It’s almost summer in small town Port Ainslie. Or is it? Temperatures are so far below normal that Police Chief Maxine Benson and her team are wearing sweaters. But is it cold enough to freeze the body of the man found in a ditch on the outskirts of town one morning? Maxine starts to investigate, but she is elbowed aside by the mostly-male provincial police force so she takes charge on her own. Soon she’s visiting the victim’s cold-hearted widow, tracking the widow’s mysterious brother, and confronting the killer alone in a tract of forest. Will Maxine’s skills solve this twisting tale of a case?
Murder Below Zero is the second book in the Maxine Benson Mystery series.
What planning and research did you do for you book?
This is my ninth published murder mystery, my second with Orca. I have spent a good deal of time in the Muskoka region and love the beauty of the area and the lifestyle associated with it.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
What’s in your to-be-read pile? What makes you want to read those books?
I have discovered the Irish author Sebastian Barry and look forward to absorbing more of his work, just to fathom the elaborate typically Irish writing style he has mastered. I also want to go back and re-read some Hemingway, specifically Islands In The Stream, much of which includes some of his best writing. A flawed book, yes, but one with some fine styling and plotting.
Do you listen to audio books? Why or why not?
No. I prefer creating my own version of the author’s voice. I prefer jazz of a specific era—Bill Evans, Paul Desmond, Zoot Sims, Ed Bickert, etc.
What book do you think you learned the most from reading or admire most?
A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway. It taught me the value of lean writing and controlled emotions that gain power from the sharp focus of their message.
What’s your favorite movie that was adapted from a book or short story?
East of Eden by John Steinbeck.
Do you listen to music when you write? Why or why not?
Often but not always. Some is supportive one day and intrusive the next.
Do you have a quote you like to live by?
To Thine Own Self Be True.
What’s your favorite city you’ve lived in! Tell us why!
Paris in the mid-1960s. I spent my 21st summer there, playing jazz in clubs at night and exploring the city on my own during the day. I kept telling myself, “Hold on to these memories because these may well be the most stimulating and rewarding days of your life.” For once, I was right.
John Lawrence Reynolds has had many works of fiction and nonfiction published. His work has earned several awards, including two Arthur Ellis Awards for Best Mystery Novel, a National Business Book Award, and a CBC Bookie Award. His bestselling book Shadow People, tracing the development and influence of secret societies through history, was published in fourteen countries and twelve languages. He is also the author of the Maxine Benson Mystery series. He lives in Burlington, Ontario, with his wife, Judy. For more information, visit www.wryter.ca.