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Sep 11

Review: Bloom and Doom

51BOp9+ZNYL._AA160_Bloom and Doom

by Beverly Allen

Berklyy (2014)

Bloom and Doom, Beverly Allen’s first Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery, is an entertaining read. Allen has created the perfect heroine in Audrey Bloom. She’s intelligent, imaginative, quick-witted, and just a little clumsy. Totally delightful. Audrey and her cousin Liv co-own a florist shop in Ramble, Virginia. Ramble’s the ideal setting for a cozy mystery, a small town with plenty of off-beat characters and oodles of regional charm.

In this first mystery, Audrey’s friend Jenny is accused of murdering her fiancé—the town’s most eligible bachelor. As with all mysteries, people aren’t what they appear to be and Jenny’s dream-man is no exception. Neither is Jenny, for that matter. With the help of a handsome sidekick, cupcake baker Nick Maxwell, Audrey must sort through the weeds to find the truth. But can she stay out of trouble while doing it?

What fun would that be?

I give Bloom and Doom a solid five stars and I look forward to Allen’s next mystery, For Whom the Bluebell Tolls.

Sep 04

Review: Beneath the Surface

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Beneath the Surface

by Mike Martin

Biaco Publishing (2014)

Once again Mike Martin delivers a gently meandering mystery set in beautiful Newfoundland. Always polite Sgt Windflower, the star of this series, has been farmed out to another detachment as part of a task force investigating drug related crimes. There’s a murder, this is a mystery after all, with a dash of international intrigue—human trafficking—and even some timely Canadian issues—the way the RCMP treats its female members. Although the book’s pace is relaxed, the issues addressed aren’t. As the title suggests, there are many things lurking beneath the surface.

Like Martin’s first two mysteries, The Walker on the Cape and The Body on the T, this books is full of Newfoundland colour, Newfoundland food and Newfoundland lore. Martin delivers a pleasant tale that will please the fans of his other novels.

Mike Martin is presently on a book tour. To check when he’ll be in your area go to beneaththesurface.co

Mar 04

Eric Wright Interview

Celebrating Riptide

 

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I’m pleased to welcome Canadian author Eric Wright and to talk about writing and his newest novel, Riptide.

Hi Eric.

Can you tell us about your varied writing experience and how you came to write romantic suspense?

 

I’ve been writing ever since I went to Pakistan as a missionary in 1964 when I was challenged to write prayer letters every month. I wanted to make sure they were interesting to read. Then I got involved in theological education by extension where we had to write our own self-teaching texts. In the 6 or 7 years following I wrote 5 courses. When I returned to Canada and took a pastorate, I felt deeply about two things; the need for all of us to have a forgiving spirit and our need to minister in the area of our gifts. Out of those came two books, Church–No Spectator Sport and Revolutionary Forgiveness. A missionary colleague had recommended me to a British publisher.

So I’ve done five non-fiction books including books about missions. Then in 1992 I began to write what became two books on country living because we moved to a country home. These two books reflect my love for nature.

I began writing suspense in about 2004 when I became frustrated with the books I was reading. I enjoy books with contemporary suspense and realistic characters in a realistic setting. Also a neighbour suggested that I write in story form, not just in prose, non-fiction style.

 

What three words would you use to describe Riptide?

That’s hard!

Suspense, Christian, romance

 

Riptide is set in the southern U.S. but you live in Canada. What’s the secret to your ability to bring this town and culture to life?

 

When I was writing one of my books, we took a sabbatical from the pastorate in St. Simons Island and fell in love with the place. Since then we’ve also vacationed there a couple of times. Plus, Mary Helen, is from the south.

 

Riptide is written from a woman’s point of view. What were some of the challenges of writing from a woman’s point of view?

 

I found it very challenging to put myself into the persona of a 40ish woman, but I feel considerable compassion for single mothers, divorcees, many of whom are the more innocent victims of male insensitivity. My all female critique group helped immensely where I stumbled.

 

Usually I ask if there’s a little of you in the hero/heroine. Does she reflect you in any way?

 

The heroine reflects what I would hope to do in such situations; persevere in spite of pain, fight for her freedom.

 

Did Riptide require much research? What was the most surprising thing you learned?

 

It required research in money laundering and shrimping. I was shocked at the amount of money laundered into the world economy without any taxation or accountability. I learned most about shrimping from a couple of books I read on the subject; the different kinds of shrimp, the high quality of shrimp from this area of the coastline, the devastation of shrimp beds by industrial pollutants in the Gulf, the effect on the industry of Asian shrimp farms, the competition against shrimpers by sport fishermen and the turtle conservation lobby.

 

Do you have another book in the works?

 

Yes, I have a third Josh Radley suspense novel in the works. This one is set in Vancouver Island, Vancouver and Seattle. It concerns smuggling of illegal immigrants, etc. I also have a children’s adventure book in revision.

 

You are a busy man, Eric. Thank you for taking the time to drop by and share.

 

You can visit Eric’s website.

www.countrywindow.ca

and sign up to receive his blog: Country Inspiration

ericewright.wordpress.com/

 

 

Feb 25

Review: Riptide

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Riptide

by Eric Wright

Harbourlight (2014)

Craig and Ashlyn Forsyth stand at the back of the church listening to the choir. He hands her a sealed envelope, and walks out. Leaving Ashlyn alone, and her hope that this romantic vacation would rekindle their marriage destroyed.

Ashlyn is a Christian marriage councillor who thought she had her life in order, thought she was in tune with God’s plan. But as her life falls apart—between run-ins with FBI agents and Russian mobsters, her life really is imploding—Ashlyn must reassess who she is, and what is really important.

Canadian author, Eric Wright, gave himself an interesting challenge by writing this novel from Ashlyn’s point of view. He does a commendable job portraying her thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. He also paints the setting for most of this novel, St Simon’s Island, Georgia, with believable strokes. From waitresses to shrimp fishermen, the characters come alive.

Pacing is a bit of an issue in the first part of the novel. I would have liked the action to start a bit sooner. But once it does start, there is no time for Ashlyn or the reader to catch their breath.

Riptide is a fun, satisfying read

Feb 12

Review: A Small Death in the Great Glen

 

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A Small Death in the Great Glen

by A.D. Scott

Atria (2010)

The year: 1956

The place: a highland village, Scotland

The crime: a murdered child

 

Tucked away from the world, trying to balance traditions and modernity of post-war Britain, this village has welcomed foreigners and embraced the wounded. It’s an idyllic place full of tight-knit families, and highland charm. Until little Jamie is murdered.

 

And the village’s friendly facade cracks.

  • Joanne, trapped in an abusive marriage, struggles to belong
  • Annie and Jean, frightened little girls who see too much
  • McAllister, new to the village, haunted by old demons that won’t stay hidden
  • Chiara and Gino, betrayed by neighbours
  • The man with the unpronounceable name, villain or scapegoat?

 

A Small Death in the Great Glen is more than a mystery. It explores the deep wounds of a murdered boy, and the world’s murdered innocence. It’s the kind of book you want to take time with.

Savour Scott’s beautiful prose.

Ponder her insights.

Reflect on the deeper questions she poses.

 

This is the most beautifully written book I have read in a very long time. Turn any page and you’ll find something to delight.

 

It was hard to pick, but here are a few samples of Scott’s skill.

 

“That week, the last in October, the town smelled of toffee and turnips. Treadle sewing machines clunked as children changed their minds a dozen times on what to wear but settled for whatever their mothers could produce, old clothes being at a premium, cloth and clothes rationing a not-too-distant memory for most.” P 188

 

“In Scotland, Halloween was a Celtic festival with the night promising a delicious frisson of fear. The evening star hovered above the horizon, the starting signal of the annual visitation from the undead. …Outside the church hall, a newly built rectangular construction of no architectural merit whatsoever, men and boys, like a stream of worker ants, were adding branches, off-cuts of wood, anything that would burn, to a dark teepee shape. This bonfire would blaze well into the night.” P 205

 

“At the far end of the hall below the stage, children jiggled and shrieked, impatient for their turn, mocking their friends, as they had a go at dooking for apples. Scones dangled on strings from a clothesline, treacle dripping dark gelatinous globs onto the painter’s drop cloths and the unwary, and hands behind backs, mouths open like little baby cuckoos, the children would try to bite through a scone as it swayed in front of them.” P 206

 

Despite the serious subject matter, this was a ‘safe’ read. I look forward to devouring her other works.

A Double Death on the Black Isle

Beneath The Abbey Wall

North Sea Requiem

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