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Prisoners of Hope, by Barbara Kradkin

August 25, 2018

Prisoners of Hope
Prisoners of Hope: An Amanda Doucette Mystery, by Barbara Fradkin.  Dundurn, 2018.  Forthcoming, Oct. 2018.

5 stars

An exciting mystery set in a beautiful place, full of memorable characters, mystery and suspense by a prolific and award winning Canadian writer.

Barbara Fradkin was born in Montreal, studied at McGill, the University of Toronto, and earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Ottawa.  After twenty-five years as a clinical psychologist who worked with children and families, she retired to devote herself to her writing.  Her books have included a 10 book mystery series featuring Detective Green and a cluster of books for reluctant young readers about a reluctant hero.  She is also involved with the Ladies Killing Circle, a group of women writers who have collaborated in publishing anthologies of short mysteries. Her novels have been awarded a number of Canadian prizes.  Experience as a clinician, devotion to social justice, and awareness of the dark side of life run through her books, but do not prevent them from being fast-paced and suspenseful.

Prisoners of Hope is the third book in Fradkin’s new series featuring Amanda Doucette, an international aid worker who gets herself into dangerous situations.  Doucette is a passionate, eccentric, caring woman in her thirties, still trying to figure out who she is and what she wants out of life.  The book is set in the Georgian Bay, the northeastern arm of Lake Huron, in Ontario, a spectacular region of endless islands with steep cliffs and pine forests, all well depicted by Fradkin.  Doucette had gone there to plan a trip for women and children needing to escape their harrowing environments, but she quickly gets herself involved with the mysterious death of a wealth resident of the islands.  Even though she had planned to meet a possibly interesting man on the trip, she finds herself alone in wild territory and often unable to know whom to trust.  Central to the plot are “illegal” immigrants who actually could be the dangerous killers they are labeled as being.  The plot is complex and fast paced, at times leaving readers as much at sea as Doucette.

Fradkin is a long believer in social justice, and a writer willing to address painful issues in her stories.  At the first, I feared she was going to be pedantic, but I was wrong.  Instead she takes us inside the lives of individuals whom many of us have not had a chance to know personally.  While not idealizing them, she reveals life from their point of view.

I strongly recommend this book, especially for those who enjoy mysteries, in gorgeous settings that expand our sense of how people act in disparate situations.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Pat Robbennolt permalink
    August 25, 2018 6:17 pm

    Sounds like one I would want to read. Pat

    • August 26, 2018 12:20 pm

      Yes!!! But keep a list of characters. There are lots and I had problems keeping them straight. Sorry I only have a digital copy and can’t loan it to you.

  2. August 26, 2018 9:08 am

    Thanks for the enthusiastic review, Marilyn. I love the fact my books reach far and wide beyond borders and touch readers around the globe.

    • August 26, 2018 12:17 pm

      Thank YOU. I am glad to have your books and hope to read more of them.

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