Joanne’s Mystery Picks

A couple Canadian authors for you this week.

488814The Last Good Day by Gail Bowen

A  lawyer-friend of Joanne’s loans her his cottage, one of a number of homes owned by the lawyers of the same prestigious firm, for a couple of weeks during the summer.  When one of the lawyers seeks her out one night for advice and the following day commits suicide, Joanne is forced to look at this group of people in a new light.  Something unpleasant is percolating just under the surface and it’s affecting everyone.  People are on edge, tempers flare, arguments break out.  When Taylor wonders what her legacy would be if she were to die right now, at the age of eleven years, Joanne is seriously troubled at how the stress is affecting everyone and realizes the need to get to the bottom of whatever is going on.

As the events unfold, Bowen draws to a close, a story-line that has woven its way through the past few novels and I felt a profound sadness at having to say good-bye to a character that was equally loved and disliked.

This is Bowen’s 9th novel in the series and I found it to be the best one to date.  Its overwhelming sadness marks it as being just that much different from the ones that came before it.  It’s one that I’ll remember for a very long time.

18169832Come Barbarians by Todd Babiak

Christopher Kruse could have had no idea that his decision to move his family to the south of France would change their lives forever.  He thought that by moving, he could start afresh, put his life as a high-risk security agent and the evils that came with that position, behind him.  But what he encounters here is far worse than anything he was escaping from and the loss that he suffers weighs him down like a too-heavy cloak upon his shoulders.  Kruse becomes tangled in a web of the powerful and corrupt as he tries to make sense of the horror that has unravelled his life.

Babiak has created an intense, face-paced story where the games that politicians play lead to murder and where his protagonist has to dig deep within himself, beyond all loss and pain, to maintain his humanity.

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