The Challenge has gone pretty smoothly for me. I have read 9 books since July 1 and have 3 more ready to be read by the end of April.
The books I have read in the 5th Canadian Book Challenge are:
1.) An Ordinary Decent Criminal by Michael Van Rooy – It is the most unusual of the 9 as it features a criminal seeking to go straight after moving into a Winnipeg, Manitoba following release from prison. The transition does not go smoothly mainly because of the local residents;
2.) Deadly Appearances by Gail Bowen – My second book in the challenge was the first in Gail’s series featuring University of Regina English professor, Joanne Kilbourn. It is unique in featuring as victim, the province’s Premier, who is obviously patterned after an actual Premier;
3.) A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny – The Armand Gamache series has reached international status and I expect will become the best known mystery series from Canada this decade surpassing the mysteries of Kathy Reichs. In this book Louise returns to Three Pines in Quebec with a vivid exploration of the world of painters;
4.) The Mystery of the Moonlight Murder by Roderick Benns – I rarely read Young Adult fiction but could not resist a mystery featuring the only Saskatchewan born Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker, solving a mystery while a young boy living on the family homestead near Borden;
5.) Snow Job by William Deverell – Arthur Beauchamp is struggling, essentially with boredom, while living in our nation’s capital, Ottawa, with his politician wife. He gets involved in the bizarre assassination of Central Asian politicians visiting Canada. I know of no other Canadian mystery writer whose book was also nominated for a national humour prize;
6.) Burnt Out by Nelson Brunanski – The small town Saskatchewan series holds a special place in my heart as it is set in a town 80 km away from Melfort. With each book I enjoy Nelson’s deft portrayal of life in rural Saskatchewan;
7.) The Placebo Effect by David Rotenberg – It is an unusual thriller in that it moves between the United States and Canada featuring a character who is an synaesthete with the talent of being able to tell if someone is telling the truth. It struck me as a somewhat frightening skill to possess. We all are probably better off not always knowing if we are being told the truth;
8.) The Lies have It by Jill Edmondson – Jill continues to improve in each mystery of the Sasha Jackson series. There are not a lot of hard boiled sleuths in Canadian crime fiction. Sasha is even more special as a female hard boiled detective. Her wit rivals the humour in the Arthur Beauchamp novels; and,
9.) I’ll See You in My Dreams by William Deverell – It takes an author of great skill to blend stories taking place 50 years apart involving the same characters. It is an impressive book with Beauchamp remembering his first murder trial in 1962. It makes me feel alittle old as I well remember 1962.
I have 3 mysteries I am looking forward to reading in the next two months.
The first will be Stray Bullets by Robert Rotenberg. It is his third legal mystery and will be published at the beginning of May. I have greatly enjoyed the first two in the series.
The next two are books by my favourite Saskatchewan authors, Gail Bowen and Anthony Bidulka. Each has a new mystery being published in April.
I have not decided what book will be my 13th book for the Challenge.