|Photo (c) Michael J. McCann|
Learning the identity of the victim is one of the first tasks taken on by our literary homicide investigators, as it is in real life. As John Douglas, the famous FBI profiler, explained in The Anatomy of Motive, understanding the victim is the key to understanding the motive, and once the motive is clear the detective will be that much closer to knowing the identity of the killer.
Victimology is a critical part of the investigation. Knowing the victim's activities before the murder and the relationships between the victim and the people around him help detectives understand who or what may have placed him in harm's way.
In Sorrow Lake, the first March and Walker Crime Novel, the victim is William Hansen, born October 21, 1957. A resident of the village of Sparrow Lake, Ontario, he ran his own business, a car wholesaling operation. He had a wife, Vivian, but no children. As Detective Inspector Ellie March and Detective Constable Kevin Walker move forward in the preliminary stages of the case, they discover that Bill Hansen's life revolved around his business, his cars, and his network of buyers, sellers, and drivers. He and his wife had no relatives in the area and no close friends.
While a search warrant is being executed in the victim's home by the forensics team under the watchful eye of Kevin Walker, Ellie spends time in other parts of the house by herself. "She was here because she wanted to get a sense of the victim and his wife. There were many unanswered questions" (Sorrow Lake, p. 70). Later, she gathers the team to reconstruct the time line of Bill Hansen's last day. "The final day of his life. Hour by hour, minute by minute, if necessary. Somewhere in the last twelve to fourteen hours of Bill Hansen's life they would find the event that would connect him to his killer" (Sorrow Lake, p. 210).
Did Ellie and her team succeed? Download a free review copy of Sorrow Lake from NetGalley and find out for yourself! https://t.co/MlCnImBBxK