EMC news – Glen Cairn author C.B. Forrest released the third and final novel in the Charlie McKelvey trilogy on Tuesday, June 12.
The Devil’s Dust follows McKelvey as he travels to his hometown of Ste. Bernadette, a small mining town in northern Ontario.
The novel is a poignant story of a man coming to terms with the choices he’s made in life – without being predictable or preachy.
“There’s a section in it that I really like that sums up the whole conundrum of life,” said Forrest. “We rush through a lot of stuff.
“All of a sudden you’re middle aged and what were you rushing for?”
The Devil’s Dust is the conclusion to Slow Recoil, nominated for the Arthur Ellis Award for best crime novel, and The Weight of Stones, which was short-listed for the Arthur Ellis Award for best first novel.
The trilogy takes place over the course of about three years of McKelvey’s life. All three novels are page turners, and the last book is no different. It has a major plot twist that will keep readers flipping the pages.
“It’s almost like you’re along for a ride,” said Forrest. “You don’t know how it’s going to end.”
McKelvey, a big city Toronto cop, now retired, comes full circle in the last book. He is forced to examine his own mortality after a cancer diagnosis and deal with issues he has run from in the past – including a failed marriage, the death of his son and the possibility his father may have been part of a violent period in Ste. Bernadette.
“He comes home physically and metaphorically,” said Forrest. “He’s self aware…he’s screwed up and he knows he’s screwed up.”
McKelvey is a real character, flaws and all, and that is one of the main reasons readers connect with him.
“He’s gruff, he wants the world to be black and white but he knows it’s not,” said Forrest.
“He’s a knight in dented armour.”
After receiving much praise for his depiction of Toronto in the first two novels, Forrest said it was a gamble to change locations in the final book.
“It was, I think, actually risky for me,” he said. “But I wanted to render a portrait of the north just as much as Toronto.”
A former court journalist for The Sudbury Star and Northern Life, Forrest realistically weaves the intricacies of small town character, politics and police life as the town deals with an outburst of methamphetamine and the subsequent crime wave – something he credits to his research and interview skills learned at the newspapers.
After five years of living with McKelvey in his head, Forrest said it’s bittersweet to have published The Devil’s Dust.
“It’s been an incredible experience and I’m grateful for it,” he said. “I was very happy with how the book ends. It’s true to McKelvey.”
Forrest is in the stages of plotting out a new crime-based series “with a bit of a twist,” but he wouldn’t elaborate further.
“I think I’m just getting started,” he said, adding he will continue to write until “I’m not able to write anymore or until they take my pen away.”
For more information or to order a copy of The Devil’s Dust, visit the website at www.cbforrest.com.