When respected ex–Canadian Forces commander Bern Fortin cuts short his military career to take a job as the coroner for a small mountain town in the heart of BC, he’s hoping to leave the past behind. Bern’s looking forward to a quiet life, but the memories of what he witnessed during his stints in Afghanistan and other war-torn countries haunt him still.
When the body of one of the workers is found floating in the huge bottle-washing tank at the local brewery, Bern is called in for a routine investigation. What first appears to be a tragic accident takes a menacing turn when the body of the worker’s girlfriend is discovered in a nearby field. Bern needs the help of brewery safety investigator Evie Chapelle, who, burdened by tragedies she might have prevented, is more determined than ever to keep her workers, and their tight-knit community, safe. Soon, Bern and Evie find themselves risking their jobs—and their lives—to uncover a killer hiding in a place where it is awfully hard to keep a secret.
Deryn Collier’s debut novel is a taut mystery full of suspense. Confined Space was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for best unpublished first crime novel by the Crime Writers of Canada.
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Reading Group Guide
After the abrupt end to his military career, Bern Fortin has settled into an uneasy peace in Kootenay Landing—a peace he knows can’t last.
Small-time drug dealer Seymour Melnychuk is found dead after being shot in the forehead. In a seemingly unrelated incident, Gary Dowd abandons his van while crossing the US border. Could the incidents be connected? As Bern and police constable Maddie Schilling close in on the killer, they soon find that secrets can’t remain buried forever – not even their own.
Questions for discussion
1. The Kootenay Landing community is, to some degree, supported by the financial and health benefits of the marijuana industry. Discuss the importance and the detriments of individuals breaking the law for something they believe is their right.
2. Early in the novel, we are introduced to Cindy Forsberg as a young girl in an abusive and poverty-stricken home. Why do you think the author chose to include this narra see more