Joanne’s Mystery Picks

28007842BY GASLIGHT by Steven Price

This atmospheric tale of loss, obsession and revenge takes us from the diamond mines of South Africa, to the crowded streets of Victorian London and the battlefields of the American Civil War.   It is 1885 and William Pinkerton takes up the search for a man who eluded his famous late father for so many years – the infamous Edward Shade.  But Shade proves to be as shadowy as his name suggests and there are those who maintain that he doesn’t even exist.

Adam Foole, a gentleman con-man and thief, returns to London in search of a lost love who he learns, has a tenuous connection to this same man, Shade.  Slowly their stories begin to converge and both men are thrust together in an unlikely bond.

Price’s brilliant writing allows our senses to smell the decay and stench of the streets and sewers of London, to see and feel the grit under the fingernails of the poor and downtrodden, and to hear the incessant sounds of war on the battlefields of America.  This is a novel of epic proportions and leaves the reader in awe of the ability of this writer to create such a stunning work of fiction.

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Please join me on Saturday, October 14 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Albert Public Library as we welcome Steven Price to STARFest.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

51qbswy8oil-_sx329_bo1204203200_THE WINNER’S CIRCLE by Gail Bowen

The law partners at Falconer Shreve Altieri Wainberg and Hynd along with their families knew how fortunate they were as they gathered together to celebrate Thanksgiving at Lawyers’ Bay.  The lakeshore property where they each owned a cottage, provided them with a much-needed escape from the stress of their jobs.  Little did they know as the gathered around the table for their Thanksgiving feast, that their lives would be torn apart by an unbelievable tragedy in just a few short weeks.

Bowen provides a comprehensive review of the years leading up to the events that take place in this, her seventeenth novel in the Joanne Kilbourn series.  In doing so, she shows how the most innocuous of events can grow toxic over the years.

I welcomed this review as it refreshed my memory of the many challenges that each of the characters in this series had faced over the years.  This background information gives us perspective into the motivations of the characters and acts as a driving force in the novel.

 

This was a very satisfying read and I think that Bowen has written one of her best with The Winner’s Circle.  She’s certainly set the bar high for herself for the next book in the series.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

51fgzw0h0ll-_sx322_bo1204203200_THE DELICATE STORM  by Giles Blunt

Blunt’s second novel in the John Cardinal and Lisa Delorme series, though gruesome in its description of the crimes, is not as soul-destroying as that of his first:  Forty Words for Sorrow.

When an unidentified, dismembered body is found in the woods, it is evident that bears have been at work on it but not before someone made sure that this person would never again hear the wind whistling through the trees.  Thus begins an investigation to find the identity of the victim and his murderer.  Information surfaces concerning cases from the past and the two detectives soon find themselves enmeshed in a political quagmire.

Cardinal is able to focus on the case much more readily now that his homelife has settled down since Catherine’s bipolar disorder is under control.  However, his Dad is having health issues and it’s a fight to get him to see a doctor.

With the introduction of WUDKY (the dumbest criminal in the world), we are given a moment or two of comic relief in this sometimes confusing story.  The ending left me disappointed and questioning Blunt’s motivation in concluding the book in the way that he did.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

FORTY WORDS FOR SORROW51sgygqguml-_sx322_bo1204203200_ by Giles Blunt

I’ve been meaning to read Giles Blunt for a long time.  The recent serialization of this book to television prompted me to do so and I’m certainly glad that I did.  The book made a giant impact with me even though I was well aware of the story, having watched it on TV.

Deep down, Cardinal has always known that the disappearance of four teenagers is criminal.  But without proof, he’s removed from the Homicide Department and assigned to investigating burglaries.  And then a body is found and he’s back doing what he does best.

“Evil” is defined as “profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity” and describes, perfectly, the perpetrators of the horrific murders that John Cardinal and Lise Delorme must investigate.  The bits and pieces that they gather seem insignificant by themselves until they’re placed side by side, like the pieces of a puzzle, and a picture starts to form.  As they work the case, they each have an additional agenda that they’re following.  Delorme is investigating Cardinal for corruption and Cardinal is trying to keep his family together.

This is a powerful novel and not meant for the faint of heart.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

9781770899568The Couturier of Milan
b
y Ian Hamilton

Ava Lee is at her best in this new tale by Ian Hamilton.  Ava and her partners in the Three Sisters come to the attention of the famous fashion guru, Dominic Ventola when one of their investments – the PO fashion line – is showcased at London Fashion Week.  Ventola is more than impressed and offers to buy the Three Sisters’ stake in the company.  Ava and her partners are not ready to give up control of this line and decline his offer.

Ventola is someone that you do not say no to and he lashes out, making derogatory comments to the Press about this collection, causing many of their customers to pull their orders.

While Ava and her partners fight with guile and cunning to regain their customer base, Ventola retaliates with intimidation and violence.   Having Xu on her side, Ava enters a tug-of-war between opponents in the fashion industry, leading to a dangerous situation when powerful crime syndicates become involved.

More a thriller than a mystery, this novel takes us from Toronto, to Hong Kong, to Milan on an incredibly fast-paced and exciting journey.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51SeB0RDm9L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgAmong the Ruins
by Ausma Zehanat Khan

After the events that took place in The Language of Secrets Esa Khattak takes a much needed holiday.  He travels to Iran where he connects with his heritage but a holiday of “r and r” is not to be.  He’s approached by a Canadian government agent asking him to investigate the death of a Canadian-Iranian film-maker –  Zahra Sobhani – who was murdered at the infamous Evin prison.  Now if this sounds familiar it’s because Khan’s inspiration for her character, Zahra, was inspired by the real-life murder of Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian-Iranian photojournalist who was murdered outside Evin in 2003.

Khattak is thrust into the politics of the country and is quickly aware of the danger to himself, personally, as he continues his investigation.  Calling on his partner, Rachel Getty back home in Canada, she unearths a possible conspiracy linked to old murders, the Shah of Iran and the Royal Ontario Museum.

This book is rich in language and imagery and provides us with a window into the corruption and fear that surround the regime of this country.