Joanne’s Mystery Picks

10189364A Door in the River by Inger Ash Wolfe

Henry Wiest’s death just doesn’t sit right with Hazel.  The coroner concludes that he was killed by a wasp sting, but without a stinger left in the body, Hazel is sceptical. When the results from a second post-mortem come back saying that his death was not due to a wasp sting but to a taser, Hazel turns up the heat on the investigation.  What was this man, a well-liked hardware store owner, doing in the parking lot of the local First Nations reserve?  Where did the wad of money that his wife found in a drawer in their home come from?

When Cathy Wiest, Henry’s widow, is tasered in her own home by a young, foreign, grubby-looking woman, Hazel knows that she won’t be getting any sleep any time soon.

Wolfe takes us on a wild ride with each new chapter revealing shocking details of a disturbing network of depravity and horror.  Hazel needs to keep her wits about her and a strong team around her in order to crack this case.

51pngnsxunl-_sx344_bo1204203200_The Night Bell by Inger Ash Wolfe

Wolfe’s latest novel could easily read as a headline from today’s newspapers.

The remains of teenaged boys are found and linked to an orphanage which closed

many years before.  However, none of the deaths are listed in the records of that time.  Hazel has a flash-back to when she was a teenager in Port Dundas, Ontario when the coroner dates the bones to the 1950s.  Her half-brother, Alan, aged twelve, was a suspect in the disappearance of a local girl, Carol Lim and Hazel will never forget the day that Carol disappeared.

When one of Hazel’s constables is kidnapped and people who’ve talked to the police are targeted, Hazel is sure that this case reaches further than the defunct orphanage.  Lies, corruption, and the blurring of the lines between innocence and guilt meet her at every turn.  “The evil that men do” is not just a cliché.  It’s the heart of this story.

RedhillBWInger Ash Wolfe, aka Michael Redhill, will be joining the Library as part of STARFest 2016.  He will be hosted by Writer in Residence Marty Chan on Saturday Oct. 22 7:00pm.

Tickets are $5, and available from the St. Albert Public Library or through Eventbrite.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

9780751559989Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth

Booth’s sixteenth novel in the Cooper and Fry series takes us throughout the Peak District as Ben and his team try to come to grips with a series of suicides.  Each death has taken place in an open, picturesque area, not at all secluded or hidden from the tourists who frequent this beautiful part of the country.  But are these deaths related?   Or are they a cover for one of the deaths which is not a suicide?

While Ben and his team in Edendale tackle this puzzle, DS Diane Fry in Nottingham has lost a key witness in her current case.  When a connection between the two cases seems apparent, Cooper and Fry have to set aside their differences and work together to bring both cases to a satisfactory conclusion.

At times, Booth’s lengthy descriptions of the area his detectives cover read like a travelogue and I just want him to get on with the story.  He leaves us with questions about some of the characters, perhaps foreshadowing what’s to come in future novels.  It’s enough to pique one’s interest to look forward to book number seventeen.

9781459732148A Cast of Falcons by Steve Burrows

This book opens with a man’s death-fall from a cliff face, witnessed by another man through his binoculars some distance away.  It’s a deeply disturbing scene as the victim realizes his fate and begs forgiveness for his sins.  The watcher approaches the body, takes out a battered book from his own backpack, writes something in it, and places it in the pocket of the dead man.

Meanwhile Danny Maik is investigating the murder of Philip Wayland, a researcher involved in a local climate change project, whose decapitated body is found by a jogger on a public access path.  When DCI Dominic Jejeune is called away to Scotland because a book with his name in it is found on the body of a rock climber, Maik and Chief Superintendent Colleen Shepherd expect him to be back the next day and to continue with the investigation into Wayland’s murder.  After all, what can be so important about a book with Jejeune’s name in it when the victim died by accident?  However, he doesn’t return for a number of days and when he does, he’s distracted, irritable, and more secretive than ever.

When another murder takes place, the evidence increasingly points to a falconry on the research facility’s property.  But Maik struggles to make any headway as Jejeune’s bizarre behaviour continues to drive a wedge between them.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

no-cure-for-love1NO CURE FOR LOVE by Peter Robinson

The setting in this novel is Los Angeles and the reader could easily believe that Robinson had grown up in the City of Angels because he has every nuance, every aspect of life there, down pat.

No, Banks hasn’t been transplanted from his beloved Britain, though the main character is British born.  This novel is a “stand-alone” but it’s still about crime and detectives and criminals.

Sarah Broughton, a British actress with a tainted past, plays homicide detective Anita O’Rourke in the hit TV show Good Cop, Bad Cop.  When she begins to receive anonymous fan letters of an obsessive nature, she dismisses them as something that’s just “part of the job”.   When the tone of the letters escalates to something more threatening, Stuart Kleigman, head of the casting studio and Sarah’s friend, calls in Arvo Hughes and Maria Hernandez from the LAPD Threat Management Unit to investigate.

Finding the culprit proves much more difficult than they imagined.  It’s apparent from his knowledge of Sarah that he is someone from her past.  But asking Sarah to remember details from a foggy past of drugs and sex was like looking through a film-coated mirror.  When “M” (as he signs his letters) “turns it up a notch” and commits murder, Hughes and Hernandez pull out all the stops to save Sarah before he completes his obsession.

when-the-musics-overWhen the Music’s Over by Peter Robinson

Banks’ first case as a new Detective Superintendent is the alleged assault by the beloved celebrity, Danny Caxton, on a then fourteen year old girl, fifty years before.  He knows the difficulty in investigating such a case with the lack of forensic evidence and the unreliability of memories after so many years.  And there’s always the question of the motive of the alleged victim – why did she wait so long to come forward?  He’s more than well aware that he’ll have to proceed carefully as the media will have a heyday with this, just waiting for him to put a step wrong.

While Banks is dealing with the media storm that has arisen from the investigation into Caxton, Annie Cabbot is looking into the particularly disturbing murder of a young woman, found in a ditch, along a quiet country road.  As she reconstructs the victim’s last few days, the case begins to take on racial overtones and Annie is well aware of the powder keg it could become if she isn’t careful.

Both Annie and Banks must step gingerly as they investigate their respective cases and this only adds to the tension and suspense that this novel generates so well.

Robinson has created a top-notch story which should satisfy the most loyal of his fans.

Robinson, Peter_cr_Pal HansenPeter Robinson will be joining the Library as part of STARFest 2016. He will be in conversation with Writer in Residence Wayne Arthurson on Friday, Oct. 21 at the Arden Theatre.

Tickets are $10, and available from the St. Albert Public Library or through Eventbrite.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

51s0bkwuuol-_sx334_bo1204203200_The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe

I can’t think of a more grisly series of murders in a novel as those that take place in The Calling, Wolfe’s first Hazel Micallef mystery.  For all the times I wanted to put it down, I just couldn’t – the story was far too compelling.

Inspector Hazel Micallef, acting chief of the Port Dundas police is in pain – both physically and emotionally.  Her back is giving her grief, her team of officers is unhappy, and her home situation is anything but agreeable.  When someone begins murdering the terminally ill in increasingly macabre ways, she pulls out all the stops to discover the motive and in turn, find the murderer.  When she finally pieces everything together, Micallef is stunned beyond belief at what has motivated this killer.  As a reader, I was too.

6095969The Taken by Inger Ash Wolfe

DC James Wingate is at the helm while DI Hazel Micallef is recovering from back surgery.  She’s still in pain, and her home situation is bizarre, but at least her team seems to be working well together.   Micallef is called back to work when a body is found in a nearby lake, the scenario mimicking a recent chapter in a fictional serial currently being published in a local newspaper.  It’s apparent that the perpetrator is playing with the police when the body is brought to the surface.

As further chapters in the serial are published, they foreshadow, exactly, what the police find as they continue their investigation.

Obsessive grief and love steer this novel into deep and murky waters and the solution to the mystery of the body and the events surrounding it caught me completely by surprise.

RedhillBWMichael Redhill, aka Inger Ash Wolfe joins the library on October 22 as part of STARFest St. Albert Readers Festival!

Tickets are $5, and available at the St. Albert Public Library or through Eventbrite.

Last Batch of Summer Reading Game Reviews, Part 1!

As the Adult Summer Reading Game winds down, readers have been reviewing their picks, and we have them all here!


The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Loved this story. Part fairy tale surrealism, part 1920s homestead history, the story follows an aging couple to Alaska as they escape a childless past and break ground, literally, in a harsh Alaskan landscape. There they find the unexpected–and themselves. Beautifully told.

Random Passage by Bernice Morgan

I got this book through inter-library loan–but I honestly don’t remember ordering it! I’m glad I did, though. This was a very interesting book about early settlers in Newfoundland. They lived such a hard life. The characters really made the book for me though. I was sorry when this book ended. Hurrah, there is a sequel! And I’ve got it on order.

Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck

Really loved the light-hearted, carefree form of this novel. Be sure to read the accompanying notes. Really illuminating.  ~Lori W.

End of Watch by Stephen King

This is the third book in a series dealing with an evil perpetrator, Brady Hartfield, who was featured in Mr. Mercedes and then Finders Keepers. Brady’s obsession with suicide leads him to killing several people during the Mercedes Massacre. End of Watch is an interesting twist to Brady’s five year stay in a clinic, in a vegetative state, and how Brady is able to overcome and turn around to finally attempt to complete another mission.

One Day by David Nicholls

This was an easy read. I enjoyed the character development. I kept reading because I really wanted to see how the outcome of their relationship would be. Funny how little decisions in life can really alter everything.