Library Moments: Michael Redhill Read- A-Likes

Bessie Sullivan, County Librarian: Hello, I’m Bessie Sullivan from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

On November 13th, 2016 the Friends of the Library hosted their 11th annual book gala at the Pinestone Resort. The guest was Michael Redhill who is an award winning author across many genres. Even now three months later, books by Michael Redhill and his pseudonym Inger Ash Wolfe are still checked out at the library and several still having waiting lists. We thought that suggesting some novels that are read-a-likes for Michael Redhill and Inger Ash Wolfe would be helpful especially to those of you still waiting to read his books.

Today on library moments I’m going to suggest some alternative titles for Michael Redhill’s Consolation and Erin Kernohan-Berning will give you some suggestions for the crime series by Inger Ash Wolfe.

Erin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: The point of a read-a-like isn’t to find a book that’s exactly the same as another, but rather one that’s similar. Regardless, it’s hard to find anything quite like the Hazel Micallef series by Inger Ash Wolfe. Much of this is owed to the character herself. The 60-something Hazel, the gritty, no-nonsense detective from Port Dundas introduced to us in The Calling, and most recently featured in The Night Bell, is a rarity in crime fiction. As said by Maureen Corrigan in the Washington Post, there aren’t many female detectives in fiction who are north of Nancy Drew but south of Miss Marple. But there are two mystery series we have in our collection that feature characters while, still somewhat more south of the octogenarian Marple than Hazel, still bring a similar grit and tenacity.

Ann Holt’s Hanne Wilhelmsen was introduced to North American audiences when the translation of 1222 was released in 2011. The eighth book of the series, and the first to be translated into English, 1222 features a crotchety middle-aged Hanne, retired from the Oslo police force, trapped with 269 others in a snowed in mountain hotel – along with a murderer. Hanne is wheelchair bound, having been paralyzed in a shootout four years earlier. Because the books in this series are being translated out of order, while 1222’s Hanne has been compared by reviewers to Inger Ash Wolfe’s Hazel Micallef, the earlier books feature a much younger Hanne. If you like Hazel and Hanne, and want another hard-boiled female detective, Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series is another to turn to. Lynley’s partner, Barbara Havers, is another gritty detective, working class, loner, pulled between work and taking care of her aging parents, living off pop-tarts and the odd meal offered by her kind neighbours. Unlike Hazel, Barbara is not the central character in the Lynley series, but she’s far from second fiddle either, with book 9 – Deception on his Mind – featuring her working solo without the 8th Earl of Asherton.

Bessie Sullivan, County Librarian: Consolation by Michael Redhill was written in 2006 and won the City of Toronto Book Award in 2007. It is an intricate book that tells parallel stories, one in the1850s of a developing Toronto and one in modern Toronto from a hotel beside a construction site that hides some secrets from a bygone era. The two stories are connected by photography. Several themes can be found in Consolation, if the history and urban growth of Toronto is what intrigues you then Michael Ondaatje’s The Skin of the Lion might interest you. The novel fictionalizes the lives of the immigrants who played a large role in the building of the city of Toronto in the early 1900s, but whose contributions never became part of the city’s official history. The story revolves around the immigrant labour used to build the Bloor Street Viaduct in the 1930s.

If piecing together a story from history using images is appealing then Jocelyne Saucier’s The Bird’s Rained Down might be what you want. In the Birds Rained down a young photographer is documenting a series of catastrophic forest fires that swept Northern Ontario early in the 1900s; she’s on the trail of the recently deceased Ted Boychuck, a survivor of the blaze. She finds a series of Ted’s paintings about the fire, and begins to decipher the dead man’s history.

Figuring out what is appealing to you in a book can lead to finding other books that appeal in the same way. If you are waiting for any book in our collection, there are always options for finding books with similarities to the book you are waiting for. Hopefully we have suggested something today that will make your wait more bearable. Believe me, we feel your pain.

That’s it for this week’s Library Moments. Thanks for listening here on 100.9 CANOE FM.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM.

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