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Book Remarks — One For the Rock

One For The Rock
One For The Rock - Submitted

Listen, during my first 13 years on this planet I was a consummate bay-boy. If, perchance, Mammy and Pappy took me to The Capitol, they were honour bound — as humble outport pilgrims visiting Camelot — to tour Bowring Park and let me climb on Peter Pan, stand in awe of the Caribou, and walk beside more blooming plants than Granny could ever stog in her flower garden.

I don’t remember them even once taking me up Signal Hill. Probably the weather was never fit in the East End.

Now here’s Kevin Major’s novel “One For The Rock” [Breakwater Books] featuring walking tours of The Capitol in which Bowring Park isn’t even mentioned — unless I missed it. Signal Hill, however, appears in the yarn. Early on, a hiker paying more heed to his iPhone than his feet, falls …

… to his death?

Read the book to see.

The hero of Major’s novel is an erstwhile school teacher with a penchant for peaty Scotch and a name that sounds “like an ancient Norse term for constipation” — Sebastian Synard.

Sebastian has spent his inheritance to set up a tour group business he calls On the Rock(s). It’s a member of Sebastian’s first tour of the season who — phone in hand, head in clouds — falls …

… to his death?

Read and see.

Oh, Sebastian is on the outs with his ex-missis. They’re spatting about child-rearing and the like. Their son Nicholas, of course, is less than tickled about how shared custody divides parental time.


Also Nicholas wants a dog.

Speaking of dogs.

To the delight of readers who love crime stories in which Rover plays a role, Kevin Major has given Nicholas a gem-dandy doggie — Gaffer, a Maltipoo who has found a new home with Sebastian.


An aside. I’m not a dog person — except for Spot, a ceramic cocker spaniel I’ve owned since 1950-something, and who I’ve convinced a granddaughter I turned to stone in a moment of pique.

Anyway, I didn’t know poop about Maltipoos so I visited Mr. Google’s kennels to have a gander at doggies in the window, so to speak.

Aaah, a Maltipoo, how cute is that? Can’t you just picture this canine — should a movie be made of this novel — in a voice-over pondering his master’s behaviour?

It isn’t destressing enough for Sebastian that, while touring the cliff face of Signal Hill, one of On the Rock(s) group falls …

… to his death?

… but the RNC detective who winds up investigating the particulars is Sebastian’s ex-missis’s new honeybunch.

Complications, eh b’ys?

Crime fiction is not worth its salt without a femme fatale.

“One For the Rock” has a dyed in the wool femme fatale, a femme from France. Actually, the novel has femmes — if that’s the plural — fatale.

B’ys, I’ve failed to mention that the members of Sebastian’s tour group are all old codgers … or, spry ol’ seniors, if that’s more politically correct. Sure, the fatale-ist femme, is nigh on to pensionable age.

I bet a loonie, many of you can relate to what happens to Sebastian while hove off in his Lay-Z-Boy reading a favourite crime story — The Maltese Falcon — and sipping on a dram of Scotch: “I get through fifty pages then wake up two hours later, the book on my chest, my neck in a slump against the back of the chair.”

Even if a snooze ambushes you while you read “One for the Rock”, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Being sufficiently relaxed to drowse while reading a quality yarn is akin to being comfortable enough to nod off in the company of trusted friends, eh b’ys?

Despite the fact that during the Signal Hill hike one member falls …

… to his death?

… on a later outing the group drive to Cape Spear intending to trek the East Coast Trail to Maddox Cove.

As you can imagine, if you’ve ever roved over any of The Rock’s rocks, sections of the ECT are as perilous as the chain-guarded cliffs of Signal Hill. A slip of the foot could lead to you falling …

… to your death?

This danger is especially present in the vicinity of Herring Cove, where the author poses, and answers, this question: Rather than being pushed off the cliff and surely killed, would a man jump …

… to his death?

You know me better than to expect an answer to that question.

Listen, one more thing.

You know how Newfoundlanders love to chat about the weather? Well, in “One For The Rock”, in the midst of serious criminal investigation, there’s talk of the weather …

… in Latvia, for frig sake.

Thank you for reading.

Harold Walters lives in Dunville, Newfoundland, doing his damnedest to live Happily Ever After. Reach him at

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