Fiction

#910 Handbook of fear & phantoms

Campfire Stories from Coast to Coast by Barbara Smith Victoria: Heritage House, 2020 $19.95 / 9781772033113 Reviewed by Caileigh Broatch * Barbara Smith has been telling ghost stories since 1993, since her first book, Ghost Stories of Alberta. With nearly forty books now under her belt, Campfire Stories from Coast to Coast is a natural…
Read more #910 Handbook of fear & phantoms

#907 An all-encompassing loss

The Unbroken Hearts Club by Brooke Carter Victoria: Orca Books, 2019 $9.95 /  9781459820616 Reviewed by Zoe McKenna * In The Unbroken Hearts Club, Brooke Carter highlights the healing power of community and art in the face of grief and loss. Brooke Carter is the author of several novels for young adults, including the Runecaster…
Read more #907 An all-encompassing loss

#903 Contemplating Montblanc

Panegyric by Logan Macnair Surrey: Now or Never Publishing, 2020 $19.95 / 9781988098975 Reviewed by Eryn Holbrook * “Do you know who I am?” asks an unidentified inquirer in the opening lines of Panegyric, the first novel by BC-based writer, Logan Macnair. The question, we soon learn, is addressed to the book’s narrator, Larry Mann: a struggling…
Read more #903 Contemplating Montblanc

#902 Demers’ therapeutic thriller

Primary Obsessions by Charles Demers Maderia Park: Douglas and McIntyre, 2020 $18.95 / 9781771622561 Reviewed by Paul Headrick * For authors working in the private detective genre, one of the challenges is to contrive a reason for the protagonist not to go to the police — not when important evidence turns up, not even when…
Read more #902 Demers’ therapeutic thriller

#901 Evolving Story

Travellers May Still Return by Michael Kenyon Saskatoon: Thistledown, 2019 $20.00 / 9781771871877 Reviewed by William New * Two things to know: (1) Michael Kenyon is a poet as well as a fiction writer, with another eleven remarkable books to his name, and (2) when this new book was in progress it was referred to…
Read more #901 Evolving Story

#898 Back to the brideships

The Runaway Bride by Jody Hedlund Grand Rapids, Michigan: Bethany House Publishers, 2020 $15.99 (U.S.) / 9780764232961 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Jody Hedlund’s book The Runaway Bride tells the story of Arabella Lawrence who arrives in Victoria in September 1862 aboard the S.S. Tynemouth. Over the years, I have conducted a great deal of…
Read more #898 Back to the brideships

#892 The potency of the mundane

The Certainties by Aislinn Hunter Toronto: Penguin Random House (Knopf Canada), 2020 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski $29.95 / 9780735276871 * In a much quoted poem, English poet W.H. Auden wrote, “About suffering they were never wrong,/ the old masters…how it takes place/ While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully…
Read more #892 The potency of the mundane

#891 Dealing with the dark

Here the Dark by David Bergen Windsor, ON: Biblioasis, 2020 $21.99 / 9781771963213 Reviewed by William New * Editor’s note: David Bergen’s Here the Dark is one of 11 books in the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2020 longlist, announced on September 8, 2020. * Subtitled “a novella and stories,” David Bergen’s Here the Dark brings together…
Read more #891 Dealing with the dark

#889 Mennonite roots and shrubs

All That Belongs by Dora Dueck Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 2019 $19.00 / 9780888016812 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Dora Dueck’s book All That Belongs published by Turnstone Press in 2019 is set in Alberta and Manitoba. It tells the story of Catherine, a retired archivist who, on her last day of work, found memories from…
Read more #889 Mennonite roots and shrubs

#885 Crossing Rue Des Rosiers

Rue Des Rosiers by Rhea Tregebov Regina: Coteau Books, 2019 Distributed by and available from Wolsak and Wynn $24.95 / 9781550506990 Reviewed by Paul Headrick * On March 12, 2020, Rhea Tregebov’s Rue Des Rosiers was one of five books shortlisted for the 2020 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize of the BC and Yukon Book Prizes. Winners…
Read more #885 Crossing Rue Des Rosiers

#879 Murder on the Sun Tower

Death of a Doppelganger by Rod Deakin-Drown New Westminster: Silverbow Publishing, 2019 $23.95 / 9781774030714 Reviewed by Ben Matthews * Rod Deakin-Drown’s Death of a Doppelganger is a classic noir mystery set in modern-day Vancouver. It begins with a murder that happens just before we meet the protagonist, Count Jason Kereso. Kereso is a private…
Read more #879 Murder on the Sun Tower

#878 The return of Hammerhead Jed

Rolling Thunder by A.J. Devlin Edmonton: NeWest Press, 2020 $18.95 / 9781988732862 Reviewed by Caileigh Broatch * In 2018 A.J. Devlin’s first novel, Cobra Clutch, won the Best First Canadian Crime Novel at the 2019 Arthur Ellis Awards in Toronto. The mystery novel was jam-packed with pro wrestlers and scuzzy bikers. “Hammerhead” Jed Ounstead, night…
Read more #878 The return of Hammerhead Jed

#876 Stainsby’s carbons and files

MEMOIR: Writing My Father by Meg Stainsby * After twenty years of carting it around unopened, I unpacked a stale cardboard box stuffed with crackly, yellowed sheets of typescript — some still clinging to their carbons, all faint and fusty — and began a solitary trek across a forty-year expanse of written terrain that my…
Read more #876 Stainsby’s carbons and files

#874 Keeping company at Fort Hope

Potlatch Blanket for a China Man by Mei-Li Lee Victoria: Printorium Bookworks, 2019 $19.95  /  9780991808410 Reviewed by May Q. Wong For a complete list of BC booksellers that stock this book see here. It is also available from Amazon. * Mei-Li Lee draws the reader into her novel through a potlatch ceremony, where a…
Read more #874 Keeping company at Fort Hope

#871 Memory’s lasting irritants

Lost Boys by Darci Bysouth Saskatoon: Thistledown Press, 2019 $20.00 / 9781771871754 Reviewed by William New * The most striking of the eighteen stories collected in Darci Bysouth’s first book read like those moments in our lives that we may want to forget about but never can. They keep coming back to irritate us —…
Read more #871 Memory’s lasting irritants