The Seventh Shot: On the Trail of Canada’s .22-calibre Killer by Ann Burke

“Who shoots someone six times then stops to reload and shoots a seventh?”

The answer: someone with a 9-shot pistol instead of the usual 6-shooter. This unique gun would prove to be a vital clue in tracking down the murderer (and rapist) of two women in May 1970 in the Gormley, Ontario area.

Ann Burke has worn many hats over the years, but her favourite one is her writer’s cap. The Seventh Shot is her first book and it is a true-crime story told in the best journalistic style. There is even a personal connection, which serves to make the story of the serial killer (and former Metropolitan Toronto Police Officer) Ronald Glen West all that more fascinating. The fact that West may have killed even more adds to the story as well, for there were other unaccounted for murders and disappearances in the surrounding area in the years before West was incarcerated. These many unsolved cases are recounted by the author in the chapter entitled “The Cold Corridor”.

In a TMR interview with Ms. Burke, she was asked: “What do you want the reader of The Seventh Shot to come away with?”

She replied: “I would like them to discover, as I did, that however cruel and evil these crimes were, that there are heroes out there. I cannot tell you how many times I was assured that the officers “felt a commitment to bring justice for the sake of the survivors”, and at no small cost to themselves.”

In a documentary style, Ms. Burke introduces us to these ‘heroes’ —mainly OPP officers— and manages to get personal interviews with them, all retired now. She then proceeds to recreate the crimes, how there were similarities between the two victims, West’s background and so on. Adding a nice touch to each chapter is an appropriate quote that sets the tone for what is to follow. Latitude 46 Publishing of Ontario is to be commended for all aspects of this title, from cover to cover.

It is quite imaginable that The Seventh Shot might be made into a made-for-tv mini-series. Five stars for an excellent first book and a great read!


About the author: After serving in the Royal Canadian Navy as a Navigational Operator/Radar Technician, Ann turned her interest to her greatest love, writing. Working largely in the social services sector as a counsellor in a Women and Children’s Shelter, co-ordinating a Homeless drop-in and directing a rural community centre, she freelanced for newspapers, including The Toronto Star. Her most memorable years were spent working for The Walden Observer in Lively, Ontario and covering events for The Sudbury Star. She now lives in Innisfil with her husband. You can read an interview with her here.

  • Publisher : Latitude 46 (Oct. 22 2020)
  • Paperback : 174 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 198898923X
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1988989235
See also  Muggins: The Life and Afterlife of a Canadian Canine War Hero by Grant Hayter-Menzies

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James M. Fisher is the owner and editor-in-chief of The Miramichi Reader. The Miramichi Reader (TMR) —Canada’s best-regarded source for the finest in new literary releases— highlights noteworthy books and authors across Canada from coast to coast to coast (est. 2015). James works and resides in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife and their tabby cat.

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