Whisper of the Seals by Roxanne Bouchard trns David Warriner

Today Mandie plays a little Orenda Books catch up with a review of Whisper of the Seals by Roxanne Bouchard. I absolutely loved this book (and the series to be fair) and you can read my thoughts right here. Before we look at Mandie’s thoughts, here’s what the book is all about:

Sorce: Advance Reader Copy
Release Date: 18 August 2022
Publisher: Orenda Books

About the Book

Fisheries officer Simone Lord is transferred to Quebec’s remote Magdalen Islands for the winter, and at the last minute ordered to go aboard a trawler braving a winter storm for the traditional grey seal hunt, while all of the other boats shelter onshore.

Detective Sergeant Joaquin Moralès is on a cross-country boat trip down the St Lawrence River, accompanied by Nadine Lauzon, a forensic psychologist working on the case of a savagely beaten teenager with Moralès’ old team in Montreal.

When it becomes clear that Simone is in grave danger aboard the trawler, the two cases converge, with startling, terrifying consequences for everyone involved…

The award-winning author of The Coral Bride returns with an atmospheric, race-against-the-clock thriller set on the icy seas in the midst of a brutal seal hunt, where nothing is as it seems and absolutely no one can be trusted.

Mandie’s Thoughts

Whisper of the Seals is the third book in the Detective Morales series and from the first chilling chapter you just know that when Fisheries officer Simone Lord steps foot on the Jean-Mathieu to observe a Seal hunt that things are not going to go smoothly. For one thing none of the crew are particularly keen to have a woman on board never mind one from the Fisheries agency and for another this crew all seem to be keeping secrets and may not have just a seal hunt in mind.

Detective Morales is dealing with the finality of his divorce and is on a cross country cruise but still manages to get embroiled in an investigation into the brutal beating of a teenager when his old colleague joins him aboard the cruise. As they dig deeper it soon becomes evident what the real reason for the seal hunt is and that Simone may be in more danger than from just bad weather and a dodgy crew.

Simone Lord is a strong character, and you can see why when dealing with the misogyny of both the boat crew and her colleagues. Described as an “overachiever” you can see why she had to be, in a male dominated profession Simone felt she had to be better and do better than her male counterparts and show no fear whilst doing her job. 

Joaquin Morales is still not sure about how to deal with his personal life or how he truly feels about Simone, that is until it is evident that she is in real danger and he starts to pull out all the stops to find her even if his actions do not always by the book. 

It is hard not to acknowledge that the book deals with the subject of seal hunting and whilst I am not sure even now I like the thought of those cute looking mammals being hunted and killed, Roxanne Bouchard gives the reader a balanced view of the practice from both the perspective of the hunters and that of the protesters – will say though when reading the scenes that detailed the hunt itself I still had that bottom lip jutting moment and a silent noooooo in my head. 

The tension in the book builds in the same way the storm at sea and you are often left wondering if anyone will survive the harsh weather and if everything is really worth it. Despite the harshness of the conditions or maybe because of them the location is like another character that everyone is doing battle with. With the ending leaving me a little bit sad I hope that we see more from Detective Morales and how this affects him. 

I have become a big fan of Roxanne Bouchard’s writing as there is just something about it that transports you to that cold but stunning location that is the setting for the series giving the vivid pictures in your imagination and I look forward to more from her partnership with translator David Warriner who has helped in allowing me to immerse myself in the stories time after time.

About the Author

Ten years or so ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the Gaspé Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets, and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies. Her fifth novel, the evocative, atmospheric, beautiful, We Were the Salt of the Sea – her first to be translated into English – achieved exceptional critical acclaim. Its sequel, The Coral Bride, the second in the Detective Moralès series, was on the bestseller list in her native Quebec, before being published in English and around the world. Roxanne lives in Quebec with her partner, and is working on the third book in the series.

About the Translator

David Warriner translates from French and nurtures a healthy passion for Franco, Nordic and British crime fiction. Growing up in deepest Yorkshire, he developed incurable Francophilia at an early age. Emerging from Oxford with a Modern Languages degree he narrowly escaped the graduate rat race by hopping on a plane to Canada – and never looked back. More than a decade into a high-powered commercial translation career, he listened to his heart and turned his hand to the delicate art of literary translation. David has lived in France and Quebec, and now calls beautiful British Columbia home.

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