Chowder Wars – Gibsons & Sechelt, B.C.

One of the things Cathryn and I were most looking forward to while visiting the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia was the seafood. Having sampled our share on the east coast a few years ago, we wanted to see how the west coast fared. After a short ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in North Vancouver to Landale, we drove directly to Gibsons to kill some time while we waited to check into our Airbnb.

We took a quick look at the Persephone and Molly’s from the old Beachcomber TV series days and strolled out onto the pier. Our thirst for craft beer and hunger for fresh seafood cut our walk short. We headed to the closest and most scenic patio on the pier, Gramma’s Pub. The place was a bit weathered but we were distracted by the beautiful harbor view.

The menu covered all the bases and we each found a likeable local brew to toast our first stop on the Sunshine Coast. Things took a quick turn when Cathryn announced it was our first time in Gibson’s Landing, and she asked what was the best local fare. The waitress was greeted with two blank stares when she started describing their nachos and potato skins.

With my mouth still agape, I asked about the seafood on the menu. She said they were out of almost all their seafood – quite an unbelievable statement to me since we’d just seen a guy down on the dock selling fresh fish and prawns. Cathryn prayed that the calamari was local (I knew better) and I ordered the seafood chowder. The squid was the previously frozen stuff I expected, but my chowder was pretty damn good – creamy, the way I like it, with a variety of seafood. My only complaint was the tails on the shrimp and mussels still in the shell, I had to stick my fingers in the hot chowder to de-shell.

My next bowl of chowder was at the Black Fish Pub, in Gibsons, where we met some friends for lunch. It was a clam chowder that was loaded with clams and spices but not quite creamy enough for me. They had lots of other seafood on their menu and Cathryn had a niece piece of sockeye salmon. The craft beer was excellent too.

My third bowl of chowder was consumed at the Lighthouse Pub in Sechelt. We had just been to the beach and seeing mussel shells scattered all along the water’s edge, steered our stomachs to the restaurant. We were not disappointed by the fabulous waterfront view, local craft beer, and seafood. Cathryn had a bowl of mussels in a creamy garlic and onion sauce and and did the seafood chowder. Bowl number three was the tastiest yet, but the small bits of seafood were well hidden by the larger chunks of potatoes.

Stealing some mussels from my wife’s plate added to my creamy chowder treat which was lip-smacking good when I used my garlic toast to soak up every last drop.

We’re off to Nanaimo next and I’m sure the chowder wasr will continue. We already know what will be for dessert.

The Judge – Steve Martini

The Judge (Paul Madriani #4)
by Steve Martini
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Jun 21, 2021  


This is the first Steve Martini novel I’ve read and I’d have no problem reading more. Comparable to John Grisham when it comes to courtroom drama – but not quite as good, the author tells a good story with believable characters.


I thought the story dragged a bit, mostly because Martini goes into excruciating detail about every little clue or piece of evidence introduced, slowing the story down. Having said that, I enjoyed the plot and was surprised when the truth about the real killer was revealed at the very end.


For Grisham fans out there, Martini is worth checking out.

Renters Beware – Read the Cancellation Policy

Cathryn and I have learned from personal experience that not all hotel or vacation property rentals are fully refundable upon cancellation. Some are partially refundable, depending on how much in advance you cancel your reservation. Please read the fine print or look for the Cancellation Policy before you book your next weekend getaway or family vacation.

This was copied from an Air Bnb listing:

Many of us are now aware at how fickle the Airline industry can be when it comes to cancelling flights, although we lucked out and eventually received cash refunds on international flights we had to cancel because of the global pandemic. We weren’t so fortunate with AirBnb. Where we were able to recoup funds on our hotel room bookings through Hotels.com, we lost most of our money deposited with AirBnb.

The policy below is from Hotels.com:

VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) and other companies have cancellation policies similar to AirBnb, you have to read the fine print to see what your different options are. Some give a full refund up to a certain date and partial after another date, minus the up front service fees, where others offer no refund at all.

The list below is from VRBO:

So be sure to read the fine print before you make your next booking.

Story Tellers Books is Reopening!

Come on out and see me and fellow local Author Jack Bennett Sr. to get one of our new books personally autographed. We’ll be at Storytellers tomorrow (June 11th) from noon until 2pm. The store will be open for other shopping – they have a great selection of books and puzzles and other unique items.
My latest Norm Strom Crime Novel – Trafficking Chen – A tale of kidnapping and human trafficking.

Trafficking Chen by Edmond Gagnon

It’s here – my latest installment in the Norm Strom Crime Series – Trafficking Chen. Tragically, a bit more exciting than the new phone book. Do they even exist anymore?

A young Chinese girl is kidnapped from her home in settlement of her father’s gambling debt. She is forced into slave labor and eventually prostitution. When a new group of Asian dancers lands in a Windsor strip club, Norm Strom joins a task force to investigate.

Trafficking Chen can be purchased locally at Story Tellers in Windsor or River Bookshop in Amherstburg. It is available in paperback or eBook online as of June 1st.

See what all the hype is about and get yourself a copy now.

Horseplay – Norm Boucher

Horseplay: My Time Undercover on the Granville Strip
by Norm Boucher
Edmond Gagnon‘s review May 05, 2021 

For his first true crime novel, I think retired police officer Norm Boucher hits the nail right on the head in recalling and writing about his personal experiences while working undercover in one of the worst heroin neighborhoods in Canada.

Being a retired police officer, with some experience working in narcotics, I was impressed how the rookie author checked all the boxes in putting together a book that gives an unadulterated view of what life is really like on the street within the heroin subculture.

Horseplay takes readers into the underbelly of society, revealing what went on behind the scenes in the early 80’s, in one particular area in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Trafficking Chen by Edmond Gagnon

My Latest Novel – Available June 1st or by Pre-order

10 books in less than 10 years. (I pat myself on the back) My latest novel, Trafficking Chen, takes readers back to Norm Strom’s working days in Street Crimes. The Detective tries to balance his personal struggles with the demands of his job.

Here is the introduction:

Human Trafficking has affected countries across the world for centuries, and continues to do so today. There are countless victims.

Trafficking Chen is the heartfelt story of one victim, Chen, a young Chinese girl taken from her family home in settlement of her father’s outstanding gambling debt. Forced into slave labor by a powerful Chinese Triad, she becomes a servant to the rich.

Chen comes of age, and must serve using her own body to satisfy her master’s sexual appetite. She becomes a prostitute and is shuffled around her own country. Eventually the Triad ships her and others like her, overseas, to Canada.  There she is sexually exploited and put to work as an exotic dancer in their chain of strip clubs.

Street Crimes Detective Norm Strom mostly investigates property-related crime, but he receives a tip from a confidential informant about illegal Asian women dancing at a local club. While trying to handle his personal issues, Strom joins a task force investigating possible human trafficking in his city.

Early Reviews:

You know those old View Master reels? You put one in the device and peer in . . . It’s a scene. You look closely and become involved with the subject. You don’t want to leave but you are compelled to click down and rotate the reel to the next image. It is related, but different and again so interesting! And so it goes, every click a new exciting scene. Trafficking Chen is like that. A story that dares you to turn the page – but you can’t look away from this engaging narrative of dark events that are written from a whiskey-tinged razor-sharp voice of experience. Real cops, real victims, real bad guys intertwined in a race that will keep you powering through. Enjoy the views! Kay T.

In his latest Norm Strom Crime novel, Trafficking Chen, author Ed Gagnon continues his winning streak of in-depth storytelling and intrigue. As a former Police Detective, Gagnon’s books offer readers an authentic insider’s view of how every day crimes – robbery, vice crimes, etc. – are committed, but more importantly, how they are solved. For fans of the main character, Det. Norm Strom, they will get a dose of reality, as his crumbling private life starts to impede his professional judgment when he begins to investigate a human trafficking case involving a local strip club. A parallel storyline shows the struggles and courage of a young 14-year-old girl, Chen Shen, who is violently taken from her Shanghai home and forced into prostitution, which leads her half way around the world to Canada . . . and onto Det. Strom’s radar.

John Schlarbaum – Author of “Abandoned -A Jennifer Malone Mystery”

Final Justice – W.E.B. Griffin

Final Justice
by W.E.B. Griffin
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Apr 30, 2021  


I had to check other reviews for this one to find out if wasn’t just me that thought it sucked. Not even sure if it was deserving of one star, I was only able to trudge my way through fifty pages. The only thing I garnered from that read was who the protagonist was.


The book is just over 500 pages, with very small font, and could have easily been less than half that. Call me silly, but I really don’t need to know things like the history of a police car or every little detail of the police department, including ranks, numbers, descriptions, etc.


I’ve complained about fluff in other novels, and haven’t read this author before, but my best description is that it is a plethora of useless facts and information that totally distract from the story – if you can figure out what exactly that is.

Edge of Danger – Jack Higgins

Edge of Danger (Sean Dillon, #9)
by Jack Higgins
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Apr 28, 2021 


I find it strange how Jack Higgins took a perfectly good thriller and turned it into a lack-luster story that was barely worth the three stars I gave it.
I struggled through the first half of the book, trying to figure out what was bothering me so much, and I came up with a few things.
The characters all seem to be rich, drink only champagne no matter the occasion, and lack any type of empathy or emotion throughout the story.
Those same characters lack description, thus giving the impression they all look the same and are cut from the same cloth.
Even the action scenes were dull.
I’ve read two other Higgins novels and have now been disappointed twice.