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Discovering a new series that hits all the right notes of suspense and bone-chilling surprise is one of life’s great joys for any mystery reader. To help you on the way to your next great read(s), we’ve collected the first book in some of our most popular detective series.
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Chemist Dr. Joan Parker has the ability to name more scents that just about any other person on the planet. She can distinguish cane sugar from beet sugar, burning pine from spruce, and a man on the make from a man on the take. Combining scents to create food flavors is her occupation and her passion. Her understanding of the effects of all of the senses on human emotion and behavior is her pass key. This ability also leads Joan ?Nosey? Parker to the killer in A Nose for Death.
At fifty, Joan is at a transitional time of life. She? s outspoken, sometimes to a fault, and through her words, private thoughts, and actions provides the reader with candid insights into her romantic, sexual and emotional life. Joan is at first confused when she receives a reunion invitation to Madden High, the school from which she never graduated. After the death of her father, the family had moved away. Her estranged husband, Mort, convinces her to attend. This is the first time that she’s been back to the town of Madden in thirty years.
Her worst fear is realized when she arrives in Madden and her name isn?t on the invitation list. Within hours she becomes the prime suspect in the murder of Roger Rimmer, the Mick Jagger of her high school class.
The upside of her return to Madden is Gabe. Her geeky best friend is now the handsome, compassionate Sgt. Theissen, head of the district RCMP detachment. Their passionate attraction leads to an illicit affair.
After another body is found, Joan turns her research skills to the investigation. An intricate examination of Madden reveals buried secrets and forces Joan to confront her own ghosts. Along the way she gains a new respect for her own mother and, in the end, she realizes that people wear masks of all kinds, the murderer and herself included.
A police detective is accused of murder in this novel that “delivers on all levels: action, courtroom drama … and a show-stopping climax.” — The Hamilton Spectator
Until recently, Steve Nastos was a respected Toronto detective and a member of the sexual assault unit. Now he’s in custody, accused of killing his young daughter’s dentist after learning of the man’s unspeakable crimes against children.
Freed on bail, he has one hope: to track down the actual killer, in a town where laws are simply guidelines and law enforcement agents adhere to their own moral relativism. Held back by a recovering alcoholic lawyer, a rogue cop, and a two-faced judge, Nastos has the cards stacked against him. Then his estranged but still beloved wife inadvertently becomes involved in the case, and the stakes become even higher.
He has to protect his family — but first he must save himself.
Véhicule Press launches its Ricochet Series of vintage mysteries with The Crime on Cotes des Neiges–a hardboiled detective novel set in Montreal originally published in 1951. At the centre of this novel, and two others by David Montrose, is the hard-drinking, hard-working private dick, Russell Teed.
First Edition 1951 back cover:
There were two blondes and a brunette. One of them had killed John Sark. Detective Sergeant Framboise thought it was Inez Sark. Inez had left her parents’ thirty-five room shack in Westmount to marry John Sark, the biggest bootlegger Montreal had ever known. That, said Framboise, was in itself motive enough. But Russell Teed knew that there was an earlier Mrs. Sark who had an even better motive. East Side, west side, all over town Russ chased clues, trying to keep the gorgeous Inez out of jail. If he had to shoot up a couple of characters and bust up a drug ring in his search to lay bare Sark’s lovelife, well, that was all part of the service of Russell Teed Investigations.
Hard-hitting crime fiction from the author of Tin Men: “Fans of Charlie Huston and Chuck Palahniuk will probably enjoy Darwin’s Nightmare.” — Sacramento Book Review
“Merciless but honest about being monstrous, Wilson is worthy to stand next to Loren Estleman’s Peter Macklin and Donald Westlake’s Parker.” — Publishers Weekly
No one forgets, no one gets away clean, and no good deed goes unpunished
Wilson spent his entire life under the radar. Few people knew who he was or how to find him. Only two people even knew what he really did: working jobs for one very bad man, illegal jobs no one could ever know about.
Wilson liked being invisible and successfully protected his anonymity — until the day he unwittingly crossed a line and risked everything to save his last connection to humanity. All he has to do was finish off a simple job: steal a bag from the airport and hand it off. No one said what was in the bag, and no one mentioned who the real owners were or what they might do to get it back. But this bag sets into motion a violent chain of events in the underworld of Hamilton, Ontario, rousing a vengeful mob boss. No one will escape untouched …
Inspector Luc Vanier is drinking his way through Christmas Eve when he is called out to investigate the murder of five homeless people. His investigation takes him into the backrooms of the Catholic Church, the boardrooms of Montreal’s business elite and the soup kitchens and back alleys of street life in winter.
The mayor falls down dead in the middle of a speech, and a university secret society promptly claims credit for the murder.
Clare Vengel is given her first undercover assignment: to pose as a student and penetrate the society. She’s a mechanic in her spare time, and thinks book smarts are for people who can’t handle the real world. Instead of infiltrating the club, she alienates a popular professor, and quickly loses the respect of police superiors.
Another politician is killed, and Clare is horrified that student idealism could be ramped up to the point of murder. She gets into gear, forging friendships with students, and a romantic involvement with a key suspect.
When two more politicians die, Clare knows that the murderer she has to unmask is someone she has come to consider a friend. She only hopes that the friend doesn’t unmask her first.
The forests around Dockerty, Newry County, hide many secrets.
Some were never meant to be unearthed, one is still waiting to be buried. At the edge of the woods near the Warren farm, a man hangs in a tree. Two arrows pin him to the trunk.
“Hunting accident?” Orwell wondered.
The sergeant shook his head. “One in the belly, maybe. Two in the belly, that’s pretty good shooting.”
Orwell Brennan, Dockerty’s chief of police, is partial to classic Motown, autumn sunrises, and most kinds of pie. He dislikes ceremony, squabbling with the Mayor, and being told to stay clear of matters that don’t concern him.
It doesn’t matter if it’s murder or a hunting accident, the dead man in the tree is the responsibility of Metro Homicide. Orwell has been ordered off the case. He would be happy to do just that if the pat solution he’s been handed made sense. But there are far too many unanswered questions to suit him. No matter whose toes get stepped on, he can’t and won’t let it go until he knows what really happened.
“When an organized drug gang starts selling crack dyed black, Division 51 of the Toronto Police gets the brunt of the action, and street cop Jack Warren and his partner face the ugly realities of crime in their city. Verdict: Pilkey, a veteran of Division 51, writes with authority in this first of a planned trilogy. His characters ring true, and the gritty side of Toronto shows. For lovers of hard-boiled police procedurals.” — Library Journal
Lethal Rage follows the journey of Jack Warren, a young Toronto police officer, as he enters the dangerous streets of downtown’s 51 Division. Accustomed to the white-bread policing of his previous division, Jack is staggered when he first arrives at his new job. No TV show or movie prepared him for the reality of 51, where the officers wade through the filth of humanity on a daily – hourly – basis.
Warren is immediately thrown into a war between the cops of 51 and a new crack cocaine dealer intent on taking over the downtown drug trade. No one is safe from the dealer’s quest for domination and soon the war becomes horrifically personal for Jack.
Working with the boss of the division’s elite Major Crime Unit, Jack learns there is an imperceptible yet enormous difference between the law and justice, and being a police officer and surviving as a 51 street cop.
In 1969, a call for revolution and an explosion at the home of Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau draws Ty Davis, a young television reporter, into the realm of underworld chaos and violence. A colleague is accused of a crime he did not commit. What follows exposes a city’s dark side and ensnares Davis, his family and friends in a web of drug smuggling and murder. Lives and livelihoods hang in the balance.
Trevor and Margaret Rudley have had their share of misfortunes at The Pleasant Inn, the cherished Ontario cottage-country hotel they’ve owned for twenty-five years. There have been boating accidents, accidental poisonings, and then there was that unfortunate ski-lift incident. But this year their hopes are high for the summer season. However, barely a week goes by and their hopes dashed. There’s a dead body making a nuisance of itself in the wine cellar, and it’s nobody the Rudleys know. The Pleasant Inn guests, a wealthy and eccentric lot, are dying for distraction, and one of them, Miss Miller, sets out to solve the case of the deceased, relying on wild speculation, huge leaps of logic, and the assistance of her great admirer, Edward Simpson, who is too smitten to dissuade her from her adventure in detection. Challenging her in the race to resolution is the disciplined Detective Brisbois, whose deep-rooted insecurities about his style and status are aroused by the hotel guests’ careless assumption of privilege. When Brisbois stumbles into peril of his own, the intrepid Miss Miller is the only one left who can solve the crime.
Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award, Best First Novel
Father Brennan Burke is the main suspect in the murder of a young woman. Defense attorney Monty Collins steps up to defend him, but realizes the only way to exonerate him is to dive into the secrets of his past …
Be careful what you wish for, his mother used to say. Yet how many times, in his twenty years defending the underprivileged, has Monty Collins wished for a client who is intelligent, articulate, and tattoo-free? Now he has one, but it’s not long before his mother’s warning comes back to haunt him. Father Brennan Burke was born in Ireland, raised in New York, and educated in Rome — he’s equally fluent in Latin and the language of the street. And he is the prime suspect in the killing of a foxy, young woman whose body was found carved with a religious sign, a sign that points straight to the priest.
From their first meeting, Monty finds Burke acerbic, arrogant, and evasive about his relationship with the victim. Conflict between lawyer and client simmers throughout the ordeal that lies ahead, as evidence piles up and murder charges seem inevitable. With Burke remaining tight-lipped about his past, Monty has no choice but to go behind his back and conduct a probe into the life of his own client. Never in his career has Monty been so lost for answers, until a long-forgotten incident takes on new and ominous meaning …
About the Collins-Burke Mysteries
This multi-award-winning series is centred around two main characters who have been described as endearingly flawed: Monty Collins, a criminal defence lawyer who has seen and heard it all, and Father Brennan Burke, a worldly, hard-drinking Irish-born priest. The priest and the lawyer solve mysteries together, but sometimes find themselves at cross-purposes, with secrets they cannot share: secrets of the confessional, and matters covered by solicitor-client confidentiality. The books are notable for their wit and humour, and their depiction of the darker side of human nature ? characteristics that are sometimes combined in the same person, be it a lawyer, a witness on the stand, or an Irish ballad singer who doubles as a guerrilla fighter in the Troubles in war-torn Belfast. In addition to their memorable characters, the books have been credited with a strong sense of place and culture, meticulous research, crisp and authentic dialogue, and intriguing plots. The novels are set in Nova Scotia, Ireland, England, Italy, New York, and Germany. The series begins with Sign of the Cross (2006) and continues to the most recent installment, Postmark Berlin (2020).
In an affluent city perched on Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment, residents begin turning up on the pathologist’s autopsy table with what looks like epidemic mad cow disease. Zol Szabo, a public-health doctor and former chef, and Hamish Wakefield, a young infectious-diseases specialist, must trace the epidemic to its source while dodging the deadly prions that appear to have contaminated almost everything in the supermarket. Things spin out of control and more lives are threatened when a government-appointed investigator pulls rank, hijacks the investigation, and allows his inflated ego to supersede common sense.
Incidents of contamination of the food supply are featured almost weekly in the news. In Tainted, the clock is ticking to discover the source of the disease before it can spread, while navigating the political minefield of the hospital and the media.
A suspenseful and vexing medical thriller, Tainted comments on the vagaries of modern medicine, and explores the complexities of relationships between men: fathers and sons, colleagues and subordinates, gay men and their lovers.
Tainted is a medical thriller that illustrates the potential disastrous consequences of misplacing our trust in those who manufacture our food and our pharmaceuticals.
Literary agent Madison Holmes is brutally attacked in her condo and left for dead, days after she sent rejection letters to four would-be authors. Lieutenant-Detective Toni Damiano catches this high profile case to the chagrin of the detectives in her division.Unfazed and confident, Damiano is determined to track down the vicious assailant and close her first “lead” case. Seven hours in, she has the murder weapon – a boxed manuscript. “All this over a book?”
Thirteen-year-old October Schwartz is new in town, short on friends, and the child of a clinically depressed science teacher. Naturally, she spends most of her time in the Sticksville Cemetery, which just happens to border her backyard. And that backyard just happens to be the home of five dead teenagers, each from a different era of the past: there’s the dead United Empire Loyalist! The dead escaped slave who made her way north via the Underground Railroad! The dead quintuplet!
Soon, October befriends the five dead kids. Together — using October’s smarts and the dead kids’ abilities to walk through walls and get around undetected and stuff — they form The Dead Kid Detective Agency, committed to solving Sticksville’s most mysterious mysteries. October’s like Nancy Drew, if she’d hung out with corpses.
When Sticksville Central High School’s beloved French teacher dies in a suspicious car accident, it provides the agency with its first bona fide case. Soon October and her five dead friends find themselves in the midst of a nefarious murder plot, thick with car chases, cafeteria fights, sociopathic math teachers, real estate appointments, and a wacky adventure that might uncover the truth about a bomb that exploded almost 40 years ago.
A dark and suspenseful debut
Detective T.J. Peterson has a problem, and it’s not just how much he’s drinking or the daily, silent, tormenting video calls from his estranged daughter. A Catholic priest has been bludgeoned to death in church, apparently by a symbol of his faith, and an unidentified woman’s body had been found. He’s barely holding it together. When a deranged teenager, a possible witness, crosses his path, he is propelled into a sleazy, violent world of underage prostitution, sexual abuse, and human trafficking as he pursues a merciless killer.
A stylish and riveting exploration of both the consequences of depravity and the sometimes-extraordinary resilience of the human spirit.
Clever writing combined with an unusual and complex plot introduce this riveting new series
In the debut mystery featuring veteran Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Peter Cammon, what seems like a simple domestic crime turns out to be a series of murders ravaging a peaceful English coastal community.
The semi-retired Cammon is sent to the Jurassic Coast to investigate a case: a woman murdered and her mechanic husband, the likely suspect, drowned in the English Channel. But Cammon soon discovers that his investigation is a sideshow to a string of killings along the cliffs that has stymied local police. The only way to solve this one murder is to figure out the serial killings that terrorize the region. The detective travels from London, Dorset, and Devon to the island of Malta, relentlessly following the overlapping threads of the two cases to their shocking climax. The first installment in a series of three, this cliffhanger sets a chilling tone for the British sleuth’s forthcoming mysteries.