Short strokes

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - BOOKS -

Up in Smoke, by Ross Pen­nie (ECW Press, 344 pages, $25): The for­mer On­tario in­fec­tious-disease spe­cial­ist’s third med­i­cal mys­tery links the out­break of a fa­tal liver ail­ment to lu­cra­tive First Na­tions cig­a­rette smug­gling, with a mur­der­ous cover-up as the chaser. A brave foray into a po­lit­i­cal mine­field for both Pen­nie and his hero, pub­lic-health of­fi­cer Zol Sz­abo. Blood on a Saint, by Anne Emery (ECW Press, 336 pages, $25): Un­ortho­dox Halifax pri­est Fa­ther Bren­nan Burke and flinty lawyer Monty Collins re­turn for a sev­enth out­ing when a re­pul­sive talk-show host is charged with the mur­der of a young woman near a saintly statue where vi­sions of the Virgin Mary are claimed. A work­man­like who­dunit whose soft hu­mour and sim­ple poignancy over­come patches of wooden, ed­it­wor­thy prose. Blow­back, by Va­lerie Plame and Sarah Lovett (Blue Rider, 336 pages,$29): Un­der­cover CIA op­er­a­tive Vanessa Pierson breaks a lot of rules chas­ing a Chechen as­sas­sin in the pay of a shad­owy arms mer­chant stok­ing Iran’s nu­clear as­pi­ra­tions. A solid spy-thriller de­but by the ex-CIA agent fa­mously outed by the Bush White House, aided by foren­sic crime writer Lovett. As­so­ci­ate Ed­i­tor John Sul­li­van runs the Free Press Au­tos, Homes and Travel sec­tions and

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