Joanne’s Mystery Picks

y450-274A MATTER OF MALICE by Thomas King

Things haven’t been going well for Thumps lately. You could call it a bad case of the three Cs: Claire, car, and his cat, Freeway. Of course it only gets worse when the crew of a true crime reality TV show, Malice Aforethought arrives in town to reopen an old case and they want Thumps to help. Trudy Samuels was from a wealthy family and everyone called her death a suicide. Nina Maslow, one of the producers of the show, wants to prove that Samuels’ death was murder. It’s all about ratings, of course.

When Maslow is found dead at the exact spot that Trudy died, and in circumstances eerily similar, Thumps has to determine if there are two killers at large or if Maslow’s death is just a coincidence. While going through Maslow’s files on the show, hoping to shed some light on her murder, Thumps finds that the producer was preparing a future show on the Obsidian Murders – the case that made Thumps throw in his badge. Has Maslow found the final clue to the puzzle that has haunted Thumps for years?

Thumps is a great character and King gives him lots of scope, leading us to believe that we might, some day, see Thumps at peace with his past.

3 Daggers
Joanne gives this “3 daggers out of 5”

Read Joanne’s review for Dreadfulwater Shows Up.

 

MYCROFT and SHERLOCK by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse

This sequel to Mycroft Holmes sees the Holmes’ brothers teaming up, though at times reluctantly. Mycroft’s good friend, Cyrus Douglas, runs an orphanage as a charity. When one of h91wq5evr1ulis cargo ships runs aground, he is forced to attend to the situation, while requiring someone to act as a tutor to the children in the orphanage. This is where Sherlock comes in. Sherlock’s attentions are often focused on the series of grisly murders that have recently been taking place in London and we see the beginnings of the inquisitive nature of the detective.

Nothing goes smoothly with Sherlock in charge and when one of the boys in his charge dies of a suspected drug overdose, Sherlock’s subsequent investigation takes him to the opium dens that litter the docks. It’s here we also see the beginnings of Sherlock’s addictive behavior.

I caught myself often saying “Sherlock wouldn’t say/do that; this is out of character for Mycroft…” Then I’d stop short, remembering that these are fictional characters based on the fictional characters of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and that these authors can take whatever literary license they wish to in their portrayal of the Holmes’ brothers. How easy it is to forget that Sherlock and Mycroft never existed other than on the written page! Of course, I’d much rather read Doyle’s accounts of their adventures.

3 Daggers
Joanne gives this “3 daggers out of 5”

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

7 1.2 deaths of Evelyn HardcastleTHE SEVEN DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE by Stuart Turton

Aiden Bishop has been invited to a Masquerade by the Hardcastle Family, taking place at their estate – Blackheath House.  But Aiden isn’t himself.  No – really! He isn’t himself.  At any given time, he’s one of eight other people – hosts whose bodies he will inhabit for twenty-four hours each, until he solves the mystery of who killed Evelyn Hardcastle, the daughter of the family.

Each morning Aiden awakes in a new body, struggling to remember the events of the previous day, trying to put together the puzzle that will lead him to Evelyn’s murderer and his eventual release from his torment.  His life is on a loop as he struggles to “keep down” the person whose body he inhabits while trying to remember who he really is.

Author A. J. Finn describes this novel as “Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day” and I can’t think of a better description for it.  It’s edge-of-your-seat fiction and completely unpredictable, with characters who run the gamut from odious to demure.  Truly a page-turner if I’ve ever read one.

5 Daggers
Joanne gives this “5 daggers out of 5”.

md22450752995DREADFULWATER SHOWS UP by Hartley GoodWeather

You might know the author of this hilarious mystery by his real name: Thomas King.  King brings the same kind of humour to this novel as he did to his radio show The Dead Dog Café Comedy Hour, which aired on CBC Radio from 1997-2000.

The characters in this novel are as colorful as the names they’ve been given.  Thumps DreadfulWater is a Cherokee ex-cop who has settled in the little town of Chinook, somewhere in the northwestern U.S.  He’s given up his badge for a camera and bit by bit we begin to learn why.  When he’s asked to take pictures of a dead body found in a condo, he defaults to police-mode and is soon investigating the death, against the advice of the local sheriff.  The prime-suspect is the son of Thumps’ sometimes lover, and Thumps is positive that he’s innocent.  But you cannot prove someone innocent if you cannot find them.  So in addition to trying to find the murderer, he must also find the person who didn’t do it.

There’s a chuckle on every page and I found myself laughing out loud consistently throughout the book.  Thumps DreadfulWater is such a great character – I look forward to reading more of his adventures in The Red Power Murders and Cold Skies: A DreadfulWater Mystery, released in May of this year.

5 Daggers
Joanne gives this “5 daggers out of 5”.

Summer Reading Game Book Reviews

The Great Canadian Reading Game is on, and players can spin to find great reads from Jun 28-Aug 22, 2017!

Here’s what you thought of your reads:

819tq-q0n2blSWAMP ANGEL by Ethel Wilson

Maggie LLoyd has made an unfortunate second marriage after her husband is killed in WWII. In what may be the best planned departure from a marriage in a work of literature, Maggie leaves her husband and embarks upon a new life in the interior of B.C., working at a fishing lodge. This idyllic setting is perfect for Maggie, though it becomes complicated by the jealousy of the lodge owner’s wife.
Loved It! ~Staff review by Sheila

32080126Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

A collection of linked stories that reads like a novel (much like her Pulitzer-prize-winning Olive Kitteridge). A masterful writer at the height of her powers — this book did not disappoint. Strout is marvelous at portraying small-town characters and growing up poor. Even better if you first read My Name is Lucy Barton.
Loved It! ~Staff review by Luise

The Back of the TurtleTHE BACK OF THE TURTLE by Thomas King

I loved The Back of the Turtle. It tackled the serious issues of environmental abuses and the treatment of indigenous people in Canada in a darkly humourous fashion. Throughout the novel, King interweaves elements of Christianity and Native myth to create a unique storytelling experience. The protagonist Gabriel returns to his mother’s home which was destroyed by an environmental disaster inadvertently caused by Gabriel. The novel follows Gabriel as he reconciles his feelings and the few people he interacts with while discovering the nearby abandoned town. I highly recommend this novel as it explores both the darker elements within Canada, and also leaves the reader with a sense of hope for the future.
Loved it!

one-brother-shy-cover-lower-resONE BROTHER SHY by Terry Fallis

One Brother Shy is the latest of Terry Fallis’s humourous works. Alex MacAskill is a shy software engineer who discovers life-changing news after his mother dies. This news leads him across the globe to discover more about his family and himself. I loved this novel; it was a great summer read with a powerful protagonist. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a fun, light read with a heartwarming story.
Loved it!

Canada Mike MyersCANADA by Mike Myers

I smiled when I saw a Cherry Blossom and Hickory Sticks the other day. This book brought back memories of my childhood since I’m just a year younger that Mike Myers. But there was definitely a difference between growing up in Alberta as opposed to Ontario in the 60s & 70s. I learned some Canadian history that either I’d never learned or had forgotten about. Overall, he does give readers the sense of what it means to be Canadian and what make us different from our neighbors to the south.
It was OK. ~Staff review by Kemmie