International music star Stella Magnusson returned home to the Interlake to hold an annual festival and live among the eclectic year-rounders in cottage country — alas, among them lurks the killer who unsuccessfully hid Stella’s dismembered frozen body parts in a landfill in lakeside (fictional) Cullen Village.
Frozen fear soars among the permanent residents in the Gimli region when there’s yet another frigid corpse discovered — you expect a spoiler? As if — as Mountie Roxanne Calloway detectivizes in the minus-35 storms and a cabal of nervous women amateur-sleuths for clues.
Raye Anderson’s And We Shall Have Snow (Signature Editions, 255 pages, $18) is an exceptionally good debut for the Winnipeg author that will have you pulling on another heavy wool jumper and three more pairs of thick socks, while tripling the deadbolts on every door and window.
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Hidden by the smothering snow of Montreal blizzards, a serial killer is preying on the city’s homeless, many of them Inuit living in despair very far from home.
Meanwhile, a rapist preys on young women, a Quebec showbiz mogul so powerful that he believes himself above any laws — and for too many years, imperviously so.
Though society would prefer to look away, Sûreté du Québec copper Romeo Leduc and Dawson College naturalist Marie Russell seek justice, while sorting out their complex families and struggling with older people’s maybe-last shot at love in Ann Lambert’s excellent The Dogs of Winter (Second Story Press, 328 pages, $20), the sequel to the similarly-socially-conscious (and terrific) thriller The Birds That Stay.
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A corrupt South African government covers up a murder on a luxury train while doggedly honest coppers Benny Griessel and Vaughn Cupido sleuthify the clues.
Meanwhile, a former ANC anti-Apartheid warrior living the quiet life in France gets swept up in deadly international intrigue — just how far could he be asked to take his particular set of skills?
Deon Meyer’s The Last Hunt (Atlantic Monthly Press, 376 pages, $36) is a terrific murder mystery and political thriller, but should send you scrambling for reliable sources: is the South African government really so corrupt that it has betrayed Nelson Mandela?
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A murderer wielding a ghastly ultra-sharp device is slaughtering apparently unconnected victims in London’s dark places at precisely 4 a.m. Oooooh, scary.
A case, of course, for the Peculiar Crimes Unit and its eccentric detectives, hunting through centuries of London’s storied alleys, lanes, forgotten shops, weirdly fascinating history and catacombs.
Christopher Fowler’s The Lonely Hour (Bantam Books, 429 pages, $37) is a balancing act between horrendous murders and humour that won’t work for everyone, and disgracefully has pretty much a to-be-continued ending.
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An unlikely alliance of the caliphate, British gangsters and Marseilles drug dealers wants to bring a single AK-47 into the U.K. as a test run for smuggling in many, many more, using a radicalized woman student and her duped Caucasian lorry driver boyfriend.
But even that one AK-47 could kill dozens of people in a busy mall — any chance our lorry driver could be an undercover cop living ever on the edge?
Gerald Seymour’s Battle Sight Zero (Hodder & Stoughton, 442 pages, $34) is a humdinger of a police novel that doesn’t go where you’d expect, juxtaposed with the tale of the blood-soaked trail of that one weapon out of the 100 million of the world’s most ubiquitous killing machines from 1950s Soviet factories through Buda-Pest, Afghanistan, Greece and decades of death.
Retired Free Press reporter Nick Martin is sure that Manitoba expats will be delighted and nostalgic to read about -35 C on a frozen landscape.