ontario

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.…

Majority of Borrowed Books Across Ontario Libraries in 2020 Weren’t Published This Year

In a year dominated by a global pandemic and American politics, some might find it fitting that the library book most likely to be checked out across Ontario was a hopeful memoir written by the former first lady of the United States.

Michelle Obama’s Becoming appeared on the top 10 list of most-borrowed books for eight of the 10 library systems CBC News surveyed from across the province.…

The Ann Burke Interview

Ann Burke’s The Seventh Shot (Latitude 46 Publishing) is a recounting of two grisly Ontario murders some thirty years on, and the remarkable efforts of police detectives to unravel the senseless brutality of these crimes.
The author and one-time classmate of the killer, haunted by the grisly crimes, she sets about shedding light on how the Ontario Police brought this killer cop to justice.…

Cottagers and Indians, by Drew Hayden Taylor

Taylor’s two-person play Cottagers and Indians was inspired by a years-long dispute between cottage owners on Pigeon Lake in Ontario and an Anishnawbe man seeding manoomin (wild rice) in their waterways.

In the play, Maureen Poole, a white woman at her lakeside split-level ranch house, and Arthur Copper, an Indigenous man in his canoe, face off over his seeding and harvesting of the once-flourishing Indigenous food, manoomin.…

River Revery: Poems by Penn Kemp

London Ontario’s my home. In part. Lived there two years. Important years. Growth years. It’s why I feel a kinship, connection with the community and the meandering multi-named river that sews it together. I feel the same for the Laureate Emerita that truly calls this place her home, living in the house she grew up in, a songbird’s flight from the water, the faintest tidal tug hinting at Great Lakes and storm-capped Atlantic.…

Devil in the Woods: Poems by D. A. Lockhart

at Urban Farmhouse Press and poet D. A. Lockhart is A Turtle Clan member of the Moravian of the Thames First Nation, and Devil in the Woods (2019, Brick Books) is his latest collection of poetry. Brick Books has done an admirable job of designing and packaging this volume; my review copy came with a matching bookmark and a promotional postcard with the book cover on one side and the Roll Up the Rim Prayer on the opposite side.…

Things Worth Burying by Matt Mayr

in New Brunswick, one is all too aware of the role logging played in its history. Masts and wood for sailing ships, for building houses, for heating and the lists go on. It is a comparable story with other heavily forested parts of Canada such as Northern Ontario, where Matt Mayr’s exceptional sophomore novel Things Worth Burying* is set. Black River, located on Lake Superior is a logging town whose boom period is long past, and the once-thriving town is now a former shell of itself.…

The Way to Go Home by Catharine Leggett


Leggett’s debut novel The Way to Go Home (2019, Urban Farmhouse Press) is an aspiring one, and it comes on the heels of her fine short story collection, In Progress. While I enjoyed that book, I was anticipating how good a full-length novel by Ms. Leggett might be.  At a little over 370 pages, it is a far cry from the short-story length, yet the essence of her mature writing style has remained intact, I am happy to say.…

Fear of Drowning by Susan White

I have previously reviewed two of Ms. White’s books, The Memory Chair (2015) and Waiting for Still Water (2016) both of which I enjoyed very much. While some of her titles may be considered “Young Adult” she recently informed me that: “in my mind, the YA/adult distinction is more about marketing than readership.” That may be true, for Ms. White’s stories (at least the ones I have read) have an age-less readability about them.…

Bad Ideas by Missy Marston

is 1976, and in Eastern Ontario, alongside the St. Lawrence River a man named Ken Carter (AKA The Mad Canadian) intends to jump the St. Lawrence River in a rocket-powered Lincoln Continental. The event was encircled by hoopla and mired in inevitable delays. Even Evel Knievel said it couldn’t be done. This actual event is the basis for Missy Marston’s new novel, Bad Ideas, published by ECW Press*.…

Refuge by Merilyn Simonds

In writing hundreds of reviews over the past few years, I have discovered that some books result in a quickly written review while others linger on my read-but-waiting-to-be reviewed table. Refuge by Merilyn Simonds was such a book. Here it is November, and it is about three weeks since I finished reading it. Why the delay? Refuge left me a little bewildered after I had read the last page.…

The Land’s Long Reach by Valerie Mills-Milde

This is the book that I was awaiting from Valerie Mills-Milde. I had to patiently wait two years from the time that her exceptional debut novel After Drowning (2016, Inanna Publications) was released. That book won a 2017 IPPY Silver Medal for Contemporary Fiction. Of After Drowning, I stated: “After Drowning is an intriguing, well-paced and mysteriously captivating story of everyday lives impacted by tragic events and the collateral damage they inflict as well as the long road back to recovery and reconciliation.”

Quarry by Catherine Graham

Acclaimed poet Catherine Graham’s debut novel Quarry (2017, Two Wolves Press) is the type of story that takes me back to two places: my high school English class and my family’s summer cottage. Firstly, it is exactly the type of book that our English teacher would have had us read as a class, then dissect and/or write a book review of.…

The Honey Farm by Harriet Alida Lye

Alida Lye is a writer from Richmond Hill, Ontario. Now living in Toronto, she works at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. The Honey Farm is her first novel. (Note: this review is based on an Advance Reading Copy supplied by the publisher.

If you like novels that have:

  • Old Testament references and symbolism
  • a sweet love story
  • characters with a certain mystique about them
  • idyllic and remote setting
  • strange occurrences

If you answered “yes” to some or all of the above, then you will enjoy The Honey Farm (2018, Vagrant Press).…

Brother by David Chariandy

The following review is by Naomi MacKinnon of Consumed by Ink, and is reproduced here with her kind permission.

you’re looking for that one beautiful gem, David Chariandy’s Brother just might be it. It’s raw and honest, and the writing is as smooth as silk.

Michael and his older brother Francis are close as they grow up in 1980s Scarborough, the sons of a single hard-working mother from Trinidad.…