Stormy Cove by Bernadette Calonego and translated from German by Gerald Chapple is an evocative page-turner in which the setting of Stormy Cove in Newfoundland reflects the moodiness of the novel’s actions and characters.
Lori Finning, a Vancouver-based photographer, comes to remote Stormy Cove to take pictures for a coffee-table book for Mona Blackwood, a publisher in Calgary. Lori understands right away that this is an unusual request and that Mona may have an underlying motive, but takes the job which will have her residing in Stormy Cove for a year documenting the daily lives of the fishermen and other inhabitants.
Immediately Lori finds that the people of Stormy Cove, although close-knit, are welcoming and eager to help her. They invite her into their lives. One fisherman, in particular, Noah Whalen, mysterious and handsome, offers to take her around on snow-mobile and his fishing boat.
The death twenty years ago of one of Stormy Cove’s own, Jacinta Parsons, still hovers over the town and its people. Lori’s curiosity takes over and she probes into the murder along with the disappearance of Una Gould, whose house she is staying in. It soon becomes apparent that although the residents of Stormy Cove are congenial, they have their own secrets that they don’t share and they may even be misleading Lori.
And, then there’s the mysterious Isle of Demons where a strange, pained howling can be heard. No one knows why this howling occurs and there seems to be no natural reason for it, but once heard, it stays forever with a person.
As Lori’s life becomes entwined with Stormy Cove’s residents, another murder occurs, seemingly linked to Jacinta Parsons’. Who can be trusted now? And, what exactly is Lori capable of? Because she may not be as innocent as she seems.
Stormy Cove is cleverly plotted with a seemingly straight road diverging off into paths that dead-end or curve back. The reader begins to be unsure of whether the narrator is completely reliable and what exactly the “nice” people of Stormy Cove are hiding. However, thankfully, this isn’t written in the Gone Girl fashion of twists that has become de rigueur. In some ways, the tone and setting of Stormy Cove reminds me of gothic novels.
Calonego has done an excellent job of characterization. Lori is not just a straight-forward narrator. She is a complex character with faults and weaknesses that come into play. Although initially tactful in order to not alienate the townspeople, she becomes more brash. I found the characterization to be a refreshing change from the usual mystery heroines who are either glib and irreverent or mousy.
There’s a fair amount of interesting Canadian history regarding the native inhabitants, the European settlers, and the fishing life. As well, Calonego does a good job of bringing to life, the struggles of fishermen in an over-fished world.
Overall, an excellent read, much recommended.
This book will be published on May 24, 2016.
From Amazon: Stormy Cove
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
(4 butterflies and a lady bug [as I am morally opposed to halving a butterfly]).