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 Niagara-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. ★★★★★
March 19, 2021