Closing Time - Brenda Chapman

A moment of silence please, as I mourn the passing of one of my favourite series. I’ve enjoyed every one of these books & feel like I’m saying good-bye to old friends….friends with lives waaay more exciting than mine.


In the final instalment, we find Kingston police officer Kala Stonechild at loose ends. She has a good life in the city but can’t deny a growing urge to chuck it all & hit the road. She has some big decisions to make & in an effort to clear her head, she & niece Dawn head off to a cabin in the wilds of northern Ontario. The little resort promises spotty cell service & no wifi but plenty of rivers to explore by canoe followed by quiet starlit nights. Perfect. Or it should have been.


People staying in the cabins only see each other when they gather for meals at the main lodge. Among the staff & guests is Rachel, a pretty 16 year old working as a waitress for the summer. Unfortunately, Kala will only get to know her after her broken body is found on the side of the road. She’s been brutally murdered & the small, close knit community promptly goes into shock.


Enter OPP Officer Clark Morrison, a former colleague of Kala’s when she worked in a northern detachment. And due to staff shortages, he could really use a hand. Would she be interested in a temporary reassignment? This was supposed to be a break from bodies & paperwork but Kala can’t shake the feeling the killer is hiding in plain sight. And they might not be done.


Back in Kingston, boss Jacques Rouleau ok’s her request to join the investigation. But he’s worried. He & her partner Paul Gundersund have sensed Kala’s restlessness for a while & wonder if this is her first step toward saying good-bye.



Readers expect a lot from a final book. You want a great story but usually there are some long running plot lines to tie up as well. This strikes a good balance. The investigative aspect is detailed & loaded with red herrings that keep your brain veering in every direction. When the killer was revealed, I had to do the forehead smack….how could I forget the most basic tenant: cui bono? But in my own defence, my God, some of these people are a hot mess. When Morrison compared their shenanigans to Peyton Place, he wasn’t wrong (something for all you youngsters to google).


But it’s also a very personal read. If you’ve been following along, you know Kala had a rough start in life. It’s affected her ability to form relationships & recognize a home when she finds it. Her friendship with Jacques is the heart of the series & he’s become the father figure she never had. And after some bumps in the road, she & Paul built something solid. Or so I thought. As Kala pondered her future I found myself dreading the final pages as I had very firm opinions about where these characters should end up (one didn’t quite pan out so in my head I added a chapter. Go for it, Vera!).


This aspect of the story is about change, those life altering decisions that are scary. Where you call home, what you hang on to & what you let go. Several of the characters are at a crossroad & the choices they make are reflected in the book’s title. I’m sure the publishers would have loved the series to continue but hats off to the author for going out on a high. Hopefully she has a new gang of great characters lined up & I look forward to whatever comes next.