Blog Tours, Book Reviews

Book Review: Buried Secrets Blog Tour


Come back to Grand Bank for another great adventure in Sgt. Windflower Mysteries…

By Mike Martin

BURIED SECRETS, Mystery, Ottawa Press and Publishing, 285 pp.

RCMP Sergeant Winston Windflower is at a crossroads as career opportunities intrude on his near-perfect life in the blustery paradise of Grand Bank, Newfoundland. Just as the pandemic ends, the little oceanside communities are rocked by the murders of prominent figures, an RCMP Staff Sergeant in St. John’s and a minister in Grand Bank, and it’s implied that there are national security implications to at least one crime. There’s also a sinister new character hanging around doing the parish’s dirty work. Windflower finds himself a primary investigator, balancing work, potential major changes, and life with a young family while seeking guidance from his ancestral teachings and dreams.

Are the crimes connected, and can Windflower and his team find the killer before they strike again? Even as the police work becomes more complicated and even dangerous, Sgt. Windflower finds time to enjoy his family, his friends and always some great food. Come back to Grand Bank for another great adventure in Sgt. Windflower Mysteries.

My thoughts~
Mike Martin brings the current world events into the eleventh book of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. I have not read any of the previous books, so to jump in at book eleven felt crazy. However, Buried Secrets does read as a stand alone and I was absolutely able to enjoy the mysterious and cozy feel of this novel without reading the other ten books first. Buried Secrets is perfect for reading this time of year during Autumn and certainly for Winter too.

As if a pandemic that feels like a complete shut down for a very small area is not enough. Then, when life starts to become “normal” again, there are murders to add to the mix. There are other aspects going on that feel as though having those murders to focus on is something of a relief. There are also mentions of open and closed cases of missing young women. Cases of girls, sex trafficking’s, drugs, troubled teens. It’s all part of what Sgt. Windflower and his friends make part of their work, to get those girls help, off the streets, into good, safe places. That and investigating murder is the build. These things create personalities for Sgt. Windflower and the people in his life. The focus is how Sgt. Windflower deals with his work, his spirit, his family and with everything around him.

The backdrop is described in long drives with the beautiful scenery of nature, a loving family and many spiritual practices, all in a small community where everyone knows everyone. Sgt. Windflower is portrayed as a spiritualist attuned with the earth, his ancestors and the connection with all things that sparks an incredibly interesting setting. That mindset provides a stable and calm character that leads the story as well as the investigations into the murders and other ongoing cases. The mood set in this story is an easy going, charming, good kind of vibe. Something to really get cozy with on a cold winter night.

I love the writing style of the author Mike Martin. A feel-good story with plenty of sharp details that kept everything rolling and building. It was incredibly easy to fall in love with the characters and to connect with Sgt. Windflower.

Windflower would get to go back to Grand Bank himself this weekend to join his family and hopefully see old friends for the first time in what seemed like forever. That cheered him, despite his tiredness as he pulled into the driveway of his rented house on Forest Road. He had a long, cool shower and put on his shorts and tee-shirt to enjoy a beer and the last of this fine summer day.

He sat on the back deck and popped the top off his Quidi Vidi Honey Brown Ale, one of his local favourites. He called Sheila to see how she was faring in Grand Bank.

“Hi, Winston. I’m doing grand, thank you. Although the fog is rolling in from Saint-Pierre. That’ll cool things down pretty good. Uncle Frank is coming over for supper.”

“How’s he doing?” said Windflower. “He must be bored out of his mind with the B&B shut down.”

“You know Frank,” said Sheila. “He’s always got something to do. As far as the B&B goes, I guess it’s a write-off this year. Levi is okay. He’s getting the employment benefits, but even if they say we can open, there are no tourists anyway.”

“I guess it’s hard on anybody that depends on tourism,” said Windflower.

“But everybody here is safe and well. That’s what really counts,” said Sheila. “When are you coming down?”

“I thought I’d leave first thing Friday morning,” said Windflower. “I’ll be there by lunchtime, and I’m going to take Monday, too.”

“Excellent,” said Sheila. “The girls miss you terribly. Me, too.”

“I miss you guys a lot,” said Windflower. “I’ll call later to say goodnight.”

Windflower hung up and drained his beer. He thought about another but didn’t want to get into another bad habit. One he was already trying to break was eating take-out. When you were by yourself, it wasn’t as much fun to cook alone. He wasn’t walking as much either. Sheila had taken his collie, Lady, with her to Grand Bank. But he missed her companionship, and she was always ready for a walk. Come to think of it, he even missed Molly, the cat.

He and Molly had a love-hate relationship. She demanded love and she hated him. Well, hate was a strong word. But she didn’t like him, and if he was really honest, he was afraid of her. Despite all of that, he missed them all. Sheila, the kids, the animals and the eternal chaos that surrounded all of them. It was his life, and he really missed them.

To cheer himself up, he made a plan to have a steak for supper. And so he wouldn’t be too lonely, he called his neighbour and new friend, Wilf Pittman. Wilf was a widower who had helped Windflower with numerous projects around the house and had become a surrogate grandfather to his girls, both of whom adored him. That was especially true of Stella, who’d had a hard life so far and who clung to Wilf Pittman as one of her anchors. He was happy to love them both in return and to be part of the extended Windflower family.

Wilf had already eaten, but he was happy to come over for a visit. He was there in a couple of minutes.

“You get used to eating early when you’re by yourself,” said Wilf. “But I love the smell of barbeque.”

Wilf and Windflower chatted while he cooked his steak and continued while Windflower ate his dinner. Windflower made a pot of tea and cut the last of a cherry pie into two pieces as they went back out on the deck to enjoy the evening.

Later, Windflower walked Wilf home and continued his walk alongside Quidi Vidi Lake, walking to the bottom of the lake and circling back. He watched TV for a little while when he got home and read until bedtime. He called Sheila to say goodnight and drifted off to sleep.

His peaceful repose was disturbed when he woke up in a dream. Windflower knew it was a dream because when he felt himself stir, he looked down at his hands. That was one trick his Auntie Marie and Uncle Frank, master dream weavers, had taught him. “Look for your hands,” Uncle Frank had said. “Then you’ll know you’re in the dreamworld and you will be able to understand more of what’s going on.”

Auntie Marie, his most dear and cherished family member, had passed not long ago, but before she left, she had taught Windflower many things about dreaming and how to interpret his own dreams and those of others. Windflower was a Cree from Northern Alberta, and while his family was known for its dream-weaving abilities, it was not a common thing among his people. Most knew and believed in a spirit world, but few had mastered the art of dream weaving.

Uncle Frank had tutored Windflower, along with his wife, and while Auntie Marie was the true master, his uncle had a lot of skills in this area that Windflower took advantage of too. After Auntie Marie’s death, Uncle Frank had decided to move to Newfoundland and stay in Grand Bank. He would look after the beautifully restored B&B that Sheila and Windflower had brought back to life. Unfortunately, the pandemic put a cold, wet blanket on those plans.

As he thought about his uncle and aunt with fond memories, Windflower’s dream became more vivid. He found himself in a small boat, a fishing dory, at sea. He could see nothing but water in all directions. Then he felt the boat being lifted into the air. At first, he thought the boat would rise and lift off into the sky. But just as quickly as it rose, the boat fell down again. Then it was lifted up again. Then lay gently down on the water.

When Windflower looked around and underneath his boat, all he could see was a mass of black in the water. Then a giant eye appeared. Windflower realized it was a whale. The whale blinked. Did that whale just wink at me? Windflower didn’t have much more time to think because he could feel the whale diving below the boat, and he and the vessel were being sucked underneath with it. Just as he thought he would surely drown, he woke up.

He shook himself awake and went to the bathroom. That was strange, he thought. I wonder what that was all about. Because dreams were always about something. Maybe he could talk to Uncle Frank about it when he saw him on the weekend. That was as much as he could do for the night, so he turned off the lights and went back to sleep. He must have been tired, because he didn’t wake until his alarm went off in the morning.



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Mike Martin was born in St. John’s, NL on the east coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand.

He is the author of the award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mystery series set in beautiful Grand Bank. There are now 11 books in this light mystery series with the publication of Buried Secrets. A Tangled Web was shortlisted in 2017 for the best light mystery of the year, and Darkest Before the Dawn won the 2019 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award. Mike has also published Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries, a Sgt. Windflower Book of Christmas past and present.

Mike is Past Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers and a member of the Newfoundland Writing Guild and Ottawa Independent Writers.

Buried Secrets is his latest book.

You can visit his website at or connect with him at Twitter and Facebook.

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