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.

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.

The Summons – John Grisham

The Summons
by John Grisham (Goodreads Author)
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Apr 23, 2021 


I was anxious to try some different Grisham novels after scoring a handful at a local store that’s going out of business. The story is not about any of the author’s usual characters, but the intro made it sound interesting.


It’s about an old judge who dies and leaves a secret behind, something to trouble his only surviving heirs, his two sons. The plot dragged from the beginning and was a much slower read than I am used to. I skimmed through the fluff, waiting for something useful to happen.


The main character is a law professor – his quirks bolstered my opinion of such academics, who may be smarter than the average bear, but have no street smarts and lack common sense.


But I forged ahead, hoping our protagonist would wizen up.
It never happened, making the ending predictable and in my opinion, a let down. I can’t call it a happy or sad ending and perhaps that’s exactly what it’s meant to be.

Rogue Lawyer – John Grisham

Rogue Lawyer (Rogue Lawyer, #1)
by John Grisham (Goodreads Author)
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Apr 11, 2021 

John Grishams’s done it again…gone and proved he can create a totally new character, base the next series on him, and write a great story. The prolific author introduces us to Sebastian Rudd, a street litigator who is even more gritty than the Lincoln Lawyer.
The Rogue Lawyer is done a bit different than Grisham’s other courtroom dramas, in that it contains five parts, with different clients and their individual stories, giving readers perspectives from both the innocent and guilty.
Like Mickey Haller, Rudd uses his vehicle for an office, but for different reasons. He represents the lowest of the low, whom no one else will take on as clients, thus making him very unpopular. I don’t give five star ratings very often, but this book was a very good read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Late Show – Michael Connelly

The Late Show (Renée Ballard, #1; Harry Bosch Universe, #29)
by Michael Connelly (Goodreads Author)
Edmond Gagnon‘s review Mar 24, 2021  


I really like Michael Connelly and the unique characters he’s created over the years to carry the stories in his crime novels. I wasn’t sure about his latest, Renee Ballard, at first, but grew to understand and eventually like the new crimefighter more as the plot unfolded.


LAPD Detective Ballard is no Harry Bosch, but she is a good cop with her own style, perhaps more representative of the newer breed of crime investigator. In ‘The Late Show’ Ballard is not only challenged by the serious cases that come her way, but she has to stand up for herself and fight to regain her good reputation that was sullied by a former boss.


The story is a bit slow at first, but the intrigue and action build at a good pace. The twist thrown in near the end completely took me by surprise.
I think Renee Ballard is a good addition to Connelly’s cast of characters.