Joanne’s Mystery Picks

13009223-_uy200_EXIT STRATEGY by Kelley Armstrong

Nadia Stafford, ex-cop, divides her time between her nature lodge in Northern Ontario and her off-season job as a hitman for a Mafia family.  She needs this job because the money keeps her lodge going.  She’s smart, resilient, self-sufficient, and instantly likeable.

When one of her contacts recruits her to help track down a serial killer whose victims appear to be randomly selected, she teams up with Jack (her mentor) and his team.  Nadia is quick to pick up on the manipulating character of one of the team members and stands her ground against her.

As the team follows the killer around the U.S., he is always just one step ahead of them.  It doesn’t take long for them to clue-in that this killer is one of them.  And so they need to revise their plan to neutralize him and start thinking like they would if the roles were reversed.

Armstrong has created a strong female protagonist, fully-fleshed and believable.  She still has her vulnerabilities but is pretty adept at keeping them hidden.  With Nadia Stafford, she’s created a character who we want to learn more about.

Join me and many others on Saturday, October 28 at 7 pm at SAPL as we sit and listen to this award-winning STARFest author talk about this series and the many others that she’s brought to the page.

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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

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.

Summer Reading Game Reviews

511rj0vclml-_sx331_bo1204203200_Cleo by Helen Brown

  • I enjoyed this book.
  • I would recommend this book to a friend.

An excellent book about loss, a cat and moving on. I do not like cats but Cleo grew on me. This family had so many struggles to overcome but they also had many positive events: new jobs, a second marriage, more kids, and a long life for Cleo.

i-am-pilgrim-9781439177747_hrI am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

  • I enjoyed this book.
  • I would recommend this book to a friend.

This was an awesome spy thriller! The author weaves together the stories of different characters around the world and makes you think about what it would by like to be a spy. This isn’t the kind of book I am normally drawn to but I loved it!

6738493The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb

  • I enjoyed this book.
  • I would recommend this book to a friend.

Intrigue and hardship with small rewards along the way. Gave me an insight into the lives and life in Vietnam during the 1980s. So much life in people who had so little and made the best of their struggles–remaining positive against all odds. A great life lesson for all of us.

Camilla Gibb is coming to the Library this October as part of STARFest Readers Festival 2016!