Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Book Purchases - August 2016

Fall must be on the way. We've had 3 or 4 cool, rainy days and more on the way. It does make it all smell nice and fresh, I must say. Yesterday, the missus and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. It was a lovely day. We went out to lunch at Locals Restaurant, which has gone under various iterations over the past few years. It was the first time we'd gone there and we both enjoyed ourselves. Sat outside under the marquis, enjoying the soft music and the scenery. A lovely, idyllic location. Jo had the burger, which she enjoyed very much and for dessert tried the Creme brulé sampler, which she also enjoyed. I tried the seafood crepes and for dessert had huckleberry pie with their homemade ice cream (well, made for them by another local fixture, Hot Chocolates). It's always enjoyable when we go out for a nice meal. We do prefer the brunch/ lunch type meals. Afterwards we went to a local antique/ collectibles shop in Comox. We didn't buy anything, but it was enjoyable just to wander around. There were a couple of books I was tempted to get, but I stood tall and talked myself out of it.

Last Friday, poor little Clyde had some dental work done at our vet. He felt a bit sorry for himself for a couple of days. But he's pretty well back to normal now, barking at everybody and just being himself. I had to go to the dentist too. Just for a filling, but it wasn't my most enjoyable visit. The freezing worked partially, so I did do a bit of wincing and sweating. Tomorrow, both Bonnie and Clyde head off to the cleaners for a shave and a haircut. They do look a bit like sheep at the moment. Next week, I'm back to the dentist for another filling and then it's Bonnie's turn to get her teeth done. What about Jo, you ask? I think she's managed to avoid this palaver, enjoying herself chatting with her online friends and puttering about the house. We do live a pretty good life.

Anyway, on to the topic du jour, that being book purchasing. I did buy a few books this past month and I traded in a few as well. I'm probably about 10 or so books ahead in this game, meaning I've traded in 10 more than I've purchased. :) The shelves aren't bare yet. I think I got a nice mix of books, probably mostly mysteries, but some Science Fiction and some pure fiction. Let's take a look.

1. Meg Gardiner - Phantom Instinct. I've read one book by Meg Gardiner so far, a nicely thrilling mystery featuring a forensic psychologist, kind of a new twist. This books also looks kind of different. This is the synopsis -

"One year ago, a shoot-out in a trendy L.A. club left bartender Harper Flynn's boyfriend dead, Sheriff Aiden Garrison shattered, and two gunmen engulfed in flames. But if the case is closed, why is Harper still afraid?
Certain that a third gunman escaped and is targeting survivors, Harper pins her last hope on the only person willing to listen. But a traumatic brain injury has left Aiden with a rare and terrifying disorder: a delusion that random people are actually the same person in disguise.
As Harper and Aiden delve deeper into the case, Harper fears that the attack might have been more personal than anyone believed. And now her only ally is unstable, paranoid, and mistrustful because he's seeing the same enemy everywhere he looks."

2. Kay Hooper - The First Prophet. Hooper is a new author for me. I've purchased one other book by her recently. I saw this during one of my visits to a local used book store and the mix of paranormal and mystery sounded very interesting. This is the first book in the Bishop Files series.

"Within the FBI, there exists a team of psychics whose powers cannot be denied. But these agents are feared - by a cabal of conspirators with only one weapon: to blind the psychics to the evils all around them.
Months ago, Sarah Gallagher woke from a coma with psychic abilities she couldn't control. They changed her life and cost her the man she loved. And now, someone is playing games with Sarah's mind.
It begins with Sarah's home being destroyed by fire - an act of arson that draws novelist Tucker Mackenzie into Sarah's confidence. But he has other reasons for pursuing a woman who can see what others can't. So does a mysterious enemy intent on eliminating Sarah and everyone she cares about. Because it's only a matter of time before her visions lead her and Tucker to a secret many would kill to hide. Only then will they begin to discover the scope of a terrifying conspiracy so deep and complex they can trust almost no one."

American Crime stories

These next three fall into the more traditional crime series, some good old cop stuff and some forensic mystery solving.

3. Michael Connelly - The Concrete Blonde. This is the third book in the Harry Bosch mystery series. I've been enjoying the TV show based on the books and have read the first book. Both excellent.

"They call him the Dollmaker.
The serial killer who stalked Los Angeles and left a grisly calling card on the faces of his female victims. With a single faultless shot, Detective Harry Bosch thought he had ended the city's nightmare.
Now, the dead man's widow is suing Harry and the LAPD for killing the wrong man - an accusation that rings terrifyingly true when a new victim is discovered with the Dollmaker's macabre signature.
Now, for the second time, harry must hunt down a death-dealer who is very much alive, before he strikes again. It's a blood-tracked quest that will take Harry from the hard edges of the L.A. night to the last place he ever wanted to go - the darkness of his own heart."

4. Jefferson Bass - The Breaking Point. I've read 3 or 4 of the Body Farm series. It's been most enjoyable.

"Dr. Bill Brockton - founder of the University of Tennessee's macabre Body Farm - has enjoyed professional acclaim and personal contentment in the years since he once came close to losing his wife and son at the hands of a serial killer. His pioneering research and forensic expertise have earned him respect, renown, and high-profile cases.
Now the FBI has asked Brockton to help identify the remains of a pilot killed in a suspicious, fiery plane crash. Are the charred bones indeed those of maverick humanitarian Richard Janus? And was the nighttime crash an accident, a suicide - or a murder?
But a storm is about to hit Brockton with cataclysmic force. First, he discovers he's landed in the middle of a nasty political battle. Then his identification of the crash victim is called into question, as is the future of his research facility. Reeling from these blows, he receives a gruesome threat from the killer who nearly murdered the Broctons more than a decade before. But Brockton gets the most shocking news of all from his beloved Kathleen."

5. Robert B. Parker - Stranger in Paradise. Robert B. Parker has written the Spenser and the Jesse Stone mysteries, amongst others. I have enjoyed the TV movies featuring Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone and have slowly been getting the books. I have yet to find the first couple, but I'll persevere. This is the 7th book in the Jesse Stone series.

"Crow, an Apache hit man and a former adversary of Jesse Stone's, resurfaces in Paradise to find a missing girl and snuff out her mother. But his conscience is getting the best of him. If he doesn't make the hit, he'll pay for it. So might Jesse, who is trying to protect them all..."

International and Historical Mysteries

There are two new series in this section, but plus an old tried and true one.

6. Eliot Pattison - Water Touching Stone. I've bought the first book in the Shan Tao Yun series but haven't read it yet. I don't know anything about it really, just that it sounds very interesting. This is the 2nd book.

"Cloistered in a remote sanctuary, Shan Tao Yun has received shattering news. A teacher revered by the oppressed has been found slain. One by one, her orphaned students have followed her to her grave, victims of a child-killer harbouring unfathomable motives. Abandoning his mountain hermitage, Shan embarks on a search for justice - one carved out of the treacherous borderlands that have been shaken by perilous political upheaval. But now, shadowed by bizarre tales of an unleashed 'demon', Shan braces himself for even darker imaginings as he stalks a killer and fights to restore spiritual balance to the ancient and tenuous splendour of Tibet."

7. Ellis Peters - A Rare Benedictine. The Cadfael series is one of my favourites. I've read six or seven and try to read at least one a year. I've also slowly been collecting the books as I like the covers. A Rare Benedictine is the published book. I'm only missing a couple to round out my collection.

"'Brother Cadfael sprang to life suddenly and unexpectedly when he was already approaching sixty, mature, experienced, fully armed and seventeen years tonsured.' So writes Ellis Peters in her introduction to A Rare Benedictine - three vintage tales of intrigue and treachery, featuring the monastic sleuth who has become such a cult figure of crime fiction. The story of Cadfael's entry into the monastery at Shrewsbury has been known hitherto only to a few readers; now his myriad fans can discover the chain of events that led him into the Benedictine Order."

8. Michael Dibdin - Cabal.  This is another series where I haven't read the books yet, but did enjoy the TV series. This one is set in Italy and features Italian police inspector, Aurelio Zen.

"When, one dark night in November, Prince Ludovico Ruspanti fell a hundred and fifty feet to his death in the chapel at St Peter's, Rome, there were a number of questions to be answered. Inspector Aurelio Zen finds that getting the answers isn't easy, as witness after witness is mysteriously silenced - by violent death. To crack the secret of the Vatican, Zen must penetrate the most secret place of all: the Cabal.

9. Anthony Horowitz - Moriarty. So many different authors have tried to advance the Sherlock Holmes' mysteries. I had previously read Horowitz's House of Silk and enjoyed very much. I was happy to find Moriarty on the bookshelves of one of my favourite local book stores.

"Days after Holmes and Moriarty disappear into Reichenbach Falls' churning depths, Frederick chase, a senior investigator at New York's infamous Pinkerton Detective Agency, arrives in Switzerland. Chase brings with him a dire warning: Moriarty's death has left a convenient vacancy in London's criminal underworld. There is no shortage of candidates to take his place - including one particularly fiendish criminal mastermind.
Chase is assisted by Inspector Athelney Jones, a Scotland Yard detective and devoted student of Holmes's methods of deduction, whom Conan Doyle introduced in The Sign of Four. The two men join forces and fight their way through the sinuous streets of Victorian London - from the elegant squares of Mayfair to the shadowy wharfs and alleyways o of the Docks - in pursuit of this sinister figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty's successor.

Canadian Mysteries - I've read books by all of these writers so it's always good to gather in some new books.

10. Giles Blunt - Breaking Lorca. Blunt writes the John Cardinal mystery series set in my home town of North Bay, Ontario and I've enjoyed it quite a bit. This is one of his standalone books and the premise sounds very interesting.

"Victor Pena, a bookish young soldier, is saved from a death sentence by his overbearing uncle, who puts him to work in a clandestine torture unit. Now Victor must consider his impending role in the fate of an unidentified young woman who is suspected of supporting the guerrillas. Before they learn so much as her name - Lorca - the squad relentlessly break her, body and soul. Victor is moved by Lorca's courage but is too terrified to help her, until a twist of fate gives him a chance at a very different kind of life - if only he is brave enough to take it."

11. Rosemary Aubert - Leave Me By Dying. Back a few years, I read the first three books in the Ellis Portal series pretty well one after the other. For some reason, I then abandoned it. Maybe I thought there were only 3 books in the series. Anyway, I was glad to discover that I was wrong.

"It's the spring of 1965. Martin Luther King is marching on Selma, Alabama. Lyndon B. Johnson is just beginning to show that he thinks escalation of the situation in Vietnam is a good idea. For 23-year-old Ellis Portal, however, it's not the new but the old that excites. he's a first-year law student at the University of Toronto, Canada. What he wants most is to become an intern of magistrate Sheldrake Tuppin and to spend time in the magistrate's clubby chambers high atop the Victorian heap that is Old City Hall.
One night, however, in the company of Gleason Adams, a man of unquestioned wealth and questionable character, Ellis is drawn into a bizarre murder mystery. When the body of this victim disappears from the morgue without a trace, Ellis is reluctantly drawn into areas of the city - and the law - that shake him out of the world of the tweedy campus and thrust him into the seedy world of questionable bars, marginal people, and deeds that have no other name than murder."

12. Howard Engel - The Cooperman Variations. If you've never read a Benny Cooperman mystery, you really should. Benny is the true gumshoe, except that normally you would find him living Niagara Falls, arguing with his mother, stumbling into crime and ultimately solving murders and mysteries. The stories are told with humour and love. It's been a long time since I have read a Cooperman mystery and I now have two of them on my bookshelves waiting my attention. If you can ever find them, check out the CBC movies based on the series, starring talented Saul Rubinek as Benny.

"As Benny whiles away the hours contemplating the absence of his girlfriend Anna, the lack of stimulating paying work and the demise of his favourite restaurant (where else will he get his chopped egg sandwiches?), he is unexpectedly visited by a vision from his past. Vanessa Moss was a high-school beauty who grew up to be head of Entertainment at a television network, and the beauty remained. When a friend is murdered while at her house, Vanessa fears she was the target and that they may try again. She hires our intrepid gumshoe to watch her back - and Benny is more than willing.
So Benny travels from Grantham to the bright lights of Toronto and to the National Television Corporation building. There beneath the familiar NTC totem, a big-eyed owl, Benny poses as Vanessa's executive assistant. A tangle of competing executives, backbiting lawyers, arrogant producers and hopeful hangers-on surround Vanessa, ready to ingratiate or unset. But do they want to kill her?
When another NTC employee is murdered, Benny wonders if Dermot Keogh, the world-famous cellist who died recently in a diving accident, may be central to the mystery. As Benny tries to protect his client, give the local cops a hand and avoid making enemies of his new colleagues, he quickly discovers that taking care of Vanessa Moss is a seductive but risky business."

How About Some SciFi?

I purchased a couple of Science Fiction novels, one oldie and one fairly new one.

13. Clifford D. Simak - Time is the Simplest Thing. This is the second Simak novel I've purchased this year, the other being The Werewolf Principle. This one was originally published in 1971.

"After the ambitious lunar landings of the Seventies, man found himself barred from the outer reaches of space. It was then a whole new breed of space explorers - The Telepaths - were developed. Blaine was one of Earth's top telepathic explorers - a man capable of projecting his mind millions of years beyond time and space. But when that awesome alien creature from another dimension penetrated his brain, Blaine turned against the world and himself."

14. Pierce Brown - Golden Son. This is the 2nd book in the Red Rising trilogy. I've not yet read the 1st, but when I saw this was available at Nearly New Books in Comox, I thought I should snap it up anyway.

"He seeks justice. To free his enslaved people, Darrow has infiltrated his world's brutal, ruling class - on a mission to destroy them. And though the only path to liberation is revolution, he must strive not for vengeance but for a hopeful rebirth. He must live for more."

Canadian and other Fiction.

The final 4 books.

15. Catherine O'Flynn - What Was Lost. This was one of those books I just took a chance on.

"It is 1984, and Kate Meaney - 'Top Secret' notebook and toy monkey in tow - is hard at work as a junior detective. Busy trailing 'suspects' and carefully observing everything around her at the newly opened Green Oaks shopping mall, she forms an unlikely friendship with Adrian, the son of a local shopkeeper. But when this curious, spirited girl disappears, Adrian falls under suspicion and is hounded out of his home by the press.
In 2003, Adrian's sister Lisa is working as a manager at Your Music, a discount record store. Every day she tears her hair out at the outrageous behaviour of her customers and colleagues. But along with Kurt, a security guard with a sleep disorder, she becomes entranced by the little girl they keep glimpsing on the security cameras. As Kurt and Lisa's after-hours friendship grows in intensity, it brings new loss and new longing to light."

16. Laurie Halse Anderson - The Impossible Knife of Memory. Another new author for me. I think this is a combination mystery/ young adult. Time will tell.

"For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, trying to outrun the memories that haunt them both. They moved back to Andy's hometown to try a 'normal' life, but the horrors he saw in the war threaten to destroy their lives. Hayley watches, helpless, as her father turns to drugs and alcohol to silence his demons. And then her own past creeps up, and everything falls apart.
How do you keep your father alive when death is stalking him? What are you supposed to do when your parent stops acting like an adult? And what happens if a sweet guy who can make you laugh barges his way into your world and for the first time, you find yourself thinking of the future?"

17. Mordecai Richler - Barney's Version. I rekindled my enjoyment of Richler's writing this past month with Solomon Gursky Was Here. This book was made into a well-received movie.

"Barney Panofsky has always clung to two cherished beliefs: life is absurd, and nobody ever truly understands anybody else. Even his friends tend to agree that Barney is a wife abuser, an intellectual fraud, a purveyor of pap, a drunk with a penchant for violence, and probably a murderer. But when his sworn enemy  threatens to publish this calumny, Barney is driven to write his own memoirs, rewinding the spool of his life, editing, selecting and plagiarising as his memory plays tricks on him - and on the reader.
Ebullient and perverse, he has seen off three wives: the enigmatic Clara, a martyred feminist icon; the talkative and surprising Second Mrs. Panofsky; and finally the incomparable Miriam, serene and beautiful, who stayed married to him for decades before running off with a sober academic. Barney slides from crisis to success, from low to highlife in Montreal, London and Paris, his outrageous exploits culminating in the scandal he carries around like a humpback: did he or didn't he murder his friend Boogie?"

..and in case you can't have enough Richler..

18. Emma Richler - Sister Crazy. Jemima Weiss grew up with a special feeling for British commandos, American westerns, the knights of the Round Table, bagels with cheddar on top, and, above all else, her family: her rumpled father, glamorous mother and four extraordinary siblings. Now grown into a worldly, yet deeply troubled woman, Jem reflects on her days as a young girl, even as she struggles not to be engulfed by the present. In a voice crackling with humour, Jem recounts a childhood in a family so remarkable that it has left her adrift in the adult world.
Growing up Weiss requires some cunning - an ability to manipulate nuns ('Nuns are pushovers for glamour,' says Jem), an aptitude for scaring away older brothers' girlfriends, and a nose for tracking down curious little sisters who run off to chat with the birds. And Jem does have a fanciful mind, one that tr4ansforms her family into mythological beings; her gruff Jewish father seems a gun-slinging cowboy, and her beautiful, prophetic mother is like a 'good witch,' always knowing what her children are thinking. But as a grown woman, Jem must find a way into a world of real living, where brothers no longer play at fighting but are engulfed by actual violence."

So there you go, my latest book - buying update. Next entry will be to update my August reading story. Take care!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Reminiscences of a Military Brat - Part 21 - A New Career - Headquarters in the Nation's Capital

It's been about six months since I added an entry dealing with my life as a Military brat and my follow-on career in the Canadian military. So if this is a new topic for you, here is the link to my last entry, when I worked as a Mobile Air Movements Officer at 1 Air Movements Unit in Edmonton, Alberta. All of the other entries can be found if you click on 'Personal' in the labels section on the right hand column.

In the summer of 1982, we packed up the Pontiac Sunbird and Charlie, our dog, and moved away from Edmonton to Ottawa, Ontario, where I was to begin a new career as a Supply procurement officer, something for which I had as yet received no training. Our first year in Ottawa was to be very tumultuous. The system of allowances for moves was undergoing many updates and changes and there were still to be many improvements, which, unfortunately, I wasn't able to take advantage of.

I was married to a Private who had yet to receive her 'trained' qualification. When I went to the Administration section, I was told a variety of things. Firstly, because I was married to a military person, we would both get the posting allowance, which for argument sake, let's say was $1,500.00 each. Then, quickly, this was reduced because she wasn't trained, so wasn't entitled to an allowance, only I would get the full allowance. Then, no that's not right, I was now only entitled to the single allowance. It didn't matter how much you argued, well, if that's the case, why do we both get paid travel expenses? Well, that's different. Needless to say, this was one of my most frustrating moves. As well, I discovered almost two years later, that even though I had 'cleared out' of all the various locations in Edmonton, that I had been paying my Mess Dues for both Edmonton and Ottawa the whole time. I had checked on this many times in Ottawa, as my monthly pay guide showed some similar deductions and when I went to check, the pay clerks couldn't explain it. It was nice to get reimbursed all that money two year's later, but still...

In our first year in Ottawa, we moved 3 times. We found a place to rent south of Ottawa, a nice row house. We were renting from a lady who owned two houses in this condominium development. A month into our stay, the landlord told us we had to move because the lady had rented us the wrong place and we needed to move to the other one. Without elaborating on this state of affairs too much, we ended up putting our furniture in storage and moved in with my Uncle and Aunt, who lived on the Air Base at Uplands. In fact, they were living in the same row house that my parents had lived in, when they were stationed in Ottawa, back in 1971. (see this brief post for further info). We stayed their for a month or two until we found another rental unit on Paul Anka Drive. Yup, the whole thing was kind of stressful. After a year there, we bought out first house, once again south of Ottawa and lived there until our first child, Jennifer, was born, in 1986. My timings might be off somewhat, but it gives you a rough idea.

Jennifer wasn't always this quiet
When Jennifer was born, my wife got out of the military to be a full-time mother and we decided that maybe we should sell the house and move back into military housing; this time in Rockcliffe, on the east end of Ottawa. Was that the right decision? Who knows, you can only move on from the decisions you make. We lived in Rockcliffe until 1989, when my next move took place.

So, anyway, you've got the gist of the personal aspect of the move to Ottawa. It was kind of nice, the familiarity of the place, having lived there before and it was also nice being closer to family, both were just a few hours away.

National Defence Headquarters, 101 Col By Drive
So now on to my work situation. I was posted to National Defence Headquarters, Ottawa, Ontario. Of course in my short career, I'd never had any exposure to what a Headquarters job might entail. It was all kind of bewildering. I showed up for my first day and basically sat around on the 5th floor as the administrative staff, the pay clerks and all and sundry gathered information, started my new files, worked on travel expense claim from my move from Edmonton, then sent me on my way to my new job.

My new job. Up until this point in my career, I had been a Base Transportation officer and a Mobile Air Movements officer. I think you see a theme. I was transport and movements. My new job was to be a Naval procurement officer, a supply officer, basically. Other than a summer as an officer cadet down at Canadian Forces Base Halifax (this entry) where I had worked in Base Supply, I had received no training in this new career. And being a somewhat senior Captain, there was a bit of an expectation that I might know something about procurement and supply. Nope, nothing. To add a bit to the confusion, I was going to be procuring for the Navy. The section was Directorate of Procurement and Supply (Maritime) or DPSupM. The specific section was involved in buying materiel for Ship Alterations. To put it simply, some engineer would decide that some part of a ship needed to be modified (improved) and would right up a specification or alteration (ShipAlt) and my section would go out and buy the item(s). Sometimes, the materials were bought in advance and stored at the various Supply Depots across the country and stored there awaiting the requirement to actually issue the items to the repair yard that was doing the work.

It eventually became an interesting job for me, but not the first year. It turned out that I was transferred into a supernumerary position. I didn't really have a job. I had a desk, but the officer who I worked with or maybe, more accurately, for, had difficulty teaching me the job. I can understand that. She had been in the job for awhile, she had her way of doing things and she didn't really have the time to teach me, or wouldn't make the time. I spent a lot of time photocopying documents, getting frustrated and often going home with a tense stomach and head-aches. There were times I didn't even want to go to work.

Proof that I actually passed.. :)
In the late fall, I was sent to Camp Borden to take my Supply Speciality course. I did pass, so now I was a Logistics Officer with the Transport, Air Movements and Supply speciality qualifications. I was slowly getting into the job as well, learning about the Contracting process, learning how to deal with the engineers who wanted us to buy for them, learning the budget process and even a bit about the Navy. By the time that I took over the job as Shipalts Officer, I was feeling a bit comfortable in the job and actually was starting to enjoy my time at DPSupM.

I played hockey and fastball with the DPSupM teams so I felt that I was fitting in pretty good. I took over responsibility for preparing or collating the budget submissions for the Directorate and even took over the job of procuring Technical Investigation and Engineering Services for the directorate when that officer was off sick. I liked the responsibility and my work was appreciated and I was actually progressing nicely, I thought.

Then in my third year in DPSupM, my career manager had his annual visit and he advised me that I was doing well and that to really give my career a boost I should get back into the Transport world. Now who am I to argue with a Lieutenant Colonel? I had my doubts after the way I left my last job in Transportation, but I thought maybe he might be right. So my next posting was to Director General Transportation (DGT). Initially the plan was that I was to be the Executive Assistant to Director Transport Management (DTM), who, it turned out was the older brother of my previous boss in Edmonton. I had an interview with LCol Popowych and when I showed up for my job, it turned out that I was now going to work in the Manpower Establishment and Training section. I probably should have known right at that moment how much of a boost to my career that being in Transport would be. Not one at all.

Same PMQ, different location, much older
Around this time, we sold our house in the south of Ottawa and moved back into PMQs, this time in Rockcliffe. Oddly enough, it was the same type of PMQ that I had grown up in about 30 years ago in Bagotville. My older brother, Rick, and his wife Johanne had also come to Ottawa around this time. In fact, for about 3 months, they lived about 3 doors down from us, until the bought in Aylmer, Quebec and we moved into PMQs. It was odd being in PMQs again. It seemed so much smaller. I found myself walking into walls, bumping into door frames.

Caitlin in a happy moment
When our second girl, Caitlin, was born in 1988, the two girls had the bedrooms upstairs and we used the extra room on the ground floor, just like my parents did in Bagotville. Déja vu all over again.

I was now back in the transport world again. I started in the Training / Manpower Establishment cell. For the one portion, I used to visit bases and help them prepare for OSMERs. Basically they had to justify how many people they had in Base Transport and maybe try and justify extra positions. We would look at their paperwork, then I would go on a visit with another member of our team and we would look at their organisation and see if their paperwork was satisfactory. When the official visit came along, we hoped that they wouldn't lose positions and maybe might even gain some. I went to three bases with this job; CFB Valcartier in Quebec, the Supply Depot in Moncton NB and Cornwallis NS, our recruit training establishment. The other part of my job involved trying to justify and program training courses for Transportation Officers, courses that would taken out of country, with other countries. This job was OK, but the whole atmosphere at DGT wasn't very positive. Maybe it was just me.

At a fun conference in Auckland, back row centre left
After a year in the one job, I was moved to a more interesting one. It involved preparing Standardisation Agreements with the Transportation agencies in our NATO allies and also with our allies in the US/ Australia/ Great Britain and New Zealand. What made it most interesting was that I got to travel to  Brussels and also to Auckland New Zealand for meetings with my counterparts in those countries. We also had our first computer in DGT at that time, a standalone mainframe. One of the officers was developing a program to help load ships and aircraft so that they could be loaded and meet proper Weight and Balance features of the given type. That was interesting, but what was really interesting (read fun) was that there was also a computer game, a very simple game, but a first for me. I spent a bit of time exploring dungeons and trying to outwit trolls and find magic potions in my spare time.

I spent 3 years in DGT and generally found the place to be a big clique. If you didn't party with the boys on Friday, you weren't one of the gang. My ratings were reflected accordingly. Ah well. I had taken some training in another program while I was there, that being the Integrated Lines of Communication (ILOC). Basically it was an agreement with the United States to allow Canadian troops and equipment travel on American airlift and sealift if we had to deploy to Europe or other locations in time of war. As part of this ILOC, a number of Canadian transportation/ movement officers were posted at American bases in Europe and the United States. Since my time was running down in DGT, for once I decided to fight for a job. I applied for positions with the US Navy in London (Military Sealift Command) and with the US Air Force in Europe (USAFE) at Ramstein, Germany.

To my surprise, I was accepted at the position in Ramstein. I was very happy about this. Of course, the Transport world couldn't let me go without a little dig. The director called me in to his office about a week before I left. My previous boss had moved to Stuttgart at the HQ there and supposedly told my current boss that he didn't think I would be suited for the job in Ramstein. What a joy it was to hear that bit of wonderful news. Especially since this Lieutenant Colonel would be my official boss in Europe. Ah well, I thought, screw it. I'll just go and enjoy my time in Europe and not worry about what he thinks.

Good bye to the Gatineau Balloon fest.
This trip to Europe did involve a bit of coordination. I found a place to live while I was in Brussels at a conference, taking a side trip to Ramstein. At this time, my younger brother, John, was stationed at our base in Lahr, Germany, so he travelled with me to Ramstein, then on to Brussels and stayed there with me for a couple of days. I found a place off base to live, agreed to buy my predecessor's old Fiat and then returned to Ottawa. The majority of our furniture would be put in storage while we were in Germany. We packed a few boxes that accompanied us; items we needed right away and then a few other boxes to come along at a later date.

Well, there you have it, our stay in Ottawa, from 1982 to 1988 was over and we were now embarking on a new adventure in Europe. Hopefully I won't take quite so long for this next part of my reminiscences. I hope you're still enjoying.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A Look towards the Future - 2017 Reading Challenges?

I took a look at my BLog the other day and realised that I have sorely neglected my Reminiscences section. I'm not sure why, maybe because I haven't many photos of that particular time, maybe partly because my time in Ottawa, from 1981 - 1989, wasn't necessarily the happiest time I spent in the military. I will try to get back to that thread in the near future, I hope. :).. I also will get back to my update of the shelving we have in our house, updating how I've moved around and changed the book portions. I know you can't wait, eh?

I did find myself, the other day, starting to think of possible 2017 Reading Challenges. I guess that's because I've had such success this past year with them. I am almost finished my overall Goodreads' challenge of reading 100 books this year. As of today, I have completed 95 books, so should finish that by early September. I'm also almost finished my various Individual Reading Challenges and my 2nd 12 + 0 challenge, so I think for October through December, I will, for the most part, just read 'freebies'. So, that's what got me thinking a bit about 2017. These are some of my initial ideas.

2017 Reading Group Challenge - 12 + 4 (I'm basing this on the assumption that my Book Addicts group will continue with this challenge, as it's been going on for a long time, at least as long as I've been there). So I'm thinking that my 12 + 4 will be focused on Science Fiction and its permutations; Fantasy, Horror, Dystopic Future, Alternate History, that sort of thing. I started making up a list of Authors/ Books I have on my bookshelf in those categories, and just reaching the 'H's, I have 27 authors, plus more books by them. Of course, I will read some of them by years' end, but here are a few possible books....

1. Concrete Island by J.G. Ballard. I have three unread J.G. Ballard books on my shelves, Concrete Island, Running Wild and Vermilion Sands. Ballard is one of the most unique, strange writers that I've experienced. Take the synopsis of Concrete Island, for example.

"On a day in April, just after three o'clock in the afternoon, Robert Maitland's car crashes over the concrete parapet of a high-speed highway onto the island below, where he is injured and, finally, trapped. What begins as an almost ludicrous predicament in Concrete Island soon turns into horror as Maitland - a wickedly modern Robinson Crusoe - realises that, despite evidence of other inhabitants, this doomed terrain has become a mirror of his own mind. Seeking the dark outer rim of the everyday, Ballard weaves private catastrophe into an intensely specular allegory."

Ballard can definitely be hit or miss, but he is a unique, interesting writer.

2. Looking to Windward by Iain M. Banks. Iain M. Banks has become one of my favourite writers. An author of both fiction, the strange but fascinating The Wasp Factory, for example and also of some of the best Science Fiction that I've ever read, especially his Culture books, I'm pretty sure that I'll continue with the Culture books as one of my 12 + 4 challenge books. It offers such an interesting world for you to explore. Look to Windward was the 7th book in this series. I may try to find an earlier book in the series, but they can pretty well be read as one-ofs. This is the synopsis of this book.

"It was one of the less glorious incidents of a long-ago war. It led to the destruction of two suns and the billions of lives they supported. Now, eight hundred years later, the light from the first of those ancient mistakes has reached the Culture Orbital, Masaq'. The light from the second may not."

3. Red Rising by Pierce Brown. This is a trilogy that many of my Goodreads' friends have read and liked. I finally found the first two books this past month and look forward to starting it. I may read this first before year's end, but if I do and like it, then the second book will be on my list for 2017. This is the synopsis of Red Rising.

"Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow reds, he spends his days working below ground, believing that the blood and sweat of his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Discovering that humanity colonised the surface generations ago - establishing vast cities and lush wilds - Darrow realises that he and his fellow Reds are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Driven by a longing for justice and the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power., There he will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilisation against the best and most brutal of Society's elite. But he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if he must become one of them to do so."

and a few other ideas...

4. The Fog by James Herbert;
5. The Bad Seed by William March;
6. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz;
7. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson;
8. Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Needless to say, I've got a few to choose from, but I think this might be the perfect challenge for my 12 + 4.

Individual Reading Challenges

I'm thinking that I might just focus on my countless mysteries as my Individual Challenge and leave all my other genres as a catch-all in my Individual Challenge this year. I have so many new and ongoing series on my shelves; I filled up 3 pages of mystery authors as I considered this challenge. I think that what I might do in 2017 is have a Cop vs. Sleuth challenge, with no limit on how many books I complete in this challenge. If I can read 75 or so books, it'll make a little dent in my mysteries, well, maybe a small one anyway. It will give me a chance to read some of my ongoing series and also to try some new books. These are a few possibles in this challenge.


1. The Skull Mantra by Eliot Pattison (Inspector Shan). This is the first book in this series. If I manage to read it before year's end, I may try the second, which is already on my bookshelves, that being Water Touching Stone. I do enjoy mysteries set in Asia.

2. Bangkok Haunts by John Burdette (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #3). This is the 3rd book in this excellent series. I enjoyed the first two very much, a mix of mystery and Thai culture and mysticism.

3. Looking Good Dead by Peter James (Inspector Grace #2). This series is set in Brighton, England. It's been awhile since I tried this series and I'm looking forward to delving into Roy Grace's mysteries and life once again.

4. Wycliffe and the Tangled Web by WJ Burley (Wycliffe #15). I've read 5 books in this series and have another 8 or so sitting on the bookshelves in our bathroom upstairs. If I choose this series, I may pick an earlier book in the series, such as Death in Stanley Street. It's an excellent series set on the Southwest coast of England.

And other possibles..

5. Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen series set in Italy;
6. Peter Lovesey's Peter Diamond series set in Bath, England;
7. Donna Leon's Inspector Brunetti series set in Italy;
8. Malla Nunn's Inspector Cooper series set in South Africa
9. Stanley Evan's Seaweed series set in Victoria, Canada;
10. Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone series set in the USA.

I include any type of law enforcement professional in this category, such as Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon, a US Park Ranger or Jeffery Deaver's Lincoln Rhymes, a forensic scientist contracted to the police, or Kathy Reich's Temperance Brennan, a forensic pathologist.


In this group, you've got the classics, like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot plus others that I've discovered as I've perused the Mystery genre.

1. Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe - I finally read a Nero Wolfe mystery this past year, a collection of 3 short stories and enjoyed them very much. I've got a few others on my bookshelf now, awaiting my attention.

2. Victoria Thompson's Gaslight mysteries - In truth, this series could fit in either the Sleuth or Cop category. The focus is on turn of the century midwife, Sarah Brandt, but she is helped by or helps, however you want to look at it, by New York policeman Frank Molloy as they try to solve murders in New York city. I may read one for both categories.

3. Jonathan Gash's Lovejoy series - I used to watch the TV series any time I went to England on visits. It starred Ian McShane as a shiftyish antique dealer who finds himself involved in various mysteries as he hunts down unique antiques. It didn't hurt that the series also starred Phyllis Logan as the lovely Lady Jane and later on, Caroline Langrishe as Charlotte Cavendish. I only recently realised that the series was based on a series of books by Jonathan Gash. I'm looking forward to seeing how good the books are and hunting down more.

4. Laurie R. King's Mary Russell - I read the first book in this series about 10 year ago, that being The Beekeeper's Apprentice. It features one Mary Russell and her companion, Sherlock Holmes. It was an interesting concept and first book. I started picking up the next books but never actually continued reading them. This is another series I'm looking forward to making a dent in, maybe even this year.

and some others....

5. Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs - I read the first book in this series this past year and enjoyed very much. Maisie Dobbs is a budding Private Investigator just setting out on her own shortly after the end of WWI. She is dealing with experiences from the war as well as solving mysteries. Quite an enjoyable first book.

6. Nicola Upson's Josephine Tey - This will be a new series for me. Nicola Upson features mystery writer, Josephine Tey (whose books I've read) in this series, which might make for an interesting idea.

7. Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher - I've enjoyed the TV series and the first few books in this series set in Australia, lots of fun and adventure.

8. John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee - I've read the first 4 or 5 books in this hard-boiled detective series and it's about time I got back into it.

So there you go, my first look ahead to my 2017 reading challenges. Now to get back to the present..

Enjoy your week!!!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Mystery / Thrillers - Canadian Style

I'm currently sitting in the den, enjoying the view and preparing this Blog. Upstairs, the missus and Clyde, one of our pups, is watching Olympic synchronized diving. Bonnie, our other pup, is on the front hall landing, protecting the house against potential invaders. In the family room, just next door, I've got the Canada vs. Germany women's footie match on the tele and every now and then I switch to other events; Canada vs. Czech Republic women's doubles tennis or the diving, maybe even a quickie look at the Women's team gymnastic events. Whew!! My head is spinning. :0)

But, onto the reason for me sitting in the den. Yesterday, I posted a Top Ten list of favourite Canadian novels. I have to reiterate that it is a very limited list, based on my exposure to CanLit. There are so many great Canadian authors that I never even touched on. I'm hoping to find more as I continue with my Goodreads 12 + 0 CanLit reading challenge. For your interest, I'm currently reading and enjoying very much, Mordecai Richler's Solomon Gursky Was Here. Richler is one of Canada's more unique writers. I've previously enjoyed The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, which was made into a movie many years ago and starred Richard Dreyfus in the title role. As well, I quite enjoyed St. Urbain's Horseman, a strange, but fascinating book. Richler also wrote children's books, Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang, which as also turned into a film. Anyway, just to say, there are many excellent Canadian writers I never even touched on. I hope my last Blog gets you interested in exploring the genre.

Now, on to today's Blog, which continues my Canadian author theme, this time focusing on Mystery / Thriller writers. I'll follow a similar method as my last Blog, highlight 10 favourites and mention some others as I finish off.

Canadian Thriller / Mystery Authors

10. Lyn Hamilton (1944 - 2009). Lyn Hamilton was born in Etobicoke, Ontario, just on the outskirts of Toronto and wrote the Lara McClintoch series of archeological mysteries. Lara is an antique dealer with a shop in Toronto and finds herself traveling around the world in search of artifacts and, also, getting involved in various mysteries. She wrote 11 books in the series between 1997 and 2007. It's only from starting the Blog that I realized she had passed away in 2009 from cancer.

I have 7 of the books on my bookshelves and have so far enjoyed 3 of them. I'll continue to read them, treasuring each one, now knowing there will be no more written. The series is made of the following books -

1. The Xibalba Murders (1997)
2. The Maltese Goddess (1998) - 3 stars
3. The Moche Warrior (1999) - 3 stars
4. The Celtic Riddle (2000)
5. The African Quest (2001)
6. The Etruscan Chimera (2002)
7. The Thai Amulet (2003)
8. The Magyar Venus (2004)
9. The Moai Murders (2005)
10. The Orkney Scroll (2006) - (3 stars)
11. The Chinese Alchemist (2007)

9. Linwood Barclay (1955) - Barclay was born in Connecticut and moved with his family in 1959. I've, so far, read only one of his books but it intrigued me enough that I've now started to explore his other works. Never Saw It Coming (2013) was one of his more recent books and it was a pleasant surprise. Below is my review of it.

"This was a pleasantly surprising book. The basic premise from the back cover synopsis is that a woman, Keisha Ceylon, is a con-woman, who pretends to have powers to talk to spirits, and uses her pretense to try and con a man whose wife has gone missing, into paying her for her supposed help. But this activity ends up endangering her life.
So with little expectation I began the book and was nicely surprised at the twists and turns. Every time I thought it would go one way, Barclay would turn it another. For all her conman activities, it's difficult not to like Keisha. I also liked the police detective, Rona Wedmore, for her ability to get to the crux of the situation. It's not a complex story, but the writing style was easy and smooth and the story most enjoyable. A real pleasure to finally try a book by Linwood Barclay."

Barclay has written non-fiction and a mystery series featuring a newspaper columnist / sleuth, Zack Walker. His big break came with his 2007 thriller, No Time For Good-bye, one I'll have to look for. I currently have his 2011 novel, The Accident on my bookshelves.

8. Rosemary Aubert - Rosemary Aubert was born in Niagara Falls, NY, and has lived in Canada for the past 40 years, currently residing in Toronto, Ontario. She has written 11 novels since 1982, but I am focusing on her excellent Ellis Portal mystery series. Portal is an ex-judge from Toronto who suffered a nervous breakdown and finds himself living on the streets of Toronto. Getting involved in various mysteries is a strain but also helps him gather himself and work to gain acceptance once again in the halls of Justice. I've read the first three books and enjoyed very much. These are the six Ellis Portal mysteries -

1.  Free Reign (1997) - 4 stars
2. The Feast of Stephen (1999) - 3 stars
3. The Ferryman Will Be There (2001) - 4 stars
4. Leave Me By Dying (2003)
5. Red Mass (2005)
6. Don't Forget You Love Me (2014)

Aubert has written other books as well; e.g. Judge of Orphans (2007) and Terminal Grill (2013).

7. Stanley Evans (1931) - I only recently discovered Stanley Evans' works in my local used book store. Evans was born in England but emigrated to Canada in 1954 and he currently lives in Victoria, B.C. His Silas Seaweed mystery series is set in Victoria. Seaweed is a Coast Salish who is an investigator with the Victoria Police Department.

There are currently 6 books in the Seaweed series. I read Seaweed on the Street last month and loved the mix of mystery, local culture, native mysticism and the characterizations. It was an excellent introduction to the series. I have a few others now waiting my attention on my bookshelves. The series is made up of the following books -

1. Seaweed on the Street (2005) - 4 stars
2. Seaweed on the Ice (2006)
3. Seaweed under Water (2007)
4. Seaweed on the Rocks (2008)
5. Seaweed in the Soup (2009)
6. Seaweed in the Mythworld (2011)

6. Louise Penny (1958) - Louise Penny is the author of the Inspector Gamache mystery series, a series set in province of Quebec. Her first book, Still Life, was also made into a television movie, featuring Nathaniel Parker as Chief Inspector Gamache. I have read the first two books in the series and enjoyed immensely. Gamache is an interesting character and the settings, both of the first two centered around the small town of Three Pines, a locale peopled with interesting, complex characters. Everything about the stories catches your attention, even down to the food served in the local restaurant/ B&B. The stories remind me very much of Martin Walker's Bruno mysteries. The books are more than just mysteries, they are experiences. Below is the list of Gamache books -

1. Still Life (2005) - 4 stars
2. Dead Calm (2007) - 4 stars
3. The Cruelest Month (2008)
4. The Murder Stone (2009)
5. The Brutal Telling (2009)
6. Bury Your Dead (2010)
7. A Trick of the Light (2011)
8. The Beautiful Mystery (2012)
9. How the Light Gets In (2013)
10. The Long Way Home (2014)
11. The Nature of the Beast (2015)
12. A Great Reckoning (2016)

5. Karen Irving (1957) - Karen Irving was born in Victoria, BC and now resides in Ottawa, ON, the setting of her Katy Klein mysteries. The series has only 3 books currently, publication of any others is on hold due to a 2005 decision of her Raincoast publishing company. I have mentioned Karen in a previous Blog. The Klein series is interesting; Klein is a former psychologist turned astrologer and finds herself getting involved in mysteries and murders. The characters are all excellent, the illusions to horoscopes and the star signs make the stories even more interesting. I enjoyed all three books and I hope that someday more are written and published. The three books are -

1. Pluto Rising (1999) - 3 stars
2. Jupiter's Daughter (2000) - 4 stars
3. Mars Eclipsed (2001) - 4 stars

4. Giles Blunt (1952) - Blunt grew up in my home town, North Bay, Ontario and his John Cardinal mystery / thriller series is set there, even thought the town is now called Algonquin Bay. That is one reason I first tried the series, Forty Words for Sorrow, as the locale piqued my interest. Luckily, the story made for a tense, exciting, excellent mystery as well and I've since read 5 of the 6 books in the series. The locale is interesting for me and the stories are all well-crafted and the characters interesting. It's a gritty series and maybe reminds me somewhat of Mark Billingham's Tom Thorne series or Ian Rankin's Rebus books. Both Cardinal and his partner, Lise Delorme, have their issues but at the same time, they are excellent cops. The books in the series are listed below. (Blunt has written other books as well. I haven't tried yet, but when I finish the Cardinal books, I may do so)

1. Forty Words for Sorrow (2000) - 4 stars
2. The Delicate Storm (2002) - 4 stars
3. Blackfly Season (2005) - 4 stars
4. By the Time You Read This - 4 stars
5. Crime Machine (2010)
6. Until the Night (2012) - 4 stars

3. L.R. Wright (1939 - 2001). I won't spend too much time on L.R.Wright, except mainly to list her books. (If you click on her highlighted name, you will link to a previous Blog I wrote about her in 2010. I discovered her mystery series featuring RCMP Sgt Karl Alberg when I first came to the Comox Valley. It appealed to me at first because it was set on the Sunshine Coast, mainland British Columbia, just across the Straits of Georgia from where I and my wife now reside. However, it didn't take me long to be hooked on the books. I enjoyed the character, the locale, the stories, which are more than mysteries. Once again, I'll harken to Martin Walker's Bruno mysteries or Donna Leon's Inspector Brunetti series. The books are about the life of the characters, where they live, what they do. The mystery is important but also used as a window to explore the characters and their lives. L.R. Wright wrote 9 books in the Karl Alberg and then had just started a new series featuring Alberg's replacement, Edwina Henderson, when she passed away. It's odd how an author's death can affect you, but I readily admit that when I heard of her death, it took the wind out of my sails for a little while.  Check out the link for more information on the books and check out the books too. Excellent series.

2. Margaret Millar (1915 - 1994) - I should state that the authors mentioned above and throughout this Blog entry are not only favourite Canadian mystery writers, but also just favourites in general. It doesn't matter if they were Canadian or not, they stories they tell are well-written and worth trying. This is especially the case of the last few I've highlighted. Anyway, back to Margaret Millar. She was born in Kitchener, Ontario and died in California. Her stories are set in both locales. She was a highly respected writer, winning the Edgar Allen Poe award for her novel, Beast in View and also Woman of the Year by the Los Angeles Times in 1965. She also was awarded Grand Master Award by the Mystery Writers of America in 1983 in recognition for her lifetime achievements. She was married to Ross MacDonald, another mystery writer, known especially for his Lew Archer books.

I've read 4 of Millar's books thus far and gave 5 star ratings to two of them, The Soft Talkers (1957), which I listed as one of my Top Ten Favourite Canadian books in my previous Blog, and Beast in View (1955), which I read this year. Both highlight Millar's story-telling ability and her character development and strength in crafting an excellent mystery. I included my review of The Soft Talkers in my previous Blog. For your interest, as a way of describing Millar's writing abilities, below is the review of Beast in View.

"Beast In View was a true gem. I've enjoyed a couple of her other books in the past few years, when I've been able to find copies. The Soft Talkers was one of my favourites of last year. Beast in View is another 5-star read. It's such an interesting story. I love how Millar develops her plots. Is the story about Helen Clarvoe, who lives alone in her apartment, isolated from the world about her? Is it about Mr. Blackshear, Helen's financial adviser, bored with his work, who she asks to help her find the woman who made the distressing call to Helen and who begins to conduct an investigation on Helen's behalf? Or is it about Evelyn Merrick, the woman who makes the initial call to Helen and who seems to be making many calls to other people that have upset her? I loved how it moved along, from the one character to the other, how the tension builds, how the story surprisingly makes a turn to the left. Excellent, excellent!! She is such a wonderful writer."

I've also read Rose's Last Summer and Ask Me For Tomorrow and enjoyed very much. On my bookshelf is still How Like an Angel (1962) and I'm looking forward to trying it out. It isn't easy sometimes to find Millar's books. I've managed to locate the odd copies in various used book stores I've wandered through. Find them, especially The Soft Talkers (also published as An Air that Kills) and Beast in View. You'll be impressed.

1. David Rotenberg - I can't find a lot of information online about David Rotenberg except that he has written a series of mysteries set in China and also is artistic director of the Professional Actors Lab (and I think he features in his mysteries in a similar role). However, it is about the mysteries that I want to talk. I found this series by accident and fell in love with it immediately. The books feature Chinese police inspector Zhong Fong and his excellent staff of investigators, who work to solve crime in China while trying, at the same time, to avoid falling into trouble with the Communist Party hacks. Besides gritty, interesting mysteries, there is political intrigue, love, action, everything that makes for an excellent, thrilling, compelling series. There are five books in the series and each was as good as the other. They are page turners and tense, intriguing stories. Try them. Below they are listed for your reading pleasure. (I do hope that David Rotenberg decides to write a few more in this series)

1. The Shanghai Murders (1998) - 4 stars
2. The Lake Ching Murders (2002) - 4 stars
3. The Hua Shan Hospital Murders (2003) - 4 stars
4. The Hamlet Murders (2004) - 4 stars
5. The Golden Mountain Murders (2005) - 4 stars

If you like these authors, check out also:

- Gail Bowen - Joanne Kilbourn mysteries
- Alan Bradley - Flavia de Luce mysteries
- Howard Engel - Benny Cooperman mysteries
- Maureen Jennings - Murdoch mysteries
- John Farrow - Detective Emile Cinq-Mars mysteries
- Deryn Collier  - Ben Fortin mysteries
- Ian Hamilton - Ava Lee thrillers
- Michelle Spring - Laura Principal mysteries.


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