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Gloria Ferris

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Desolation Row (Austin Starr Mysteries Book 1)
Desolation Row (Austin Starr Mysteries Book 1)
Price: CDN$ 6.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery & History, July 1 2014
This book is a treat for any mystery lover who either remembers the sixties, or loves reading about the era. Kendall captures perfectly the culture shock experienced by young Austin Starr who has fled Texas with her draft evader husband for Toronto. Trying to fit into a “foreign’ country, anticipating her first Canadian winter while negotiating the justice system when her husband is accused and arrested for murder, Austin’s plight will resonate with everyone who remembers what it was like to be twenty-two and alone. Chock-full of interesting characters and local landmarks, Desolation Row is an enjoyable read and you will probably not see that ending coming. I certainly didn’t!

Silver Totem of Shame: A Meg Harris Mystery
Silver Totem of Shame: A Meg Harris Mystery
Price: CDN$ 3.82

5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining & thought-provoking story, July 1 2014
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Having read the first five Meg Harris mysteries, I was anxious to delve into Silver Totem of Shame, the 5th in the series. I was not disappointed. Setting is as important as character in Harlick’s writing, and this time Meg and her husband travel to Canada’s west coast where they are soon involved in the murder of a young Haida carver. This is a story rich in contrasts, between cultures that are still struggling to live in harmony while respecting each other’s differences. The reason for the murder is not simple, and neither is the solution, but the story is entirely satisfying to the mystery lover. I look forward to Meg’s next adventure.

Fire and Shadow (A Lily Evans Mystery Book 2)
Fire and Shadow (A Lily Evans Mystery Book 2)
Price: CDN$ 4.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable paranormal story, June 12 2014
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Fire and Shadow is the second story in McLeod’s Shadow series. It is beautifully written and plotted, continuing Lily Evan’s efforts to either “cure” her psychic gifts with pills and therapy, or embrace her true nature. She meets a young Druid who introduces her to a group of psychics with varying abilities. Together, they attempt to solve the mystery of a strange portrait that speaks only to Lily. Witchcraft, animal familiars, possession – all these and more confront Lily. She is clearly at a crossroads, and her life depends on making the right choices. The writing is quick and lyrical, the protagonist endearing and very human, and the suspense builds steadily to a surprising (to me at least!) finish. Fans of well-written paranormal fiction will not be disappointed.

Blood Wine: A Quin and Morgan Mystery
Blood Wine: A Quin and Morgan Mystery
Price: CDN$ 3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Bloody Good Tale!, June 12 2014
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Blood Wine is the fifth, fine installment in Moss’s Quin and Morgan detective series. This time, the story takes place during the summer leading up to 9/11 and the search for an international terrorist takes the partners from Toronto to wine country and Waterloo County in Ontario, and from there to New York and England. Both Miranda Quin and David Morgan are complex characters with new layers revealed in every book. This time, Moss shows us Quin’s strength during a personal crisis and Morgan’s vulnerabilities when facing closed chapters from his past. The supporting characters are entertaining, especially Ellen Ravenscroft, the Toronto M.E. who constantly keeps Morgan off balance. Blood Wine is a treat for mystery readers who enjoy a thought-provoking plot and high suspense.

The Fog of Dockside City:  The Ghastly Bargain
The Fog of Dockside City: The Ghastly Bargain
Price: CDN$ 2.19

5.0 out of 5 stars The Ghastly Bargain, May 22 2014
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The Ghastly Bargain is the second installment of the FOG OF DOCKSIDE CITY serial set in the fictional Dockside City in 1947. But, it’s not the 1947 we read about in history books. Sure, there are rival mobster gangs, a mysterious crooked mayor, an honest police chief – but, then there is the Obliteration Machine. Built from plans initiated by the Nazis and honed in Dockside City, the OM is coveted by men who seek total power. A few others seek to destroy this weapon before it can destroy the planet. The story is told in multiple third-person POV, but the main protagonist is Sheldon, a former wannabe mobster turned chauffeur whose accidental encounter with the Machine enables him to turn himself, at will, into – FOG. Sheldon is an appealing character who is trying to help, as he becomes weaker in his solid state. He’s not even sure if he’s alive or dead. I would call this story a mystery definitely, but with a twist – not sci-fi, not quite urban fantasy as we know it. Alternate history? Not steam punk as it takes place, not in Victorian times but just after WWII. Whatever, it has me hooked and I’m usually a straight mystery fan. I’m glad I branched out to read the Ghastly Bargain, and I will be looking forward to the next book. Usually I get annoyed when the plot doesn’t wind up at the end of the book but Flewwelling wrapped up enough to keep me happy, and she ended with a new and horrifying storyline to go forward into the next installment. BTW, the writing is superb, and I especially enjoyed the sprinkling of original metaphors.

Really Dead: A Ria Butler Mystery
Really Dead: A Ria Butler Mystery
by J.E. Forman
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.82
30 used & new from CDN$ 3.62

5.0 out of 5 stars Really Dead is a real treat, Jan. 12 2014
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If you read REALLY DEAD in the dead of winter me, you will be happily transported to an island paradise with warm breezes, rich foliage, hot sand, tropical drinks … and, a hotel staff member who may not be what he seems, a host of “artistic” temperaments, and a young woman who may or may not be missing – or dead. Rhia Butler desperately craves some alone time but gets swept up in the drama created by a reality TV show film crew. Her hunky boyfriend, Glenn, continues the search for the missing girl in Toronto and, well, worlds collide. Rhia is a likable, savvy protagonist and I want to read more adventures in future. I wouldn't mind seeing more of Glenn either.

The Dead Scholar (A Quin and Morgan Mystery)
The Dead Scholar (A Quin and Morgan Mystery)
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Dead Scholar, Sept. 4 2013
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I've read and enjoyed the first three Quin and Morgan Mysteries by John Moss so was really looking forward to The Dead Scholar. It doesn't disappoint. There are many suspects (all Sir Francis Bacon Society members) but, far from confusing the reader, or the detectives, it becomes clear that the backgrounds and past experiences of these individuals shaped the events that ended in death. Even the dead man, the ominous Professor Kurtz, becomes a major player. The relationship each suspect had with the victim is complicated and haunting.
The story is set partly in Toronto (Is Philosophers Walk real? I hope so.), and partly on a wealthy man’s holiday island. The island sojourn reminds me of a Canadian version of a British manor house mystery, with the suspects and detectives holed up together. A life-changing discovery shakes Det. Morgan’s world but doesn’t prevent him and Miranda from seeking the solution to Prof. Kurtz’s death. The ending is surprising but satisfactory.

Black Water (A Pat Tierney Mystery Book 2)
Black Water (A Pat Tierney Mystery Book 2)
Price: CDN$ 4.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Small towns - big crimes, Aug. 22 2013
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BLACK WATER is the second in the Pat Tierney mystery series. I would recommend Black Water to anyone who enjoys “small town” mysteries, as I do. The protagonist, Pat Tierney, is likable and very believable. Her family, co-workers, and friends could be people I know – but I haven’t run across murders like Pat does! But, once again, as in SAFE HARBOR, Pat holds nothing back in protecting those she loves. The changing landscape of early spring in Ontario is beautifully drawn, when the ice on the northern lakes is fragile and dangerous, and weather and temperature become important components of the plot. I look forward to further adventures of Pat and her family and friends. The only question is, will the next crime take place in spring or summer in the Highlands? A very enjoyable read.

Book of Stolen Tales
Book of Stolen Tales
Offered by Penguin Group Canada
Price: CDN$ 4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A mystical, mythological story, Aug. 22 2013
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Book Two of the Mesopotamian Trilogy is a treat for anyone who enjoys “quest” stories and, since the quest is linked to some fairy tales, the engaging protagonist, John Madison, travels through many countries and cultures to find his answers. We know the original fairy tales were never meant for children and the ancient book he seeks holds some very dark secrets. This story was hard to put down, and I am looking forward to Book Three. McIntosh weaves past and present effortlessly, and blended fact with fiction seamlessly. I loved it!

Sweet Karoline
Sweet Karoline
Price: CDN$ 4.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Deep, Dark & Delicious, Aug. 4 2013
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This review is from: Sweet Karoline (Kindle Edition)
I have read and enjoyed the entire series of Astolfo’s Emily Taylor mysteries. Sweet Karoline has some of the same elements, i.e. family secrets, depravity of the human spirit, cultural crossovers. This book begins in Los Angeles and plays out in rural Ontario near Brantford during a steamy summer. I was hooked from the opening sentence, “I met Ethan on the day that I killed Karoline.” At the wind-up, the hits just keep coming, and I wasn’t expecting any of them. I would recommend this book as a well-written mystery story that will leave you with much to think about. One thing: if a door slams in the night, pay attention.

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