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A Chill Rain in January, by L.R. Wright

October 14, 2014

Felonies of the Week: Two Titles by LR Wright

Lyricists, they’ll do anything for a rhyme. Because the truth is, nobody likes New York in June. New York in June is both A) too darn hot, and B) a sweltering reminder that right around the corner lurks August, when New York does its annual impersonation of Mumbai.

No, Autumn is New York’s season – back to school, back to work, orchestras tuning up, Broadway starting to buzz. On the perfect day in October, the air here is crisp and heady as white wine, you can taste excitement on your tongue.

And yet, running beneath it all, like a secret river, is the season’s melancholy. That’s hardly unique to New York: leaves die everywhere. But I’ve been binging on old episodes of “Mad Man” this week, that series that – better than almost anything I know – illustrates how much of my beloved city’s thrill is fueled by fear and loneliness. It’s as though sadness is the black against which the city’s lights can sparkle.

So the theme of the week is contrasts, the way they highlight and reinforce one another. And the author of the week, then, is Canada’s LR Wright, who in 1986 blew onto the U.S. mystery scene like an unexpected storm, and blew away the critics with her first mystery novel. The Suspect went on to win the Edgar award for Best Mystery of the Year – beating out titles by Ruth Rendell, Jonathan Kellerman, and Stuart Kaminsky, among other notables. Like most of the books in Wright’s “Karl Alberg” series (nine altogether), The Suspect is set on British Columbia’s glorious “Sunshine Coast,” famous for its gorgeous gardens. And like all the books in the series, The Suspect centers on the dark secrets that huddle beneath those lovely blooms. It is a masterpiece of psychological suspense.

The Suspect, is on sale, then, but we’re also offering up No. 3 in the series, A Chill Rain in January. If you look at the cover, you’ll see that it shows a stunningly beautiful day. Blue sky, golden sun, fluffy clouds. And in the middle is a pretty little blonde girl. When I told our art director what kind of image I wanted, he was confused: “A beautiful day?” he asked. “What about the rain? What about January.”

“It’s the girl,” I said. “She’s the chilly, chilly rain.”

Enjoy.

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