Suspenseful Mysteries, Indigenous Heroes

R. J. (Rachel) McMillen writes suspenseful mysteries, with indigenous heroes, who help Detective Don Connor solve his cases. An environmentalist and sailor, Rachel and her husband traveled their beloved British Columbia coastline for many years. Now she writes mystery novels that interweave adventure and suspense with the natural environment and culture of the Pacific north-west. With their topical mix of politics and current affairs, her books involve her readers in environmental and indigenous issues in a way that is so integral to her plot that she carries us into them as participants rather than distanced  observers. She has published four novels in the series, and her fifth is in the works. Once you read the first, you’ll keep coming back for more like kids to the candy table.

Her latest, Pale Mist Drifting, the fifth in the series, will release soon. It’s another suspenseful mystery that brings back all your favourites: Dan Connor, his marine biologist partner Claire, and the indigenous  friend and partner, Walker. Her fans will love this latest.

In order they are :

1. Dark Moon Walking (A Dan Connor Mystery)*

Dark Moon Walking is a fast-paced thriller. The plot keeps the reader guessing with finely drawn characters and adroit twists and turns. A sinister black boat glides through the night and into the lives of the three main characters: retired RCMP detective, Dan Connor, marine biologist Claire, and Walker, an aboriginal ex-convict with a complex past connection with Connor.

The villains pursue Claire, because she knows too much about their activities to live. Connor and Walker join forces to rescue her and the three of them attempt to fathom the mysterious scheme the occupants of the black boat are putting in place. Something big and bad is going to happen, but what? Dan, Claire, and Walker intend to figure it out, even at the risk of losing their lives to some very nasty people.

McMillen clearly knows the B.C. coastline and the people who live on it. e and respect for the aboriginal people and their culture. The locale – the islands, coves, bays and coastline of Northern British Columbia – is such an integral part of the plot, it is a character in its own right. McMillen is a master of striking word pictures at drawing the reader into the location. It is easy to stop and reread the descriptions to immerse yourself in the place.

2. Black Tide Rising (A Dan Connor Mystery)*

The story also takes place also in the Canadian Pacific, on an Island and its sea corridors. Here, by being a friend, ex-cop Dan Connor becomes involved in the pursuit of criminals who think nothing of committing murder and kidnapping to get what they want. Walker, now an indigenous hero and a man he arrested long ago, and is now his partner in the investigation, translates for Dan the magical, telltale rhythm and sounds of the forest and pushes him to develop better awareness of the wild to help with the case. It

3 Green River Falling  (A Dan Connor Mystery)*

When a series of murders targeting oil pipeline workers strikes in a remote coastal community in northern BC, Dan Connor and Walker pair up once again to solve the suspenseful mystery that will keep you reading until late into the night.

Someone has murdered five pipeline employees and a journalist is missing, and all the clues seem to lead to a Haida man who is also Walker’s friend.

Walker is convinced that his friend is innocent. RCMP officer Dan Connor, pulled in to conduct the investigation, and Walker team up once again to search out the truth.

4. Gray Sea Running (A Dan Connor Mystery)*

Gray Sea Running by R.J. McMillen
Gray Sea Running, a Dan Connor Mystery, by R.J. McMillen

RCMP Detective Dan Conner has a problem. A friend’s grandson is missing and Dan’s boss asks him to make unofficial enquiries. Turns out, that’s only the first of his worries. Three other men, two of them from a reclusive Haida community, have disappeared in suspicious circumstances while working on the fish farms among the beautiful Queen Charlotte Islands along the west coast of Canada. When his unsociable and self-reliant friend Walker asks for his help, too, Dan takes his 57-foot boat out to track down the roots of the disturbing mystery.

Along the way, a beautiful woman, a fancy dog, a suspicious powerboat, a judo dojo and a pizza box all play their part in unraveling the tangle. The heedless practices of the big salmon fish farms and the men who run them, who are destroying both the formerly pristine bays and inlets of the delicate Pacific ecosystem and a way of life that has existed for generations, form the background of the fast paced murder mystery.

5 Pale Mist Drifting (Coming Soon)

Her writing is impeccable, with each word carefully chosen and perfect in the situation. Each character is well drawn, unique and memorable. The pacing is rapid and each book, hard to put down. Many people who figure in McMillen’s books are environmental heroes whom we need to emulate if we want our planet to survive. Yet McMillen never shoves her ideas down readers’ throats. Instead, I promise you suspenseful mysteries and many late nights as you break each promise to yourself that you will read ‘just one more chapter.’

Her descriptions of the west coast are so vivid, readers feel the fog and rain, smell the ocean and see the seals playing. An indigenous editor who lives in the area where the stories are set edits all McMillen’s books . McMillen researches her books by consulting the wonderful and generous people of the area and recognizes and thanks them in the Acknowledgements.

Review by Keira Morgan

*This is a sponsored link with Amazon. It is a win-win because the author receives the same profit and I receive a small commission.

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