One for the Rock by Kevin Major

In One for the Rock, his first venture into crime fiction, Kevin Major has written a fast-paced and highly enjoyable novel that will appeal to fans of the genre, but which also offers the dual bonus of an engaging narrator and a vividly rendered St. John’s, Newfoundland setting. Recently divorced ex-teacher Sebastian Synard runs a tour operation, St. John’s landmarks being his specialty. It is a boutique enterprise, accepting a half-dozen clients at a time.

His latest group holds no surprises, demographically speaking, being mostly folk in their latter years (60s to 80s) from the U.S. and Canada, the exception being 40-something Renée Sipp, from France. They set out on their initial excursion, a trek along Signal Hill. But there’s a mishap, fatal as it turns out. One trekker, Graham, annoyingly attached to his cell phone, tumbles over a guard rail to his death. By all accounts, the incident seems an unfortunate accident. But something doesn’t add up, and Sebastian, in possession of Graham’s phone, becomes suspicious and to satisfy his curiosity conducts a haphazard inquiry in parallel with the official police investigation.

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From this point the novel takes flight, drawing the reader into a deepening mystery that veers along with unforeseen twists and turns and eventually places Sebastian in life-threatening danger. One of the delights of this breezy entertainment is Sebastian’s complex personal life, which includes a young son who knows how to teach his father a thing or two about searching the internet, and an ex-wife who rarely passes up an opportunity to point out her ex-husband’s shortcomings and who, as it happens, is romantically involved with the lead detective in the murder case.

Sebastian’s sardonic attitude toward life and living is reflected in his first-person narrative voice, which peppers the text with plenty of ironic asides and snarky observations about human nature and mainlanders’ assumptions about Newfoundland. One for the Rock may not be the most profound novel you’ll encounter this year, but Kevin Major—a veteran writer with books of adult and YA fiction, poetry, history, and drama to his credit—knows how to spin a good yarn and not waste a single word while doing it.

About the author: Governor General Award winner Kevin Major is the author of seventeen books—fiction, literary non-fiction, poetry, and plays. As Near To Heaven By Sea: A History of Newfoundland and Labrador was a Canadian bestseller. He lives in St. John’s.

  • Paperback : 192 pages
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1550816877
  • ISBN-10 : 155081687X
  • Publisher : Breakwater Books (April 20 2018)

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Ian Colford’s short fiction has appeared in many literary publications, in print and online. His work has been shortlisted for the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, the Journey Prize, the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, and others. His latest novel, The Confessions of Joseph Blanchard, was the winner of the 2022 Guernica Prize and was published by Guernica Editions in 2023. He lives in Halifax.