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BOOK REVIEW: The Dead Don’t Dream will hopefully spawn sequels

Let me introduce you to my new friend, Detective Ian McBriar, a part Scottish, part French, part Cree policeman, almost parish priest and all round good guy.

In case you were wondering, Ian features as the main character in the new mystery novel The Dead Don’t Dream by local author Mauro Azzano.

The date is 1973, the place is Toronto. Detective McBriar is lying in a gutter with gunshot wounds oozing blood, wondering if he’ll live to see another day. This cop-with-a-conscience is bent on finding out who put mobster Nick Palumbo’s younger son Nick Jr. in a coma. As he and partner Frank Burghezian dig deeper into Palumbo’s world, they encounter a plethora of beefy bad guys, a creepy son-in-law, and a daughter whose veins are filled with ice water.  When they learn that Palumbo’s older son, Peter, was killed in a car accident in Italy, the plot thickens. Cryptic clues and phony names lead them to Gary, an autistic man who apparently witnessed the accident involving Nick Jr.

While all this is happening in the background, Detective McBriar is engaged in a new love affair with Karen Prescott, who becomes his main squeeze before you can say single-mom-with-a-son. McBriar goes from 0-60 in about two weeks, asking Karen and her little boy Ethan to move in with him. As their relationship blooms, so do the clues to the Palumbo boys’ ill-fated accidents.

Author Azzano skillfully fleshes out his characters and makes them, above all, believable.  As for the storyline, it’s well plotted, engaging, and the parts that need to achieve resolution by the end, do so. It’s pretty clear that Azzano is planning to turn this into a series—why else would he have a big bubble on the front cover announcing: “An Ian McBriar Murder Mystery”? I hope he does write more and I look forward to hearing about the blossoming romance between Ian and Karen. Oh yeah, and the mystery parts, too.

For mystery fans, The Dead Don’t Dream is a winner.

Other talented local mystery writers I recommend are: Robin Spano (Death Plays Poker and Dead Politician Society), Hilary Davidson (The Next One to Fall and The Damage Done), Deryn Collier (Confined Space) and Ian Hamilton (Wild Beasts of Wuhan; The Red Pole of Macau; The Water Rat of Wanchai; and The Disciple of Las Vegas).

For other popular reading, viewing and listening suggestions check out Richmond Public Library’s web site at www.yourlibrary.ca/goodbooks.

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