Rapid Reads

  • Charlie D is the host of a successful late-night radio call-in show. His listeners have a particularly intimate relationship with him and often reveal much about themselves, confident that he will honor their trust and that he can save them. In their minds, he is perfect: one of life's winners. But Charlie feels he's something of a fake. His easy confidence on-air belies the reality for a man born with a wine-colored birthmark that covers half his face.
    Love You to Death covers two hours on "The World According to Charlie D" during which he must both discover the long-time listener who is killing the people who trust him and attempt to come to terms with the man behind the birthmark.

  • 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...

  • Best Girl

    Sylvia Warsh

    Amanda Moss is a young hairstylist with ambitions to become a musician and play in a band. She was adopted at age three after her parents were killed in a car crash. At least that's what her adoptive mother Shelley has always told her. Shelley is also a hairdresser. But beyond that, mother and daughter don't see eye to eye on much.
    Then one day Amanda's life changes dramatically when a stranger shows up and tells her a very different story about her parents. Her real mother has just died of cancer while serving a life sentence for the murder of Amanda's father. Suddenly Amanda feels her whole life has been a lie. Was her mother really guilty? When she also discovers that her father was in a successful rock-and-roll band when he was killed, she goes looking for former band members to try to find out what really happened so many years before. In the process she learns some unpleasant truths about her family. She also learns that you can love and hate someone at the same time.

  • Missy Turner thinks of herself as the most ordinary woman in the world. She has a lot to be thankful for: a great kid, a loving husband, a job she enjoys and the security of living in the small town where she was born. Then one day everything gets turned upside down. She loses her job, catches her husband making out with the neighbor and is briefly taken hostage by a young man who robs the local café. With her world rapidly falling apart, Missy finds herself questioning the certainties she's lived with her whole life.

  • 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.

  • Contingency Plan

    Lou Allin

    When Sandra Sinclair, recently widowed and the mother of twelve-year-old Jane, meets wealthy lawyer Joe Gillette, he wins her over with his kind and conscientious attitude. Falling in love faster than she ever thought possible, Sandra agrees to marry. But soon after they move into their new home, things begin to change, and Joe's controlling behavior causes her to question her decision. When her new husband becomes seriously abusive, Sandra decides that she and Jane must leave.
    When Joe makes it clear that he will not just let her walk away, Sandra discovers that it's quite likely that he arranged his first wife's death, and that she is now part of his "contingency plan." She soon realizes that even the law is no defense against this meticulous and egotistical man. Fleeing to an old family cabin on a remote lake, mother and daughter prepare to live off the grid. And when Joe tracks them down, Sandra must come up with a contingency plan of her own.

  • Detective Mervin Pratt is enjoying a quiet dinner at his favorite Italian restaurant when he's called in to assist at a murder scene at a popular downtown nightclub. The manager has been stabbed to death in his office. The lead investigator, Detective Gordon, no friend of Pratt's, sees it as an open-and-shut case. He has the suspect, motive and even the murder weapon. But Pratt is unwilling to jump to conclusions.
    When Pratt's young partner, Dave Ellis, arrives on the scene uninvited and quietly tells Pratt that the suspect is his half brother, Pratt finds himself in an ethical dilemma. Ellis can have nothing to do with the investigation, and his connection to the case should be reported. On the other hand, Gordon's attempt to railroad the suspect and his outright antagonism to Pratt's involvement rub the detective the wrong way. The only solution, of course, is to solve the crime.

  • 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.

  • Dawn, June 6, 1944. Off the Normandy coast 6,500 ships carry 150,000 Allied troops. This is D-Day, the long-awaited Allied invasion of German-occupied Europe. The Allies will storm five beaches. One is code-named Juno Beach. Here, 14,500 Canadians will land on a five-mile stretch of sand backed by three resort towns. The beach is heavily protected by a seawall, barbed wire, underwater obstacles and hundreds of mines. Behind these defenses a heavily armed German force waits inside thick concrete pillboxes and deep trenches that bristle with machineguns and artillery pieces.
    About 3,500 Canadians will lead the way. The fate of the invasion is in their hands. They either break the German defenses or die trying. Piling out of small, frail landing craft, they struggle through bullet- and shell-whipped water to gain the sand. And the bloody battle for Juno Beach begins.
    With his trademark you-are-there style, acclaimed military historian Mark Zuehlke plunges readers into a vivid and powerful account of the day-long battle that put the Allies on the march toward victory in World War II.

  • 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.

  • When jewelry-store owner Gina Gallo and her boyfriend Pete take a week's vacation, she leaves the store in the hands of her cousin from New York. After all, cousin Carmine is a certified gemologist-but Carmine is also in the Mob. When Gina gets back, she discovers that her cousin has spent his time switching real gems for fakes in the jewelry of some of her best customers.
    With her reputation on the line, what's a Mob goddaughter to do? Mastermind a string of burglaries to get the gems back, of course! But nothing ever goes entirely smoothly for Gina. Soon she and her eccentric cousin Nico are the toast of the town, as the local paper and everyone else follow the antics of their very own Pink Panthers.

  • Juba, South Sudan.
    RCMP Sergeant Ray Robertson has spent eleven and a half months serving with the United Nations in the world's newest country. He's tired of the chaotic traffic and jostling crowds that fill the narrow streets. Tired of the choking red dust that blows into the capital from the desert. He can't wait to get back to his wife and kids-and back to policing a world he understands.
    But when a young woman-the fourth in three weeks-is found dead at the side of a dusty road with a thin white ribbon wrapped tightly around her neck, Robertson fears that a serial killer is on the loose. In a country plagued by years of extreme poverty, civil war and the struggle to establish a functioning government, the policeman realizes that it's up to him and his Dinka partner, John Deng, to find the killer before they can strike again.

  • When Lucas Smoke learns the Ojibway art of carving from his grandfather, he proves to be a natural. He can literally make people come to life in wood. Then Lucas's growing reputation attracts a mysterious stranger, who offers him a large advance to carve a spirit mask.
    This mask is to represent the master, but Lucas must find its face in his dreams. As his dreams become more and more disturbing, he feels himself changing. And the mask takes control of his life. Then a chance encounter with an old woman introduces him to the identity of the master. He is an ancient sorcerer named Him Standing, a powerful and dark wizard. The more Lucas works on the mask, the closer Him Standing comes to emerging from the dream world to walk the earth again. What follows is a race against time and the forces of evil in this supernatural thriller.

  • 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.

  • It all begins when PI Gulliver Dowd is approached by Ellis Torres, a street kid, on Valentino Pier in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. Ellis has lost his dog, and after Gulliver helps to find the dog for him, they go their separate ways. So when Ellis is discovered beaten, unconscious and left for dead not far from the pier early the following morning, Gulliver is horrified—and suspicious. He sets out to find the attacker and learn why the boy was targeted. What Gulliver uncovers by way of bizarre clues—amidst threats of danger to himself and his loved ones—leads him on his most curious case yet. Undeniably, there is something amiss at Valentino Pier.

  • 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.

  • Mob goddaughter Gina Gallo stands to inherit two million bucks from her great-uncle Seb, a master forger. But there's a catch: Uncle Seb wants Gina to make things right and return an extremely valuable painting to the City Art Gallery. If she can't do it, her rat-face cousin Carmine gets the boodle.
    Reluctantly, Gina comes up with a plan for a reverse heist, as she has learned things never go as planned when her family gets involved. The wrong painting gets replaced, and Gina finds herself with two priceless masterpieces in hand! It won't be long before someone realizes what's going on.
    The Artful Goddaughter is the third novel in a series featuring Gina Gallo, who wants nothing more than to run her little jewelry store. But try as she might, Gina can't escape the family business, with hilarious consequences.

  • 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.

  • This ebook bundle offers three gritty urban tales by William Kowalski. In The Barrio Kings, Rosario Gomez struggles to stay out of the gang life that killed his brother while finishing his high school diploma and preparing for the birth of his first son. But when his old friend Juan gets out of jail, his past returns to haunt him. In The Way It Works, A young bi-racial man who suddenly finds himself homeless, struggles to maintain his dignity and to make his own place in the world. In Something Noble, a single mom must try to convince a selfish drug dealer to donate one of his kidneys to his half-brother.

  • RCMP sergeant Ray Robertson is serving with the United Nations in Haiti, a land of brilliant color and vibrant life, Vodou and vast above-ground cemeteries. Ray's job is to train the local police and assist investigations. One call comes in from the home of a wealthy American businessman. The man came home to find his beautiful, young Haitian wife floating face down in the swimming pool. The American embassy and the Haitian police immediately arrest the gardener, and the case is closed. But Ray isn't so sure, and he keeps digging. Until one night he finds himself in a Vodou-saturated cemetery, surrounded by above-ground tombs and elaborate statuary, confronting a killer with nothing left to lose.
    This is the second in a series featuring RCMP sergeant Ray Robertson on his various postings overseas.

  • Three compelling mysteries in one ebook bundle that includes the first three novels by Gail Bowen featuring the successful talk-show radio host Charlie D. Charlie D's listeners have a particularly intimate relationship with him and often reveal much about themselves, confident that he will honor their trust and that he can save them. But Charlie feels he's something of a fake. His easy confidence on-air belies the reality for a man born with a wine-colored birthmark that covers half his face. The first novel, Love you to Death, covers one hour on "The World According to Charlie D"--an hour during which he must both discover the long-time listener who is killing the people who trust him and attempt to come to terms with the man behind the birthmark. In the second novel, One Fine Day You're Gonna Die, events on Charlie D's radio show take a bizarre turn when one of his callers threatens to kill not only himself but also the young daughter of Charlie's on-air guest, who happens to be an expert on death and dying. And in the final novel in this bundle, Charlie D has only two hours to find a troubled young boy and then convince him not to kill his father and the rest of his family.

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