25th Trillium Award

Open Book Recommends: The Chilly Fall Reading Guide

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Haunted House

By Amanda Miller

It's the season to be thrilled by the chills you get when reading a gripping mystery or sinister story. Open Book's Chilly Fall Reading Guide will introduce you to spine-tingling books that will keep you awake and reading into the witching hour.

Enter Open Book's Chilly Fall Reading Guide Contest for your chance to win a prize pack of these titles. To enter, send an email with the subject line "Chilly Reading" to [email protected] with your name and address as well as the title of one of the books from our list that you're interested in reading. Please click here for the full contest rules. The contest closes on November 9, 2022.

Gethsemane Hall (Dundurn) by David Annandale

Gethsemane Hall is nestled in the picturesque British countryside near the village of Roseminster. But it's not famous for its architecture or impressive history; it is thought to be touched by powerful spiritual forces. And ever since a CIA agent committed suicide on the grounds, its popularity has skyrocketed.

Philanthropist Richard Gray, grieving after the recent loss of his wife and daughter, returns to his ancestral home only to find that everyone wants a piece of it. Louise Meacham, CIA, wants to debunk the ghostly rumours and get her career back on track. Anna Pertwee is determined to save the spirits from the sceptics — and Patrick Hudson is out to save Gray's soul.

But the house holds more than the secrets of what lies beyond the grave — what they'll find is the stuff of nightmares.

Read Open Book's interview with David Annadale.

Max Finder Mystery Collected Casebook Vol. 6 (OwlKids) by Craig Battle. Created by Liam O'Donnell, illustrated by Ramón Pérez

Seventh grader amateur detectives Max Finder and Alison Santos, best friends, are on the case in ten new comics and two new short stories. It will take all of their reason, memory, observation and critical thinking skills to reveal who has been stealing bikes, uprooting gardens and toilet-papering the new girl's house. The cases presented call upon you to solve them yourself; can you crack the Case of the Ghastly Ghost Walk or the Case of the Garage Sabotage before the true perpetrators are revealed?

Bonus features in this volume of the award-winning series include a special introduction to recurring characters and tips to host your own mystery party at home or school.

Beasts of New York (The Porcupine's Quill) by Jon Evans with engravings by Jim Westergard

Beasts of New York is an illustrated children's book for grown-ups. Action-packed and violent, it is a dark, epic thriller featuring a host of eccentric and dangerous characters — the wildlife of New York City. Unbeknownst to the human world, there's a war going on borne of treachery and behind it all is a sadistic and power-hungry enemy — the King Beneath. Hope rests on the furry shoulders of Patch, a young squirrel who, forced into exile on Staten Island, must journey back to his home in Central Park to rescue everyone — if he can make it safely through the deadly, human-infested streets, parks, and sewers along the way, that is.

Birds of a Feather (Dundurn) by Don Easton

Mountie Jack Taggart is undercover as a member of a drug cartel with Canadian connections operating out of one of the most dangerous places in the world: Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a city under the thumb of warring cartels. He is investigating the disappearance of Lily Rae, who was kidnapped while on vacation in El Paso, Texas — but has strict orders to stay out of Ciudad Juarez. Orders that go against his gut. It's no coincidence that he's partnered with special US Customs agent John Adams — although neither of them know it. The operation goes smoothly at first, but when Taggart's cover is blown, the line between right and wrong starts to blur.

Read Open Book's Ten Questions, with Don Easton.

True Blue (Pajama Press) by Deborah Ellis
Stephanie Glass is a grade-A brat. Or was. When her body is discovered, Casey takes the blame. Casey, the brilliant student with a scholarship, a future career in entomology and the drive to make it out of the town of Galloway. Yeah, Casey joked about killing her, but she wasn't serious.

Her arrest leaves Jess, her BFF, reeling and alone. As the whole town takes sides, all eyes turn to her. After all, they were both Stephanie's camp counsellors. They're best friends. Jess must know what happened... right? But does anyone care about Jess? She used to be the girl who ran cross-country because Casey suggested it; now she's the girl who's closest to an alleged murderer. Fame by association. As the truth about the events that August gradually comes to light, the true nature of friendship and loyalty are put to the test.

Deborah Ellis was Open Book's March 2008 Writer in Residence. Visit her WIR Page to read her blog and to check out her reading and website recommendations.

Cryptic Canada (OwlKids) by Natalie Hyde, illustrated by Matt Hammill

You don't need to go to the pyramids of Egypt or the tropical high seas once patrolled by the pirates who inspired legends and lore to find adventure — Canada has its share of spine-chilling unsolved mysteries!

Cryptic Canada tells the tales of seven of Canada's most captivating, goosebump-inducing cases involving lost explorers, shipwrecks, buried treasure and bootleggers. You've heard of the Bermuda Triangle — but what do you know about the Great Lakes Triangle? Did you know that the hunt is on for Captain Kidd's legendary treasure, or that we have our very own mummies preserved by arctic ice?

This book is bursting with hair-raising illustrations and colour photos, as well as interviews with experts who answer the toughest questions on kids' minds after reading each chapter.

Haunted Hamilton (Dundurn) by Mark Leslie

Hamilton (aka the Steel City) is a densely populated, industrialized and totally normal port city in Southern Ontario. Or at least, that's what you'll tell yourself when you switch out the lights and try to sleep after reading this book.

Pro tip: if you can't get rid of the haunting images of the Hermitage ruins, Dundurn Castle, the Customs House or Stoney Creek Battlefield Park out of your mind late at night, try picturing Hamilton's Royal Botanical Gardens or its Canadian Football Hall of Fame instead. Anything to forget about the darker heart of the city, which harbours the unexplainable, bizarre and chilling.

If that fails, you can thank Haunted Hamilton, the paranormal group who has made it their mission to dig up Hamilton's haunted past since 1999. Their files, combined with first-person accounts and facts from historical documents, were used to compose this collection of haunted tales that expose the supernatural face of Hamilton that will have you locking your doors and tucking the blankets extra tight.

Read Open Book's Dirty Dozen interview with Mark Leslie.

Grave Concern (General Store Publishing House) by Judith Millar

Kate Smithers is a more middle-aged-than-not, under-employed ex-English major stuck in a frigid prairie city overrun by the nouveau riche. When her elderly parents die in a car accident, she picks up and moves back into her crumbling childhood house in her hometown in Ontario. Why not? To support herself, she decides to open — what else — a grave-tending business. But before long, her totally mundane existence is transformed by a cast of fascinating characters, a little murder, some mayhem, and a touch of magic, as she is embroiled in a mystery that leads right back to Kate herself.

Read Open Book's On Writing interview with Judith Millar.

All Good Things (General Store Publishing) by Perry Prete

Ethan Tennant is a paramedic in the city of Ottawa, Ontario who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time — more than once. When he discovers a strange connection between several brutal and seemingly unrelated murders, he contacts his lifelong friend, who is now a detective. What he doesn't anticipate is that his involvement will bring him face to face with a killer — will Ethan's drive to save people make him the next victim?

Read Open Book's Dirty Dozen interview with Perry Prete.

Buy these books at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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