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2018 Ontario Morning Book Picks
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2018 Ontario Morning Book Picks

By 49thShelf
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tagged: new releases
The books recommended by our editor, Kerry, on her CBC Ontario Morning books column.
Splitsville

Splitsville

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : literary

A bookseller's love affair, start to finish, against the backdrop of a city in protest. It's 1971. Hal Sachs runs a used bookstore. Business isn't so great, and the store is in a part of Toronto that's about to be paved over with a behemoth expressway. And then Hal meets Lily Klein, an activist schoolteacher who'll do just about anything to stop the highway. It's love at first sight. Until it isn't. And then Hal vanishes.

A half-century later, Hal's nephew, Aitch, waits for his baby to be born as …

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Something for Everyone

Something for Everyone

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

Nominated, Scotiabank Giller Prize
Internationally celebrated as one of literature’s most gifted stylists, Lisa Moore returns with her third story collection, a soaring chorus of voices, dreams, loves, and lives. Taking us from the Fjord of Eternity to the streets of St. John’s and the swamps of Orlando, these stories show us the timeless, the tragic, and the miraculous hidden in the underbelly of our everyday lives. A missing rock god may have jumped a cruise ship — in the Arctic. A griev …

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No Good Asking

No Good Asking

A Novel
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

A profoundly moving exploration of our capacity to heal one another.

Ellie and Eric Nyland have moved their two sons back to Eric’s childhood farmhouse, hoping for a fresh start. But there’s no denying it, their family is falling apart, each one of them isolated by private sorrows, stresses, and missed signals. With every passing day, Ellie’s hopes are buried deeper in the harsh winter snows.

When Eric finds Hannah Finch, the girl across the road, wandering alone in the bitter cold, his rust …

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Excerpt

One

 

From a distance, it looked like a small smear of blood on a white blanket. Perhaps a wounded coyote, staggering along the road in the relentless wind. Eric drove on, a flurry of white surrounding his car, keeping to the faint tracks he’d made the day before. As he drew nearer, the speck transformed into a withered old man, startling him with legs, arms, torso bent into the gale. But it was worse yet. He finally recognized the shape as a young girl. People didn’t walk along his road, not out here in the middle of nowhere. Not a girl, certainly not in this weather.

He slowly pulled the car alongside her, creating new tire tracks in the snow. The girl ignored him and kept walking. A red scarf tied under her chin covered her ears; long hair fell in damp strands down her back. She looked twelve, thirteen at most. Her coat was a grubby grey felt, too small, thrift-shop variety, the kind that let the cold howl through the gaps between buttons. Her jeans were dirty and frayed at the bottom. She wore runners, not boots.

Eric opened the passenger window, letting in a blast of cold that made his bones creak. “Hey,” he shouted, to be heard over the wind.

Plodding forward, she kept her head pressed down, hands in pockets. He stopped the car along the side of the road and jumped out.

She didn’t stop moving as he caught up and walked beside her. His eyes watered from the wind. “I live down the road a ways.” He sucked air through his teeth, swallowing the sting. “You’re not dressed for this weather. It’s freezing out here. I can drive you to wherever you’re going.”

He stepped in front of her, blocking her path. She stamped her runners and peered around him with exhausted eyes, as if there was something to look at and he was obstructing her view.

“I’m going to give you a ride. You can decide where to.” For a brief second, he wished he was still in uniform. “Look, I know you’re not supposed to get into a stranger’s vehicle, but it’s your—”

“You’re not a stranger.” She sounded dazed, croaking. “You live across the road from me.”

Wilson’s place? There was no other house along this road. “You’ve walked all that way?” It was a good five kilometres back to where their houses stood facing each other on either side of the road. Who was this girl?

Her nose ran and she lifted a bare hand from her pocket and took a feeble swipe. Jesus. She didn’t even have mittens. He could give her no choice in the matter. He held out his arm, pointing to his idling car, stepping closer, forcing her to back up. Finally, she turned, trudged back to the car, pulled on the frozen latch of his back door with her bare fingers, and fell inside.

Eric hurried to his side of the vehicle, got in, and cranked the heater as high as it would go. He would have preferred her in the front beside the vent.

He turned to look at her, passing her the box of Kleenex they kept under the console. “My name is Eric Nyland.”

“I know,” she said, wiping her nose, her running eyes.

Nigel Wilson must have told her his name. What else had he told her?

“What’s your name?”

“Hannah Finch.”

Eric couldn’t fathom what Wilson was doing with a girl named Finch. Couldn’t fathom what the girl was doing in the bitter cold, so entirely unprepared, as if she were out for an afternoon stroll in September.

“Okay, Hannah. Where to?”

After an ungodly long pause—where had she been going?—she said, “I have to go home. Can you drive me back?”

There was something in the way she said home. Her shoulders slumped as she fought with her seat belt. Her fingers looked brittle, like they might snap off in pieces.

“You sure?” he said. “Because I can take you to town. Or to a friend’s.”

She shook her head. “I left Mandy with him.”

“Mandy?”

“My cat.”

“Never did own a cat,” he told her as he turned the car around. He’d seen his share of runaways during his twenty years with the force. If he’d spotted this girl at the shopping mall, he would have thought her a go-to-church, finish-your-homework, listen-to-your-mother type.

He kept on talking to help put her at ease. “Dog people, our family. Down to one mutt at the moment. My father’s dog, Thorn. That’s the dog’s name. He’s a big, fat black lab mostly. Poops all over the house. Guess he can’t help it because he’s so old and doesn’t know what he’s doing anymore. Falls down if he barks too loud. It’s sort of sad. Woof, woof, and down he goes.”

She shifted slightly in the back seat. “I’ve seen him. Sometimes he comes down to the road.”

So why had he never seen her? He’d brought his family back here nearly a year ago. “Thorn wolfed down a whole bag of dog food one time. One of those giant twenty-pound sacks you get at Costco. That dumb dog found it while he was sniffing around the shed. Tipped it over somehow, chewed through the corner of the packaging, got his head inside, and gobbled it all up. He waddled out of that shed looking mighty sorry about what he’d done, his stomach stretched so low it swept the ground. Took three full days to work all those nuggets through. Stunk so bad we made him sleep on the porch.”

They dipped into the valley, forcing his eyes to the road and keeping them there. During the warm months—all two of them—the view was of mustard-yellow canola fields, farms dotting the distance. Today, Eric saw nothing but blowing snow.

“I hear house cats are pretty smart,” he said.

Hannah sat perfectly still, her hands folded over a button on her flimsy coat.

“They know how to pace themselves. You can fill their bowl and they’ll nibble a bit here, a bit there, dainty-like, all day long. Not a black lab. No sir. Put down a bowl and they make it their job to suck up every morsel like a vacuum. Sometimes they forget to chew, they’re in such a hurry, and end up choking it back out again.”

He adjusted the vents, raising his voice to compensate for the added noise. “Tell me about Mandy,” he said, delaying his real questions until he could catch her eye.

“She’s a dainty eater.”

“Like I thought,” he said. “Have you had her a long time?”

“Since I got my tonsils out. Mom brought me home from the hospital and told me to look on my bed. Mandy was in a shoebox with just her pink nose sticking out of the towel. She was crying, so I picked her up and she stopped.”

“How old were you when you got your tonsils out?”

Her eyes shone right at him in the mirror. “Five. Now I’m eleven. Almost twelve.”

She sat taller and pressed herself against her seat belt. They crawled along, still a ways off.

“So where were you headed, Hannah?” She’d walked all that way without turning back. “Your mom will be worried, don’t you think?”

She looked at the mirror and caught his stare. “My mom’s dead.” She gave a little shiver.

“I’m sorry, Hannah. That must be tough.”

She shrugged.

“So Nigel Wilson is your dad?” Stepdad, whatever.

“No. He was with my mom, so he got me.”

“Nigel and I used to go to school together.”

“I know.”

“You don’t think he’d hurt Mandy, do you?”

She looked down at her hands on her lap.

“Because you know there are laws against hurting a cat. Or a kid.” Nigel Wilson was a snivelling excuse for a human being. “If there’s anything like that going on at your house, we can make it stop. I mean the police can make it stop. But you have to tell them so they can help.”

The girl was done talking. She kept her head down and said nothing more as they inched along the empty road.

“Almost there.” Eric looked in the mirror; her cheeks were the greyish colour of week-old mushrooms. “You okay back there?”

She nodded, though she was clearly not. She seemed to be panting a little. He flipped on his turn signal out of habit, although there was no one in the barrenness to see it.

He took the last corner slowly. Barely clearing the deep snow, two weathered mailboxes, one of them Wilson’s, were nailed high on posts beside a dead-end sign. The narrow tunnel of a road felt closed in and too dark. Giant aspens loomed on either side, frozen branches hanging low and so overwhelmed with snow they nearly scraped the car top. Old snow was piled in man-sized shelves along the road’s edge.

“Please,” she said. “Stop the car.”

Eric turned his head, attentive to the panic in her voice. She’d already unbuckled her seat belt and had her fingers wrapped around the door handle. Their houses were not yet in view, just snow being lifted by the wind and swirling about the car’s windows.

“Whoa. Slow down, Hannah.” She couldn’t be planning to go out there again, not with him sitting three feet in front of her, not with that wind screaming through the tiny cracks in the glass.

“Please.” She jerked on the handle. “Hurry. I have to get out.”

“It’s all right, Hannah. Just give me a minute until the road opens up a bit and I can pull over.”

“I’m going to be sick. I’m gonna throw up in your car.”

Vomit had been a frequent back-seat occurrence in his former line of business. Eric braked more firmly than he’d intended, all four tires skidding out of the earlier tracks and into deep, wet snow, the car crunching to a halt, angled across the road.

“Hang on, hang on. I’ll get your door.” Eric stepped into a gust of icy cold. He scrambled around the car, intending to help her to the bank, but she was already out and falling forward into snow up to her knees.

Eric came up behind her.

He grabbed the back of her coat as she bent low, her retching so noisy and violent he worried she’d crack a rib. “That’s right.” There was nothing to do except stand behind her heaving body and hold a fistful of coat.

It kept coming and coming, a trail of the steaming stuff running down the white slope toward her snow-buried calves. Nigel Wilson needed to get her checked by a doctor.

“All done then?” He cupped her shoulder with his other hand, trying to hold her steady. The wind shot under his coat collar, under his cuffs. She brought her arm up and wiped her face with her sleeve. Her breath came out in short, choppy puffs that caught on the wind.

“Come on, Hannah.”

She’d started to shake so badly she nearly fell sideways. She turned her head toward him, blowing snow clinging to her lips and lashes. She was a frozen sparrow cemented in winter.

Eric wanted to place his hands on her waist and lift her out of the snow, but not even ex-cops were to touch kids that way, especially young girls. So he held his arms out to her instead, and she twisted and grabbed on, and as he stepped backward, she fell into him.

He pulled her toward the dirtier, more packed snow of the road, where she stamped her feet feebly, one at a time, and then he led her to the car and helped her get settled into the front seat, close to the heat. She said thank you as he closed her door. His ears stung, and his right thumb, the arthritic one from his football days, throbbed as he trudged through the snow to his side of the car.

As he buckled in beside her, Hannah ran her palms up and down her thighs. She wouldn’t look at him. He thought she might be embarrassed, so he played with the heater and revved the engine a few times. If a truck came along, there would be no way to pass with his car parked sideways across the road. But no vehicle came along. Winter was a lonely, desolate place along their road.

They couldn’t idle there indefinitely. The kid was traumatized and smelled like puke. She needed a hot bath and bed. He maneuvered the car back and forth into the snow, tires grabbing, until they were centred again in the tracks laid down earlier, facing toward Hannah’s place.

“Hannah, are you okay? Put your hands close to the heat.”

She spread her fingers wide in front of the vent, tipped her head back, and closed her eyes. Eric studied her mottled, thawing face. Her skin purpled around her closed eyes, making it look like she’d been smacked.

“Do you feel better now?”

“Yes. Thank you.” She kept her eyes closed.

“I hate throwing up,” he said, easing the car forward at a steady crawl.

“Me too.” Her nose started to run again but she sniffed it back.

“I do anything to avoid it.”

“Me too.”

They were out of the trees and into the open again. Eric could see smoke coming from Wilson’s chimney. He couldn’t see his own place on the other side of the road; their house was tucked far back on the cleared driveway.

He could have thrown a stone and easily hit Hannah’s front door. He’d always wondered why the Wilsons had rooted themselves right there. Why they had hunted for property in the middle of nowhere and then built so close to the road they could hand lemonade to passersby through their kitchen window. There was nothing but the small two-storey house and a half-buried Ford station wagon. No garage, no barn, no motor home or boat. Not a tree or a fence. Nothing to show where Wilson’s property ended and the next began. Just billowing heaps of snow, whipped to a frenzy in the driving wind.

Eric parked the car next to Wilson’s Ford. He kept the engine running and aimed the warm air at the windshield. He couldn’t get her any closer. Wilson had shovelled a path no bigger than a deer trail. The house was the original, pre-1940s. A war house as the townsfolk liked to call them, shutters over the upper-floor windows, a glassed-in porch that could double as a freezer in winter and sauna in summer.

“Here we are, Hannah. Ready?”

She turned her head and looked at him, eyes wide, as if he’d managed to surprise her by getting them this far.

“I have something for you.” He wished he could give her one of his old RCMP cards with the horse and rider in his scarlet jacket, but those days were behind him. He reached into his inside pocket for one of his flimsy security guard cards and a pen, printed his cell number across the top, and handed it to her.

“I want you to call if you need anything. Anytime. Or stop by our place. A few of us are usually home. We’re your neighbours. I mean it, Hannah.” And he did. He wondered if Wilson had food in the fridge, or if he’d plugged in that Ford.

They sat beside each other, not talking. Eric kept his eye on the house, thinking it strange that Wilson didn’t come to the door. He had to know she was out there. Eric’s idling car made a hell of a racket.

“I have to go now,” she said.

“Okay,” Eric said.

“Okay,” she echoed, stepping into the biting wind. Eric trudged along behind her on the skinny path.

They crowded into the empty porch, so cold inside the useless room Eric could see Hannah’s breath curl around her dry mauve lips. She pointed her finger at the doorbell beside the bevelled glass door and pushed twice before she stepped through. Eric thought about why she might have to ring her own bell. Why hers was the kind of house you couldn’t walk into without announcing yourself first.

Nigel Wilson came down the stairs and stood before them, arms crossed. It had been decades since they’d spoken to each other, since Eric had stepped inside this house. The small living room was still filled with the furniture of their childhoods: velveteen chairs, stuffed couches, floor lamps with tasseled lampshades. Eric had been in this room often as a little kid, he and Nigel swapping Star Wars figurines and cold germs. When school started and Eric had a choice, he looked elsewhere, preferring the company of the rowdy kids over the brooding boy from across the road. Now Wilson just stood there. His pose irritated Eric, who thought Wilson ought to have been worried about Hannah, or alarmed at least to find Eric with her. Nigel was a big guy, bigger than Eric remembered, his muddy eyes still spaced too closely together. He wore a white pressed shirt tucked inside a pair of dark pressed trousers, hair combed back respectably behind his oversized ears. This too irritated Eric, who thought he could have spent less energy dressing and more tackling the driveway, watching out for this girl.

“Eric,” Wilson said, stepping forward and taking Eric’s hand firmly. “It’s been a long time. Thought we might have bumped into each other before now.”

Eric had waved a few times as their vehicles passed on the road, but Wilson had not acknowledged him.

They stood eye to eye. Wilson smelled faintly of cheap aftershave, like rubbing alcohol. Christmas hadn’t yet entered this room. No stockings hung by the chimney with care. No tree garnished with the decorations Hannah had made at school over the years. There was a sour smell leaking from the kitchen at the back of the house. He could have taken out the garbage, Eric thought, adding another strike against him.

“I see you’ve given Hannah a lift. Getting into a stranger’s car. Not the best decision, Hannah.”

Hannah was hunched over, off to the side of the floor mat, busying herself with her runners, one of which was missing its shoelace. Wilson still hadn’t looked at the girl.

“I’m not a stranger,” Eric said, feeling the heat rise up through his throat. “I live right across the road.” Why wasn’t he concerned about what she was doing out there in the first place?

“Who’d have thought we would both end up back here,” Wilson said.

Eric glanced over at Hannah, who wasn’t making a sound. “Hannah’s had a time of it. She’ll need to crawl under the covers.”

“Yes, well, of course.”

“And Child and Family Services will be stopping by.”

“Oh?” Wilson raised his eyebrows and crossed his arms again. “For taking a walk? Overkill, don’t you think?”

“It’s what we do,” Eric lied.

“We? What’s this to do with you, exactly?”

Wilson was right. Eric had no business poking his nose in police business. But he wanted his friend Betty Holt to meet this girl, to sit near her, maybe up in Hannah’s room, maybe beside her on the bed.

“Where’s Mandy?” Eric said. “I’d like to meet her.”

Hannah looked up and their eyes locked and she almost smiled. Then she stood, slow-motion slow, more an unfolding, crimson blotches spreading over her cheeks and neck. She looked even scrawnier now that she’d taken off her coat.

“Ah,” Wilson said. “The cat.”

Wilson turned to Hannah then, mouth smiling, eyes cold and hard. She stared back, matching steel with steel. Good for you, Eric thought.

“Probably under the bed,” Wilson said. “Or in the closet. Right, Hannah? I doubt she’ll show herself.”

“Maybe next time then,” Eric said.

Wilson’s eyes flickered. If he understood Eric’s warning, he didn’t flinch.

After Sergeant Nyland left her with him, Nigel stood in the living room and glared at her.

“Where did you think you could go?” he asked. When she didn’t answer, he snorted. “Perhaps you could try harder next time.”

He turned for the kitchen, leaving her shivering in the hallway. She’d brought the frozen world into the house with her, the cold a burning sensation, flames licking her fingers and toes. She jumped when she heard Nigel slam the cupboard door and again when his bottle clanged on the table.

Hannah ran up to her room. Mandy was in her usual hiding spot, a mound of long black fur wedged behind the empty boxes in Hannah’s bedroom closet. Besides the boxes and a few empty hangers strung on a rusty pole, her closet was bare. She hadn’t been allowed to bring much of her stuff when Nigel moved her down from Bear Creek.

She stripped out of her frozen jeans and sweater and folded them neatly on the chair beside her bed. Then she put on her thin pajamas and wrapped herself in a blanket and lay down on the floor in front of the closet. She whispered Mandy’s name and made her favourite bird sounds—twee twee twee—but Mandy wouldn’t budge. It was as if she knew that Hannah had planned to never come back.

It would have been easy to pull the boxes aside and unhide her cat. An empty box weighs less than snow. But Hannah wanted Mandy to come to her. So she lay on crossed arms until they were blotchy blue against the frigid floor and told her cat everything that had happened. Hannah talked haltingly at first, scarcely above a whisper. Soon the words tumbled out, one on top of the other, until she could hardly catch a breath between. She’d never been that close to the sergeant before. That’s what Nigel called him, “the sergeant.” Nigel had told her he’d been booted off the police force and had crawled back to his mommy’s house with his tail between his legs. He’d told her the sergeant was a sick, twisted bastard who thought he was God. But Hannah didn’t believe him; Nigel lied all the time. When she got in her neighbour’s car, the sergeant was kind and didn’t press her with questions or call her stupid for walking down the road in a storm or for puking in the snow. She wanted to tell him that bad things were happening in this house, but Nigel’s words came bubbling up from her stomach. They’d drag her off to a foster home full of brats or a school for troubled girls that had locked doors and bars on the windows. She didn’t tell Mandy about her other attempts to get away, because she didn’t want to think about them.

She told Mandy the things she knew about Nigel. About him standing in the backyard looking up at the darkening sky, clouds sewn like flowers on an apron. This was at their first house, the three of them starting out together, and she hadn’t yet learned that she didn’t belong. Nigel stepped onto the back porch and Hannah turned to him and announced, “Rain’s heading our way,” mimicking what she’d heard the adults around her say. A look of disdain passed across his face, a fast-moving storm, barely discernible before he buried it behind a smile and told her she’d better come inside.

She told Mandy how much space that look on his face came to take up in her head. Her throat was a dry creek bed, words rasping in the still air. She wanted to tell Mandy how sorry she was too, but sorries meant nothing to a cat.

When Mandy rolled over and scratched her paws along the width of the box, Hannah raised herself to her knees and then stood on legs achy from her long walk. She tiptoed on bare feet to her dresser and pulled her spelling bee medal, with its red ribbon, from her drawer. Then she came back to the closet and dangled the medal, pulling the ribbon so it bobbed up and down. Mandy poked her head from around the box, and as Hannah backed up, she followed. After they played with the medal, Hannah sat on her bed, cross-legged, and Mandy hopped up and kneaded a spot on the blanket, cocooned between her legs.

She focused on a spot on the wall and waited until her eyes saw somewhere else. She’d done this trick a lot lately. Now she was at the lake. Seven years old. She was on that beach with her mother, just the two of them, the waves so loud they had to shout to be heard. The trip was her reward for getting her latest swimming badge. It was a hot, windy day and their wide-brimmed sunhats kept lifting off their foreheads and they kept clamping them down again with sandy palms. They dug deep with their plastic shovels, filling their pails with wet, heavy sand, flipping them over for castle walls. They built moats and tunnels and bridges with seaweed-wrapped sticks covered with lady bugs. They found white feather flags with tips sharp as thistles.

But it was the whale that was the real prize. A gift her mother had to save for weeks for. After they finished their cheese and cucumber sandwiches, her mother told Hannah to reach down into her huge woven bag. When she pulled out the plastic package with the picture of a girl on a black-and-white whale, Hannah jumped up and down and ran in circles around the castle. She could be a whale rider, just like Pai in the movie. She could climb onto the whale’s back and coax it back to the sea and ride faster than all whale riders before her.

It took a long time for her mother to get enough air inside the whale to make its fins stand straight. When it was finally full grown, Hannah pulled her whale by its tail through the foaming suds at the shoreline and into the shallow, choppy water and swung her leg over its wide back. She fit snugly, her arms easily reaching the small handles above each fin. She stayed close to shore, as she’d been told, while her mother stood on the beach and clapped and cheered like the people in Pai’s village. Her mother was afraid to go into the water herself. Hannah loved her for this. For bringing her to the edge of the place she feared most.

Hannah leaned forward, hugging her whale to keep from tipping in the waves. It was as if she had been born in the water, as if she and her whale could skim across the surface of the whole beautiful world.

A ferocious gust whipped Hannah’s sun hat up into the air and carried it like a leaf across the water. Hannah didn’t know how to maneuver her whale toward her hat, so she hopped off its back and pushed through the knee-deep waves in order to fetch it. Her hat had been carried along the shore a great distance by the wind, and when she finally got to it, she scooped it up and rung it out, then waved to her mother. But it was the whale her mother was looking at. Hannah’s precious whale, riding the waves without her, swimming farther and farther away.

Hannah cried out, ready to chase after it, but it was her mother who crashed through the waves, running through shallow water at first, then getting farther from the shoreline, sinking deeper, until she was thrashing arms, a bobbing doll’s head, little more than a speck. The whale, a much better swimmer, was too far away to catch.

Come back, come back, Hannah yelled into the wind. Why had she been so stupid? She’d abandoned her whale for a silly hat that meant nothing to her. Now she just wanted her mother.

It took a long, long time, but she eventually staggered out of the water and fell onto the sand. Hannah wrapped her arms around her marble-cold skin and said I’m sorry, I’m sorry, over and over, while her mother lay there gasping. Finally she stood, wobbly at first, and dusted the sand from her suit. She bent down and kissed Hannah’s forehead, whispering in Hannah’s ear, “I should have known better. Today was too windy for hats.” Then she stretched tall, raised her arms, and started laughing. Hannah would forever remember her like that, her beautiful mother, laughing to the sky.

Eric drove too fast in his hurry to get away. When he neared the place where Hannah’s vomit sullied the bank, he pressed hard on the gas, fishtailing in the wet snow. By the time he pulled onto the main road, the plow had been by on the other side, while his lane was still pocked with ruts of ice and drifting snow. Ellie would be white-knuckled if she were out in this. She mapped her route in advance, chose the quietest roads, avoided left turns, and braced herself to make a mistake. He tried to encourage his wife, tell her she was a good driver, but he didn’t really believe it. He’d pulled her out of so many snow banks over the years he thought she must aim for them on purpose.

Before his detour back to Wilson’s, Eric had been on his way to Gerry’s place to get Ellie her spruce tree, something he promised he’d take care of. Ellie was disappointed when he hadn’t got over to Gerry’s last Saturday as planned, even more so when Sunday came and went and they were treeless still. He’d woken up that morning with one purpose only and that was to get this done for her today. He’d work his last half shift before Christmas, get Ellie the tree, make things right between them. But the morning turned sour before he even got out of the house. And then he couldn’t find his keys again, prolonging the unpleasantness. He and Ellie hunted through the usual spots—top of the dresser, beside the phone, coat pockets. She found them in the front closet, inside Walter’s boot. “You’re such a child, Eric,” she’d said, hurling the key ring across the room, hitting him in the chest.

He imagined Ellie back at home. She’d be standing at the kitchen sink, peeling potatoes or pulling the skin off chicken breasts, and she would turn her head and before she could think to change her expression, he’d see the deadness in her eyes. He couldn’t remember when she’d started going blank like that. After Sammy stopped letting them hug him? After Daniel started slamming doors over every little thing? After his father quit aiming at the toilet bowl? Ellie was a mess of trying too hard, and Christmas only made it worse.

He parked on the road as he neared Gerry’s turnoff. He started to dial Betty’s number, planning to fill her in on what he’d seen. He’d tell her he was aware that the timing was terrible, Friday and all, Christmas coming, but this Hannah Finch walking along the road, a wind chill of minus twenty-six for God sakes, dead mother, alone with Nigel Wilson. Could Betty get out there and talk with this kid?

But as he rehearsed the words, his pitch seemed laced with bad history and unsettled grudges. He wedged the phone back into his pocket. He’d drive to Child and Family Services in Neesley and sit across from her instead.

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The Winters

The Winters

edition:Paperback

"From the brilliant first line to the shattering conclusion, The Winters will draw you in and leave you breathless. . . . A must read." --Liv Constantine, author of The Last Mrs. Parrish
A spellbindingly suspenseful new novel set in the moneyed world of the Hamptons, about secrets that refuse to remain buried and consequences that can't be escaped.

After a whirlwind romance, a young woman returns to the opulent, secluded Long Island mansion of her new fiancé Max Winter--a wealthy politician and …

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Excerpt

One
Last night Rebekah tried to murder me again. It had been a while since I'd had that dream, not since we left Asherley, a place I called home for one winter and the bitterest part of spring, the dream only ever recurring when Max was gone and I'd find myself alone with Dani.

As always, the dream begins with Asherley in the distance, shining from afar in a bright clearing. There is no greenhouse, nor boathouse, just a stand of red canoes stabbed into the pebbly beach. In fact, the Asherley of my dream looks more like it might have back in its whaling days, when from the highest turret you could still spot tall ships dotting Gardiners Bay.

Overpowered by the urge to be inside the house again, I pass easily through the thicket of forest that surrounds the property. I want so badly to wander its wood-paneled halls, to feel its plush red carpets beneath my bare feet, to move my fingers in the play of sun through the stained-glass windows, but an invisible force keeps me out. I'm relegated to the bay, where I float like a sad specter, made to watch those who still haunt Asherley act out the same strange pantomime.

I can see Max, my Max, relaxing on an Adirondack, one in a line like white teeth dotting the silvery-green lawn. He's reading a newspaper, framed by the majestic spread of Asherley behind him, its walls of gray stones, its crowd of terra-cotta peaks, its dentils studded with carved rosettes, anchored by the heavy brow of its deep stone porch. Every lamp in every room of the house is lit. A fire roars in every fireplace. The circle of windows at the top of the high turret burns like a sentinel over the bay, as though the house were about to put on a great show for me.

I call for Max but he can't hear me. I want to go to him, to touch his face, to smell his hair, to fit my shoulder under his arm, our sides pressed together. My throat feels strangled with that longing.

On cue, she strides out the back door, carefully balancing a tray of lemonade. She's wearing a white lace dress with a red sash, her blond hair glinting in the sun, her face so eerily symmetrical she'd almost be odd-looking except for the singular perfection of each and every one of her features. Here is Rebekah making her way down to Max, changing her gait to accommodate the steep slope of the back lawn. Now Dani bolts from the house behind her, laughing, her chubby legs charging straight for the water and for me. She's three, maybe four, her hair, far too long for a child, is the same white blond as her mother's. I often wish I could have met Dani when she was this young and unformed. Things might have been very different between us.

My body instinctively thrusts forward to catch the girl, to prevent her from running too far into the bay and drowning.

Rebekah yells, "Be careful, sweetheart," which Max repeats. She puts the tray down. From behind, she wraps her arms around Max's shoulders and warmly kisses his neck. He places a reassuring hand on her forearm. They both watch as Dani splashes in the shallow water, screaming and laughing, calling, "Look at me, I can swim."

Then, as she always does in the dream, Rebekah becomes the only one who spots me bobbing in the bay, too near her daughter for her liking. She straightens up and walks towards the water, stalking me like a lion not wanting to disturb its prey. Still in her dress, she wades into the water, moving past a frolicking, oblivious Dani, until we are finally face-to-face. Her eyes narrow, forming that familiar dimple over her left brow.

I try to flee but my legs are useless.

"Who are you?" she asks. "You don't belong here."

Rebekah's mouth is close enough to kiss, a woman I'd seen in hundreds of photos, whose every contour I'd memorized, whose every expression I'd studied and sometimes unconsciously mimicked in my darker days, when my obsession was most acute and I had no idea how to live at Asherley, how to be a wife to Max, or a friend to Dani.

"I do belong here. She needs me," I say, pointing to Dani, my impudence surprising even me. I try to move but my feet are rooted in the sand below, arms floating beside me like weeds.

"She doesn't need you," Rebekah says, placing her hands on my shoulders in a reassuring manner. "She needs her mother."

Then she rears back slightly. Using all of her weight, Rebekah shoves me under the waves with a sudden violence, flooding my vision with air bubbles. I fight for the surface, to scream for Max to help me, but she's stronger than me, her hands a vise on my shoulders, her arms steely and rigid. In my dream, she's not angry. Rebekah kills me slowly and methodically, not with hate or fear. She's being practical. I am channeling vital resources away from her, rerouting Dani's feelings, altering Max's fate. My murder is conducted with dispassion and efficiency. And though I don't want to die, I can't imagine going on like this either, careful of my every move, looking over my shoulder, afraid to touch anything, break anything, love anything, worried his past will surface again and ruin what I've worked so hard for, what we've worked so hard for. Her task complete, my body painlessly dissolves into the waves and I disappear. I am dead and made of nothing. I am gone.

I woke up gasping for air, my hand at my throat. I kept reminding myself that everything is okay, we are okay, that we are alive and she is dead, cursing the fact that the dream had followed us here, our last stop, I hoped, for a good long while.

***
 
My back ached when I stretched that morning, unfamiliar beds the only downside to our decision to travel for the rest of the year to shake loose the recent tragedies. We found it helped to establish a routine. I would get up first and make us breakfast, for we only stayed in places with kitchens, a homemade meal the best way to start our wide-open days. We tried not to think too much about the past, about Asherley. It was gone, along with all of its secrets. We were building new memories, creating new stories, ones we might find ourselves telling new friends one day, finishing each other's sentences, saying, No, you go, you tell it. No, you-you tell it better.

Mostly our days were languid; sometimes I'd plan a museum tour or we'd take a long drive past ruins. Our nights were spent reading rather than watching TV, sharing the couch even if armchairs were available, our toes gently touching. There were few conflicts, though I was no longer naive enough to believe two people as different as we were, who'd spent as much time together as we had, would never bicker. But the truth was we were still getting to know each other.

Waiting for the omelet to thicken, I poked my head into the bedroom, resisting the urge to caress that thatch of dark hair that I had come to love in a quiet, calm way, a marked difference from how I loved just a short while ago. Hard to believe it had been less than a year since I'd met Max Winter, a man whose love seized me by the shoulders and shook me out of a state of dormancy, and who ushered in another emotion I had yet to meet in my young life: jealousy, the kind that grows like kudzu, vining around the heart, squeezing all the air out, fusing with my thoughts and dreams, so that by the time I understood what was happening to me it was almost too late.

I carefully closed the bedroom door, padded across the cool tile floors of the living area, with its dark armoires and overstuffed armchairs, and threw open the musty blackout curtains. I stepped barefoot onto the hot stone terrace, the sun so bright it hurt my eyes. In the distance, warm air steamed off the sea. From below, I could hear the Spanish-speaking shopkeepers already arguing over sidewalk space, and I was gut-punched by long-ago memories of a mother who sang to me in her mother's language and a father with sunburned shoulders, pulling fish out of the sea, their silver bodies violently jackknifing on the scarred deck of the boat we once lived on, our sleeping quarters the size of the smallest pantry you could find at Asherley. I could have fainted from an old grief. Here they were again, coming at me from afar, watery mirages of the people who once loved me, and I them, their long shadows cast by a low morning sun.

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Trickster Drift

Trickster Drift

edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover

Following the Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted Son of a Trickster comes Trickster Drift, the second book in Eden Robinson's captivating Trickster trilogy.

Jared, seventeen, has quit drugs and drinking. But his troubles are not over: he's being stalked by David, his mom's ex--a preppy, khaki-wearing psycho with a proclivity for rib-breaking. And his mother, Maggie, a witch as well as a badass, can't protect him like she used to because he's moved from Kitimat to Vancouver for school. He's also …

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Excerpt

The clouds finally broke into a sullen drizzle after a muggy, overcast day. Jared Martin flipped up his hood as he turned the corner onto his street. His mom’s truck was in the driveway. The house he’d grown up in was two storeys high, white with green trim. The large porch was littered with work gear. His mom rented out two of the rooms and the basement to pay the bills. Most of her tenants were sub-subcontractors, in Kitimat for a few weeks and unwilling to shell out for a pricey furnished one-bedroom or a motel room. Or they were hard-core smokers who wanted to be able to light up in their rooms and found a kindred spirit in his mom, a dedicated two-packer who hated being forced outside.

He paused on the sidewalk, listening. Things seemed quiet. Which didn’t mean it was safe to go in, but Jared went up the steps and opened the front door. Not visiting his mom before he took off for Vancouver would save him a lot of grief, but it would be such a douche move. She’d never let him forget it.

“Mom?” Jared said.

“In here,” she said, her voice coming from the kitchen.
 
The kitchen windows were all open and moths fluttered against the screens. She was frying a pan of meatballs, her cigarette tucked into the corner of her mouth.

Her hair was in a ponytail. She wore her favourite ripped Metallica T-shirt over jeans and flip-flops. He could see all the little muscles working in her face as she inhaled. She was losing weight again. He hoped it was just coke.

Jared put his backpack down by the table and then hopped up to sit on the counter. His mom salted a pot of boiling water and cracked in some spaghetti.

“Nice of you to show up,” she said.

Jared swung his feet, staring down at them. “Where’s Richie?”

“He is where he is.”

Her boyfriend sold the lighter recreational drugs. They used to get along, but Richie seemed suspicious of Jared now that Jared was sober, like he had suddenly turned into a narc. When they were forced together by his mom, Richie wouldn’t talk to him for fear of incriminating himself.

Jared watched her resentfully making him dinner. She hated cooking. He wished she’d just ordered a pizza. He tried to think of a safe topic of conversation. His Monday night shift at Dairy Queen was normally dull, but his new co-worker had kept stopping to sob into her headset. “Work was nuts. I had to train my replacement. She does not handle stress well.”

“Not many people survive the soft-serve ice-cream racket.”

Ball-buster, his dad called her when he was being charitable. His adoptive dad? His dad. Philip Martin, the guy who had raised him when his biological dad turned out to be a complete dick.

She stirred the pasta. “What? No snappy comeback?”
 
“I’m tired.”

“Yeah, looking down on all us alkies and addicts must be exhaust­ing.”

“Are we going to do this all night?”

“Get the colander.”

Jared hopped down and grabbed the colander from the cupboard above the fridge.

When he handed it to her, she stared at him a moment. Then her lips went thin, the lines around her mouth deepening. “I don’t want you staying with Death Threat,” she said.

Death Threat was the nickname of one of her exes, Charles Redhill, a low-level pot grower who said it would be okay if Jared bunked in his basement while he was going to school in Vancouver, if he didn’t mind working a little security detail in exchange.

“People aren’t exactly lining up to let me sleep on their couches,” Jared said.

“He’s a fuckboy with delusions he’s Brando.”

“Stel-la!” Jared said, trying to make her laugh.

She ignored him as if he wasn’t standing beside her. She took the cigarette out of the corner of her mouth and let the pasta drain in the colander in the sink and then dumped it back in the pot. She poured in a jar of Ragú spaghetti sauce and stirred and then added the meatballs. She crushed the last bit of her cigarette out on the burner and tossed the butt in a sand-filled coffee can near the sink. He carried the pot to the table. She pulled some garlic bread out of the oven.

They ate in silence. Or, more accurately, Jared ate in silence. His mom smoked and picked at a meatball with her fork, slowly mashing it into bits.
 
“Where’s Death Threat’s place?” she said.

Jared shrugged. He was hoping against hope that Death lived near his school, the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Didn’t matter, though. Nothing beat free.

“Nice. I’m your mother and you don’t trust me enough to know where you’re fucking staying.”

“He’s away in Washington State right now. I’m booked at a hos­tel for the first week. Just text my cell.”

“He told you where he lives, right?”

“He’ll show.”

“He’s a fucking pothead. He’ll forget you exist. He forgets where his ass is until someone hands it to him.”

“I can handle myself.”

His mom sucked in a great impatient breath.

“Can we just have a nice supper?” Jared said.

“Can you not live with the spazzy fucktard who calls himself Death Threat?”

“Chill, okay? I just need a free place until my student loan comes in, then I’ll find a room or something.”

“Buttfucking Jesus on goddamn crutches.”

“Mom.”

“Don’t Mom me, genius. This is a crap plan.”

“It’s my life,” Jared said, pushing the plate away.

“Jared, you can barely manage warding. What’re you going to do if you run into something really fucking dangerous?”

His mom was a witch. For real. As he had found out definitively, just before he swore off the booze and the drugs. He’d always thought she was being melodramatic when she told him witch stuff. Then he was kidnapped by some angry otters and his shape-shifting father/
sperm donor stepped in to save him, along with his mother. He only lost a toe. Her particular talent was hexes, though she preferred giv­ing her enemies a good old-fashioned shit-kicking. Curses tended to bite you in the ass, she’d told him, and weren’t nearly as satisfying as physically throttling someone.

“Who’s going to bother me?” Jared said. “I got nothing anyone wants.”

“You’re the son of a Trickster,” she hissed.

“There’s a billion of us.” On one website he’d found 532 people claiming to be the children of Wee’git. Either Wee’git couldn’t keep it in his pants or a lot of people wanted to appear more exotic.

“You think you’re so fucking smart,” his mom said.

Jared recited the Serenity Prayer in his head. She shook another cigarette out of the pack and lit it off her butt before crushing it out on the full ashtray in the middle of the table. The TV went on in the living room. The recliner squealed.

“I’ll be out of your hair tomorrow,” Jared said. “You can forget you ever had me and party yourself to death.”

“You are testing my patience.”

It was always a bad sign when his mom stopped swearing. Jared focused on the tick of the kitchen clock to stay calm.

“You think I don’t love you,” she said. “Is that it?”

“I don’t think I’m high on your priority list.”

She got up and stood over him. She took her cigarette out of her mouth and he half-expected to get it in his face. He must have flinched, because her eyes narrowed dangerously.

She grabbed his chin. “You shoulda been a girl. Wah. Mommy doesn’t fucking love me. My feelings. My feeeeeelings.”

He shoved her hand away. “Get off me.”
 
“Are we done emoting?”

“I am.”

She backed up a step. “So I asked my sister if you could stay with her.”

Holy crap. Jared was stunned. His mom hadn’t spoken to her sis­ter since . . . forever. God. She really didn’t want him to stay with Death Threat.

“I dunno,” Jared said.

“Mave’s willing to put you up,” his mom said. “But be careful. She’s deaf to magic. Don’t bring it up around her. She’ll think you’re nuts and try to get you on antipsychotics.”

“I thought you hated her.”

“I do.”

She took a piece of paper out of her jean pocket and handed it to him. His throat tightened when he saw the name and number. His aunt, Mavis Moody, had tried to get custody of him when he was a baby, figuring her sister would be bad for any baby. His mom had married Philip Martin to avoid losing Jared. He couldn’t meet his mom’s eyes knowing how much of her pride she’d sacrificed to find him a safer place to crash. He dropped his head.

“Don’t say I never did anything for you,” she said.

Jared reached down, rifled through his backpack and gave her his grad picture.

She frowned. “Are you throwing it in my face? I only have grade eight and you’re a fucking high school graduate? You think that makes you special?”

“It’s just a picture,” Jared said. “Toss it if you don’t like it.”

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Late Breaking

Late Breaking

edition:Paperback

Inspired by the work of Alex Colville, the linked stories in K.D. Miller’s Late Breaking form a suite of portraits that evoke the paintings’ loom-ing atmospheres and uncanny stillness while trav-eling deeply into their subjects’ vividly imagined lives. ˜ roughout, the collection bears witness to the vulnerability of the elder heart, revealing that love, sex, and heartbreak are not only the domain of the young, and deftly rendering the conˆ icts that divide us and the ties that bind.

Husb …

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Moon of the Crusted Snow

Moon of the Crusted Snow

A Novel
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

A daring post-apocalyptic novel from a powerful rising literary voice

With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow.

The community leadearship loses its grip on power as the visitors manipulate the tire …

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Excerpt

Five

 

Three hard knocks woke Nicole and Evan. She groaned, and he turned over as three more thuds vibrated through the house. “What the hell is that?” she mumbled.

Evan groaned. “I’ll go check.”

He got out of bed in his T-shirt and boxer shorts in the grey predawn light.

At the door, he recognized the familiar silhouette of Isaiah, who smiled mischievously at Evan’s sleep-rumpled state and walked in.

“I woulda said whatever happened to calling,” Evan grumbled, “but I remembered the phones are out.”

“Yeah, all moccasin telegraph all the time these days,” Isaiah replied. Evan was already tired of this joke. Izzy fell into the armchair beside the door without taking off his heavy red parka, grey toque, or boots.

“What’s going on?”

“Terry wants everyone in public works over at the band office right away. He pounded at my door just about fifteen minutes ago. My job was to round you up.”

“It’s Saturday, damn it!”

“Yeah, well, he says it’s an emergency. He’s talking about firing up the generator. No one knows what’s going on with the hydro.”

The chief calling an emergency meeting on a Saturday morning was serious. Evan snapped awake. “Alright, lemme go get dressed,” he said. “What’s it like outside?”

“Gettin’ colder.”

“Shit.”

Evan quickly returned to the bedroom, where Nicole lay awake in the warm, uneasy darkness. “What’s Izzy want?”

“Gotta go to work,” he replied, as he picked up the jeans from the floor and pulled them on.

“What’s going on?”

“Not totally sure, but Izzy says Terry wants everyone in public works over at the shop. Guess he wants to turn the generator on.”

“That’s good. The food in the fridge might start to go bad without the power.”

“Yeah, and it’d be good to put the kids in front of a movie for a break,” he said with a laugh.

He leaned in to kiss his partner and walked back to the front door, where his outside clothes hung on the hook.

Once he was dressed, Evan and Isaiah stepped outside into the cold. A faint pink glow in the east hinted at the sunrise. I guess it’s not that early, Evan thought.

They climbed into Isaiah’s idling truck, and Evan appreciated the warmth of the cab. Isaiah turned up the country music on his truck’s stereo and backed out onto the road.

“First you wake me up to work on a Saturday, then you make me listen to this shit?” Evan said.

“Shut the hell up,” his friend shot back. “This music is about real pain and struggle. It’s our people’s music.”

Evan rolled his eyes and looked out the window, willing to let the music be a distraction from his worries. He loved his friend like a brother. They’d been through almost everything together — hunts, hardships, and heartaches — but he couldn’t stand Isaiah’s taste in music.

Each house the truck passed was dark. There wouldn’t be much activity in these homes this early on a Saturday anyway, but every unlit window was hard to ignore.

As the late fall sun began to peek over the horizon, its low angle cast tiny shadows behind the bigger chunks of gravel spread across the route. The shallow streams in the deep ditches on either side were frozen solid.

The truck rolled through the village to the outskirts on the other side of town. Black spruce trees closed in around them as they approached the generating station by the shop. The reverberating echo of a slide guitar faded slowly as Isaiah lined his truck up with the six other pickup trucks in front of the high brick building. He smiled as he parked, no doubt amused that he had made Evan endure another country song.

Terry Meegis, the chief, stood near the green front door with Evan’s father, having a smoke. Evan wasn’t surprised to see Dan there. He was head of the band’s public works department and would be instrumental in any decisions that needed to be made.

Evan and Isaiah got out of the truck and approached the two older men. The huge white diesel tanks that loomed over the shop were stained a deep orange by the rising sun. The sky above was brightening into a more comforting azure.

“Mino gizheb niniwag. Aaniish na?” said Terry.

“Morning,” they replied. Evan noticed dark circles under Terry’s eyes. He was only a couple of years older than Dan, but it was obvious that he wasn’t getting much sleep recently. The chief took a drag from his cigarette and ran a hand through his coarse hair. His short hairstyle caused his wiry hair to puff out around his ears and he looked just as he had for as long as Evan could remember, a reassuring constant in band life.

The chief wasted no time. “We don’t know what’s going on with the power. Or the cellphones or the TV.” He looked at the two young men. Dan had already been briefed, so he stood slightly out of the circle, looking to the sunrise.

“We have no communication with anyone from Hydro,” he continued. “The satellite phone’s not working, and we can’t pick up anything on the other end of the old shortwave radio. Before people start getting worried or acting crazy, we’re gonna fire up the generators. We’ll at least be able to hold them over through the weekend and into next week if we need to.”

Evan and Isaiah nodded, then looked at each other cautiously. Terry noticed. “Don’t shit your pants,” he said. “We’ve dealt with this before. These things go out all the time. It’s just been a while since all of them were down at the same time. We’ll get the lights on for the weekend and regroup Monday.”

Then Dan took over. “Tyler, JC, and a couple of the other boys are in there right now,” he said, gesturing over his shoulder into the building. “They’re getting the generators ready to fire up. We were scheduled to test them next week anyways. This is a good chance to do a run-through.”

Evan breathed out in relief, a bit embarrassed he’d been so worried.

“Joanne is down at the band office getting ready to print off notices,” Terry continued. Tyler’s mom was one of the band administrators. In a small community, family members worked together all the time. Terry and Dan had been friends since childhood, and JC Meegis, who was inside running tests, was Terry’s son.

“We’re going to tell people that we’ve turned the generators on so no one’s food goes bad and so they can get their houses warm. If the power doesn’t come back over the weekend, we’re gonna have a community meeting Monday afternoon at the band office. I brought you guys here because I thought we needed more maintenance done inside before these machines fire up. But it looks like it’s under control.”

The loud cranking of an engine echoed off the walls of the shop and one of the generators roared into operation.

“So we just need you two to deliver the flyers,” said Terry.

“Fuck, really?” said Isaiah.

“What’s your problem?”

“I don’t wanna go door to door on a Saturday morning.”

“You just have to drop them off, dumbass. The power’s gonna be on, so it’s not like anyone will be demanding answers from you.”

Evan chuckled.

“What’s so funny, Tweedle Dum?” prodded the chief.

“Nothing.”

“Okay then, get your asses to work! We’ll update you later.”

Evan looked at his father, and Dan gave him an easy smile back.

The sun was up and shining through the dust on the windshield as they drove back east into the heart of the community to pick up the notices from the band office. Songs of heartache and liquor blared again inside the cab. The fingers of Isaiah’s left hand were curling into different positions as it rested on the steering wheel.

“Don’t tell me you’re actually learning this shit?”

“Huh?” Isaiah looked to Evan then down at his fingers, positioned in a C chord on an air guitar. “Oh, yeah, I was just playing along in my mind.”

“What happened to your taste, man? You used to play the good stuff.” Evan shook his head.

Isaiah sang along in a nasally twang, as Evan sat back and thought fondly of the heavy metal they’d listened to as teens.

They rolled to a stop in front of the green single-storey building that housed the band office, the school, and the health centre. Evan stepped out of the truck to run in and get the flyers. He pulled the glass front doors open to find Joanne Birch waiting for him at her desk.

“Hold on, just printing them off now,” she said, without looking up from the computer screen. “I guess everything’s working up there?” Her brown hair fell in two tight braids that draped over her black hoodie emblazoned with the rez logo — an outline of three spruce trees on the white, yellow, red, and black background of the four directions circle.

“Seems to be,” he replied. “Everything here working?”

“The computer and the lights are on. All systems go, I guess.”

“When’s the last time the lights were on in here on a Saturday?”

“Beats me, I ain’t never worked on a Saturday. It’s the band office!”

They chortled and Evan gazed out over the spacious lobby as he waited. Its walls were lined with local art and a birchbark canoe hung from the beams below the skylight.

“You guys staying warm at home?” Evan asked.

“Yeah, Tyler had the furnace going pretty good. Didn’t even notice the power was off until it was time to make breakfast yesterday.” Tyler, who worked with Evan and Isaiah, was a few years younger than they and still lived at home.

“Right on. I slacked and let ours burn out.”

“What kinda Nishnaab are you?”

“I know. The kids didn’t seem to mind though.”

“Well, good thing you can at least put some videos on the TV now. I bet their patience is wearing thin. You’re lucky you got a good kwe at home to raise them right.”

Evan nodded. His heart fluttered.

Joanne rolled over to the printer, then back over to him, and handed over the stack of sheets. “Alright, here ya go. Have fun!”

As he stepped outside, Evan looked down at the flyer he was to distribute.

NOTICE
COMMUNITY-WIDE POWER OUTAGE
EMERGENCY POWER GENERATION IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
PLEASE CONSERVE ENERGY WHERE POSSIBLE
USE WOOD STOVES AND FURNACES AS PRIMARY HEAT SOURCES
SAFELY STORE FOOD
NEXT UPDATE MONDAY
HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND
MIIGWECH,
CHIEF AND COUNCIL

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A Sorrowful Sanctuary

A Sorrowful Sanctuary

A Lane Winslow Mystery
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

In the fifth book of the series that the Globe and Mail calls “terrific,” Lane Winslow investigates the murder of an unidentified man she found adrift in a boat near King’s Cove.

Lane Winslow is enjoying a perfect, sunny day at the lake when she spots a gravely injured young man drifting in a sinking rowboat. Hypothermic, bleeding, and soaked in icy, bloody water, he is unable to speak, leaving Lane at a loss. What series of events brought him to this grisly fate?

Darling and Ames are quick …

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