Book Club Discussion Guide
J. T. Goddard was born in 1953 in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, the son of a policeman and a nurse. After attending Temple Moor Grammar School in Leeds, he completed a teacher training program in Art and Geography at Hockerill College, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire in 1974. Goddard taught in Harlow (Essex) for a year and then swapped the concrete jungles of Thatcherite Britain for the real jungle of Papua New Guinea (1976-1983) where he married a Canadian and had two daughters (Nichola and Victoria) before moving to Canada. Here he worked (1984-1993) with the Dene, Cree and Inuit communities of northern Saskatchewan and Baffin Island. During this period Goddard was awarded his BEd (1988) and MEd (1989) degrees from the University of Saskatchewan and his third daughter, Kate, was born. After twenty years as a teacher and educational administrator he earned his PhD from the University of Alberta (1996). He was a professor of education in Antigonish, Nova Scotia; Calgary, Alberta; and Charlottetown, PEI, and had a leadership role in three Government of Canada and World Bank funded education development projects in Kosovo (2001-2007), Lebanon (2003-2006), and Afghanistan (2011-2016) before retiring in 2019. His first novel, Traces, was published in 2021. This was followed by Tracks (2022) and Missing (2022), both of which featured Staff Sergeant Gavin Rashford, and the novelette Piracy (2022). Goddard lives in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, with his wife Sally.
Plot summary: Disillusioned and disgruntled, Gavin Rashford is trying to take early retirement from the North-West Mounted Police. He agrees to undertake one last task; to give a conference presentation about FILTER, the Focused Indigenous Language Training for Emergency Responders program that was introduced when the prairie provinces separated from Canada and formed the new state of Alsama. At the university he meets some ‘mature’ students and after getting drawn into their circle, becomes enmeshed in their problems.
Publication date: November 2022
Number of pages: 390
Geographic setting: Wheatville, an imaginary town in central Saskatchewan, Canada.
Time period: The near future (late 2020s)
Series notes: This is the second book in the Gavin Rashford trilogy.
Subject headings: Music; Missing persons; Money laundering; Murder
Appeal points: This novel is a well-plotted mystery where the lives of the lead characters interact with contemporary social issues such as institutionalized racism and MMIWG (Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls), drug trafficking, and money laundering.
Were the characters believable?
To which character could you most relate?
Was the plot believable?
What scene from this book did you like most – or least?
Did the book’s setting enhance the story?
What do you think happened to these characters at the end of the book?
How did you feel at the end of the book?
Was justice obtained at the end of the novel?
Did you enjoy the author’s style?
What do you think the title meant?
What was the book’s theme?
How did the theme affect the main characters?
Can you name another book that this book compares to?
Who would you cast in the movie version of this book?
Would you read another novel by this author?