Buried: A Novel by Ruth Chorney

It seems that the majority of Canada’s writers live either on our East or West Coasts or in Southern Ontario. A recent call for mid-western Canadian writers turned up a few names, Ruth Chorney’s among them. Ms. Chorney lives in Kelvington, Saskatchewan, and Buried is her self-published book. (Ms. Chorney has also written a guest review for The Miramichi Reader here.)…

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.…

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.…

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. …

Lindstrom’s Progress (Trilogy #2) by John Moss

I left off my review of the first installment in the Lindstrom Trilogy (Lindstrom Alone) stating that I very much looked forward to reading the next installment. I’m happy to say I liked Lindstrom’s Progress (2018, Iguana Books) much more than I did its predecessor. The former was somewhat overwhelming with its complex philosophical references (Harry Lindstrom is a retired professor of Philosophy) and diverse locations.…

Murder Lost to Time by Joseph A. Lapello

year is 1917. Less than two decades into the new century and already the Great War is occurring in the muddy fields of France. Soon there will be the Spanish Influenza which will kill many more millions. An inauspicious start to a new millennium, to be sure. In one of Canada’s largest cities, Toronto, there has been a murder. A cab driver is found dead in west-end Toronto, stabbed multiple times.…

Deadline (A Jack McMorrow Mystery #1) by Gerry Boyle

Boyle began his writing career in newspapers, an industry he calls the “best training ground ever.” His first reporting job was in the paper mill town of Rumford, Maine. After a few months, he moved on to the (Waterville) Morning Sentinel, where Boyle learned that the line between upstanding citizen and outlaw is a fine one, indeed. His experiences as a reporter inspired Deadline, his first novel, was first published in 1993.…

The Fortunate Brother by Donna Morrissey

winning author Donna Morrissey revisits the hardscrabble Newfoundland outport world of her 2009 book Sylvanus Now in The Fortunate Brother (2016, Viking) her sixth novel.  The Fortunate Brother is Kyle Now who has recently lost his beloved older brother Chris in an oil well accident in Alberta. This accident has ripped the family apart, Chris being the oldest and most favoured of the Now family (which also includes a daughter, Sylvie).…

Between Rothko and 3 Windows by Corrado Paina

Paina has published five collections of poetry with Mansfield Press (Toronto) including Hoarse Legend (2000) and cinematic taxi (2015). In Italy, there have been numerous publications including a collection of short stories, several collections of poetry, and the original version of this novella, “tra Rothko e tre finestre”. One of the greatest joys in reviewing books is the unexpected pleasure of discovering an excellent story when you least expect it.…