The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor

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This book came to my attention a few years ago but I didn’t have a chance to read it until now. I really liked it and I’m torn between being sorry that it took me so long to get to it and glad that I finally did.

It fits into so many categories, historical fiction, romance (I use this one cautiously), and a mystery though it isn’t classified as one. Notice I didn’t say it was a ghost story but it is loaded with atmosphere especially as it takes place in 18th century Cambridge, England. The author shows a cloistered, mostly male, world of the academics which was political, religious and blasphemous mix, but he also offers a glimpse into the life of the people who serve that world and the Cambridge of that time. I can’t wait to read more of this author’s works. (Submitted by Renee)

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Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell

Yarned and Dangerous ebook by Sadie HartwellFor those who like mysteries, but not the blood, guts, gore and guns type, this book is for you. Set in an “almost” ghost town, comprised of one knitting shop, a garage and a grocery store/café; 1 accidental death plus 1 murder equals many many secrets held in this small town.  Josie arrives in town to care for her crotchety  great-uncle who needs an extra hand with farm chores until he is back on his feet again.  Josie is definitely NOT the country girl as she hails from New York, and is taking a leave from a fashion designer job. Her uncle recently lost his wife Cora, in an accident and she was the sole proprietor of the knitting shop – aptly named Miss Marple Knits. The remaining members of the Charity Knitters Association seem to be tying knots in every murder theory Josie has.  Told from a knitter’s perspective, (includes several knitting patterns),  this cozy mystery shows that when you band together, you can get things done, including solving a murder or two!  First in a series called  “ A Tangled Web Mystery”. (Submitted by Jamie).

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Help for the Haunted by John Searles

Image result for help for the haunted book coverThis winter I read a different kind of Christmas story: Help for the Haunted by John Searles. The book follows the young, virtuous and strident Sylvie, who has recently lost her infamous ghost-hunting parents in a mysterious incident just before Christmas. Sylvie witnessed their murders, but wonders if perhaps the wrong man has been convicted for the crime.  Avoiding the eye of her emotionally stunted and manipulative older sister, Sylvie must endure the horrors of her teenage years with no parents, as well as attempt to piece together the truth of who they were and what happened to them in a twisted, taciturn series of events that has stuck with me. Though I initially was attracted to the book for its classification as a horror novel (it isn’t scary, by the way!), I couldn’t put it down for the truly enthralling mystery and unusual subject matter. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a darker (slightly paranormal) mystery. (Submitted by Mandi).

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Blind Sight by Carol O’Connell

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The main character in this story is Kathy Mallory, who prefers to be known as Mallory, a highly intelligent police detective in New York. She grew up on the streets and is not only street savvy but her high IQ leads her to solving crimes in a unique and sometimes “off the books” type of way. The latest case is that of a possible serial killer who has, perhaps inadvertently, kidnapped a witness, only to find that the witness, a young boy, was blind.  Jonah, the kidnap victim shows us that being blind doesn’t mean you miss out on what life has to offer. Smells, touch, sense (wind, heat, taste) all contribute to a very vivid circumstance that Jonah is determined to overcome. What is the kidnapper/killer to do with him?  Will Mallory find the boy alive or dead? As more and more secrets are revealed, from the rich to the poor, the politically mighty to the Catholic church, Mallory and the New York police are racing against time.   A well-written interwoven tale that keeps you guessing page turn after page turn. (Submitted by Jamie).

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The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

For fans of mystery, the paranormal, weird fiction, and especially HP Lovecraft, The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle pays tribute to the best Weird Fiction (LaValle’s particular obsession with The Horror at Red Hook echoes throughout the short and affecting novel) and turns it around for those who might not be so familiar. In Jazz Era Harlem, Tommy Tester is a young, disenfranchised black man who is not particularly good at anything besides hustling to support his ailing father. When by chance he meets Robert Suydam, a rich benefactor bent on”lifting the veil of ignorance” over the world, Tommy is ripped through space and time and confronted with a terror – and power – he could never imagine. The book is a fast, eerie and thrilling read- I read it in one sitting- and an elegantly written answer to the question of what to do with HP Lovecraft’s infamous racist beliefs. LaValle, born and raised in Queens, is definitely an author to watch in the future. (Submitted by Mandi).

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The Dead Don’t Dream by Mauro Azzano

In The Dead Don’t Dream by Mauro Azzano, we meet homicide police detective Ian McBriar and his partner Frank Burghezian in 1973, Toronto. When two young boys are chased into the path of an oncoming train by a threatening man, McBriar and Burghezian are tasked with tracking down the suspect. They soon discover a web of lies that connects to a murder in Italy and the local underworld.

I enjoyed reading this historical mystery which was rife with the attitudes and prejudices of the 1970s. In addition to the crime-solving, Azzano introduced a romantic subplot in which Ian meets a young single-mother, Karen, and her adorable son Ethan. I’m curious to find out what happens to Ian McBriar and his crew in the sequels, Death Works at Night and Death by Deceit. (Submitted by MS).

Meet Mauro at Authors Among Us-The Dark Side: The Craft of Writing about Death, Demons, and Despair at Guildford Library on Wed, Oct 7 from 6:30-8:30pm. Call 604-598-7366 to save your spot.

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Cordelia by Marty Allen

Cordelia is the first novel in a crime series by Richmond-based author Marty Allen. Corporal James Vaanes returns to his hometown of Campbell River on Vancouver Island after two decades spent investigating major crimes in Surrey, BC. When a young Aboriginal woman is murdered, Corporal Vaanes and his team try to track down her killer only to discover a maze of intrigue involving drugs, local politicians, and unsolved crimes from the mainland. (Submitted by MS.)

Meet Marty at Authors Among Us-The Dark Side: The Craft of Writing about Death, Demons, and Despair at Guildford Library on Wed, Oct 7 from 6:30-8:30pm. Call 604-598-7366 to save your spot.

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