Oct 22

Returning to an unfinished novel is a little like catching up with an old friend. While the publishing world seems to be in turmoil, and I still have no idea when the third Bradford Fairfax novel is going to come out, I’ve been getting on with the fourth episode, Bon Ton Roulez, a Cajun term meaning roughly, “Let the good times roll.” In the new book, Bradford finds himself in New Orleans not long after Hurricane Katrina, where some very nasty politicians are cooking up a scheme to displace the low-income citizens trying to return and pick up the pieces of their lives. When I visited New Orleans in the spring of 2006, some eight months after the disaster, I was left with an indelible impression of the city in ruins and the sense of loss the people were facing. That impression is strongly making itself felt in this book.

Oct 9

The Nesting Dolls by Gail Bowen (McClelland & Stewart 2010)

Gail Bowen is one of my favourite crime writers, with her sly humour and no-nonsense, down-to-earth outlook on life that also happens to spill over into her books. She leaves the impression that we could all do just a little better with not too much effort, and that we would all be that much better off for it. Joanne Kilbourn, Bowen’s protagonist of a dozen books, is made of the same mettle. She spars (lovingly) with her hubby Zack, a paraplegic power-lawyer, and a myriad of lost souls who tumble in and out her life. In The Nesting Dolls, Kilbourn pits herself against the elusive killer of a lesbian mother who leaves her newborn son with the boy’s presumed grandparents right before she is killed. Finding out the who also helps unravel the why, and it’s a doozey of a solution that fooled me right to the end.


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