Books

14 Canadian mysteries and thrillers to check out this summer

If you're looking for a page-turning thriller this summer, we have some suggestions for you.

If you're looking for a page-turning thriller this summer, CBC Books has 14 Canadian suggestions for you.

The End of Her by Shari Lapena

The End of Her is a thriller by Shari Lapena. (Tristan Ostler, Doubleday Canada)

The End of Her, a novel set in upstate New York, follows Stephanie and Patrick, a couple adjusting to life with their colicky twin babies. While Stephanie stays at home to take care of them, Patrick works 9-to-5 to pay the bills. Their life is turned upside down when a woman from Patrick's past pays an unexpected visit, raising questions and suspicions about his late first wife, who died in a supposed car accident many years ago. With the woman threatening to go to the police, his livelihood is put at risk. As the police start digging, Stephanie's trust in her husband begins to unravel, as does their marriage.

Shari Lapena is a novelist. She is author of bestselling thrillers, including The Couple Next Door, A Stranger in the House, An Unwanted Guest and Someone We Know.

Toronto author Shari Lapena didn't think she could write a thriller. But her first attempt turned out to be an international success. Lapena's debut novel, "The Couple Next Door," became an international bestseller and just made its Canadian debut. 10:06

Every Step She Takes by K.L. Armstrong

Every Step She Takes is a thriller by K.L. Armstrong. (Doubleday Canada, Kathryn Hollinrake)

In the novel Every Step She Takes, Genevieve has secrets that no one knows, but in Rome she can be whoever she wants to be. Her neighbours don't ask questions, her Italian is passable and the shopkeepers and restaurant owners now see her as a local. One morning, after getting groceries, she returns to find the door to her apartment unlocked. But the apartment is exactly as she left it — not a thing out of place, except for a small box on her kitchen table that definitely wasn't there in the morning. It's postmarked from the U.S. and addressed to "Lucy Callahan" — a name that she hasn't used in 10 years.

K.L. Armstrong is a pseudonym for popular fantasy and thriller writer Kelley Armstrong. She is also the author of Wherever She Goes.

No Going Back by Sheena Kamal

No Going Back is a book by Sheena Kamal. (HarperCollins Canada, Malcolm Tweedy)

In No Going Back, the latest Nora Watts crime thriller by Sheena Kamal, Nora finds herself trying to protect Bonnie, the daughter she had given up for adoption. Two years previously, Bonnie had been kidnapped by the ruthless Zhang family. She has made an enemy in Dao, the intimidating triad enforcer for the Zhangs. From Canada to southeast Asia, Nora finds herself pursuing her adversary.

Kamal is a Vancouver-based writer of crime novels. Her book The Lost Ones won the 2018 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. She is also the author of It All Falls Down.

If you've always aspired to write and these isolated times are making it possible, Sheena Kamal can help. Sheena is a published author with two novels out this spring: a new Young Adult novel called Fight Like a Girl and three Nora Watts crime novels. The latest is called "No Going Back." She talks about the best ways to get writing and keep going. 10:02

Still Here by Amy Stuart

Still Here is a thriller by Amy Stuart. (Simon & Schuster Canada, Paige Lindsay)

In Still Here, private investigator Malcolm is gone. Colleague and fellow P.I. Clare is determined to find him, and goes to the oceanside city where he has disappeared without a trace. Not only is Malcolm gone, but so is his wife. Everyone thinks Malcolm is responsible, except for Clare — who believes there's a shady connection to his wife's family business and her father's murder. Clare needs to dig up the dark history the community would rather forget. 

Amy Stuart is a Toronto-based novelist, teacher and short story writer. Stuart has written two previous thrillers, Still Mine and Still Water.

Amy Stuart talks to Shelagh Rogers about her latest thriller, Still Water. 15:14

Obsidian by Thomas King

Obsidian is a novel by Thomas King. (HarperCollins Canada)

Thomas King's sly investigator Thumps DreadfulWater returns in Obsidian. After the famed producer of a true-crime documentary turns up dead, Thumps is forced to look into an old cold case he had tried to forget: the Obsidian murders. When someone starts leaving reminders of the case around Chinook, Thumps is compelled to confront the incident that left his girlfriend and her daughter dead.

King is a Canadian-American writer of Cherokee and Greek ancestry. He delivered the 2003 Massey Lectures, The Truth about Stories. His books include Truth & Bright Water, The Inconvenient Indian and The Back of the Turtle. The Back of the Turtle won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction in 2014.

In Thomas King's latest book, a true crime reality show comes to Chinook to investigate a death that’s been ruled accidental. 11:24

Ridgerunner by Gil Adamson

Ridgerunner is a novel by Gil Adamson. (Boréal, House of Anansi Press)

Ridgerunner is a novel about William Moreland, the notorious thief known as Ridgerunner, as he moves through the Rocky Mountains, determined to secure financial stability for his son. His son, Jack Boulton, is trapped in a life not of his own making. Semi-orphaned and under the care of a nun, Sister Beatrice, Jack has found himself in a secluded cabin in Alberta. Little does he know, his father is coming for him. 

Gil Adamson is a writer and poet. Her first novel, The Outlander, won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award and was a Canada Reads finalist in 2009, when it was championed by Nicholas Campbell. She has published several volumes of poetry, including Primitive and Ashland.

The Amazon first novel award, a Canada Reads finalist, a Globe & Mail book of the year... that's just a fraction of the praise heaped upon Gil Adamson's debut novel The Outlander. Great news for fans of that backwoods adventure thriller, the long-awaited follow-up has arrived. Ridgerunner has just been published by House of Anansi press and Gil Adamson joined our Gill Deacon for Here and Now's Tuesday afternoon book club. 6:49

A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan

A Deadly Divide is a novel by Ausma Zehanat Khan. (Alan Klehr, Raincoast Books)

In A Deadly Divide, the fifth book in Ausma Zehanat Khan's Getty and Khattak mystery series, Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty are sent to Quebec, where a community is reeling in the aftermath of a mass shooting at a mosque. Fuelling tensions is the arrest of a young Muslim man who was reported to be assisting the wounded, while a priest found holding a weapon was let go. 

Khan is also the author of the fantasy series the Khorasan Archives, which includes the books The Bloodprint and The Black Khan.

Ausma Zehanat Khan talks to Shelagh Rogers about her latest book, A Deadly Divide. 12:02

The Wild Heavens by Sarah Louise Butler

The Wild Heavens is a novel by Sarah Louise Butler. (Douglas & McIntyre, Bobbi Barbarich)

The Wild Heavens is a novel about the magic and mystery of nature — and our relationship to it. Over the course of one cold winter day, a young mother Sandy Langley reflects on her grandfather, who was obsessed with a mysterious creature in the woods, their relationship, motherhood and more, while finally coming to terms with the mysteries and tragedies that shaped her life and made her who she is.

Sarah Louise Butler is a writer from British Columbia.The Wild Heavens is her first novel.

Back Roads by Andrée A. Michaud, translated by J. C. Sutcliffe

Back Roads is a book by Andrée A. Michaud, translated by J. C. Sutcliffe. (House of Anansi Press, Marianne Deschênes)

Set in the snowy boreal wood, Back Roads follows a writer, who encounters a woman who she suspects may be her double and must grapple with an undetermined crime — and her own identity. Translated into English by J.C. Sutcliffe, the novel sets off a journey of inquiry in which nothing, not even the author's own identity, is certain. 

Andrée A. Michaud is a novelist and playwright from Quebec. Michaud is a two-time winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for French-language fiction, for Le ravissement in 2001 and Bondrée in 2014. She was also longlisted for the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize for the English-language translation of the novel, entitled Boundary.

Bone Black by Carol Rose GoldenEagle

Bone Black is a novel by Carol Rose GoldenEagle. (Nightwood Editions)

Bone Black is about one woman's search for her missing sister, and her need to take the case into her own hands. When her twin sister goes missing, Wren StrongEagle immediately reports it to the local police. Feeling dismissed and worrying the case won't be investigated properly, Wren launches into action and decides to find justice on her own.

Carol Rose GoldenEagle is a Cree and Dene author whose books include the novel Bearskin Diary and the poetry collection Hiraeth. Her forthcoming novel The Narrows of Fear, is set to be released in fall 2020.

The Cree/Dene writer and journalist Carol Rose GoldenEagle on her thriller Bone Black, about an Indigenous woman who takes justice into her own hands when the system fails her. 16:14

The Last High by Daniel Kalla

The Last High is a book by Daniel Kalla. (Simon & Schuster Canada, danielkalla.com)

The Last High is a thriller inspired by the opioid crisis. Dr. Julie Rees is shocked when a number of teenagers from the same party arrive at the ER. She suspects the adolescents took fentanyl, but this case is unusual. Teaming up with Detective Anson Chen, Rees is determined to tackle the underground drug world and find out the source of these dangerous drugs. 

Daniel Kalla is an emergency room doctor, as well as an international bestselling author of 10 books, including We All Fall Down.

Dr, Goldman speaks to Vancouver ER physician and author Dr. Daniel Kalla. Kalla's latest novel The Last High tracks the search for a deadly supply of fentanyl. Kalla also discusses his prescient previous novel , Pandemic, which was about the spread of a deadly virus. He tells Dr. Goldman how his work in the ER informed his writing, and discusses what kind of an impact the current pandemic is having on the opioid crisis. 26:30

The Wrong Hands and Other Stories by Peter Robinson

The Wrong Hands and Other Stories is a book by Peter Robinson. (McClelland & Stewart, Georges Seguin)

The Wrong Hands and Other Stories is a collection of over two dozen mystery short stories by Peter Robinson. Set in far-flung places, including Yorkshire, Robinson's own neighbourhood in Toronto, Los Angeles and Florida, the collection spans various time periods — from 1873 to a utopian milltown in northern England, Thomas Hardy country in 1939 and a small Yorkshire town during the Second World War.

Robinson is a English-Canadian crime writer living in Toronto. He has published more than 30 books, including more than 25 Inspector Banks novels. He received the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story in 1991 and 2001, and the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel in 1992, 1997 and 2001.

Peter Robinson, who has been called "the master of police procedurals" on his latest Inspector Banks mystery, Many Rivers to Cross. 14:47

Your Life Is Mine by Nathan Ripley

Your Life is Mine is a novel by Nathan Ripley. (Simon & Schuster)

Your Life Is Mine is a page-turning thriller about Blanche, the daughter of a notorious murderer and cult leader. Her father killed himself after a shooting spree more than 20 years ago, but when Blanche learns her mother was murdered, she must return home and learns there's more to her family's story than she could have ever imagined — and that the cult her father founded might be making a comeback.

Nathan Ripley is the pseudonym of Toronto writer Naben Ruthnum. He won a Journey Prize. Find You in the Dark was Ripley's first thriller, which was a Arthur Ellis Awards finalist for Best First Novel. Your Life Is Mine is his second thriller.

Our books columnist, Jael Richardson, fills us in on a new book to check out: Your Life Is Mine by Nathan Ripley. 6:13

The Red Chesterfield by Wayne Arthurson

Wayne Arthurson is the author of The Red Chesterfield. (University of Calgary Press, Shawna Lemay)

In The Red Chesterfield, a city bylaw officer finds a chesterfield in a ditch, along with a severed foot. The protagonist gets caught up in the investigation — and turns out to be more interested in what happens to the furniture than the origin of the missing body part. The Red Chesterfield subverts the mystery form with a story that has clues that lead nowhere and motivations that are deliberately ambiguous.

Wayne Arthurson is a writer of Cree and French Canadian descent. He is the author of five novels, including Blood Red Summer and The Traitors of Camp 133.

Edmonton author Wayne Arthurson on subverting the detective genre in his novel The Red Chesterfield. 15:26

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