As a part of her Fun for Families charity tour, Amanda Doucette leads a group of teens on a camping trip into the Laurentian Mountains of Canada. In no time at all, one of the boys turns up dead, and another (who is suspected of having terrorist links) disappears. Amanda and her friend Chris Tymko of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are desperately trying to find the missing boy while also needing to stay more than one step ahead of a killer.
Barbara Fradkin's first Amanda Doucette mystery, Fire in the Stars, was one of my Best Reads last year, and this second book is a strong follow-up. Through reading these mysteries, I'm learning about parts of Canada that I previously didn't know a thing about, and I always enjoy that, especially since Fradkin does a marvelous job with her setting. The mystery itself is fast-paced and multi-layered, doing an excellent job of keeping readers guessing what's going on and who's responsible.
As in the first book, Amanda Doucette takes center stage. Retired from her humanitarian aid work in remote countries, she's now trying to manage the Fun for Families charity tour which takes disadvantaged youth on adventure trips that provide brief escapes from the daily struggle of their lives. For this particular trip, the teens are Muslims whose parents are refugees from a variety of countries, and it's interesting (and a bit frustrating) to read about the obstacles Amanda has to overcome in order to make this trip happen.
It's a good change of pace to read about a character who leads with her heart, a character who always wants to do good, a character who cares more about the welfare of others than she does her own life. That being said, reading about such a character can be exhausting and a real emotional roller coaster. Although she's firmly on the side of good, Amanda is a fanatic, and she always feels as though she's the one who has to be the savior of the day. The further I read, the more exasperated I got with her character until-- by the time I'd reached the end of The Trickster's Lullaby-- I knew that I didn't really care to read any more about Amanda.
Please be advised that your mileage can certainly vary. I like Fradkin's writing and will search out her other books. I just don't care to spend much time with fanatics. If they don't bother you, then you should enjoy this very well-written book.
The Trickster's Lullaby by Barbara Fradkin
Dundurn Press © 2017
eBook, 336 pages
Amateur Sleuth, #2 Amanda Doucette mystery
Source: Purchased from Amazon.