Off the Shelf
No Time to Bury Them by Mark C. Eddy
No Time to Bury Them
By Mark C. Eddy; 2017, 166 pages
April 23, 2018 By Eric McMillan Streeter.ca
At the beginning of the past century, the Yukon was North America’s last wild frontier of fast riches, sudden death, rampant crime and (sometimes literally) dog-eat-dog survival. At least that’s how it is portrayed in Toronto writer Mark C. Eddy’s quick read, No Time to Bury Them.
It’s 1907 and the Klondike Gold Rush has waned, leaving the Royal North-West Mounted Police overseeing the declining towns of gamblers, broken families and murderous gangs. In Dawson, the north’s crown city, the Mounties have fallen under the sway of a criminal kingpin, Eric Morgan. He runs the town and he is planning a half-million-dollar gold heist.
Never fear, for reformed-alcoholic-turned-Dudley-Do-Right Mountie Richard Carol in nearby Fort MacCammon plans to stop him.
Much of the novel deals with the trek of Carol’s small force through the icy woods and over the frozen rivers. All the way he is playing cat and mouse with Morgan’s men who fight to prevent his patrol from reaching Dawson alive. This is the best part of the novel. It’s a gruelling, exciting story, reminiscent of Jack London’s tales of survival.
Backgrounds and relationships are sketched out quickly and never really develop much beyond that. There is just about as much nuance to the characters as you get in the average television cop show.
The attention is on the back-and-forth chase in the unforgiving, snow-bound landscape. The plot takes several twists readers will not see coming.
Panegyrics to the north’s police force and to the future of the Yukon under its guidance, put in the mouth of our most noble officer, don’t help. They sound as though the writer is trying to make amends for portraying some Mounties as corrupt. He pretty well admits this in an author’s note at the end.
Eddy needn’t be so sensitive to the feelings of the 150-year-old force. He should trust his ability to spin a compelling story of action and doing right in a harsh land over a century ago.
– Eric McMillan, Streeter.ca
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