The optimism of the early sixties, infused with the excitement of the space race and the menace of the Cold War, is filtered through the rich imagination of high-spirited, eight-year-old Madeleine, who welcomes her family’s posting to a quiet Air Force base near the Canadian border. Secure in the love of her beautiful mother, she is unaware that her father, Jack, is caught up in a web of secrets. When a very local murder intersects with global forces, Jack must decide where his loyalties lie, and Madeleine will be forced to learn a lesson about the ambiguity of human morality — one she will only begin to understand when she carries her quest for the truth, and the killer, into adulthood twenty years later.
I stumbled across Ann Marie MacDonald’s work when I was about 14, give or take. I was browsing the bookshelves one day, killing time, and her first book, Fall On Your Knees, jumped out at me. It was heavy reading for someone so young, but I ploughed through it, and eventually went back and picked up The Way The Crow Flies.
Part of the reason why this book has stuck with me over the years, and why I continue to go back and read it, is because of the real history involved with the story. The background of the story is the rape and murder of a young girl on a small remote Canadian Forces Base (Air Force) – Which actually comes from a true story of the same events, where Lynn Harper (13-years-old) was raped and murdered, and 15-year-old Steven Truscott was accused of the crime. He was the youngest Canadian ever to face execution for supposedly having committed the crime. He spent nearly 10 years in jail, and was finally acquited of his “crimes” in 2007.
This book takes the weightiness of the case, and builds a family dynamic around it, very similar to how Wally Lamb did in ‘I Know This Much Is True’. The characters are real and blemished with problems and trials that are fitting to their situations. The book showcases a unique look into a horrific crime and the impact it had on not just the family of the victim and the accused, but how it effected the community around them as well.