Langley’s authors have been hard at once again this year, turning out works of fact and fiction in a range of genres and styles that makes it easy to find something for every reader on your list.
The Violet Flash
For the junior bookworm, a terrific choice is The Violet Flash, by Mike Mason.
Released last summer, the second installment in Mason’s fantasy series about the adventures a group of children who live in the town of Five Corners, picks up where The Blue Umbrella left off.
The Violet Flash follows Ches Cholmondeley, whose sister Chelsea disappears — literally in a flash — just as strange things begin happening all around the globe.
Mason, who makes his home in Murrayville, uses some of the familiar heritage buildings at Five Corners as locations in his novels. Both The Violet Flash and The Blue Umbrella are available for purchase at chapters.indigo.ca and amazon.com.
Random Acts of Vandalism
If you know a slightly older reader who prefers a bit more edge, consider Random Acts of Vandalism by Patrick Blennerhassett.
A one-time Langley resident who now calls Kamloops home, Blennerhassett’s gritty style is not for delicate sensibilities. He offers an unvarnished look at what life in Canada can be like for a modern 20-something male.
A follow-up to his first novel, Monument, released in 2008, Random Acts of Vandalism tells four stories — those of a novelist, a journalist, an academic and an addict — gradually weaving them together to a final twist.
Here’s how the book jacket sums it up: “A rookie novelist faces infamy and fortune when a young boy mimics the suicidal protagonist in his book. After close to five years covering trials, a court reporter suddenly finds his life entangled with the outcome of a manslaughter case.
A fourth-year English major and rugby star wrestles with a growing disdain for academia as his mother succumbs to cancer. And rocked by the death of his best friend, a high school student stumbles into apathy and addiction while trying to make his way in the real world. Four stories. Four lives. One path. One end.”
Released by Now or Never Publishing, Random Acts of Vandalism is available at chapters.indigo.ca, AbeBooks.com, amazon.ca and at Barnes & Noble.
The true life experiences of a woman who’s lost nearly everything and heads north to find work at an oil-rig camp form the basis of Barbara Stewart’s memoir, Campie.
For $100 a day in 2003, Stewart mopped floors, cleaned bathrooms, did laundry, picked up after rig workers and hauled garbage to the camp’s incinerator, where she would spend a few precious moments of solitude under the stars.
Having found herself bankrupt and homeless, Stewart does her best to keep her head down and just earn her paycheque, despite the uneasy and sometimes indeterminate relationships among the employees at the small camp in the middle of nowhere. Campie is available at amazon.ca and at Chapters stores. For a full interview with Stewart, see next Tuesday’s Langley Times.
Cooper and the Queen
For those who like to find their thrills between the covers of a book, Fort Langley author Don Hunter offers Cooper and the Queen. Set in 1983, the novel focuses on Matt Cooper, a Canadian cop who has been slightly off his game since the death of his wife.
When the Queen and Prince Phillip visit Vancouver as part of their world tour, Cooper is pegged to head up city’s emergency response team. But when the ‘Troubles’ in Ireland spill over to Canada and the her majesty becomes a sitting target, Cooper is reassigned to protect the head of the monarchy at all costs. It wasn’t like he expected to fall in love in the process.
The cover art, a queen of hearts playing card and a handgun pointed directly at the reader, James Bond style, says it all.
Hunter most recently published a book titled Incident at Willow Creek, about what happens to a small Prairie town during the Second World War, when a German prisoner of war camp is established nearby.
Cooper and the Queen is available in e-book or paper back from Amazon and Chapters.
Monks Without A Church/Men, Read This
Aldergrove author Stephen L. Garrett offers two non-fiction volumes for “regular guys” in search of personal and spiritual growth. The first is tited Men, Read This: A Spiritual Guide for the Regular Guy. The second is called Monks Without a Church: Life Beyond Religion. They are available for $24.95 each at www.warriorsage.com.
– Brenda Anderson