were dealing with several of their own demons. This added a great deal to everything that was going on with the investigation into the murder of Leland Warner.
When viewpoints change, I do like for there to be something before that happens, so that you know there is a change. Some of the chapters, it felt like they just jumped right into the other character and I found myself a little confused before I realized we changed viewpoints. The uncertainty from multiple twists and turns caused there to be more confusion up until the end of the story when things came together.
Overall, I did feel that this mystery lived up to my expectations. I would read another book by this author.
Excerpt Chapter 23
“It’s possible she’s telling the truth about the book. What did the librarian say?” Lacroix asks, after our regular morning meeting has ended and we’re alone.
“Nobody remembers her borrowing the book. The surveillance footage isn’t clear enough to show the book’s cover.”
“Even if she read it, it doesn’t prove she killed him. It was over three months ago. Why did she wait?”
I rub my eyes. “I don’t know.”
“But you think she shot him?”
“We’ve gone back six months through his cases. Not one red herring. We’re now going back a year. Like you said, why would someone wait that long?”
“We need evidence, something to present to the Crown so they can present it to the jury. That’s how the penal system works. We find the bad guys—”
“Give me a break.”
“Pardon me?” Lacroix looks calm.
I need my head examined. “Look. I’m sorry about Dr. Meshango. But that’s your fault. I didn’t ask you to interfere in a murder investigation to protect her.”
“Be careful what comes out of your mouth next.”
I shake my head. I don’t have a clue what I hope to gain by sprouting off. Except I’m tired of not speaking because I’m afraid I’ll lose my job.
When all is said and done, not much matters any longer except my job. Sally Warner probably killed her husband, because he deserved it. I don’t care. I just need this asshole off my back. Anyone who expects people to sit in this piece of junk he calls a chair doesn’t deserve their respect.
“Fine, call me a dumb shit. But my people and I have been working this case night and day for a week and we have nothing. Nada. Zilch.” I lift my hands, palm out, and then drop them to my lap. “Help me out here. You’ve read the report. Why do you believe Sophie Brooks, Sally Warner, and Dr. Meshango are innocent?”
Lacroix glares at me. “Dr. Meshango has an alibi. Apparently, so does Miss Brooks. If Mrs. Warner is your killer, where is the evidence? What happened to the weapon? Where are her bloody clothes? Your gut instincts aren’t going to cut it with the Crown Counsel.”
I lean forward, rest my forearms on my knees, clasp my hands together. “Ain’t that the truth.”
“Is she guilty?”
“I think so.”
Lacroix’s eyebrow shot up. “But there is no proof.”
When Joylene’s father died in 1983, she wrote her first full–length manuscript to channel her grief. The seven-year process left her hooked and she began Dead Witness within a few weeks of finishing Always Father’s Child. Today Joylene is the author of three suspense novels: Dead Witness, Broken But Not Dead, and the steampunk collaboration Break Time. While she’ll admit being published didn’t fix all the wrongs in her life, she wishes her parents had lived to see her success. Dead Witness was a finalist in the 2012 Global eBook Awards. Broken But Not Dead won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal and its sequel Mâtowak Woman Who Cries is due for release November 1, 2016.
Joylene lives with her husband and their two cats Marbles and Shasta on beautiful Cluculz Lake in central British Columbia. They spend their winters in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico.