A murder enveloped in pain and mystery…
When Canada’s retired Minister of National Defense, Leland Warner, is murdered in his home, the case is handed to Corporal Danny Killian, an aboriginal man tortured by his wife’s unsolved murder.
The suspect, 60-year-old Sally Warner, still grieves for the loss of her two sons, dead in a suicide/murder eighteen months earlier. Confused and damaged, she sees in Corporal Killian a friend sympathetic to her grief and suffering and wants more than anything to trust him.
Danny finds himself with a difficult choice—indict his prime suspect, the dead minister’s horribly abused wife or find a way to protect her and risk demotion. Or worse, transfer away from the scene of his wife’s murder and the guilt that haunts him…
About the Author:
When Joylene’s father died in 1983, she wrote her first full–length manuscript to channel her grief. The seven-year process left her hooked and she began Dead Witness within a few weeks of finishing Always Father’s Child.
Today Joylene is the author of three suspense novels: Dead Witness, Broken But Not Dead, and the steam-punk collaboration Break Time. While she’ll admit being published didn’t fix all the wrongs in her life, she wishes her parents had lived to see her success. Dead Witness was a finalist in the 2012 Global eBook Awards. Broken But Not Dead won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal, and its sequel Mâtowak Woman Who Cries is due for release November 1, 2016.
Joylene lives with her husband and their two cats Marbles and Shasta on beautiful Cluculz Lake in central British Columbia. They spend their winters in Bucerias, Nayarit.Matawak: Woman Who Cries, by Joylene Nowell Butler
Murders happen and sometimes no one can figure out why as this novel begins with the death of Canada’s Minister of National Defense. Someone killed him in his kitchen. Leland Warren died at someone’s hand and Corporal Danny Killian has been assigned the task of finding out who wanted him dead and why. Within this novel we learn more about Danny as his memories linger back to the murder of his wife which is still unsolved. Sally Warner is 60 years old and lost her sons two years before to suicide and now her husband. So, why is she the prime suspect in the murder? Relating to Danny for some reason she finds him forthcoming gets to talk about his mother and her death and feels that she can trust him to find out the truth. But, hearing his voice, his superiors and then Sally’s the story is told from both Sally and Danny’s viewpoints as this woman’s life becomes more than an open book. Getting to know Leland you wonder why someone waited so long to take him out as he is noted for being abusive to not only Sally but his late sons too. Not thought of as being friendly or really liked he was feared. As Danny struggles to find the truth will it affect his standing on the force or will he soar to higher ranks? Readers are presented with two point of views in one chapter as you have to carefully read making sure which one is speaking as you work through the case with Danny. As we meet Sally during his interrogation or interview you begin to wonder if she is aware of what happened, cares about the murder or why is she so focused on returning to her own room and home not even thinking that finding her husband killed in her home might bring back visions of the dead body making her home a difficult place to be. The murder of her husband was violent as the death or suicides of her sons the same. Why would one son kill the other and then himself? What was the motive as we delve more into Sally’s life with Leland? The conversation broadens to an Aborigine artist named Sophie and her relationship with her son Declan and the fact the Leland wanted it ended but not until Declan knew it didn’t bother his father anymore at which point Bronson steps in and things change. When Sally relates the truth behind the deaths of her sons you see a different picture that was not on the surface and the reasons why Declan killed his brother. Sadly though she seems distraught, disoriented and when describing the murder of her husband she openly states maybe it’s political or maybe it had something to do with what he was trying to accomplish. Either way Leland was disliked. As she relates more about Sophie and why she disliked her added in Danny’s boss was dating what she states as a woman half native and half white giving him more than pause for thought as his boss might not be a suspect in the murder.
The two prominent voices are that of Sally and Danny as each one rationalizes their motives and feelings about the case and Leland’s death. Remorse, anger, confusion and debate over whether she should be sad that he is gone knowing that he was mean, cruel and abusive. At times she wonders if he is with her sons in heaven and where they are now since all three are gone. Feeling alone yet still very vibrant you wonder what her next move is as Danny visits the college professor that is involved with Sergeant Lecroix his boss and tries to question her but the interview seems more like a teacher and professor sparring with each other asking and answering questions to see if he is fluent in any Native languages and then they go from there. It’s as if she is toying with him and is taking the interview in stride and lightly trying to control the situation.
The voices change several times within each chapter within this novel giving readers different perspectives on the same situation as Sally Warner begins to drift off to a time when Leland was alive and we hear his belittling, see his cruel hand to his wife and sons and understand why Declan killed Branson and then himself. Danny Killian tries to rationalize why his boss is defending Dr. Meshango and where she fits into this case and if she killed Leland. As Sally recants her feelings about Dr. Meshango, her fear about being with her and learning more about Sophie Brooks the troubled girl who lies in order to make people think that she is the victim, we hear more about the deaths of her sons and the fact that Sophie wants to blackmail Sally by telling all about her life, her marriage and her sons.
Torn between his feelings for his late wife and not being able to question the investigators that are trying to solve her murder, Danny often regresses in the past as he is pressured by Lecroix to find the killer and bring the case to a close. Leland Warner had three personalities within this self-absorbed man. All three involve controlling others and making them feel inferior to himself as he often brutally beat both of his sons for their weaknesses and then took out the rest on his wife. Second, after the death of both sons he tried to create jobs, housing and ways to help others that were less fortunate and of course there is the man that cheated on his wife and promised a young girl he would help her in her career. Three personalities yet all wanting control and none showing any compassion for others. So, who killed him and why?
There is a third plot looming within this novel as there are missing young girls that when found are raped and killed and Danny has been given the job of finding the killer as he meets with the father of one of the victims and yet he feels that he is more concerned about the death of Leland Warner. The young girl named TJ went missing and was not part of the sex trade yet others that were killed before. Sally seems fixated on befriending Dr. Meshango and although they have a difficult past and their link to both her sons, her daughter and the death of Mrs. Norse would imply they would rather not ever be in the same room, Sally seems remorseful and apparently blames herself for the death of Mrs. Norse, what happened to her sons and although it was not her fault she can’t let go. Why? Brendell offered herself and saved her daughter and Declan saved Brendell and Zoe by killing his brother. As the pieces start to fit together Sally begins to fall apart and Danny learns just who killed Leland. An ending you won’t expect and a killer hiding in plain sight. Attending a church service and learning that her cholestrol is high set Sally on a strange path. But, just who killed Leland and why you won’t believe as Danny comes face to face with the killer and just might be another notch in the killer’s gun. Matowak: A woman who cries: whom does it apply to? Author Joyelle Nowell Butler allows readers to speculate and wonder just who killed Leland Warner since the list of suspects was at three or maybe more but the end result was a twist that was so clever and deceitful she will dazzle and confuse readers until they read the very last pages and hear the voice of the killer.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/M J Magazine