Operation Wormwood: The Reckoning by Helen C. Escott

The long-awaited sequel to Operation Wormwood (2018, Flanker Press), The Reckoning concludes the story of a disease that appears to only target pedophiles and is accredited to God by those of the Roman Catholic Church.

I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say that Helen C. Escott is Newfoundland’s premier crime-thriller author. Her novels such as Operation Vanished (2019, Flanker Press) and now the two Operation Wormwood books will cement her career as such.…

Blood in the Water: a True Story of Revenge in the Maritimes by Silver Donald Cameron

Blood in the Water is really the story of two men, the most apparent being that of Phillip Boudreau, the not-so-innocent victim of murder, the other being that of the book’s author, the late Silver Donald Cameron. While it certainly would not have been the author’s wish that this book would be published posthumously, it has nevertheless drawn even more attention since the active mind of this wonderful gentleman is now at rest.…

Cheap Thrills: A Novel by David Kloepfer

Thrills takes place over the course of a single weekend, beginning with the incessantly stoned Ethan and his roommate Phil discovering the body of their weed dealer in a Vancouver alley alongside a box of porno magazines and crime noir paperbacks. Tasked by his eccentric boss with locating the money the dealer had been carrying, gang member Wynne Duncan is led to the two roommates.

The Transaction by Guglielmo D’Izzia

cannot be easy to write humorous fiction, although it does seem to come naturally to some. In the television world, they have writing teams, but in the sequestered world of the writer, it’s all on them to produce a work that is not only funny but interesting as well, that tells a story. The Transaction is such a story and from all appearances, Mr.…

We All Will Be Received by Leslie Vryenhoek

the title of Leslie Vryenhoek’s latest novel reminds you of Paul Simon’s song Graceland, that could be by design, for there are several characters looking for Graceland (although it’s a very different one from Elvis’ mansion). Their stories are told in separate threads that eventually merge to a climactic finish at Graceland, a renovated motel in Newfoundland, near the L’anse aux Meadows National Historic Site.…

Two Crows Sorrow: Love and Death on the North Mountain by Laura Churchill Duke

find true crime books fascinating, particularly historical crime, which is probably why I like Debra Komar’s books so much. But what if there is a paucity of details regarding an actual crime? How does an author bring this event to life, so to speak? The author then cleverly builds a story and dialogue around the actual characters, while maintaining the integrity of the actual occurrence.…

Butterfly by John Delacourt

the heart of John Delacourt’s Butterfly is a simple enough story: blackmail and robbery gone very wrong with the principle characters fleeing the law as well as each other. However, I have come to expect an elevated raison d’etre from any book published by Montreal’s Linda Leith Publications, and Butterfly certainly upholds (if not exceeds) those expectations. There is a lot more here than the crimes of blackmail and robbery.…

Operation Vanished by Helen C. Escott

Helen C. Escott’s Operation Vanished follows closely on the heels of her bestselling Atlantic Canadian thriller Operation Wormwood (2018, Flanker Press). While that book dealt with an investigation by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Operation Vanished has the RCMP investigating some unsolved abductions and murders of women back in the 1950s. Heading up the investigative team is RCMP Corporal Gail McNaughton, whose own father is a retired career Mountie.…

Blindshot by Denis Coupal

On the cover of Blindshot is the silhouette of a crow, which is significant for, near the beginning of the story, a crow flies into the massive window of Valhalla, the country estate of Paul and Catherine Carignan, located in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. This can be taken as a bad omen, and Catherine quickly finds the injured bird and places it near the woodpile for it to either fly away if better, or die in peace.…

First Degree, From Med School to Murder: The Story Behind the Shocking Will Sandeson Trial by Kayla Hounsell

doesn’t like a good courtroom drama? From Perry Mason to Matlock to Law & Order, tense courtroom stories have always been popular. No two are truly alike. Add in the fact that it is a true crime drama, and you have a story that is all the more realistic. This is where a book like Kayla Hounsell’s First Degree, From Med School to Murder: The Story Behind the Shocking Will Sandeson Trial really excels.…

Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale by Ann Shortell

A fine example of Canadian historical fiction, Ann Shortell’s Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale (2018, Friesen Press) is constructed around the actual assassination of D’Arcy McGee, one of the fathers of confederation, on April 7th, 1868 as he was returning from Parliament to Mrs. Trotter’s boarding house. The assailant was never seen, but Patrick J. Whelan (“Jimmy”) was later arrested, convicted and hanged as the culprit.…

Random Act (A Jack McMorrow Mystery) by Gerry Boyle

Random Act is #12 in the Jack McMorrow Mystery Series penned by Gerry Boyle and published by Maine’s Islandport Press. As soon as I received this Advance Reading Copy in the mail, I eagerly started to read it, for having read most of the series, I am an unabashed fan. Number twelve does not disappoint. I read it in a few hours, only interrupted by the need to sleep.…

The Court of Better Fiction: Three Trials, Two Executions, and Arctic Sovereignty by Debra Komar

What better place to write and research a historic event that took place in Canada’s far north than while living in Canada’s north? Debra Komar was writer-in-residence at Berton House in Dawson City for one year and considered her time there one of the “greatest experiences” of her life.

The result is a concise, scathing, and at the same time, sympathetic account of a travesty of justice committed against the Indigenous peoples living above the Arctic Circle. …