Thursday, June 1, 2017

Michael J. McCann - Burn Country - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

The latest in a series of barn fires in Leeds County turns ugly when a body is discovered inside the burned-out husk of an old hay barn near the village of Elgin. When the victim turns out to be Independent Senator Darius Lane, a renowned artist and social activist recently appointed to the upper chamber by the prime minister, Detective Inspector Ellie March of the Ontario Provincial Police finds herself coping with an RCMP national security team which must first assess whether the senator’s involvement in sensitive government business led to his brutal murder by forces hostile to Canada. While Detective Constable Kevin Walker works the case files of the previous barn fires looking for a serial arsonist within Leeds County who may have killed for the first time, Ellie discovers that the intervention of RCMP Assistant Commissioner Danny Merrick, unexpectedly polite and charming, will place her directly in the cross-hairs of a homicide investigation with national repercussions! This is the second book in the March and Walker Crime Novel series and the sequel to Sorrow Lake, which was shortlisted for the 2015 Hammett Award for best North American crime novel.

My Review

If you like ruminating over little slices of life like I do, then you'll enjoy trolling through the pages of this detective novel.

Michael J. McCann has a knack for using superfine brush strokes when it comes to crafting his characters. Admittedly, his novels are peppered with a wide variety of names and faces—from police personnel to various suspects—and admittedly I'm not all that great at keeping them straight—but what I do remember are those subtle nuances that jump off the page and hit me square between the eyes.

There are lines I simply won't forget like, "I think she'd charge admission to her own funeral, the bloodsucker." Now the elderly woman being referred to by the investigator only makes a brief cameo appearance before exiting stage left, but the humor in McCann's writing makes you take notice of her when she informs him that she intends to charge him for her coffee, her chili, and even for the use of her copy machine.

Another one is, "…an eccentric, retired academic with not a lot of exposure to the harsher side of life." Again, this person emerges only once, as someone who knew the victim, but the description resonates because I think we all know someone like this guy.

Even when capturing the feel of a vicious, angry dog, McCann describes the action of his chain as, "Snap, drop. Snap, drop," and it makes you feel the surging energy in the dog as he's ready to attack the cops on sight. It's a brilliant way to depict the danger that police officers face day in and day out when investigating a murder, showing that they never know what they're going to encounter on a minute to minute basis.

There are many other instances I can talk about such as a female cop's sarcasm at having to dress appropriately for an important meeting, "Look professional. Feel professional. Act professionally. The world according to Nordstrom." Or even a line about the victim who was beaten and then set ablaze, "He was a hard man to love, never mind like."

But hands down the one that got me was, "I've always been attracted to a man who fights back." Who makes this whopper of a statement? Let's just say she's one difficult lady to arrest. Hmmm…a possible female killer in a tale full of male suspects? Happy reading, mystery fans.


Burn Country can be purchased at:

Prices/Formats: $5.99 ebook, $24.99 paperback
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781927884096
Publisher: Plaid Raccoon Press
Release: March 17, 2017
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

Michael J. McCann was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. He earned degrees in English from Trent University and Queen's University in Kingston, ON.

He is the author of Sorrow Lake, the first March and Walker Crime Novel, which was shortlisted for the 2015 Hammett Award for best crime novel in North America.

He is also the author of the Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel Series, including Blood Passage, Marcie's Murder, and The Fregoli Delusion. The Rainy Day Killer, the most recent in the series, was longlisted for the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for best crime novel in Canada.

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Blog (mystery)
Blog (paranormal)
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. A great review.

    I like the use of the words.

  2. Thank you very much for participating in the blog tour. It's extremely gratifying when a reader notices details at this level and can appreciate what I'm trying to do with my characters. Thanks so much!