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True Crime Standouts in CanLit

By kileyturner
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Expertly written and researched investigations into some of Canada's most notorious crimes.
The Bastard of Fort Stikine

The Bastard of Fort Stikine

The Hudson's Bay Company and the Murder of John McLoughlin Jr.
edition:eBook

Winner, Canadian Authors Award for Canadian History, Jeanne Clarke Memorial Local History Award, and Prince Edward Island Book Award for Non-Fiction

Is it possible to reach back in time and solve an unsolved murder, more than 170 years after it was committed?

Just after midnight on April 21, 1842, John McLoughlin, Jr. — the chief trader for the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Stikine, in the northwest corner of the territory that would later become British Columbia — was shot to death by his own …

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Who Killed Tom Thomson?

Who Killed Tom Thomson?

The Truth about the Murder of One of the 20th Century's Most Famous Artists
edition:Hardcover

Tom Thomson was Canada's Vincent van Gogh. He painted for a period of five years before meeting his untimely death in a remote wilderness lake in July 1917. He was buried in an unofficial grave close to the lake where his body was found. About eight hours after he was buried, the coroner arrived but never examined the body and ruled his death accidental due to drowning. A day and a half later, Thomson's family hired an undertaker to exhume the body and move it to the family plot about 100 miles …

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Dead Reckoning

Dead Reckoning

How I Came to Meet the Man Who Murdered My Father
edition:Paperback

A Globe 100 Best Book of the Year

When Carys Cragg was eleven, her father, a respected doctor, was brutally murdered in his own home by an intruder. Twenty years later, and despite the reservations of her family and friends, she decides to contact his murderer in prison, and the two correspond for a period of two years. She learns of his horrific childhood, and the reasons he lied about the murder; in turn, he learns about the man he killed. She mines his letters for clues about the past before a …

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A Daughter's Deadly Deception

A Daughter's Deadly Deception

The Jennifer Pan Story
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

2017 Arthur Ellis Award, Best Nonfiction Book — Winner
A sinister plot by a young woman left her mother dead and her father riddled with bullets.

From the outside looking in, Jennifer Pan seemed like a model daughter living a perfect life. The ideal child, the one her immigrant parents saw, was studying to become a pharmacist at the University of Toronto. But there was a dark, deceptive side to the angelic young woman.

In reality, Jennifer spent her days in the arms of her high school sweethear …

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Excerpt

It has to be a nightmare.
“Where’s the fucking money?” the voice asks.
The hushed tones of the intruder are followed by a silent, visceral threat — the cold metal of a handgun against his cheek. As the father of two lifts his gaze, quivering with fear, the man speaks again: “Where’s the fucking money? I said.”
What is happening? The man is in his own bed, in his own home, sleeping soundly after a long day of work. He attempts to shake off the grogginess of his deep slumber, to understand exactly what’s transpiring. The intruder standing over him doesn’t have time for his attempts at comprehension; he has his orders, now he needs to execute. Today is payday. He grabs fifty-seven-year-old Hann Pan roughly by the scruff of the neck. If Hann had time to put on his glasses, he would be able see into his assailant’s eyes, though they’re largely hidden beneath a baseball cap that is pulled down low on his forehead. The man leads him downstairs, the gun pressed firmly to the back of his head. As they descend the semicircular staircase, the scale of the threat to Hann and his family is revealed one horrifying step at a time. Downstairs, another masked man, also wearing a flat-brimmed baseball cap, stands over Hann’s wife, Bich-Ha, a gun to her neck.
Bich’s feet are still soaking in a bucket of water after her weekly line-dancing class. She timidly looks up and asks her husband, in Cantonese, her voice cracking with fright, “How did they get in?”
“I don’t know,” he answers. “I was sleeping.”
Impatient, one of the men shouts, “Shut up! You talk too much.” He turns to Hann and repeats, this time slower, his voice seething with rage: “Where’s the fucking money?
Hann, believing the men only want to rob him, not hurt his wife or him, obliges. The problem is that since the Pans were robbed years ago when they lived in Scarborough — a rough area he moved his family out of to avoid this sort of confrontation — they no longer keep large amounts of money at home. “I have $60 in my pants upstairs, but my possessions are worth plenty,” he tells his tormentor.
“Liar! I need the fucking money, nothing else.”
Hann suddenly feels a searing pain in the back of his head. He falls to the floor. A gush of blood cascades over the living room couch.
“Get up!”
As he and his wife are led into the basement of their middle-class suburban home, true fear begins to rise to the surface of Hann’s mind. Still, he can’t imagine the scale of violence and horror that is about to descend upon his home and family this unseasonably warm November night.
It’s different for Hann’s wife. She senses the imminent danger. She blurts out a panicked plea: “You can hurt us, but please don’t hurt my daughter.” Her mind is racing, frantic, wondering why they’re being taken downstairs. She begins to plead with the intruders, whimpering and begging them to take pity on her humble family.
In the basement, the couple is ordered to sit on the couch, the same place where their daughter Jennifer lounged, watching her weekly sitcoms, just hours earlier. The men throw blankets over the couple’s heads, blankets that keep the family members warm in the often-frigid basement. Hann remains calm, resigned to his fate; his wife is hysterical. The assailant readies himself, aims, and fires. One bullet rips through Hann’s face, fracturing the bone near the inside corner of his right eye, grazing his carotid artery. A second bullet hits him in the right shoulder, exiting out the back of the top of his shoulder.
The men turn their attention to his screaming wife. The initial blast from the firearm pierces the base of her neck. A second shot tears through her upper-right shoulder. And a final bullet, this time fired at closer range, enters and swiftly exits her skull: a fatal shot.
Daughter Jennifer, who is later discovered by the police tied to the upstairs banister, recounts the sound of “four or five pops” and then an unknown number of footfalls before the intruders leave the house.
When Hann slowly regains consciousness and opens his eyes, he is gripped with terror as he comes to realize that the last eight minutes of his life have not been a gruesome nightmare but instead a terrifying reality. As the details of the break-in race through his mind, he looks beside him, where the love of his life lies, bloodied; her body has slumped to the floor. He crawls to her, wincing in pain, blood dripping from wounds in his shoulder and head. He shakes her, calls out her name, once, twice, three times — no response. The life has already left his wife of thirty years. He begins to howl in agony, a pain both physical and emotional. As he lurches upstairs, his desperate screams and moans are clearly audible to the 911 operators fielding his daughter Jennifer’s panicked call for assistance. Hann reaches the main floor and staggers to the front door. Outside, he collapses in front of a neighbour who is on his way to an early shift at work.
“Dad?” his daughter Jennifer yells down to him. “I’m calling 911 … I’m okay.”
But her father doesn’t hear her. He is racked by pain in his own world of dread.

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Dark Ambition

Dark Ambition

The Shocking Crime of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich
edition:Hardcover

Shortlisted for the 2017 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, Nonfiction Category

Tim Bosma was a happy young father with a promising future when he listed his pickup truck for sale online, went for a test drive with two strangers, and never returned. The story of the Hamilton man’s strange disappearance in May 2013 captured headlines across the country and took over social media, resonating with everyone who had ever taken a test drive or bought and sold goods online. 
     When Dellen Millard and Mar …

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Shadow of Doubt

Shadow of Doubt

The Trial of Dennis Oland
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
tagged : rich & famous

Winner, New Brunswick Book Award for Non-Fiction

Shortlisted, Arthur Ellis Best Non-Fiction Crime Book Award

On July 6, 2011, Richard Oland, scion of the Moosehead brewing family, was murdered in his office. The brutal killing stunned the city of Saint John, and news of the crime reverberated across the country. In a shocking turn, and after a two-and-half-year police investigation, Oland's only son, Dennis, was arrested for second-degree murder.

CBC reporter Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon covered the Oland …

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That Lonely Section of Hell

That Lonely Section of Hell

The Botched investigation of a Serial Killer Who Almost Got Away
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook

One of the Globe and Mail 100 Best Books for 2015

 

“The most important book of the year.” — Stacey May Fowles, the Globe and Mail

 

An ex-police detective’s searing personal account of sexism, racism, and mishandling in the investigation of missing and murdered women.

 

In That Lonely Section of Hell, ex-police detective Lori Shenher (who transitioned to male in 2015 and is now known as Lorimer) describes his role in Vancouver’s infamous Missing and Murdered Women Investigation and his y …

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Ballad of Jacob Peck

Ballad of Jacob Peck

edition:Paperback

Shortlisted, Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing

On a frigid February evening in 1805, Amos Babcock brutally murdered Mercy Hall. Believing that he was being instructed by God, Babcock stabbed and disembowelled his own sister, before dumping her lifeless body in a rural New Brunswick snowbank.

The Ballad of Jacob Peck is the tragic and fascinating story of how isolation, duplicity, and religious mania turned impoverished, hard-working people violent, leading to a murder and an …

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