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book review

Heart Of The City

By Robert Rotenberg

Simon & Schuster, 272 pages, $24.95

The only complaint I ever have about Robert Rotenberg's novels is that he takes too long between books. Heart Of The City, the fifth Ari Greene book, takes the trusty detective back to Toronto, along with the daughter he never knew he had. The city is changing before his eyes, with cranes aplenty advertising the condo boom that seems to be turning every vacant lot into a 40-storey tower. There's also tension in his broken relationship with his protégé, Daniel Kennicott. With all this baggage, one could excuse Greene for taking a well-earned rest. But when a high-flying condo developer is murdered, and Greene finds the body, he's back into the fray. Rotenberg has been a Toronto lawyer for decades and knows plenty of insider bits about everything from the secret rooms of Old City Hall to the menu at the private dining room at Osgoode Hall. That makes his legal-cop dramas spot-on for details, along with terrific plots and characters that evolve. Greene takes a big leap in this book and he lands, after a lot of action, and a dip into corruption and murder, on his feet.

Paradise Valley

By C.J. Box

Minotaur, 341 pages, $38.99

C.J. Box is one of America's finest mystery authors. His long-running Joe Pickett series never fails to break new ground. Paradise Valley marks the return of North Dakota investigator Cassie Dewell and is the third part of the Highway Quartet – don't miss the other two before you read this superb new book. We begin with a bang, literally. Dewell is planning her wedding, and considering her boss's retirement and the possibility that she'll take over the Grimstad office when he goes. Then comes the news that The Lizard King, a serial killer she's searched for long and hard, has been located. The trap she sets for him alters Cassie's present and future. Chastened and on leave, she loses herself in a case involving a pair of boys who've run away in a Huck Finn adventure on a boat. They hope to sail to New Orleans, but real life may have other plans. Cassie heads south in search of the lost boys and once again, finds herself searching for her old nemesis. This is one of Box's best.


By Kelley Armstrong

Penguin Random House, 471 pages, $32

I'm not usually drawn to crossover series that mix mystery with the supernatural, but Kelley Armstrong has me hooked on her Cainsville series. Rituals is the last book and it features a real shock of an ending. Fans know that, in the first book, Olivia Taylor-Jones, ultraprivileged adopted child, discovered she was the daughter of a pair of notorious serial killers. That discovery led her to Cainsville, Ill., a small town with a lot of very strange people and happenings. Olivia has spent the past four books uncovering a variety of schemes and she's also come under the sway of a lawyer named Gabriel Walsh and her boyfriend, Ricky. So which direction will Olivia go in? That's just one question to be resolved by the end of the series. Armstrong, who lives in Ontario, is the creator of the television hit Bitten. The Cainsville series is even better.

At an event promoting her new book, Hillary Clinton says she's unhappy with the era of 'alternative facts' ushered in by the Trump administration.


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