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There were thirteen crime-scene pictures. Dead faces set in grimaces and shouts. Faces howling, whistling, moaning, crying, hissing. Hazel pinned them to the wall and stood back. It was a silent opera of ghosts. Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef has lived all her days in the small town of Port Dundas and is now making her way toward retirement with something less than gra There were thirteen crime-scene pictures. Dead faces set in grimaces and shouts. Faces howling, whistling, moaning, crying, hissing. Hazel pinned them to the wall and stood back. It was a silent opera of ghosts. Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef has lived all her days in the small town of Port Dundas and is now making her way toward retirement with something less than grace. Hobbled by a bad back and a dependence on painkillers, and feeling blindsided by divorce after nearly four decades of marriage, sixty-one-year-old Hazel has only the constructive criticism of her old goat of a mother and her own sharp tongue to buoy her. But when a terminally ill Port Dundas woman is gruesomely murdered in her own home, Hazel and her understaffed department must spring to life. And as one terminally ill victim after another is found—their bodies drained of blood, their mouths sculpted into strange shapes—Hazel finds herself tracking a truly terrifying serial killer across the country while everything she was barely holding together begins to spin out of control. Through the cacophony of her bickering staff, her unsupportive superiors, a clamoring press, the town’s rumor mill, and her own nagging doubts, Hazel can sense the dead trying to call out. But what secret do they have to share? And will she hear it before it’s too late? In The Calling, Inger Ash Wolfe brings a compelling new voice and an irresistible new heroine to the mystery world.


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There were thirteen crime-scene pictures. Dead faces set in grimaces and shouts. Faces howling, whistling, moaning, crying, hissing. Hazel pinned them to the wall and stood back. It was a silent opera of ghosts. Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef has lived all her days in the small town of Port Dundas and is now making her way toward retirement with something less than gra There were thirteen crime-scene pictures. Dead faces set in grimaces and shouts. Faces howling, whistling, moaning, crying, hissing. Hazel pinned them to the wall and stood back. It was a silent opera of ghosts. Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef has lived all her days in the small town of Port Dundas and is now making her way toward retirement with something less than grace. Hobbled by a bad back and a dependence on painkillers, and feeling blindsided by divorce after nearly four decades of marriage, sixty-one-year-old Hazel has only the constructive criticism of her old goat of a mother and her own sharp tongue to buoy her. But when a terminally ill Port Dundas woman is gruesomely murdered in her own home, Hazel and her understaffed department must spring to life. And as one terminally ill victim after another is found—their bodies drained of blood, their mouths sculpted into strange shapes—Hazel finds herself tracking a truly terrifying serial killer across the country while everything she was barely holding together begins to spin out of control. Through the cacophony of her bickering staff, her unsupportive superiors, a clamoring press, the town’s rumor mill, and her own nagging doubts, Hazel can sense the dead trying to call out. But what secret do they have to share? And will she hear it before it’s too late? In The Calling, Inger Ash Wolfe brings a compelling new voice and an irresistible new heroine to the mystery world.

30 review for The Calling

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jaksen

    Excellent mystery about a 60-year old female CO in a small Canadian town outside of Toronto. There are the usual issues with superiors, staff, new detective, etc., etc., but the slant's a little different and I liked the fact that the MC was an 'older' woman. (Who even has her older-older cranky, independent mother living with her - she used to be the town's mayor!) The situation: a serial killer is targeting terminally-ill people, especially the old, and leaving them with contorted mouths and m Excellent mystery about a 60-year old female CO in a small Canadian town outside of Toronto. There are the usual issues with superiors, staff, new detective, etc., etc., but the slant's a little different and I liked the fact that the MC was an 'older' woman. (Who even has her older-older cranky, independent mother living with her - she used to be the town's mayor!) The situation: a serial killer is targeting terminally-ill people, especially the old, and leaving them with contorted mouths and mutilated bodies. It's kind of weird and I had no idea what that was about until the very end. This is the mark of a superior mystery/thriller author IMO as I've read 100's of mystery/thrillers. (I can count all those Nancy Drew books, can't I?) The writing is superior as the author is also a literary novelist, so his take on how to write is spot-on. No wasted words. Story is all. Yet he knows how to handle suspense, dialogue, description, transitions, etc. So why the four stars? There were one or two places where I got lost - as though there were missing pages in the book. I don't think there were and I had to re-read to get back on track. I still enjoyed the book and am looking forward to the second in this series.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe. I had read and enjoyed The Night Bell by I.A.W. and decided to go back and start with the first book in the Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef series. Hazel Micallef is not your average Detective Inspector. She's over 60 years of age with painful health issues and an aging mother she cares for at home. Detective Micallef is also divorce with a history of alcoholism which has never completely left her life. All that taken into consideration she runs a tight ship with The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe. I had read and enjoyed The Night Bell by I.A.W. and decided to go back and start with the first book in the Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef series. Hazel Micallef is not your average Detective Inspector. She's over 60 years of age with painful health issues and an aging mother she cares for at home. Detective Micallef is also divorce with a history of alcoholism which has never completely left her life. All that taken into consideration she runs a tight ship with a team that respects and has her back. The murders began with a woman who Hazel knew as did her mother. This was the first and not to be the last. These victims had something in common. Their murderer was allowed entry into their homes. There were no signs of defensive wounds but there was something else. Something so strange that it went over everyone's head until the murderers code began to unravel. Inger Ash Wolfe does something few other authors are capable of. He has the talent to write even the most heinous crimes/murders that have a hidden mystery within them. It's not horror for horror's sake ...it's so much more and then lends itself to depth of each and every characters including the victim(s). Highly recommended and hard to put down once started.

  3. 4 out of 5

    William

    The hardest part of writing a mystery for North American audiences has got to be getting the ending right. Because in American mysteries, the whole affair travels the arc from procedural to personal, concluding with the inevitable – and once upon a time, appreciated – face-to-face confrontation between law and disorder. It’s a formula that becomes more tiresome the more the genre adheres to it, and only Europe has truly embraced tossing a little mystery back into the business of, um, mysteries a The hardest part of writing a mystery for North American audiences has got to be getting the ending right. Because in American mysteries, the whole affair travels the arc from procedural to personal, concluding with the inevitable – and once upon a time, appreciated – face-to-face confrontation between law and disorder. It’s a formula that becomes more tiresome the more the genre adheres to it, and only Europe has truly embraced tossing a little mystery back into the business of, um, mysteries again (Thank you, Karin Fossum). To little surprise, this formula turns out to be the worst part of The Calling, which is otherwise, a tightly plotted, gruesome, outstandingly populated, and very well written police novel. The deep rural Ontario setting is brilliant, and each member of the quickly established cast of soon-to-be-regulars is unique and original, at least for the genre. If you like anything about procedurals, you’ll love this novel. Even the treads it sets on the freeway of familiar ideas is done better than I’d hoped, finding at least small measures of originality in one of the game’s oldest set-ups. Outside the book itself, there’s also a lot of speculation about who the author, Inger Ash Wolfe, might actually be. I’m less interested in that, so long as the novels keep coming. This is not just a promising beginning; it’s a chance to push the boundaries of the form into a mindset that lets a mystery be something more.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mascanlon

    Wow! The most compelling book I've read in a long time. The characters have lots of depth and the plotting is twisty, sharp and very, very creepy. Not at all the mid of book I usually enjoy. It was recommended on a mystery book list I read so I took a chance and was rewarded. Set in Northern Canada, the female lead is 61, divorced and troubled by the very bad back and lack of support from regional headquarters. Enter what turns out to be a very scary serial killer who comes only by appointment. Wow! The most compelling book I've read in a long time. The characters have lots of depth and the plotting is twisty, sharp and very, very creepy. Not at all the mid of book I usually enjoy. It was recommended on a mystery book list I read so I took a chance and was rewarded. Set in Northern Canada, the female lead is 61, divorced and troubled by the very bad back and lack of support from regional headquarters. Enter what turns out to be a very scary serial killer who comes only by appointment. The procedural elements of the story are interesting and build suspense in the way the investigation identifies and tracks the killer. The jacket blurbs promise a book that keeps you up at night to finish and that was true. I read this book in one sitting!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym for "a North American literary novelist," so I was curious to see a (presumably) skilled novelist put his or her genre instincts to work. It was a disappointment. There were way too many characters and names introduced at the outset. By page 23, 23 characters had either been met in person, or mentioned (including two named Gord); some of those mentioned would later appear, others didn't. By the end of the book, this number had more than doubled. All the expected p Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym for "a North American literary novelist," so I was curious to see a (presumably) skilled novelist put his or her genre instincts to work. It was a disappointment. There were way too many characters and names introduced at the outset. By page 23, 23 characters had either been met in person, or mentioned (including two named Gord); some of those mentioned would later appear, others didn't. By the end of the book, this number had more than doubled. All the expected police department cliches were present: the main investigating detective is always going off the reservation, superiors are disliked, superiors refuse to allocate additional needed resources, there is bickering and discontent among the two lead detectives, guns get confiscated. There were elements of some Latinate (but new, cultish, and utterly wacked-out) religion that seemed to be attempting to replicate the mystique of other Church-related murder mysteries from authors like Umberto Eco and Dan Brown, rather unsuccessfully. I understand how some of these cultish beliefs relate to the murders, but remain confused on others. We know who the killer is from page 1. The only mystery is motive and how it will all unravel. There is ambiguity; are these mercy killings, or murders? There is the unique aspect of a killer who smells like Juicy Fruit from his body producing ketones as he starves (yet still has the strength to carry out some awfully athletic murders), and the novelty of a detective-heroine who is 61 years old, virtually alcoholic, and in near constant back pain.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    This was an excellent new author for me to read. The book was original in plotline and mostly stayed at a fast pace. All of the characters were "real" to me and for most of my reading I didn't want to put the book down. The book was a little slow in the beginning then there was some less edgy parts in the middle which is why I marked it down to 4 stars. When I think of the characters, plotline, and setting, it reminded me of Lois Penny's series of books with Detective Armound Gamache, only the f This was an excellent new author for me to read. The book was original in plotline and mostly stayed at a fast pace. All of the characters were "real" to me and for most of my reading I didn't want to put the book down. The book was a little slow in the beginning then there was some less edgy parts in the middle which is why I marked it down to 4 stars. When I think of the characters, plotline, and setting, it reminded me of Lois Penny's series of books with Detective Armound Gamache, only the female version. I love how the chief of police was a 60 something woman, which doesn't happen often in police mysteries. It gave the feminine side of the job a good description. It told how she was bogged down with caring for her mother and worrying over her 2 children which would never be described if the main character were male, no matter the age. I am definitely going to be reading the rest of the series to see what this misfit gang of police will be up to next. I highly recommend this to any lover of Louise Penny or any other reader who likes a strong female lead in a police procedural. 4 stars!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    I am not quite half way through this and it is amazing! If you like Cody McFadyen then this book is perfect for you! Finished it and loved it!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stacie Haden

    "Thriller" is too often synonymous with gruesome. For me, the gore took away from what could have been a series I would want to continue. To each his own. "Thriller" is too often synonymous with gruesome. For me, the gore took away from what could have been a series I would want to continue. To each his own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    How do you review this book? It held great promise, the characters were well drawn and interesting but acted irrationaly. The plot was complicated but lacked direction and believabilty. Spoilers Follow: I'm still not sure what motivated the killer. Nor am I sure why Det Insp Hazel Micallif refused to call in the Canadian Mounted Police when she realised there was a serial killer on the ramage. It would seem the logical thing to do. No, instead she kept silent and eventually called in a TV true cr How do you review this book? It held great promise, the characters were well drawn and interesting but acted irrationaly. The plot was complicated but lacked direction and believabilty. Spoilers Follow: I'm still not sure what motivated the killer. Nor am I sure why Det Insp Hazel Micallif refused to call in the Canadian Mounted Police when she realised there was a serial killer on the ramage. It would seem the logical thing to do. No, instead she kept silent and eventually called in a TV true crime show to help catch the killer. If I was Canadian I would be deeply offended by the potrayal of the law enforcement agencies concerned. There are so many other things I could criticise; the random scene with Wingate and the female pilot which was obviously included just to point out Wingate was gay, the easy way the killer gained access to Micallef's home where her 87 year old mother was playing poker with her friends who all thought it was one of their number running late, the complete lack of police procedure at the crime scenes and most importantly, the fact that the killer had already committed numerous other murders in a short space of time and no one was the wiser! I mean to say, how common is it for terminally ill people to commit suicide by cutting their throats? Read at your own peril!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    woah. this was a seriously good murder mystery. a friend who is a book distributor told me that "this is the new margaret atwood," & I thought he meant it metaphorically, but now I'm wondering if he meant it literally. the back cover says "Inger Wolfe is the pseudonym of a prominent North American literary novelist." hmmm. in any case, if you have a stomach for gore and like salty 61-year-old female police chiefs, buy this book. I couldn't put it down. woah. this was a seriously good murder mystery. a friend who is a book distributor told me that "this is the new margaret atwood," & I thought he meant it metaphorically, but now I'm wondering if he meant it literally. the back cover says "Inger Wolfe is the pseudonym of a prominent North American literary novelist." hmmm. in any case, if you have a stomach for gore and like salty 61-year-old female police chiefs, buy this book. I couldn't put it down.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Soo

    Notes: What should have been a great mix of well crafted characters & an interesting serial killer case ended up being a bland series of events that comes to an abrupt conclusion.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    THE CALLING is one of those books. One of those books that I found sometimes utterly compelling; was bored witless in some passages; laughed out loud in others; found myself heartily confused about some of the procedural elements; and was slightly repelled by some parts. It is a serial killer book, and I will admit that I'm getting to the point where I'm over the whole serial killer thing. I'm particularly over the barking mad, out there motive serial killer thing. And there's certainly a barking THE CALLING is one of those books. One of those books that I found sometimes utterly compelling; was bored witless in some passages; laughed out loud in others; found myself heartily confused about some of the procedural elements; and was slightly repelled by some parts. It is a serial killer book, and I will admit that I'm getting to the point where I'm over the whole serial killer thing. I'm particularly over the barking mad, out there motive serial killer thing. And there's certainly a barking mad impetus behind the killer in THE CALLING. Luckily, the plot is a little intriguing and how on earth he's managed to select and convince his victims to co-operate (up to a point) did mitigate the predictable elements somewhat. DI Hazel Micallef is a great character - fiesty, compassionate, very realistic. The fallout from her divorce wasn't over-blown and she's certainly somebody that you can "get a handle on", empathise with. At points she was flat out funny. The relationship with her mother is hugely enjoyable. There is a great sense of small town Canada throughout the book - albeit not the main point of the plots or the book as a whole, but there were nice little glimpses into life in Port Dundas, and the relationship between the small towns and the larger metropolitan areas. The violence implicit in the killings was well handled - most of the very worst off camera, enough of the icky to the forefront to enhance our killer's extremely creepy persona. (Mind you, once in a while a serial killer that wasn't just weird would probably be a lot more chilling.) The oddity that kept wrong-footing me at points though was a procedural element (and it's probably my fault) but I couldn't quite believe that a multi-location serial killer, ranging across the entire of a country like Canada would remain a small-town extremely local investigation with Hazel directing activities in far-flung locations. It might well happen that way - THE CALLING didn't quite convince me of the authenticity of this approach. But as serial killer books goes, THE CALLING was okay - it's not the best crime book I've read in a long while, but it's certainly not the worst, and I'd recommend anyone looking for a strong female character, who can handle a bit of creepy and a bit of gore to try it out. POSTSCRIPT: Inger Ash Wolfe is flagged as a pseudonym for a prominent North American literary novelist. I don't know why people play these games, but knowing / not knowing who the author is doesn't affect how the book reads, and besides, I didn't think the book was so bad that the author needs to hide their identity.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    This book had almost everything I love in a book. It has fleshed out characters who I ended up caring about. It was beautifully written. It had a real sense of place. What I didn't care for was the graphic and gruesome descriptions of the aftermath of the killings. Also, the ending I thought was convenient. I would like to read more about Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef who is a great character but will look at reviews for the next book to see if I can tell if the gore level is lower. This book had almost everything I love in a book. It has fleshed out characters who I ended up caring about. It was beautifully written. It had a real sense of place. What I didn't care for was the graphic and gruesome descriptions of the aftermath of the killings. Also, the ending I thought was convenient. I would like to read more about Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef who is a great character but will look at reviews for the next book to see if I can tell if the gore level is lower.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Claude

    3 and a half stars. Well, I just don't know what to write. I did like Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef, sixty-one year old and living with her mother. But it would normally not be the sort of book I like, mainly because of there being too much gore for my taste. However,it was quite a compelling book and I just had to read on to the end. 3 and a half stars. Well, I just don't know what to write. I did like Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef, sixty-one year old and living with her mother. But it would normally not be the sort of book I like, mainly because of there being too much gore for my taste. However,it was quite a compelling book and I just had to read on to the end.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sue Smith

    Great book with a really nasty serial murder! Loved the characters!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    This first portion of my review does not contain spoilers. Please do not read beyond the bolded comments below if you don't wish to be spoiled on the ending. I really enjoyed this book. The mystery element is solid and when the point-of-view switches to the killer, it is creepy, frequently gross, and thoroughly engrossing. I think this book would have suffered without the reader being able to get an understanding of the killer’s mindset and his “victims”. Oddly enough, sometimes I understood the This first portion of my review does not contain spoilers. Please do not read beyond the bolded comments below if you don't wish to be spoiled on the ending. I really enjoyed this book. The mystery element is solid and when the point-of-view switches to the killer, it is creepy, frequently gross, and thoroughly engrossing. I think this book would have suffered without the reader being able to get an understanding of the killer’s mindset and his “victims”. Oddly enough, sometimes I understood the killer’s motivations more so than the main character, Hazel. I also should note that I loved DC Wingate from his introduction onward. I truly hope in the future that the author switches to his POV more often. With the other characters, I’m curious to see where Wolfe will go with Sevigne (spelling is probably wrong – I was listening to an audiobook). Aside from the issues I have listed below, I am looking forward to the next book about Hazel and crew. :) Unfortunately, the reason why this book received four stars instead of the five I planned to give it contains MAJOR SPOILERS ABOUT THE CONCLUSION OF THE BOOK. Please do not read on if you do not want the end of this book spoiled for you! Consider yourself warned… 1st Issue: A side note that bothered me… The killer puts Hazel in the backseat of his car (probably a Cavalier since that is the last vehicle he was driving), hand-cuffed and in the middle seat. She enrages him, he speeds up and then swerves to the shoulder and brakes hard. Hazel’s head smacks the side window hard enough to hurt her. Is this even possible from the middle seat? I just can’t see someone hitting the side window when buckled in to the middle seat. ‘Course, I could very easily be wrong, but it was just another thing that didn’t seem right. 2nd Issue: The way that the killer kills himself after a short bit of time with Hazel just didn’t seem like something his character would’ve done. It felt very abrupt, out of character, and promptly pulled me out of the story to do a “WTF?”. He has trudged on even though his body is eating itself from malnourishment, but a few words from Hazel has him convinced that his whole mission was in vain and the answer is to blow his head off? This disappointed me greatly… I could’ve foreseen a big, drag out fight between the injured Hazel and ill killer, or him just dropping dead because of the wasted condition of his body, or perhaps he goes to jail, but to kill himself, nope, don’t buy it. 3rd Issue: And lastly, Hazel takes the killers body and stuffs it in the trunk of the car she uses to drive back to town. Isn’t this a big no-no? Disturbing the crime scene and all? I get that at that point she had broken a lot of procedural laws during the course of the investigation, but I really don’t get why she took the body back with her. Couldn’t she have just directed the investigators back to the scene to retrieve the body?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I read "The Taken" before I read this one, so I read out of order. However, it did not take away from the story. The story follows D.I. Hazel Micallef, in a small town called Port Dundas in Canada. The body of an elderly lady Hazel knows all her life, is found in her home, drained of her blood and yet it would appear, humanely killed. The woman has a terminal illness and it would have seemed to have been an assisted suicide, had it not been for the strange post-death mutilation. When Hazel hears I read "The Taken" before I read this one, so I read out of order. However, it did not take away from the story. The story follows D.I. Hazel Micallef, in a small town called Port Dundas in Canada. The body of an elderly lady Hazel knows all her life, is found in her home, drained of her blood and yet it would appear, humanely killed. The woman has a terminal illness and it would have seemed to have been an assisted suicide, had it not been for the strange post-death mutilation. When Hazel hears of another similar death a few hundred kilometers away a couple of days later, she goes to look into this death also and soon makes the link that there is a serial killer on the loose, covering his tracks quite well for some time. Hazel is not your typical lead character. She is 61 years old and has a chronic back problem, which she doses with painkillers and alcohol. She lives with her 87 year old mother and still has a good relationship with her ex-husband, who has now remarried. It is clear Hazel still has feelings for her ex, she has a good relationship with her co-workers also, but now one relationship with her second in command is coming apart, when Hazel refuses to call in the R.C.M.P. to assist with the current case. We know pretty much right off, the man responsible for the killings, but this does not take away from an ending full of high drama and a little suspense. I like this book, despite the fact that the killer is highly competent and yet two cans short of a six pack, there is just something about the style of writing and the authors story-telling ability to keep you on the edge of your seat and able to suspend your belief of the overall plot. There is a third book, which I look forward to tracking down in the New Year.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    I finished this last night and I must admit it turned out better than I'd been thinking it would. Probably about two thirds of the way through, I was pretty much convinced that it was going to be a let down. But it did pick up in the dramatics later on, so that's good. I really enjoyed reading about Hazel Micallef, Detective Inspector in a small town called Port Dundas. She wasn't perfect, not by a long shot, and I like that she made the sort of mistakes one can totally see a small town cop with I finished this last night and I must admit it turned out better than I'd been thinking it would. Probably about two thirds of the way through, I was pretty much convinced that it was going to be a let down. But it did pick up in the dramatics later on, so that's good. I really enjoyed reading about Hazel Micallef, Detective Inspector in a small town called Port Dundas. She wasn't perfect, not by a long shot, and I like that she made the sort of mistakes one can totally see a small town cop with no experience with mass murderers making. The book was full of colourful characters, and I like the "family" feel that the cops had with each other. It was good in a way that there was no make-up scene with Greene, because it's less realistic if you have all the ends tied up, and everything working out nicely. Up until very near the end I wasn't sure how things would end, so I guess I was kept in suspense. I am only giving it three stars because I didn't find it really gripping and I wasn't reading compulsively. But I did enjoy the read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jill Griffith

    Thanks to Peter Bailey, St. Albert Public Library Director for recommending this series, and to CBC Radio Edmonton for having him on to spread the word about this fantastic Canadian mystery author in both genre and name. Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym of the well known (and really diplomatic) Canadian author Michael Redhill. The Calling is the beginning of a new wonderful friendship for me and thankfully I have #2 of the current 4 in this series locked and loaded. A great police procedural tha Thanks to Peter Bailey, St. Albert Public Library Director for recommending this series, and to CBC Radio Edmonton for having him on to spread the word about this fantastic Canadian mystery author in both genre and name. Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym of the well known (and really diplomatic) Canadian author Michael Redhill. The Calling is the beginning of a new wonderful friendship for me and thankfully I have #2 of the current 4 in this series locked and loaded. A great police procedural that keeps you on the edge of your seat, to coin a much oft quoted suspense phrase. Those who enjoy both mystery and detective fiction, and Canadian literature, will really enjoy this title and its main character Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef. Thrilled to have discovered it. Move over Peter Robinson ;)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This book is actually a strong 3.5, but I just couldn't push it up to 4 because of some major problems with the mystery. The main character, Hazel is so well-drawn, interesting and different for a police chief in a novel. I also really enjoyed the depiction of the killer and the manner in which the murders were described, but the motivation of the killer was never flushed out. I wanted much more background on the killer and to see some psychological analysis of his actions. Besides Hazel's mothe This book is actually a strong 3.5, but I just couldn't push it up to 4 because of some major problems with the mystery. The main character, Hazel is so well-drawn, interesting and different for a police chief in a novel. I also really enjoyed the depiction of the killer and the manner in which the murders were described, but the motivation of the killer was never flushed out. I wanted much more background on the killer and to see some psychological analysis of his actions. Besides Hazel's mother, the other side characters were very hit and miss and none of them had the richness of Hazel.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jan C

    oh, why did I put this book down? I must have forgotten how much I was enjoying it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bibliophile

    The murders are horrifying, but not gratuitous. The detective in charge is sympathetic, but not quirky. The setting is rural Canada, where the murderer travels fram small towns to even smaller towns, working on his murderous master plan. I liked everything about this, and may have found a new favorite series. The only stopping me from a five star rating was the ending. I liked how (relatively) understated and realistic the novel was up to that point, and the climax was just a little too over-the The murders are horrifying, but not gratuitous. The detective in charge is sympathetic, but not quirky. The setting is rural Canada, where the murderer travels fram small towns to even smaller towns, working on his murderous master plan. I liked everything about this, and may have found a new favorite series. The only stopping me from a five star rating was the ending. I liked how (relatively) understated and realistic the novel was up to that point, and the climax was just a little too over-the-top.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Ick, this book doesn’t even deserve one star however there is no option for negative stars. I chose another yucky book. I’m a bit gun shy now. I think I will stay away from any book touted a psychological thriller I have been burned too many times.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Donald Schopflocher

    Presents the points of view of both (various) police and of a serial killer; contains both a mystery section and a chase section making it more thriller than police procedural, and having the requisite unexpected twists that keep the thriller reader plowing onward. Together with Canadian locations and a sympathetic set of small-town characters, a good first novel by Michael Redhill whose Bellevue Square represents a quantum leap forward.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nikki in Niagara

    Reason for Reading: My sister brought the book to my attention and I saw that Mo Hayder had put a blurb on it so I definitely was intrigued by this new author. Summary: Inspector Hazel Micallef is the acting chief of police at a small Ontario town. At 61 years of age daily life for Hazel and this police force involves drunks, trespassing, speeding and maybe the occasional domestic dispute. That is until an elderly town citizen dying of cancer is brutally murdered and drained of all her blood. In Reason for Reading: My sister brought the book to my attention and I saw that Mo Hayder had put a blurb on it so I definitely was intrigued by this new author. Summary: Inspector Hazel Micallef is the acting chief of police at a small Ontario town. At 61 years of age daily life for Hazel and this police force involves drunks, trespassing, speeding and maybe the occasional domestic dispute. That is until an elderly town citizen dying of cancer is brutally murdered and drained of all her blood. Investigating the murder Hazel and her force stumble upon a similar case in a small town not so far away and believe they have stumbled upon the trail of a serial killer who has been working his way across Canada. Can they find him before he reaches the Atlantic? Comments: A fabulous new crime writer for me to follow! Inger Ash Wolfe is actually a pseudonym for Russell Smith, an already published Canadian author. While Smith's own books don't hold any appeal for me to read, The Calling is a fantastic addition to the serial killer genre. Very well-written with a creepiness that just oozes from it's pages. The gruesome factor nowhere matches Mo Hayder but it has enough, written with style to satisfy fans looking for hard edge mysteries. It was mostly the plot and the mystery that kept this book alive for me though as I couldn't quite find myself comfortable with the main characters. Hazel is the central figure with a few of her police officers taking secondary character roles. Nobody was particularly likable to me; they all just rubbed me the wrong way. Perhaps this may be unique to this particular reader. Yet I find it hard to 100% enjoy a book when I don't like any of the main characters. There was one guy who I started to like by the end of the book but it is left up in the air as to whether he will be returning. I guess I'll find out in The Taken. I'll certainly be continuing with this series. The plot and the crime are so very unique that I'm eager to find what else Wolfe will come up with and I'm hoping that with another book I'll find a regular character that grows on me. A definite not-to-be-missed book for serial killer crime fans.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nathalie

    A novel recommended to me. As I've probably told already, crime novels aren't my first pick. I can see the plot coming a mile ahead and I don't like that in a novel. The Calling was something else, though. It's centers around Hazel Micallef, a 61 year old woman leading a police force in a small, happy place in Canada, until a grisly murders takes place. Or seems to anyway, because the deeper they dig, the more it seems as if the victim had agreed upon the murder. Hazel acts like a dog with a bone, n A novel recommended to me. As I've probably told already, crime novels aren't my first pick. I can see the plot coming a mile ahead and I don't like that in a novel. The Calling was something else, though. It's centers around Hazel Micallef, a 61 year old woman leading a police force in a small, happy place in Canada, until a grisly murders takes place. Or seems to anyway, because the deeper they dig, the more it seems as if the victim had agreed upon the murder. Hazel acts like a dog with a bone, not letting go, breaking rules as she goes ahead searching the killer that shook up her little jurisdiction. As she unravels the mystery little by little, the truth behind the crime is chilling and in the end she herself is being dragged down in its spiral. The Calling is written quite well, using decent english which sometimes treads the line of becoming a little to literary, but not so much it becomes annoying. The police force seems like a good place to be, if you don't mind breaking the law. Hazel calls upon her staff to sometimes act unprofessionally which ends in new friends and enemies where she hadn't thought to look. The plot keeps you awake. You'll want to read further, to get an answer to the questions they pose, but unlike in a movie, you can only hold your reader's attention for so long, so in the end it got a little tedious. I liked the character of Hazel. She's an uncommon choice of protagonist and with all her faults and dreams she fills in the role perfectly. You might expect a tough granny, but you get a weatherworn, aching, true to life female who's stronger than all the men in her life combined. Liked it? Click here and read more!!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Heidi | Paper Safari Book Blog

    I loved that the main character of this book isn't some svelte young beauty who is new to the job and solves the mystery all by herself with hardly a clue. Instead the main character Hazel is a 61 year old woman, recently divorced, and close to retirement who abhors technology. Hazel is also hobbled by a bad back for which she relies on pain killers and whiskey to help, and has an 80 year old mother who is constantly torturing her to lose weight so she can find a new husband. Her department is i I loved that the main character of this book isn't some svelte young beauty who is new to the job and solves the mystery all by herself with hardly a clue. Instead the main character Hazel is a 61 year old woman, recently divorced, and close to retirement who abhors technology. Hazel is also hobbled by a bad back for which she relies on pain killers and whiskey to help, and has an 80 year old mother who is constantly torturing her to lose weight so she can find a new husband. Her department is in a small town in Canada and is constantly being slated for closure. Her superiors don't think much of Hazel and are constantly denying her requests so when she stumbles on the idea there may be a serial killer on the loose its no wonder that she tries to solve it herself with no help from the higher ups. The death of a local woman is what sparks the investigation and when they find that he is targeting terminally ill people the question becomes is he doing this out of compassion or is he acting on some sick compulsion. Leaving behind bodies that are killed mercifully but then brutally and calculatingly butchered to cover up the crime leads them on a chase from the West Coast of Canada to the East Coast of Canada. I found this a fun fast read. I couldn't put it down. Some people are down on the police procedures not being accurate, but honestly I don't know Canadian procedure and I was just looking to be entertained I wasn't trying to learn about the Canadian judicial system. Inger Ash Wolfe has a new book out called Taken that is the second in this series, can't wait to read it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Iowa City Public Library

    Mystery number one : who wrote this book? The book jacket says, "Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym for a North American literary novelist." Mystery number two is actually less of a mystery because almost from the beginning of The Calliing you know who is killing and mutiliating old people with terminal illnesses. The killer is working his way across the breadth of Canada meeting a precise schedule of pre-arranged appointments, focusing on small towns in rural areas where police resources are stre Mystery number one : who wrote this book? The book jacket says, "Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym for a North American literary novelist." Mystery number two is actually less of a mystery because almost from the beginning of The Calliing you know who is killing and mutiliating old people with terminal illnesses. The killer is working his way across the breadth of Canada meeting a precise schedule of pre-arranged appointments, focusing on small towns in rural areas where police resources are stretched thinly and there is little experience with this type of crime. However, he makes a big mistake selecting a victim from Port Dundas, Ontario where Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef is in charge. She is 61, drinks and takes pills to manage exruciating back pain, divorced after a long marriage, and living with her 87 year old mother. Now, she is on the trail of a horrifying serial killer. A word of caution — the language is very graphic and often disturbing. The writing is more literary than thriller….which brings us back to the original mystery. Who wrote this book? In my attempts to see if the author had been discovered yet, I found this piece from The Toronto Star : http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/... --Susan From ICPL Staff Picks Blog

  29. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    Hazel Micallef is an unexpected protagonist. 61, gray haired, bad back, divorced, and living with her 87-year old mother, she isn't your typical Detective Inspector. She runs a small, rural police department way north of Toronto. She is fighting the powers that be in Toronto to keep her small department afloat amid their desire to consolidate all the small towns. A terminally ill elderly woman is found murdered in a most unusual way. It turns out there is a bizarre religious zealot killing termi Hazel Micallef is an unexpected protagonist. 61, gray haired, bad back, divorced, and living with her 87-year old mother, she isn't your typical Detective Inspector. She runs a small, rural police department way north of Toronto. She is fighting the powers that be in Toronto to keep her small department afloat amid their desire to consolidate all the small towns. A terminally ill elderly woman is found murdered in a most unusual way. It turns out there is a bizarre religious zealot killing terminal people who appear to be cooperating with him. This makes for an interesting book. Here is my criticism - Hazel seems to piece together the serial aspect and the religious aspect of this crime spree too easily, too quickly. The nutcase committing these crimes has traveled across Canada leaving no trace until now. Until Hazel. It came to her too simply. And how Hazel survives with her job after badly bungling is a little unbelievable. But, it was a book with a refreshing new character, so kudos to a woman who looks more like me as the main character.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kat Dietrich

    The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe is the 1st in the Hazel Micallef Detective Series. Wonderful book. Finally, a 61-year old female police detective, solving crimes in small-town Ontario! Her character is amazing....divorced, bad back and addicted to pain killers, living with her elderly mother, and we aren't really sure who is taking care of who. Her policing methods are a little "off-the books", but the job gets done. In this book, when an elderly woman dies in Hazel's home town, her face gruesomel The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe is the 1st in the Hazel Micallef Detective Series. Wonderful book. Finally, a 61-year old female police detective, solving crimes in small-town Ontario! Her character is amazing....divorced, bad back and addicted to pain killers, living with her elderly mother, and we aren't really sure who is taking care of who. Her policing methods are a little "off-the books", but the job gets done. In this book, when an elderly woman dies in Hazel's home town, her face gruesomely formed into a strange shape, Hazel finds herself suddenly tracking a serial killer across the country. Why are the terminally ill being targeted? This is just a refreshing, really good mystery! Looking forward to reading more.

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