Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/2/2018 (1192 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Still traumatized from a massacre in Nigeria, international aid worker Amanda Doucette leads a bevy of inner-city kids, primarily new Canadians, into Quebec’s winter wilderness.
If cold and wolves weren’t enough, Doucette must contend with an obstreperous male counsellor and a bunch of angry parents — and that’s before some kids deliberately disappear, and head not to Montreal but north, deeper into the frozen bush.
Barbara Fradkin’s The Trickster’s Lullaby (Dundurn, 336 pages, $18) is the second terrific Amanda Doucette mystery. Mountie Chris Tymko shows up to sleuth again and maybe, just maybe, add a romantic interest. What could possibly be hidden in the Quebec wilderness? Murder? A drug operation? Terrorists? A crackerjack read.
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Rosalind Ryan was that perfect student everyone supposedly loved and who was the best in everything in high school, and back she came to her sleepy rural Australian town to teach high school and once again be loved by everyone (cue the ominous music).
In Sarah Bailey’s The Dark Lake (Grand Central, 432 pages, $35), Ryan’s murder triggers the unveiling of secrets galore, while local copper Gemma Woodstock keeps it to herself that she and Ryan had a whole lot more history than just an occasional timetable overlap back in the day.
First-person narrator Woodstock isn’t that admirable a character, and Aussie high schools appear even more steamy and insidious than the ones we attended, but it’s a decent first mystery and a reminder why none of us would ever want to be 15 again.
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It’s the late 1950s when Scotland Yard Insp. Frederick Troy gets a message that old family friend Guy Burgess wants to un-defect from the Soviet Union. The real-life heinous traitor, privileged hedonist, elite school upper-class twit and drunken double agent would like to come back to London and let bygones be bygones.
Violence and mystery ensue.
In John Lawton’s Friends and Traitors (Atlantic Monthly Press, 341 pages, $26), Troy is a top copper who seemingly spends all his working time with commie spies and 007-calibre secret agents and real-life politicos; he’s a member of a powerful family of very ultra-English aristocratic Russian exiles and the most bourgeois socialists imaginable. Oh yes, and he’s apparently killed a lot of people and made them disappear. An OK historical read.
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The U.K. expects the Luftwaffe overhead any instant, as the Nazis prepare to invade Czechoslovakia in September 1938 and set off another world war.
In British novelist Robert Harris’ latest brilliant historical re-imagining, prime minister Neville Chamberlain flies to Munich (Random House, 342 pages, $25) to seek a last-ditch peaceful solution with Adolf Hitler. Amid the many real-life figures in Harris’s pages are two fictional characters — Oxford chums, one working at 10 Downing Street, the other in the high ranks of the Nazi dictatorship... though could the latter be plotting to kill Hitler?
It’s marvellously suspenseful, even with the outcome known — but instead of being history’s spineless appeaser, could Chamberlain be masterfully manipulating the Fuehrer to buy Britain time to turn the inevitable war?
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The evil NSA director in Barry Eisler’s The God’s Eye View (Thomas and Mercer, 374 pages, $28) will know instantly if you decide to read the book.
This is a pretty good thriller about Big Brother’s surveillance of, well, pretty much everything, and the peril into which NSA computer analyst and single mom Evie Gallagher plunges when she discovers she’s helping target innocent Americans for death.
That U.S. government agencies stomp on the Constitution and maintain death squads in thriller fiction is nothing new, but wouldn’t their assassins be a tad less colourful, sadistically quirky, and noticeable? Even so, a good read.
Free Press legislature reporter Nick Martin always dons his pointy tin foil cap when he reads thrillers about the U.S. government.