Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Great things in little packages

Barbara here. It's the beginning of December, and even the most reluctant and curmudgeonly among us has no doubt noticed the holiday ad season is upon us. In the true spirit of the season, I confess this post will be a gift-buying pitch of sorts. Dare I say there is no greater gift for the mystery lover on your gift list than a newly discovered gem, or the newest release from their favourite author, or even the latest hot new sensation.  Support your local authors, and make sure the industry thrives.

With millions of books published every year, how do you wade through the titles in search of something worthy? You can read reviews and blurbs online or in print. You can ask friends who have similar tastes. You can float the question on social media and be prepared for dozens of answers. After all, there is a book for every taste and mood, something for the beach and the armchair by the fire. Something for the bedside and the morning coffee time.

You can visit your wonderful neighbourhood independent bookstore and ask for recommendations. They will ask what you (or your Aunt Bertha) like, and they will put a few suggestions in your hands. Or you can browse the bookshelves on your own, picking out books, reading the jackets and first pages, looking for that magic connection.

And if you are Canadian, another place you can check is the website of Crime Writers of Canada, which maintains a e-catalogue called Cool Canadian Crime, which lists the new releases of its members (just about every serious crime writer in Canada). It is updated quarterly, and you can find it on the CWC website or sign up for email notices. Sometimes, as in the case of my latest book, The Night Thief, we forget, but most of the time the catalogue is complete.

Which brings me to my own little sales pitch. Almost every year for the past fifteen years, I have had a new book out to promote during the holiday season. I can barely remember a year I didn't have signings in bookstores in the weeks leading up to Hanukah and Christmas. The latest Inspector Green novel has become a reliable gift for quite a few of my family and friends. Much to their dismay, there is no new book this year. None So Blind was published in October 2014, and my next book, Fire in the Stars, the first in the Amanda Doucette series, is not due out until September 2016.

There is, however, an unsung hero on my bookshelf–my Cedric O'Toole easy-read series of short novels. Cedric is an unlikely and reluctant hero, a simple country handyman with a caring nature, a stubborn independence, and a knack for trying to help out people in trouble. Although the novels are written in the straightforward, easy-read style for reluctant readers, they are powerful stories with an adult punch and can be equally enjoyed by readers who want a short read for the plane, the doctor's office, or the beach. Many Inspector Green readers have bought them and enjoyed the same themes and sensibility as the Green novels. The books come in small trade paperback and all ebook formats.

The novels, and the other books in the Rapid Reads series published by Orca Books, would fit neatly into stockings or as part of a modest exchange among colleagues, families, and friends. Or for a more substantial gift, how about bundling all three Cedric O'Toole books, so the reader can follow his adventures through the whole series? Cheerfully wrapped together with a big bow, they made a great little package.


Rick Blechta said...

Love the cover of your new Rapid Reads! Orca hit that one out of the ballpark.

Vicki Delany said...

I'll second that. The Rapid Reads books are perfect for reading on Christmas afternoon or Boxing Day, if you get a bit of time to kick back and relax amongst all the hubub. I gave my mom one last year and she did just that.