Rapid Reads

  • Jennie has been a widow for two years. Her twelve-year-old son thinks it's about time she started dating, and so does her best friend, Angela. So with Angela's help, Jennie signs up to an online dating site. Within hours, she has several dates lined up for the week. Surely there will be one Prince Charming in the bunch. And if not, it's only one date, right? How bad could it be?

  • When paramedic Ashley Grant finds her boyfriend in bed with another woman, she moves out of her house (okay, his house), quits her job and takes a new one in a tiny Caribbean country, the Victoria and Albert Islands. Ashley is thrown into the deep end when she arrives. Her new colleague picks her up at the airport in the island's only ambulance, which is called to the discovery of a body floating off the beach at the exclusive Club Louisa.
    The body is that of a man vacationing with his daughter and glamorous new wife. Coincidentally, Sally, the daughter of the dead man, recognizes Ashley from high school. She is convinced that her stepmother killed her father and begs Ashley to help her prove it. Before she can even unpack her bags or enjoy the view from her ocean-side apartment, Ashley is unwittingly dragged into a murder investigation.
    First in a new series from award-winning author Vicki Delany.

  • Paramedic Ashley Grant is settling into her new life in the Caribbean, although sometimes she still feels like a fish out of water. The ambulance is called to a fire at a prestigious resort, and Ashley recognizes the victim as a hotel chef and the cousin of her friend Darlene. When a second death occurs, the police are quick to close the case. But Darlene isn't satisfied, and she drags the unwitting Ashley into the investigation. Does this idyllic beach resort have a dark side?
    Blue Water Hues is the second book in the Ashley Grant Mystery series.

  • Keno is twenty-three, a high-school dropout working as a rent collector for a slum landlord. Apart from hitting on the office secretary, Cass, his life is bleak. His job takes him into sad, mean places where kids wail, drunks fight and women get beaten up. He works his territory with Jaco, who's tougher and shiftier than any of the folks they're sent to shake rent out of.
    One night Keno and Jaco finally catch up to one of their targets. But she'll never pay. She's dead. Battered almost beyond recognition. But they recognize her killer, and Jaco comes up with a scheme to blackmail him.
    Now Keno has to decide who he is-bill collector or blackmailer. Or could he even be the good guy? Will he run or will he stay? In the end, will trusting himself help him outmaneuver a psychopathic killer?

  • A murder at the Blue Dragon, a small apartment building in San Francisco's Chinatown, prompts the absentee owner to hire Chinese American Peter Strand to calm the anxious tenants. But Strand isn't exactly what he appears to be. Neither are the tenants, who on the surface seem to be regular people going about their lives. Strand, a forensic accountant by trade, doesn't intend to investigate the murder, but he soon realizes that this isn't a gang-related killing, as the police believe. The murder was committed by one of the tenants. Finding out which one exposes the secrets of the Blue Dragon and brings Strand face-to-face with a few ghosts of his own.

  • In The Goddaughter Caper, Gina Gallo finds herself embroiled in her family's shady dealings when a body turns up at her uncle's restaurant. But it's just the beginning of her problems. Strange things keep happening in Steeltown. A body shows up in the trunk of Gina's car. Another is mistakenly shipped to her cousin Nico's new store. And then Gina and Nico stumble across a stash of empty coffins! Worse, everything mysteriously points to her own retired relatives from the Holy Cannoli Retirement Home.
    Gina is determined to get to the bottom of it. But she'll have to act fast, because the police are right behind her.
    This is the fourth in a series featuring Gina Gallo, who wants nothing more than to run her little jewelry store but, try as she might to escape it, somehow Gina gets drawn into the family business, with hilarious consequences.

  • Kat is a tough, independent woman who makes her living as a professional poker player. She is single, childless and happy about it. But when her best friend, Josie, commits suicide, she names Kat as the temporary guardian of her ten-year-old son, David, until his father can come for him. In the few weeks that David is with her, Kat finds herself changed in ways she had never thought imaginable. With the old poker adage "bet with your head, not your heart" ringing in her head like a warning bell, Kat nevertheless finds that all the money and success in the world don't mean a thing unless you have someone to share it with...and that maybe there is more to life than winning after all.

  • Peter Strand is half Chinese and half Cherokee and was adopted by an elderly white couple from Phoenix. Now he's a forensic accountant in San Francisco, where he's struggling with his identity.
    When his employer asks him to investigate a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, Strand meets a cast of quirky characters who all seem to be hiding a secret. Peter soon finds evidence of a probable fraud, but when fraud leads to murder, he's drawn deeper into a murky mystery.
    The Black Tortoise is the second book in the Peter Strand Mystery series.

  • When detective Rick Montoya returns to the city to try to clear his name after being accused of taking a bribe, he discovers someone is living in his apartment. Before he can find out who it is, the apartment house goes up in flames. Rick watches covertly as the police remove two bodies. Was the firebombing meant for him? Who exactly was killed in the fire? And why? What was his landlady Cheryl doing at home in the middle of the afternoon? And why is her daughter Susanna acting strangely? Then his estranged wife arrives at the scene of the fire. The questions mount up, along with the suspects.

  • Cleanup

    Norah Mcclintock

    Connie Suarez, downsized from her job as a legal secretary, is working as a maid. She's getting used to picking up after people and putting their lives in order. But she is not prepared for the mess that awaits her when she arrives at work one morning to find her employer dead on the floor of his bedroom. Connie's co-worker Maria, an illegal alien from Colombia, quickly becomes the prime suspect in his murder.
    When Maria begs her for help, Connie cannot refuse. As she tries to discover what really happened, she learns that Maria has been keeping a number of things from her. Now Connie can't decide who or what to believe. And that's not the worst of it. Connie soon realizes that she herself is also a potential target for violence. The question now is, will she be able to clean up the mess that Maria is in without getting killed herself?

  • Walter Davis is young, handsome, intelligent, dynamic and personable. The product of a bi-racial marriage but abandoned by his father as a young child, he prides himself on three things: his drive to succeed, his fine clothes and never having been late for anything in his life. Walter is also homeless. The medical expenses that came with his mother's brief and unsuccessful battle against cancer have left him destitute. Still, ever the optimist, Walter believes that if he lives in his car for a few months, he will have the time he needs to find a good job in the business world and turn his life around. His situation gets more complicated when he finds himself attracted to a girl he meets at the mailing center where he keeps a post box. But trying to impress a girl when you have no fixed address proves difficult, and when he's caught in a lie, she shuns his company. Walter's struggles grow when his car is impounded and he can't afford to pay the fine. Only resilience, ingenuity and his drive to succeed can bring Walter back from the brink of despair.

  • The year is 2147. Chago, twenty-four, is a prisoner in a world made up only of prisoners and those who guard them. The only bright spot in Chago's life is his son, Jim-Jim, whose mother is a guard. In an effort to resolve overcrowding in the prison, the warden introduces the Innocence Device, a high-tech machine he claims can determine innocence or guilt. Prisoners are encouraged to walk through the Innocence Device and experience its rewards: immediate freedom or death. When they discover the machine is rigged, the prisoners riot and take over the prison. After witnessing the execution-style death of the mother of his son, and surviving a brief stint outside the prison walls, Chago ends up in a position of power. But he soon finds the new regime little different from the old, and he sets out to save the only thing he values—his son.

  • Vancouver city councilor George Hamilton Nash has left his wife of twenty years and moved into a posh West End condo. A wealthy man about town, Nash appears to be enjoying all the pleasures the city has to offer-until he turns up dead. The note left behind indicates suicide, and the police are satisfied with this. But Sebastian Casey, a reporter for the West End Clarion who knew something of Nash's reputation as a lady's man, is not so sure. He doesn't buy suicide and sets out to prove otherwise, amidst trouble in his own relationship, and with no shortage of suspects, including the wife left behind. The break Casey needs comes from a most unlikely source.

  • Gwen Lake is a forty-five-year-old police officer with a desk job, an ex-husband and a future not even close to the American dream. A year after her divorce, and more out of boredom and curiosity than anything else, she agrees to a meeting with her ex's new wife. She has no idea that the encounter will lead to murder. And she has decidedly mixed emotions when her ex-husband is arrested for the crime. Instead of accepting the lead detective's advice to book a Club Med vacation and leave the investigation to the professionals, Gwen decides to work the case on her own. Her life is about to get a lot less predictable and a lot more dangerous.

  • That Dog Won't Hunt

    Lou Allin

    Cowboy drifter Rick Cooper is on the run in the California desert when he meets Gladys Ryan, an eccentric widow who offers him a ride in her classic 1970 Mustang. Before long she convinces him to accompany her to Northern Ontario to help refurbish her hunting lodge, promising him a share of the upcoming season's profits and hinting at more. The offer is too good to pass up. Rick takes to life in the bush, working hard to make the lodge successful. In his free hours he hunts birds, reluctantly taking Bucky, Gladys' ancient golden retriever along with him.
    But when the lucrative season comes to an end, Gladys refuses to share the profits, instead offering the hired man a few thousand dollars in wages. In the middle of a drinking bout, an argument ensues. Rick shoves Gladys and she falls and hits her head and dies. He takes her body into the remote bush and disposes of her trademark Mustang, telling anyone who asks that she has gone off on her annual snowbird vacation. No one seems suspicious and it looks like the perfect crime. Rick seems to have it all figured out...except what to do with Bucky...

  • Gina Lopez is twenty-six, a postal worker during the week, a mud wrestler on weekends. She's also a recent widow, though she is not exactly mourning the death of her abusive husband Chico. Instead, she's anxiously awaiting the life-insurance settlement that will pay off his gambling debts. After that she's hoping to take her mud-wrestling skills out of small-town-Ontario bars and down to the more lucrative US circuit.
    And then Marcia Beekland enters her life. Marcia has video evidence that appears to implicate Gina in Chico's death. Faced with the likelihood of a jail sentence and the certain loss of the insurance settlement, Gina succumbs to Marcia's blackmail demands. And what Marcia wants is that Gina kill her husband Stanley.
    /> What follows is a comic mystery caper that will keep readers both laughing and eagerly reading to discover what is really behind Marcia's increasingly crazed demands.

  • Gina Gallo is a gemologist who would like nothing better than to run her little jewelry shop. Unfortunately she's also "the Goddaughter," and, as she tells her new friend Pete, "you don't get to choose your relatives." And you can't avoid them when you live in Hamilton and they more or less run the place. When Gina bumps into Pete at the Art Gallery Gala, sparks fly. So do bullets, when her cousin Tony is taken down by rival mobsters from New York. It turns out Tony was carrying a load of hot gems in the heel of his shoe. When Gina is reluctantly recruited to carry the rocks back to Buffalo, the worst happens: they get stolen. Pete and Gina have no choice but to steal them back, even though philandering politicians, shoe fetishists, and a trio of inept goons stand in their way. It's all in a day's work, when you're the Goddaughter.

  • When softhearted handyman Cedric O'Toole agrees to help Barry Mitchell renovate his farmhouse, he finds himself facing old fears. Not only did Mitchell bully Cedric all through school, but his life has been troubled ever since. Now, just out of prison, he's broke and his parents have gone missing, leaving a cloud of suspicion hanging over his head. But when Barry warns him not to touch the boarded-up door in the cellar, the ever-curious Cedric can't resist. The small storage room, obviously unused in years, contains jars of preserves, barrels of dried apples and a pile of small bones. As he sets out to discover who died and how, Cedric uncovers a tale of violence, deception and abuse. And he learns just how far Barry will go to keep a tragic family secret from coming to light.

  • Linda is a young, hardworking single mom struggling to get by from paycheck to paycheck. When she learns that her son Dre needs a kidney transplant, her family's already precarious financial situation takes a turn for the worst. Then she discovers that the only one who can help Dre is his half-brother LeVon, a drug-dealing gangbanger who thinks only of himself. Somehow Linda must get through to LeVon in order to save her son.
    Though she is deathly afraid of LeVon and the world he lives in, Linda knows she must conquer her fear and meet him on his own turf if she is to have any hope of success. Linda is finally able to teach LeVon the value of doing something noble with his life. And to her surprise, she learns she has room in her heart for one more kid, a boy from the streets who never had a chance.

  • When a young woman goes missing on a nature trail, small-town journalist Claire Abbott is first on the scene, as usual. The clues to the woman's whereabouts are misleading, but Claire has a sixth sense-what the fire chief calls a "radar for crime." Trusting her intuition, Claire insists that the search and rescue team look elsewhere for clues to the woman's disappearance. When they fail to follow up on her lead, she pursues it on her own, embarking on a snowy chase up a mountainside that puts herself and others in danger. She's more than just a journalist chasing a story. Claire is determined to do the right thing at any cost.
    Search and Rescue is the first novel in a series of mysteries featuring journalist and sleuth Claire Abbott.

  • Gulliver Dowd is finally on the verge of unraveling the mystery behind his sister's murder when the man who is supposed to give him the scoop, NYPD Detective Sam Patrick, is gunned down on the Coney Island Boardwalk. As Dowd delves into Patrick's accidental shooting, he uncovers a pattern of corruption and deceit involving organized crime and the police. But there are tough choices to be made. Just how much is Gulliver willing to sacrifice in order to find out why his sister was murdered and to unmask the killer? The answers aren't found in the moon or the stars, but on the boardwalk. The Boardwalk is third in the Gulliver Dowd Mystery series, featuring a New York private investigator. In award-winning author Louise Penny's words: "A little man with a huge heart and a huge chip on his shoulder, Gulliver Dowd swaggers into the crime fiction world and takes his place with the great investigators. Smart, vulnerable, wounded, heartbreakingly hopeful, I just adore his company."

  • At age twenty, Leena O'Neil walked away from her old life. Anything to avoid becoming a lawyer like her mother and older sister, Georgia. Three years later, Georgia contacts her, convinced that her husband is trying to kill her rather than divorce her. Reluctantly, Leena agrees to help. But the stakes go up when Georgia's husband, Mark, is murdered. Now she wonders if the person who killed Mark is out to get Georgia as well. Armed with several online courses in criminology and investigative strategies, Leena considers herself "almost a private investigator" and she sets out to uncover the truth. Disappearing Act is the first in a series of mysteries featuring rookie private investigator Leena O'Neil.

  • Piano tuner Frank Ryan is paid in kind by an aging music teacher with an old manuscript that turns out to be Beethoven's Tenth Symphony. Launched into a world of intrigue and violence, Ryan, an unlikely sleuth, realizes he must use his wits to conquer his enemies and solve the mystery of the manuscript. In the process Ryan discovers whom he can trust and what he is made of. The first in a series featuring Frank Ryan, Beethoven's Tenth is a smart page-turner.

  • Simple country handyman Cedric O'Toole relies on his organic vegetable garden to supplement his meager income, so he's upset when vegetables begin disappearing. After several futile attempts to protect the garden, he stakes it out one night with his shotgun and spots a shadowy figure running into the woods. Cedric follows and finds a young boy living rough on his land. The boy has never been taught to read or write, and no one has reported him missing. No stranger to childhood neglect himself, Cedric takes the boy under his wing and tries to find answers. Who is the mystery boy, and why is he hiding in the woods? The Night Thief is the third novel in a series featuring reluctant sleuth Cedric O'Toole.

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