A Long Ways From Home by Mike Martin

Instalment #5 in Mike Martin’s Sgt. Windflower Mystery series finds the Grand Banks Newfoundland RCMP officer monitoring a relatively peaceful motorcycle gang show of strength in the province, only to discover two dead bodies in its wake. This, along with tracking down a missing female motorcyclist has Windflower stretching his limited resources to the full.

Sgt. Winston Windflower is a Cree from Alberta but loves life in Newfoundland with his dog Lady, and his long-time sidekick Corporal Eddie Tizzard. Winston has found love with Sheila Hillier, who happens to be the Mayor of Grand Banks, which has the potential to place them in compromising positions at times.

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This was the first book I have read in the Sgt. Windflower series, and I didn’t feel like I had jumped into the middle of an ongoing saga. Although the majority of the characters in A Long Way From Home had been introduced in previous instalments, one doesn’t really need to know the background stories on any of them to appreciate their characters in this book. The story is well paced and the characters likeable enough although I didn’t find them all that fleshed out, descriptively speaking. It was difficult (for me, anyway) to picture them in my mind’s eye. However, the places in Newfoundland that Windflower travels to and from are very descriptively laid out for the reader, and along with a map of the island provided at the beginning of the book shows Mr Martin’s love of his native province more than anything else. Windflower, true to his aboriginal background tries to stay in tune with his ancestors (living and deceased) by his morning smudging ritual, his attention to his dreams as well as the nature that surrounds him on the island.

A Long Way From Home was refreshing to read in that there was no profanity (even from the bikers!) and any ‘adult’ situations were merely alluded to. There are some very tense moments in the book, one such was when the RCMP, led by Windflower are attempting a surprise raid on the motorcycle gang’s headquarters. It was well choreographed by Mr Martin. There are some underlying themes as well, particularly that of a small community supporting the police and judiciary in ridding themselves of gangs who distribute drugs and arms from warehouses in places like Newfoundland to the rest of the country.

If you like police detective crime fiction that takes place outside the customary big city setting, then the Windflower mysteries will be enjoyable to you.

You can find out more about the Windflower series here: https://sgtwindflowermysteries.com/

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