Rapid Reads

  • Del's great-aunt, Kitty, has retired from a life of crime and embarked on a new venture, the B-Team. Although Del works at an animal shelter by day, by night she, her great-aunt and their cohorts, Dino and Ritz, use their criminal skills to right wrongs. In this fun book, the modern-day Robin Hoods set out to return a necklace to its rightful owner but along the way discover they've been duped by an imposter who also wants to get her hands on the necklace. The problem is, criminals can't go to the police, even if they are on the side of the good. Del comes up with a new plan, and the B-Team saves the day. Not without a few detours along the way.

  • It's almost summer in small town Port Ainslie. Or is it? Temperatures are so far below normal that Police Chief Maxine Benson and her team are wearing sweaters. But is it cold enough to freeze the body of the man found in a ditch on the outskirts of town one morning? Maxine starts to investigate, but she is elbowed aside by the mostly-male provincial police force so she takes charge on her own. Soon she's visiting the victim's cold-hearted widow, tracking the widow's mysterious brother, and confronting the killer alone in a tract of forest. Will Maxine's skills solve this twisting tale of a case?

  • Cookie is about to lose her job at the local bakery. She dreams of owning her own bakery but doesn't think she has the skills or money to do it. Most of all, she doesn't have the self-confidence. When she takes a course at the local college, she finds she has much more going for her than she imagined. With the help of her community, she figures out how to make sure no one has to go without her famous doily cookies for long!

  • Small-town police chief Maxine "Max" Benson is just settling into her new life when her ex appears on the scene. Apparently, he and his new young lover just happen to be visiting her area on holiday. Max left her marriage and the Toronto police to become chief in Port Ainslie, where she runs a three-person department with few problems and enjoys a different pace of life. That's all about to change when Max's ex-husband is accused of killing his young lover right in Max's own backyard. It seems that only Max's superior detection abilities can save him from an almost certain conviction.
    This is the third book in the Maxine Benson mystery series.

  • Small-town journalist Claire Abbott has a sixth sense, what the fire chief calls a "radar for crime." When a string of suspicious fires breaks out in town, Claire thinks she knows who the firebug is. Or does she? She finds there is much more to the story than she imagined. Worse, no one will believe her. The firebug is getting bolder, and the fires he sets more dangerous. Claire is now in a race against time to catch the arsonist in the act before he takes a life.
    Playing with Fire is the second in a series of mysteries featuring journalist and sleuth Claire Abbott.

  • When the daughter of the most powerful Mafia don in New York goes missing, the don's right-hand man comes to Gulliver Dowd for help. Problem is, the right-hand man and Dowd despise each other. Plus, the don knows who murdered Dowd's sister, Keisha, but refuses to share that knowledge with Gulliver. Still, Dowd makes a devil's deal and hunts for the girl. Old secrets and lies boil to the surface, threatening to destroy the lives of everyone involved. But who has the girl? An eccentric art professor, or one of the don's many enemies? Will Gulliver find her, or will their fates dissolve in a corrosive stew of love and fear?

  • Vancouver Post gossip columnist Nicole Charles is only slightly put out when she discovers she's been downsized. She figures she's lucky to still have a job. It just means she needs to get a desk so she can work out of her apartment. But the desk she buys at auction proves to have more history than she'd anticipated, and the cache she finds in a secret compartment in that desk has links to a money-laundering ring, and an old school-mate. Will this be the story that lands Nicole a job on the news desk? Even while she struggles to solve the case, she wonders if she'll ever get the recognition she figures she deserves.
    When Blood Lies is the second novel in a series of mysteries featuring rookie reporter Nicole Charles.

  • Piano tuner and jazz musician Frank Ryan is in Japan teaching bored housewives how to play piano. Then he gets a gig in a trendy underground bar and ends up ensnared with a young woman with a grudge and the crime boss who owns the bar. Drawn into Tokyo Girl's vendetta, Frank stumbles into an underworld where transgressions are paid for by the flash of a razor-sharp cleaver. And for a pianist, that's not a good thing.
    Tokyo Girl is the follow-up to Beethoven's Tenth, featuring reluctant sleuth Frank Ryan.

  • Small-town reporter Claire Abbott wakes from a nightmare, convinced a bomb will go off in the local school. And then, strangely enough, there really is a bomb scare. After the school is cleared by police and their sniffer dog, Claire is certain the threat isn't over. People are behaving strangely. Claire believes a bomber will attack the school. But when? And who is the bomber? Claire must track down the culprit and stop him before the bomb goes off.
    Race Against Time is the third novel in a series of mysteries featuring journalist and sleuth Claire Abbott.

  • Escaping the pressures of big-city policing, Maxine Benson is happy to be appointed police chief in the resort town of Port Ainslie. Max's biggest challenge is to overcome skepticism at her ability to deal with major crimes-like the murder of Billy Ray Edwards.
    Few people mourn Billy Ray's passing. He was a bully and was also intent on derailing the biggest development project in the town's history. But murder's murder, and Max is ready to solve it on her own and prove her worth to the townspeople. And maybe even to herself.

  • Toronto homicide detectives Pratt and Ellis are brought in to investigate a series of hit-and-runs. Someone seems to be trying to kill random people using stolen cars. The detectives try to find any connections between the victims that might indicate something else at work. What they discover is beyond their wildest imagining.

  • As Gina gets ready for her Christmas wedding, all is quiet in Steeltown. Then she's robbed, cousin Jimmy has a heart attack, and someone in the city has hijacked a transport truck full of booze. But who? And why? Gina knows bootlegging used to be a family business, but they stopped that in the '30s. Didn't they?
    Gina and Nico work feverishly to keep the latest bungled family matter under wraps, but the police are closing in. And, once again, everything points to the Holy Cannoli Retirement Home.
    The Bootlegger's Goddaughter is the fifth book in the Gina Gallo Mystery series.

  • Sixteen-year-old Rasheed is smart, tough and a survivor. In his neighborhood, he has to be. The streets are run by a gang called the E Street Locals, and they've been trying to jump him in since he was a child. So far, he's managed to escape their clutches. But the gang is not his only problem. Rasheed's sister, Daneeka, was paralyzed in a drive-by shooting, and now she's confined to a wheelchair, mentally frozen at the age of nine. His mother is an addict. His father hasn't been heard from in years. High school is no safer than the streets, so Rasheed seeks solace at the local university campus. There he meets a young woman named Lanaia who takes an interest in him. He also bumps up against a police officer who he thinks at first is hassling him just because he's black. But eventually Rasheed realizes that the officer is only pushing him to become a better person. Though he can't escape his home life, or the gang, as easily as he'd like, Rasheed does learn some valuable lessons in his struggles: you and you alone are accountable for the decisions you make in life; even though the world is not a fair place, you can still accomplish whatever you set your mind to; and we all become stronger when we admit we need someone to lean on.

  • RCMP Sergeant Ray Robertson is in the Turks and Caicos Islands, enjoying two weeks of leave from his job training police in Haiti with the UN. On an early-morning jog along famed Grace Bay Beach he discovers a dead man in the surf. Ray is shocked to recognize the body as that of one of his Haitian police recruits. To his wife's increasing dismay, Ray is compelled to follow the dead man's trail and finds himself plunged into the world of human trafficking and the problems of a tiny country struggling to cope with a desperate wave washing up on its shores.
    This timely story is the third in the Sergeant Ray Robertson series.

  • It's Father's Day weekend—a tough time for Charlie D, host of a late-night radio call-in show that offers supportive advice to troubled listeners. For years Charlie has been alienated from his father—a retired politician who was always too busy for his son when Charlie was growing up. The trouble is, his dad has chosen this weekend to attempt to reconcile with his son. Charlie is not keen to forgive. But Charlie's personal issues suddenly seem mundane when an email arrives from a young listener that outlines his very specific plans to kill not just his father but his entire family. The deeply troubled boy could be anywhere, and Charlie has just two hours to discover his identity and stop him from murder.

  • Nicole Patterson is a young, green and very eager probationary constable with the Ontario Provincial Police. Although she spends much of her time breaking up bar fights, giving out traffic tickets and finding lost kids, she dreams of one day becoming a detective.
    Late one bitterly cold winter night, she comes across the body of a young woman lying on the edge of a snow-covered field on the outskirts of town. The girl appears to have been strangled. Nicole recognizes the victim as a local high school student with a somewhat sullied reputation, the daughter of the town drunk. Though both under-qualified and unauthorized, Nicole feels compelled to throw herself into the murder investigation.
    Was the murdered girl really as promiscuous as her classmates described or the victim of bullying? What was her relationship with the star of the football team? And what is the significance of the ring with the large blue stone found near her body?
    Is Nicole Patterson herself heading for trouble by pretending to be a detective?

  • Rosario Gomez gave up gang life after his brother was killed in a street fight. Now all he wants to do is finish night school, be a good father and work hard enough at his job at the supermarket to get promoted. But when an old friend shows up to ask him why he left the gang, Rosario realizes he was fooling himself if he thought his violent past would just go away. When his pregnant girlfriend is hit in a drive-by shooting, Rosario has to make some hard choices. Revenge means a return to his old ways, something he swore he would never do. But unless he takes action, his enemies will not rest until they've settled the score against him.

  • Cree Thunderboy wants nothing less than to be the next great blues man. But, playing to tiny audiences in shabby rooms like Shelly's Crab Shack, his career is stalled. Then at the race track he meets Win Hardy, a seemingly charming rogue who spots Cree's knack for picking winning horses. He offers to record his first CD and send him on tour, as long as Cree can keep coming up with the hot tips at the track.
    Things are looking good for Cree until he discovers Win's connections to the mob and his violent response to anything that doesn't go his way. And when things inevitably go bad, Cree discovers that in life and in gambling there is never really the next sure thing.

  • December 20, 1943. Two Canadian infantry battalions and a tank regiment stand poised on the outskirts of a small Italian port town. They expect to take Ortona quickly. But the German 1st Parachute Division has other ideas. For reasons unknown, Hitler has ordered Ortona held to the last man. Houses, churches and other buildings are dynamited, clogging the streets with rubble. Germans with machine guns lie in ambush. Snipers slip from one rooftop to another. The Canadians seem to have walked into a death trap. This is a battle fought at close range, often hand to hand. Casualties on both sides are heavy. In the end, raw courage and ingenuity save the Canadians.
    Ortona Street Fight is a riveting telling of what is considered one of the most epic battles that Canadian soldiers have ever fought.

  • For his Valentine's night call-in show, host Charlie D plans to offer his listeners two hours on the topic of "satisfaction." His in-studio guest is twenty-five-year-old Misty de Vol Burgh, formerly the highest-paid escort in the city but now happily married to eighty-three-year-old billionaire Henry Burgh.
    It's all good fun until Charlie receives a chilling message: "It's take-out-the-garbage night. Time to kill all the hookers and wash the streets with blood." When Charlie is directed to a website that allows viewers to watch the murder of a prostitute in real time and promises that another killing will be broadcast live within the hour, the hunt is on. But The World According to Charlie D. has an audience of over a million listeners. The murderer could be anyone, anywhere. Charlie and his team have less than two hours to find and stop the killer.

  • Nicole Charles didn't go to journalism school to become a gossip columnist, but the job fell into her lap right out of school and her immigrant work ethic just won't let her quit to find something she'd like better. It's a good job, but she struggles with the stigma attached to her position by other reporters. More than anything, she wants to be a real reporter, but it looks like she's never going to get a chance.
    Then one night while covering a gallery opening, she discovers a dead body in a dark alley. An upand- coming artist has been stabbed in the throat with an antique icepick. Nicole is right in the middle of the biggest story of the year. It's the chance of a lifetime. Too bad someone had to die to make it happen.
    If It Bleeds is the first novel in a series of mysteries featuring rookie reporter Nicole Charles.

  • Mother Anqelique runs a shelter for homeless mothers and their children in a run-down inner-city area, where drug addiction, prostitution and random acts of violence are facts of life. One day, newly orphaned Jamal and his sister Chantay arrive at the shelter, hungry and scared. As Angelique tries to find a new home for them, she develops a fascination with seven-year-old Jamal, who seems to inhabit a world of his own. Jamal tells her fantastic stories of a man named Jacky Wacky, who protects the poor children of the city and punishes the adults who harm them. A God-fearing woman, Angelique doesn't believe his stories at first. But strange things begin to happen whenever Jamal is around, and Mother Angelique is forced to admit that the world may contain stranger truths than her faith can explain.

  • Twenty-four-year-old Stephanie manages a clothing store and lives with her mother in the townhouse where she grew up. Her life isn't in a rut exactly, but it's not headed where she'd like it to be. At her mother's suggestion, she joins a community choir. Soon she's singing rock songs in four-part harmony and has met a completely new group of people, including Anna Rai, a local TV personality. When Anna's private journal goes missing, she confides in Stephanie that she feels terribly vulnerable. What if the notebook falls into the wrong hands and her secrets are made public? She hints that such revelations could be devastating to her and other public figures. When a blackmailer demands cash in exchange for the notebook, the two women lay a trap to snare the crook. But will Stephanie use or abuse the information she now has?

  • A brutal serial killer is murdering women in Vancouver's West End. On a seemingly insane rampage, he leaves their headless bodies to be found and writes taunting letters to the police. It soon becomes apparent that all his victims are members of the neighborhood fitness center. Sebastian Casey, a reporter with the weekly community newspaper, has just begun to work out at the center. As he gets to know some of the others who use the facility, Casey finds himself drawn into the search for the killer. His interest intensifies when he begins a tentative relationship with Emma Shaughnessy, a local schoolteacher, whose good looks and fitness regime makes her a prime candidate to be the killer's next victim.

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