Book Review: Omphalos

Gerald Lynch

320 pages • ISBN 978-1-77324-012-1

When Eugene DeLint, head of OMPHALOS, a philanthropic conglomerate with tentacles stretching across a drought-plagued, near-future world, is found butchered in his aerie high atop Ottawa, Detective Inspector Kevin Beldon, tortured by old griefs, is yanked from sick leave to battle new demons that will bring him to the edge of sanity. While his colleagues probe DeLint’s closest associates, Beldon holds stubbornly to the conviction that a serial killer known as the Widower—a man who has carved a brutal swath through Beldon’s family—is connected to DeLint’s murder. Aided in his investigation by old friend Chief Frank Thu, new partner Sergeant Brigid Ertelle, a clever crime computer named Mycroft, and his psychiatrist Dr. Ewan Randome, Beldon comes to believe that finding the killer will do more than restore order to a chaotic world—it will restore his life. But will it?

Author Gerald Lynch was born in Ireland, where he frequently visits, and grew up in Canada. Omphalos will be his sixth book of fiction. In 2015 Signature Editions published Missing Children, his fifth, the novel that introduced Detective Kevin Beldon. These novels were preceded by Troutstream, Exotic Dancers, and two books of short stories, Kisbey and One’s Company. A Professor at the University of Ottawa, earlier this year Gerald published the co-edited Alice Munro's Miraculous Art: Critical Essays. He has edited a number of other books and published many short stories, essays, and reviews, and had his work translated into a number of languages. He has also authored two books of non-fiction, Stephen Leacock: Humour and Humanity and The One and the Many: Canadian Short Story Cycles. He has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the gold award for short fiction in Canada’s National Magazine Awards.

On 17 October Signature Editions is publishing his new novel Omphalos. It is the second in a projected trilogy (the first was 2015's Missing Children); like the first and the envisioned third, Omphalos is set wholly in Ottawa, a near-future Ottawa.