From Sweetgrass Bridge by Anthony Bidulka – Book Review

From Sweetgrass Bridge by Anthony Bidulka – Book Review

From Sweetgrass Bridge by Anthony Bidulka

From Sweetgrass Bridge

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On a perfect prairie summer evening, Saskatchewan Roughrider Dustin Thomson goes missing. As the Green & White’s first primary quarterback born in the province and first Indigenous quarterback, Thomson is beloved and celebrated. Mistrusting the police investigation, the family hires Merry Bell P.I. to find the football star.

From the dark waters below Sweetgrass Bridge to the lands of Little Turtle Lake First Nation, Merry seeks answers while dealing with her continuing transition, swelling loneliness, a floundering career, well-meaning crossdressing assistant and having to decide whether the people in her life are friend or foe.

Review by Julie

‘From Sweetgrass Bridge’ is the second outing for private investigator, Merry Bell, from the pen of Canadian-based author, Anthony Bidulka. Merry has returned home to Livingsky after a stint working in Vancouver. Her caseload remains static and she has been supplementing her income by working as a security guard. She is naturally delighted when a new enquiry email pings into her inbox and she quickly enlists the cousin of quarterback, Dustin Thomson, as a new client. Dustin has gone missing and Merry is tasked with finding him. She gradually delves into the background of this Indigenous celebrity sportsman, seeking answers to questions the police seem reluctant to pursue.

As a secondary thread, we again meet Roger whose wife has a design company located next to Merry’s PI office. Roger hosts a true crime podcast as his alter ego, Stella. Roger/Stella would dearly love to become part of the team at LSI and ever keen to impress, has started an independent investigation into some anonymous letters Merry received after she first arrived.

The author remains faithful to the format of the first book in this series and we continue to see aspects of Merry’s personal challenges with the emotional side of her transition and her feelings of isolation. We also explore Roger’s psyche as he struggles to rationalise his need to be both Stella the podcaster and Roger, the electrician who is also a husband and father.

The descriptive passages and settings are evocative with the pace remaining even. Methodical processes lead the reader through the layers of the investigation to its conclusion. My only small gripe is a bit of head-hopping. Sharing the thoughts of more than one character in a segment can be confusing but, as it wasn’t repeated too often, it didn’t distract from the overall impact of the story.

This is an enjoyable and well-written book with some repeat appearances from Merry’s foils from the first story although each book stands alone. I particularly like the dynamic Merry is establishing with her new acquaintances and hopefully she will have more luck in attracting clients going forward. I award five stars.

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Anthony Bidulka

Anthony Bidulka

In 1999 Anthony Bidulka left his career as a corporate auditor to pursue writing and never looked back. His books have been shortlisted for numerous awards. Flight of Aquavit was awarded the Lambda Literary Award for Best Men’s Mystery, making Bidulka the first Canadian to win in that category. 2022’s Going to Beautiful won the Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence for Best Crime Novel and the Independent Publisher Book Award as the Canada West Best Fiction Gold Medalist.

For his literary achievements and widespread volunteer and philanthropic efforts, Bidulka has received honours from the University of Saskatchewan, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, was named Saskatoon Citizen of the Year and recognized by his home city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with the selection of a two-part park named Bidulka Park and Bidulka Park North. Bidulka lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and in his free time loves to travel the world, collect art, walk his dogs, obsess over decorating Christmas trees (it’s a thing) and throw a good party.

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