________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 10. . . .November 8, 2013


A Woman Scorned. (Rapid Reads).

James Heneghan.
Victoria, BC: Raven Books/Orca, 2013.
130 pp., pbk., pdf & epub., $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0406-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0407-4 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0408-1 (epub).

Grades 12 and up / Ages 17 and up.

Review by Stephanie Dror.

**½ /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



She pulled up a chair and sat beside his head, looking into his eyes. She was still naked.

"Now comes the best part, George," she said. Her intimate smile was gone. Eyes spinning with excitement.

She held a twelve-inch butcher knife in front of his eyes. He could see it clearly. Excellent quality. Expensive. From his own kitchen.

He'd known that tonight she was different. He had been a fool to let her tie him up.

She gently tested the blade of the knife on his arm. Sharp like a razor. Blood, bright red, leaping to the surface of his skin. He struggled. He fought. He kicked. He wrestled.

In vain.

"Just one more cut," she said. "That's all. But deep enough this time to finish you off. I'm here to watch you die, George. You miserable excuse for a man. You know how much I hate infidelity."


When Vancouver City Councillor George Nash, a man who loves life a little too much, suddenly commits suicide, reporter Sebastian Casey takes the case. Author James Heneghan, known mostly for his young adult works, has created this playful mix of the classic whodunit set in the West End of Vancouver. While the feel of the story is reminiscent of a 1940's noir novel, complete with a femme fatale, a witty and beautiful office-mate and a few red herrings, Heneghan also incorporates twenty-first century sensibilities and technologies – Casey has to rely on more than circumstance to suss out the perp.

     The story is quick and clever, though it would have been nice to linger and lean on misdirection just a little longer. As with all the “Rapid Reads”, a Raven Books series of well-written short books, the book’s short chapters, swift pace, and simple and clear language make it a great read for absolutely anyone. That's not to say that Heneghan didn't infuse this book with any artful writing. There is foreshadowing and consistent themes throughout, and wordplay in dialogue gives the characters some zing and the reader something fun to google. Classic sayings, such as “ugly mugs” and “leave the police business to the police!”, pay homage to the genre's history, but it is all somehow believable, in good fun and in good taste, making this Rapid Read a delight.


Stephanie Dror is in the MA in Children's literature program at the School of Library and Archival Studies, the University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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