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John Moss

 

 

 




The Allison Briscoe YA Mystery Trilogy

Someone nearly succeeds in killing fifteen-year-old Allison Briscoe. In her hospital bed in southern Ontario everyone thinks she’s in a coma. After taking a bullet in the head, she can’t move but she can think, she can hear, she can dream. She refuses to panic. She has mysteries to solve and the drive to survive. When she’s asleep, she enters the lives of her ancestors, following a silver medallion made by Paul Revere in 1768 as it passes down the generations. By the end of the first novel, The Girl in a Coma, she is able to communicate with her friend Maddie O’Rourke who is four feet tall with a misshapen back and the most beautiful eyes in the world. In the second and third novels, “The Girl on Wheels” and “The Girl with the Sun in Her Eyes,” she is confined to, but neither daunted nor defeated by, life in a wheelchair. She and Maddie are joined by Alex Cardinal, a handsome male cop in uniform, a beautiful young woman in civilian clothes, and comfortable either way. Alex is Mohawk with African American and Mississippi white in her blood, and fiercely proud of her rich ethnicity. This “unholy threesome” as they call themselves, solve murder mysteries and fend off assailants in pursuit of the fabled Oak Island treasure only Allison knows how to reach.


The Girl in a Coma

The Girl in a Coma

Locked into what appears like a coma, Allison Briscoe dreams about some of the girls and women who precede her. She shares the dangerous adventures of Rebecca Haun who joins the Women’s Brigade with George Washington’s rag-tag army at Valley Forge. Then her dreams take her into the life of Lizzie Erb during the War of 1812 along the Niagara River. Finally, she enters the world of Mary Cameron, a Canadian rebel imprisoned by the British colonial powers in Upper Canada. In the present, Allie moves from a hospital into the Shady Nook Hospice and learns to communicate with Maddie O’Rourke. Together they are taken to a research laboratory in Boston where Maddie falls in love. And all the while, Allison solves murder mysteries, evades an orinary man who might be the Devil, and struggles to live with her disabilities. She is tough and determined, she’s smart, she’s Allison Briscoe.

The Girl on Wheels

(In press) As the second in an Allison Briscoe trilogy, this novel follows the same format as The Girl in a Coma (Poisoned Pencil, 2016). In the first part, Allison in her mid-teens establishes that the fatal plane crash she survives was intentional; in the second, she proves the killer’s identity, fends off his attack, and helps save his life; in the third, she draws him into the open where his guilt is confirmed by police, and she and her two friends witness poetic justice as he becomes the victim of his own obsessions and greed. The first story from Allison’s past features MEme, who lived two thousand generations ago and solves the mysteries of her family’s abduction and of her own mythic birth, while revealing to the reader the beginnings of language, a possible source of our Neanderthal genes, and the origin of the amber in Allison’s ancestral medallion. The second follows Olivia Friesen at the time of the American Civil War as she marries Farley Montague Clare from Mississippi and travels from Canada West to his family home, Sunderley, all the while trying to resolve the dark mysteries he struggles to live with as the war closes around them. The third moves forward to the First World War as Lucy Chambers lies about her age and training to serve as a nurse on the western front, where she struggles to understand why her friend, John Pattinson, has purposely put himself in harm’s way to conceal his own dark secrets.

The Girl with the Sun in Her Eyes

While the third novel in the trilogy is nearly complete, I hesitate to describe it in detail since I might still want to make changes. The present story featuring Allison with her friends Maddie and Alex features dangerous encounters on snowmobiles and the kidnapping of a major character, and includes a murder mystery set in a Muskoka cottage with a full cast of interesting characters. The stories from the past include an account of the spy-espionage adventures of Charlotte Chambers, who is Allison’s grandmother as a seventeen year old, who is parachuted behind enemy lines in World War Two, and a harrowing account of the abduction of girls her daughter’s age in Niagara-on-the Lake in the nineteen-sixties.

 

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The Quin and Morgan Mysteries

Toronto: early in the new millenium. After ten years working homicide together, detectives Miranda Quin and David Morgan are a virtual couple who could not possibly live together, yet are incomplete being apart. They know each other intimately and don’t know each other at all. They share eccentricities that make them mavericks in the Police Service, yet have minds so different they form a perfect complement in dealing with the dark and elusive intricacies of murder.
He is a fallen Presbyterian from Cabbagetown before it was chic and she is a lapsed Anglican from Waterloo county who served three years in the RCMP. She is in her late thirties, with flashing hazel eyes; he’s in his early forties, with unkempt hair and a brooding smile. Both are complex, troubled, sometimes lonely, and always resilient.
Morgan and Miranda—he goes by his last name, she by her first—are real in a way that only fiction can be. They live in a real world that is by turns gothic, romantic, horrific, and comic; occasionally tragic, always enthralling. They occupy their narratives with a special flare, where his appetite for esoteric knowledge and her capacity for offbeat insight ensnare them in crimes that can often be resolved only at their own peril. They are worldy, witty, ironic, sometimes cynical, brilliant together, and often very funny. People you might like to spend time with, especially when murder’s involved.

 

Still Waters

Still Waters

A corpse with comb-over hair slowly turns in a garden pond in the wealthy heart of Toronto’s Rosedale, leading Detective David Morgan into speculations about ornamental fish, and his partner, Miranda Quin into a chilling sequence of revelations that could destroy her. The real mystery begins, not with the dead man but when a stunning woman walks onto the crime scene and without emotion declares herself to be the nondescript victim’s mistress. From that point on, everything changes. As Miranda and Morgan are drawn deeper into the complexities of their investigation, Miranda’s suppressed memories rise to haunt her and eventually take a shape that threatens her life. Dread, on her part, is countered on his by an increasing sense of foreboding. The resolution of crimes in the present exposes unresolved crimes of the past. The question remains: how does a relationship based on murder endure?

(Published in 2008)

 

Grave Doubts

Grave Doubts

The discovery of two headless corpses dressed in colonial clothing and locked in a grisly embrace draws Detectives Miranda Quin and David Morgan of the Toronto Police Service into a strange mixture of sex and death that ultimately threatens their own survival.
The line between life and death is sometimes obscure...
Beginning with morbid curiosity, Miranda and Morgan get caught up in a story of inspired depravity. Through revelations in such diverse locations as a Toronto demolition site, a lonely farmhouse on Georgian Bay, the crypt of a derelict church, and inside the murky depths of a shipwreck, this strange account of love, lust and murder builds to a horrific crescendo. Seduced by their own personal demons as they pursue their case from the heart of old Toronto into the chilling waters off Tobermory, wit, whimsy and the strength of affection help the redoubtable detectives endure. The spellbinding suspense of this strange adventure will leave the reader, quite literally, breathless.

(Published in 2009)

 
Reluctant Dead

Reluctant Dead

Murder casts a long shadow, reaching from fabled
Easter Island in the South Pacific to the desolate
shores of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Detective
Miranda Quin of the Toronto Police Service takes time
off to write a mystery in the tropics and gets trapped in
a sinister plot with global implications. Her partner in
homicide, David Morgan, is left alone to resolve the case
of a beautiful corpse on a Toronto Island yacht and ends
up precariously compromised in the mysterious North.
Their stories converge when they both return to Toronto.
They discover themselves trapped in a labyrinth of deadly
complexity, and the only way out is together. Much more
than their own survival depends on it. Islands, they learn,
are an illusion. Everything connects, especially when murder is involved.

(Published in 2011)

 
Reluctant Dead

The Dead Scholar

When the corpse of an elderly professor turns up on Philosophers Walk in the heart of Toronto, his fellow members of the Francis Bacon Society are not surprised he was murdered. Each is profoundly in the dead man’s debt and each has reasons for wanting him dead. Detectives Miranda Quin and David Morgan are drawn into their midst as the investigation moves from the university environs to a grand summer house in Muskoka, and reaches from the turn of the new millennium back into the bleakest events of the twentieth century, and even beyond, to the Elizabethan England of Bacon, a rogue and scholar, and the sordid beginnings of a new world order. The Dead Scholar is a drawing room thriller and a black comedy, an exquisitely paced intellectual puzzle and a complex study of quixotic characters whose lives intersect in a web of dark secrets they cannot escape. It is a world where Quin and Morgan find themselves quite at home.

(Published in 2013)

 

Reluctant Dead

 

Blood Wine

The summer before 9/11, Toronto homicide detective Miranda Quin wakes up in her own bed with her lover’s corpse beside her. The normally feisty Miranda is distraught and bewildered but slowly regains composure as she and her partner, Detective David Morgan, plunge into a rush of events that leads from one mysterious and violent death to another. With maverick procedural methods, quick and irreverent wit, and quirky affection for each other, they pursue a compelling narrative that includes a beautiful European wine expert who is not at all what she seems and a New York policeman who reads Thoreau. As the plot moves from Toronto through New York and London towards ominous resolution, exposure of a deadly wine fraud leads to explosive revelations of drug smuggling as an unexpected cover for international terrorism.

(Published in 2014)

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The Lindstrom Trilogy

Harry Lindstrom is a cosmopolitan private investigator who works out of Toronto and deals exclusively in murder. Harry is a paradox: a contemplative man of action, a brooding hedonist, a pragmatic moralist. Before the loss of his wife and children in a canoeing accident that he feels was his fault, he was a philosophy professor. The dramatic transition from exploring the fundamental questions of life in a lecture hall to exposing the mysteries arising from murder seems both absurd and grotesquely inevitable. A proud and solitary man of forty-three, Harry carries his wounds very privately, while his dead wife, Karen Malone, persists in his mind. She is his conscience and confidante, there for him when he is most on his own but a constant reminder of his guilt. He talks to her occasionally but he is not delusional, he knows she is gone. His email address, lindstromalone.com, resonates with the awareness that allows him to deal with inspired depravities that fall in his way, first in Sweden, then in Vienna , and finally on an axis linking the South Pacific to London and Greenwich in England.


Lindstrom Alone

Lindstrom Alone          
                                         
The background story that led Harry Lindstrom from an academic career to become a private eye in Toronto is woven through his response to a woman’s insistence that her son is a killer.  She claims his first murders were his own sisters. The dark machinations of a family bent on self-destruction draw Harry into their midst. With his deceased wife Karen as his closest ally but in treacherous association with a beautiful Swedish detective who stands six foot four in heels, Harry’s increasingly compromised pursuit leads him to Stockholm in winter, then to a medieval town on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, and finally to Ingmar Bergman’s windswept island of Faro. Forcibly abducted, he finds himself trapped with his stunning and sinister nemesis in an ancient burial mound while not far away the doomed family is consumed in a conflagration of fiendish perversity.


Lindstrom's Progress

Lindstrom’s Progress     

Intrigued by the unlikely invitation from a woman in Vienna to prove she murdered her lover, Harry confronts a striking detective with flaming red hair who appears to have stepped out of a painting by Klimt. The resemblance is appropriate as her great grandmother was one of the artist’s models and she herself owns a small pair of priceless Klimts recovered by her family after World War II. Harry’s dead wife, Karen, grows restless being his confidante when he becomes ensnared in the woman’s story, whose family continuity was gravely disrupted by Nazi pogroms and then by her own daughter’s abduction. Her account is both sinister and redemptive as she schemes to expose the child trafficking trade and induces Harry to help her. As part of her plan she needed to be arrested but malevolent forces keep her in the open and vulnerable. When she fakes her own death Harry leaves the city of shadows with its memories of historical atrocity and imperial grandeur and returns to Toronto, the Klimts in his possession. The woman turns up alive. Harry is compelled to follow her back to Austria, first to Vienna, then Salzburg, then deep into salt mines near the ancient village of Hallstadtt where stories from the past and present come together with horrific finality.


Lindstrom Redux

Lindstrom Redux 
                                                                       
This is the third novel in the Lindstrom trilogy but, like the others, stands on its own as Harry continues to struggle with the loss of his wife and their children. On the idyllic South Pacific island of Bora Bora where he has retreated to savour and lament the lost past, he finds himself drawn into a strange relationship with a raven-haired B-list movie actress and her invalid husband. He scuba dives with the woman and they dine together. When her husband is brutally murdered and she goes missing, Harry learns from the amiably monstrous Inspector Theophil Queequeg, half of whose face is inscribed with a brutal Marquesian tattoo, that the victim was the founder of a virulent religious movement. Back in Toronto, the widow reappears as a university professor with a disturbing capacity for killing bad people and the ability to make Harry wonder about the moral justifications for murder. She accomplishes several intriguing ‘locked room’ executions before turning up in England with Harry in pursuit to bring down a huge and lethal religious fraud. With her help Harry resolves major issues connected with his own family tragedy: his deceased wife, Karen, mercifully recedes into memory, enabling him to move out of the shadow of death and into the light, to place the past in the past and move on. 

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The Allison Briscoe YA Mystery Trilogy

The Girl in a Coma

The Girl on Wheels

The Girl with the Sun in Her Eyes

The Girl in a Coma is published by
Poisoned Pencil Press
Scottsdale Arizona..

 



The Quin and Morgan Mysteries

Still Waters

Grave Doubts

Reluctant Dead

Blood Wine

Published in the Castle Street Mystery Series by Dundurn Press.

The Dead Scholar

Published in ebook edition by Anne McDermid & Associates; hard copies available through Amazon.com (U.S. & Europe) or author website.

The Lindstrom Trilogy

This series will be published by Driven Press, an international publisher based in Australia. The first is scheduled to appear in 2017.

Lindstrom Alone      

Lindstrom’s Progress 

Lindstrom Redux   

 

Copyright 2016, John Moss. All rights reserved.