Saturday, December 8, 2018

"Darkest Before the Dawn" by Mike Martin

I always like to give credit to my blogging friend Crafty Gardener for leading me to a great author, Mike Martin. He's a Canadian born in Newfoundland, the location he's picked for his Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series.  I've read several of the books including A Tangled Web.

Mike's newest and seventh book in the series is Darkest Before the Dawn, One of the great things about his books is that you can read one as a stand-alone without difficulty. But knowing more of the backstory is always good.

The main character is Sgt. Winston Windflower, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer of Cree heritage that is posted in Grand Bank, Newfoundland.

Grand Bank is a real town of about 2,500 residents. It's four hour's drive west of St. John's on the southern tip of the Burin Peninsula.  As a coastal community, it's heritage is closely tied to the sea and fishing, especially cod. This YouTube video by Travis Parsons (Vinland) Photography will give you a feel for the area.

The story opens with Sgt. Winston Windflower making a presentation to women at the Grand Bank United Church. A series of break-ins has people unnerved. After all, it's a small town where people rarely lock their doors. Then circumstances escalate and the story quickly evolves into a murder mystery.

The plot expands to include the topics of suicide, limited mental health services, drugs and even bit coins. Grand Bank may be small and remote, but like most places around the world it has similar problems. You also experience small town life, get to know its people including Sgt. Windflower's wife Sheila Hillier (the mayor) and their newborn daughter Amelia Louise, his faithful collie Lady, and a ghostly specter haunting their newly renovated BandB. All of the characters are well developed and well rounded.

Wayne and I visited Newfoundland in 2009 and again in 2014. It's an exciting destination to explore with small outport villages, some much smaller than Grand Bank.

I like that Mike uses his native province as the setting because I enjoy reading about places I've visited. Now, back to the story.

Life is usually calm in Grand Bank. Then Sgt. Windflower is called to the scene of a gruesome murder in a private home. One murder leads to another. What could be happening in this seemingly quiet community? And the biggest question, will he fulfill the tradition and get his man? You'll have to read Darkest Before the Dawn to find out?

Come take a drive around Grand Bank. Your starting point is the RCMP Station.

I've said this before but it's true, the author couldn't have chosen a better locale in which to set his story. It's a perfect match.

Mike's writing style gave me a strong mental picture of the people and places. I was able to relate personally. Even if you've never been to Newfoundland, the plot and characters will make you feel right at home.

You can find out more about Mike Martin at:

Mike Martin on Crime Writers of Canada
Mike Martin on Twitter
Mike Martin's Author Page on Amazon
Mike Martin on !ndigo
Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series on Facebook
Mike Martin book reviews on the Crafty Gardener blog

Darkest Before the Dawn is available in print and ebook formats. Online options include, and !ndigo/Chapters. -- Margy


  1. I love this series and have reread it a few times. Thanks for the link back to my site. As usual, I can’t wait fir the next book. Newfoundland is a province I would love to visit.

    1. Every time he writes a new book I am thankful you led me to his series. I still have one older book to read, but that works out okay since I can mentally fit it into the timeline. - Margy

  2. Visiting Newfound is on my bucket list! For now, I will read this mystery. Thank you for reviewing,!

    1. It was on ours too, and we enjoyed it so much we went back. - Margy

  3. It's a great part of Canada, nicely celebrated with novels!

    1. Mike takes you there and makes you feel like a local. - Margy

  4. I love your introduction to the setting of the novel. I would love to visit Newfoundland some day. There are some similarities to Maine.

    1. I enjoy learning more about the background and setting for the books I read. It personalizes it for me. - Margy

  5. Seeing More of Canada is high on our bucket list...for now, I appreciate the book suggestion. I love a mystery with a sense of place.


Thanks for stopping by. Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome. - Margy