There were several aspects of Anthony Bidulka's writing that I enjoyed. The story is told in first person, which works well in private detective stories. The details of the everyday lives of gays and lesbians are included in an unobtrusive way. Russell is gay (and unattached) and he is investigating the disappearance of another gay man's lover. Another enjoyable aspect is the use of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan as the setting. Knowing very little about any province in Canada, I liked the introduction to the area.
A small thing, but I really liked Russell's dog and Russell's relationship with the dog and that Russell has a normal, non-work life with friends and pets. He feels like a real person dealing with a real, although somewhat exotic, case. I mean, he gets to jet off to France.
I have some small criticisms, but none that ruined my enjoyment as a whole. I thought the book was too long. Not sure what I would shave off, but parts of it went on too long. He either spent too much time in France, or the resolution should have been tied up sooner.
This wasn't my usual type of mystery. I don't normally choose light, humorous mysteries. Note that I am not saying it is lightweight, just light in tone. Comments I read prior to reading Amuse Bouche indicated that there is a lot of humor. I did not find the book that humorous. This is not a criticism. I think I am lacking some fundamental humor gene. Regardless, I liked the upbeat feel of the book. Keeping in mind that this was Bidulka's debut novel, I am sure I will enjoy Russell's other cases. There are seven more in the series.
At samesame.com, Anthony Bidulka talks about his writing...
I knew a little about travel and food and wine. I knew about Saskatchewan. I knew about being a gay man on the Canadian prairies. I knew about seeking new directions, following passion, which is what Russell Quant does in the books. It turns out this was the successful combination for me, and just the thing to create a series that truly distinguished me from my colleagues.If you are like me and wonder what "amuse-bouche" means, here is one definition from wordsmith.org.
This is a tidbit, often tiny, served as a free extra to keep you happy while you are waiting for your first course to come. It gives you an idea of the chef's approach to cooking and the restaurant's attention to your appetite.And this is the perfect title for this book, because this is a taste of Bidulka’s approach to writing and mystery, and whets the appetite for more.
As a last thought, this is from Anthony Bidulka's page at Amazon (US).
One of my favourite sayings is: Life is short, but it can be wide. I try to remember to do whatever I can to make my life wide, wide with people and places and extraordinary experiences. And I am grateful for every second of it so far and every second of it yet to come.I think that attitude is reflected in his writing, and I admire that.