The best fantastic mysteries by Canadian novelists that will twist you in knots

Norman Bacal Author Of Odell's Fall
By Norman Bacal

Who am I?

For thirty-five years I spent my life in boardrooms, financing motion pictures with major Hollywood studios and learning the inside-out of law firms. I’ve also had a love for mysteries where I have to guess what’s going to happen next. My favorite authors keep me in suspense and stay a step ahead of me to the very end. I began my career as an author seven years ago. I added my own dose of modernized Shakespearean stories and the twists, turns, and suspense of life at the highest echelons of corporate America. I don’t aim to shock, but I do aim to surprise and keep you turning the pages. Obsessively.


I wrote...

Odell's Fall

By Norman Bacal,

Book cover of Odell's Fall

What is my book about?

Odell Moore has it all. Respect as a top African American attorney, Manhattan penthouse, and wealth. He plays by the rules. Always in control. All that's missing is love—until he falls for Dee, the daughter of a prominent Alabama senator. And that is when his life begins to fall apart. Odell's protegé, Jackson Sherman, joins forces with the senator to pull at the strings of the marriage, all driven by Jackson's blind ambition, to do anything and risk everything to join Odell atop the ladder of success.

Love, jealousy, and deceit become interchangeable as Jackson spins a web of intrigue that entangles the two lovers, threatens the marriage, and eventually turns Odell's life upside down. There can only be one outcome: murder in Odell's penthouse. But who did it? Be prepared for shocking revelations to the very last page.

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The books I picked & why

The Couple Next Door

By Shari Lapena,

Book cover of The Couple Next Door

Why did I love this book?

What I love about this story is the never-ending assortment of twists and turns. Just about anybody could have done it in this whodunnit, and we follow Detective Rasbach who whittles it down as we try to stay one step ahead, but never quite manage it.

Anne and Marco go to dinner next door leaving Cora in her crib with the baby monitor on. Anne checks on her every half hour. Should be safe. Shouldn’t it? Until they return home to discover the baby is gone. Who took her and is she still alive? Kidnapping or murder? Along the way, we discover that Anne’s parents don’t respect Marco and they are also quite rich. 

There’s also something about the neighbor’s marriage that isn’t quite normal. The story unwinds with an unexpected conclusion, that either satisfies or horrifies you.

By Shari Lapena,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Couple Next Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Another thrilling domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Not a Happy Family

"The twists come as fast [as] you can turn the pages." -People

"I read this novel at one sitting, absolutely riveted by the storyline. The suspense was beautifully rendered and unrelenting!" -Sue Grafton

It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors-a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it…


Trust Your Eyes

By Linwood Barclay,

Book cover of Trust Your Eyes

Why did I love this book?

What happens when two brothers are reunited after the tragic death of their father? Thomas is the savant, but is he a schizophrenic? He lives in his bedroom and maps out major cities of the world, in advance of the coming apocalypse. His mission is to save the world by committing to memory every street and location. 

He’s been under the care of his father, but now his “normal” brother has moved in to figure out how Thomas can be cared for going forward. Thomas’s online research uncovers a satellite photo of a possible strangulation in Manhattan, that brings the brothers closer in their mission to track the murderer. In a story that keys off a photo,  there is so much that does not meet the eye, including the true story of how the father died, which is solved, but not in the way anyone anticipates.

By Linwood Barclay,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Trust Your Eyes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What would you do if you witnessed a murder - but no one believed you . . .?

Another masterful suspense novel from the bestselling author of the Richard & Judy summer read winner, NO TIME FOR GOODBYE and FIND YOU FIRST

Map-obsessed Thomas spends his days and nights on a virtual tour of the world through his computer screen, believing he must store the details of every town and city in his head. Then one day, while surfing a street view program, he sees something that shouldn't be there: a woman being murdered behind a window on a New…


Old City Hall

By Robert Rotenberg,

Book cover of Old City Hall

Why did I love this book?

This is the first of his seven novels all based in Toronto, which introduces a cast of characters who wind their way through the justice system: prosecutors, defense attorneys, politicians, detectives, police, and judges in a series which not only tracks a murderer, but provides an insight into issues that have become so problematic in society, whether it’s homelessness, schizophrenia, holocaust survival, or other current social issues. 

There is a twist behind every turn and if you enjoy police procedurals this has been written by the ultimate insider, a Toronto practicing criminal lawyer who has seen it all and has a gift for story-telling.

By Robert Rotenberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Old City Hall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Robert Rotenberg does for Toronto what Ian Rankin does for Edinburgh' Jeffery Deaver

A talk-show host confesses to the brutal murder of his young wife.

The evidence is cast iron.

But when a determined detective, an ambitious rookie prosecutor and a defence lawyer keen to make her mark piece together the details of the case, nothing fits.

An intricately plotted web of lies, half-truths and hidden motives emerges - along with a secret no one could have suspected.


The Beautiful Mystery

By Louise Penny,

Book cover of The Beautiful Mystery

Why did I love this book?

Set against the backdrop of a secluded monastery deep in the Quebec wilderness, we are also dropped into the middle of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, which in my opinion is a better place to begin than with book one of the series. By the time you’re done, you’ll want to dig into Gamache from beginning to end with all his quirky friends, enemies, and family, and the blurred lines between good and evil.

Gamache is the hero of heroes filled with all the character strengths and weaknesses that make him so respected, lovable, and misunderstood. This mystery has him solving a murder in the monastery with a limited number of suspects in the style of Agatha Christie, but with so much more contemporary depth as well as a bonus understanding of middle age music development.

By Louise Penny,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Beautiful Mystery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Anthony Award for Best Crime Novel
Winner of the Macavity Award for Best Crime Novel
Winner of the Agatha Award for Best Crime Novel

There is more to solving a crime than following the clues.
Welcome to Chief Inspector Gamache's world of facts and feelings.

Hidden deep in the wilderness are the cloisters of two dozen monks - men of prayer and music, famous the world over for their glorious voices. But a brutal death throws the monastery doors open to the world. And through them walks the only man who can shine light upon the dark…


Miss Montreal

By Howard Shrier,

Book cover of Miss Montreal

Why did I love this book?

If you like your detectives gritty and your murders grizzly, then consider this treasure by an award-winning author. One of the Jonah Geller series, this one has him doing a favor for a very rich dying man, to track down the murderer of Slammin’ Sammy Adler, a Montreal columnist. 

Jonah has his own childhood memories of Sammy which took him back to a geeky kid he protected in summer camp in a previous lifetime. The clues unfold one by one, as do the personal perspectives on Montreal, until Jonah uncovers the secrets behind Sammy’s murder, tied to a story of love – or is it lust?

By Howard Shrier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Miss Montreal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Howard Shrier's acclaimed Jonah Geller series continues with Miss Montreal, the Vintage World of Crime trade paperback original and sequel to Boston Cream.  

After what happened in Boston, P.I. Jonah Geller can't show his face in the U.S. again. Which is fine with him. He's got a new case in Montreal, one of the world's most colourful and downright scandalous cities. An old friend has been brutally murdered there, and the police investigation is stalled. With an election looming and tensions seething, Jonah and former hit man Dante Ryan have to battle religious fanatics, gun runners and a twisted political…


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