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).
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.
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.
Kinsey Milhone is a strong and independent woman working as a private detective in Santa Theresa CA in the 1980s. In the lastest ‘alphabet’ book, “W is for Wasted,” Sue Grafton has written another gripping mystery with homelessness as a major theme. In the course of Kinsey’s investigations she finds more family of her own, including a cat she falls in love with. The narrator of the audiobook, Judy Kaye, does a superb job as always. I love the fact that Kinsey Milhone is so tough and liberated and succeeds so well in a job that is usually a man’s job. (Submitted by Meril.)
Perhaps, like me, you have not yet heard of Peter Tremayne and his Sister Fidelma series. You are in for a treat. These historical mysteries are set in a richly evoked Ancient Ireland that is fantastic and mystical while still being true to history as we know it. Sister Fidelma is a strong but imperfect protagonist who takes on many roles throughout her life but always strives for truth and justice. In this installment (No. 18 in the series), she is called upon to investigate the circumstances of the King’s death. While the mystery is intriguing the main attraction of this series is delving into a little explored historical period and culture. (submitted by Reta).
This is a must-read if you enjoy a good mystery with a bit of romance. It is about a police officer named Clare who goes undercover in a Canadian poker tournament to find out who is cheating and who is murdering fellow poker players. It was a hard book to put down and every time I thought I had figured out the mystery, the author threw in a new twist! I can’t wait to read book 3, Death’s Last Run. (submitted by KP)
The author of “Death Plays Poker”, Robin Spano, will be at the Mystery & Crime Writing Event (along with fellow authors Sam Wiebe, Dietrich Kalteis, and E.R.Brown)
at the Fleetwood Library on Saturday, March 7th from 11:45-12:45.
To register, call 604-598-7427 or visit
I was challenged to read a book from an unfamiliar genre, so this was my first mystery book. Set in hot, small town Garborne, Botswana. Mma. Ramotswe leads her very own detective agency. Her own life becomes overwhelmed with matters outside of the agency. Her fiancée develops an unfamiliar illness, a small boy is discovered in the wild, there’s financial struggles, and she must travel to solve a case. The story pleasantly moved along and I wanted to keep reading to see how all the mysteries would be solved. The ending wraps up but certainly leads into the next novel, which will probably be my second mystery novel. (submitted by SVI)
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