This detective story is a rare vintage - cleverly crafted to keep readers guessing. Self-Publishing Review
Packing an intellectual punch, this smart murder/mystery will have you guessing and gripped! Why would anyone want to murder one of the most respected senior citizens, Niagara-on-the-Lake has ever had? Retired history professor Edward Mitchell was surely not long for the grave, so why would someone risk life in prison to kill him? Picking up the clues is the reluctant Homicide Chief Detective, Bryan Dee. Thinking he might be out of his depth he is happy to enlist the aid of his friend, Kris Gage. But when Dee reads the deceased's last entry in his diary, 'time to take care of K. Gage,' he becomes torn between investigation and friendship.
As an urban planner, Gage is used to the bureaucracy of planning. Following the money, he finds himself in the middle of corrupt developers who seek to take all the charm out of the area. Has Niagara-on-the-Lake become Niagara-on-the-Take?
The Concrete Vineyard is an intriguing and unique whodunit. If you like great characters, clever plots and intelligent storytelling, then you'll love Cam Lang's gripping and thought-provoking novel.
THE CONCRETE VINEYARD by Cam Lang is intriguing and chock-full of unique ponderings in the guise of a murder-mystery, while offering an in-depth look at urban planning/development through fresh, insider eyes. IndieReader Approved.
A millionaire nonagenarian turns up dead just after his Canadian estate hits the market.In this debut mystery, wealthy, aging historian Edward Mitchell lists his Niagara-on-the-Lake estate in Ontario with a local realtor. That night, Mitchell pours a glass of wine, but something goes wrong “between his palate and the pinot.” The “unwavering aroma of death” hits the back of his throat. Just before dying, Mitchell thinks, “those who live long enough get their just reward.” Chief Homicide Detective Bryan Dee begins the murder investigation just as his best friend, Kris Gage, flies into town to help his aged parents move from their large country home. Gage is an urban planner, and he suggests to Dee that Mitchell’s death is connected to land acquisition: “I think he was killed for his property.” The Belucci Group, a major property development firm, is not above suspicion, as the top executives have “their fingers in a lot of well-paying pies.” Of concern is the whereabouts of widower Mitchell’s latest will, presumably written after his only offspring, John, died in an accident five years ago. Mitchell now has no heirs—or does he? Although aged, he had remained an imposing presence who “got looks from women half his age” and whose medicine cabinet was chock full of Viagra. Gage believes Mitchell “was trying, right to the bitter end, to get someone pregnant” so he would have an heir. Looking around Mitchell’s mansion for clues, Dee is shocked to find the entry “Time to take care of K. Gage” in the deceased’s diary. No match for author Louise Penny’s famed Quebecer, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, Dee is nonetheless appealing as a middle-aged, golf-loving cop who rose through the ranks due to circumstances rather than talent. Gage, whose first-person account smoothly alternates with third-person narration, is, like Lang, an environmentally conscious urban planner. Considerable Canadian history is woven through the enjoyable book, as are rich descriptions of the country. The pacing is superb and surprises are frequent, but some readers may object to the abundance of four-letter words (Chapter 18 is called “No Fucking Trees!”).
An entertaining, many-layered mystery with an engaging hero.
The Concrete Vineyard by Cam Lang is a thrilling murder mystery, packed with wit, suspense, and historical undertones. The novel is set in Ontario, where on the occasion of Canada Day, a revered history professor, Edward Mitchell is found murdered. It becomes a point of heavy suspicion as to why someone would kill the 91-year-old man. Bryan Dee takes up the case hesitantly and pulls in his urban planner friend Kris Gage to assist him. But things take an unexpected turn when Bryan finds Kris’ name mentioned in the last diary entry of the deceased professor. What could be the motive behind the murder? Is the incident connected with the real-estate that Mitchell owned? This is a story about past regrets, grief, and corruption, well-wrought into a comprehensive whole by the author’s brilliant prose style. The characters are minutely drawn, making it easy for the readers to understand their individual viewpoints with accuracy. The burden of regrets that each character carries, makes its way into the reader’s hearts, thanks to the sensible characterization. Set in Niagra-on-the-lake, the novel paints a vivid picture of the locale, with particular attention to small details. While reading the work, it feels as if the author is taking us on a journey of this picturesque town. The significance of preservation of historical places and responsible planning is one of the key themes that recur throughout the novel. The War of 1812 and Canada’s role in it are important driving forces in the plot. Packed with information and a high educational value, The Concrete Vineyard is able to have a strong grasp over the reader’s attention span from beginning till the end. The author’s real-life experience in the field of urban planning allows him to infuse authenticity into his debut novel.The Concrete Vineyard is an in-depth localized touch, humorous exchanges, a highly interesting plot, and convincing resolution. The twists and turns in the storyline keep the readers glued to the pages. The book is a long one, but undoubtedly a delightful read. Cam Lang presents us with much more than just a regular mystery novel. For those who wish to know more about the historical backdrop of Canada without delving into the thick history books, this is a must-read. ★★★★★
The Concrete Vineyard blends politics with a cozy mystery as it covers the murder of a retired history professor in a small-town vineyard.
Edward Mitchell just put his mansion, the most revered historic estate in Niagara-on-the-Lake, up for sale. Most likely, his death was somehow connected to that move. Or, was it?
Homicide detective Bryan Dee is not keen about his job or its challenges. He just wants to close the case; especially since circumstances look to be clear-cut. But he knows nothing about property sales and taps his old friend Kris Gage, an urban planner who has just returned to his home town to help his parents, to help him understand the issues that seem to be connected to the murder.
When he discovers that Kris also has unexpected links to the event, the plot—and the town’s relationships—thickens.
What begins as a murder investigation turns into a question of friendship, trust, and motive as Bryan edges closer to a truth he really doesn’t want to confront.
What does all this have to do with Canada’s 150th birthday and the War of 1812? Plenty; because apparently it’s a battle being re-fought not just in the town, but on Bryan’s own turf. And it’s already turned deadly.
Cam Lang provides an absorbing story which nicely juxtaposes mystery and confrontation with small-town pleasures such as boating on the water. His use of the first person helps capture Kris’s observations and experiences, using a warm tone that involves readers in not just his life, but the politics and milieu of the changing community around him. The story is rich in descriptions and insights.
Readers of cozy mysteries who enjoy social and political community commentary added into the intrigue will find The Concrete Vineyard just the ticket. It’s an engrossing story of how development challenges, changes, and threatens long-held values and different generations.
More than just a whodunit murder mystery, this tale of community influence and change will keep readers thinking long after the problem comes to a head, offering insights into development and historic precedent that are thought-provoking and engrossing in and of themselves. The mystery becomes not just part of the cake, but adds an intense flavor to the frosting, as well.
A deft plotting, deeply realized characterization, and keen understanding of human psyche make this a must-read mystery…In Lang’s skillfully layered debut mystery, a decade-old crime, grief, and regret provide the backdrop for an account of vengeance and redemption in the cozy town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. When the reluctant Homicide Chief Detective Bryan Dee is assigned to investigate the killing of 91-year-old retired history professor Edward Mitchell, one of the most respected senior citizens the city has ever had, he is happy to enlist the help of Kris Gage, his best friend and an urban planner. But when Bryan happens upon the victim’s last diary entry with Kris’s name in it, he finds himself torn between his friendship and professional commitment. Meanwhile, following a financial trail, Kris uncovers a dark web of corruption. Lang’s assured, rich prose effortlessly draws the reader into the story, and his tension-filled narrative is rife on unexpected turns, keeping the pages turning. All the main characters, including the victim and the perpetrators carry heavy emotional baggage, and Lang skillfully explores their grief, loss, fear, insecurities, rage, and regrets. In creating the setting of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Lang beautifully evokes its spirit, making it alive in readers’ hearts. Along the way, he examines the themes of revenge, redemption, corruption, and social justice. The minute details of urban planning are infused into the narrative with subtlety. This is a mystery readers will relish for its sensitive characterization, expert plotting, local color, and relentless suspense. Writing both from heart and gut, Lang is an author to watch.
Capturing the pastoral air of a classic murder mystery, The Concrete Vineyard by Cam Lang is a well-crafted whodunit with a colorful cast of suspects, and just as many red herrings. Boasting colloquial charm and an outlandish plot, this urban planning thriller carves out its own genre niche. The storytelling style is unexpected and engaging, placing a possibly untrustworthy narrator into a buddy cop framework, with Lang weaving the layers exceptionally well, given the story’s complexity. The murderous stakes feel high at times, but this detective story is a rare vintage – cleverly crafted to keep readers guessing, without taking itself too seriously. ★★★★
The Concrete Vineyard has hit the #1 Bestseller status on Amazon.com.
The Concrete Vineyard is a murder mystery with elements of urban planning, thrills, twists, and turns that unexpectedly engage the reader from the world they are in. It all begins with the suspicious death of an old man named Edward Mitchell. He was such a peaceful man, a retired history professor that couldn’t have had any enemies. So, the mystery unravels when Detective Bryan Dee begins to put the pieces together.
The story is well-written, and the plot has many components of thrill to it. It was fascinating to keep wondering what was going to happen next. Most of the motive behind the murder was the impending sale of Edwards mansion, a historical building that had been in his family since the late 1700s.
It was easy to like Edward and want justice for what happened. I particularly enjoyed the historical and urban facts about the building and its development. I think it induced richness and a sense of depth to the story.
Detective Bryan Dee wasn’t any Sherlock Holmes, but he did have an interesting personality that went along with the storyline.
I recommend this book to murder mystery readers and those who like historical references in their story.