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Book Reviews

Targeted, aside from being quite well written, has a slew of fascinating and realistic characters, an exotic setting, and a strong plot.  Combined with the vivid descriptions, fast-paced flashes of action, intriguing mystery, and off-beat humor, it makes for a really great read." -- Regan Murphy, Reviewer.




Targeted is well written, has charming engaging characters, and a plot that is full of surprises.  It's short enough to read in a single sitting, but so much fun, you'll want to read it again and again. -- Taylor Jones, Reviewer.


5/5 Stars

Fun frolic in the Caribbean but deadly!

By Customer on December 2, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This is a fun frolic in the Caribbean for two Canadian women who are looking for smooth drinks and warm waters, fleeing the cold climes of their native Canada. The two friends are very different, and the interplay between them is fun. You will enjoy this novella, I guarantee it.

4/5 Stars " Don't wander alone..." A tightly paced thriller.

By Cheryl R Cowtan on March 3 2016

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

"Targeted" is a tightly paced thriller that takes place at a Honduras resort where Canadian tourists, Jordan and Ellie arrive, hoping for peace and relaxation.
The story's tension starts the minute the girls exit the plane to stand, unknowingly, in the view of a character peeping at them through binoculars. His glance lingers "on the swell of fabric above [Ellie's] bare midriff”. We know the peeper is up to no good when "the scarlet blossoms shudder" as the binoculars are withdrawn back into the bushes.
On the way to the resort, the girls meet Darcy Piermont, a character I hope we’ll see in a future novel. Darcy is a handsome mishmash of uncouth manner, with a devil-may-care-attitude, who surprises readers with occasional glimpses of gallant capability. He is the first to warn, "Honduras has the highest murder rate per capita in the world. So don't wander away..."
What happens next, would be a spoiler, but let me say, as you read on, you will consider all those risky choices you made while on vacation. I certainly reflected on the time I wandered alone in the Dominican and found myself lost in a very poor neighborhood where some not so friendly looks were cast my way. Though I was directed back to the areas for "tourist's eyes" by three tattoo bearing, young men who stood like sentinels on the street, I had the feeling I had brushed against the outer edges of danger.
In the novel, Jordan and Ellie do not take Darcy's advice and will do more than just brush those fearful realities where human rights are not what we Canadians are privileged to.
This book succeeds in a number of ways. The authors, Warner and Ferris, are obviously well traveled and use description to immerse us in a much-needed island getaway with limbo dancing and boat deck parties in international waters. These fun-loving scenes function as clever juxtaposition to make the threat against the women even more chilling.
Secondly, the two female characters could not be more different, with cool-thinking Jordan wishing she was wearing her service revolver with her bathing suit, and fun-loving, barely-keeping-her-clothes-on, Ellie who is getting her money's worth from the all-inclusive drinks. The girls have an interesting and amusing dynamic as they work as a team, whether in navigating social pick-ups or attempting to survive criminal highjacks.
"Targeted" is an entertaining book that could easily be read on the journey to your next island vacation, but be warned, you'll be looking over your shoulder after you're done



Shroud of Roses

Book Reviews



Review by Don Graves, Canadian Mystery Reviews, Feb. 15/16


Review by Publishers’ Weekly, June 2015


In Ferris’s exciting follow-up to Corpse Flower (winner of the 2010 Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award), Bliss Moonbeam Cornwall, a divorced socialite now working multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet and keep her motorcycle running, and Neil Redfern, the police chief in smalltown LockPort, Ont., end up working together again when skeletal remains are found inside an abandoned school, where Bliss was a member of the last graduating class. As such, she’s able to provide insight otherwise unavailable to Neil and his investigating officers, but in her typical fashion, when she is told to leave police matters to the police and to stay out of the investigation, she takes things into her own hands. And when another classmate is found brutally murdered, Bliss and her former classmates become not just suspects but possibly the next victims. Apart from the suspenseful plot, the book is fuelled by Bliss’s character, which provides shots of humor as her determination, cunning, and manipulative ways get her into, and out of, trouble, and by the lively and sexy chemistry between her and Neil.



June 21, 2015 Debbie Krenzer rated it 5 of 5 stars

Shelves: ebooks, net-galley-books

I loved this book! No way was I expecting the humor of the characters. I thought it was going to be a regular mystery book. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised. I loved this Bliss girl, she's not taking any crap off anyone and I love strong female leads! Duh, I'm female. Ha!!

I was pretty sure I knew who "did it" when Redfern added the new name on the whiteboard and I was correct. However, that in no way took away from my enjoyment. And the fact that this was the second in the series did not hinder anything for me. I just want to read the first one now!!

I will definitely be keeping up with this series in the future and recommend that if you like mysteries with a little humor, pick this one up!

Thanks to Dundurn and Net Galley for providing me this entertainingly funny e-galley in exchange for an honest review.




Mar 07, 2015 Autumn rated it 5 of 5 stars

Shelves: 2015, netgalley

I love characters who are witty, smart aleck, mouthy and funny.
When I read the blurb I didn't expect one of the main characters to have me laughing at her ways. Bliss is dating the local chief of police and she likes to insert herself into the field of police work. Bliss is a character you can't help but like and want more of.
The story starts out where in an old gym a body is discovered while police are trying to figure out who that person is another person dies. Are the two connected? Will there be more murders? Will the police chief listen to Bliss and get information from her as she has background on the town and the people there.
While Redfern is trying to solve the murders with the help of his police officers and an old friend named Tony, Bliss is inserting herself into the investigation by asking people who were there the night of the graduation party. But it seems she may be in the cross hairs of the killer, and will she be saved in time or to late? Bliss and Redfern have to juggle their relationship along with trying to solve the murders that are happening.
This was a great and funny story to read. I do want to read more of Bliss and solve more crimes.



Feb 09, 2015 Margaret Bryant rated it 5 of 5 stars

Ha! Bliss is hysterical. The shenanigans she gets up to -- and away with -- while solving crimes are brilliantly funny.



Reggie Billingsworth rated it 5 of 5 stars

If a book I started around supper time keeps me up 'til 4 am because I can't put it down...dat'sa Good One!

Trailer Park Boys/Girls meets Due South meets a contemporary grown up Anne of Green Gables with a mouth. Ferris uses a setting happily familiar and a domestic state unhappily familiar to this reviewer. Our heroine would balk at being called 'plucky' but resourceful and comically determined she is indeed. Then motorcycles, class prejudice, financial desperation, botanists at daggers drawn and many other ingredients all combine to create laugh out loud entertainment.

We are in the hands of an excellent wordsmith who has a great sense of timing and unique story making. Consequently, I want more of Bliss and her bravely lived adventures. This could be a great original TV series with its strong lead characters and a vast array of potential eccentricities to explore. Any interested parties, please take note.

Some reviewers have referenced Ferris's style to Joan Hess and I would tend to agree except that Ferris is OURS and she works the peculiarities of our own beloved region in such a universal way...a hugely pleasing performance.

More please! Go Gloria go!



Mar 10, 2015 Jemma rated it 4 of 5 stars

I sought out this book because I had read and enjoyed the previous instalment in the Cornwall and Redfern mysteries; ‘Corpse Flower’. Intriguing characters, a quirky story and mysteries to boot – this was not one to be missed and I am happy to report that its successor possesses all of the same qualities.
With just the right amount of suspects, red herrings and suspense, ‘Shroud of Roses’ shapes up to be an excellent detective story with a twist. I am referring to our eccentric protagonist, Bliss Moonbeam Cornwall, who is sure to keep the reader chuckling at her antics as she attempts to aid the investigation when a body is found in a locker within her old school. Expect many laughs as Bliss meddles in police affairs, winds up in mortal danger more than once and wrecks her sacred UGG boots.

On the other side of things, we follow her semi-boyfriend, Neil Redfern, and Chief of Police in Lockport as he struggles to solve the murder and its aftermath, whilst trying to keep Bliss out of trouble – a full time job on its own. Can their already precarious relationship survive the turmoil as the two headstrong characters are forced to either work together or grow apart?
Ferris’s style is laid back and witty, and her depiction of the rocky (but amusing) relationship between the mischievous Bliss and her troubled boyfriend Neil is authentic and at times, evocative. The ending was genuinely unexpected and tied up all loose ends with proficient satisfaction, something which I actively seek in this genre.

‘Shroud of Roses.’ was entertaining, easy reading and possessed a gripping storyline; I highly recommend it when venturing into the detective genre.


Corpse Flower

Book Reviews


5 out of 5 stars rating.  Feb. 10/14

By John Moss


Corpse Flower is a delight. Murder and skullduggery define Bliss Cornwall’s life in the small Ontario town of Lockport, but she is feisty enough to make it all seem terrifying good fun, a confection teased out with horror and humour to perfection.Irrepressibly droll, Bliss is a comic gem who tells her story of betrayal, grow-ops, flower breeding, and flirtation, with sublime effervescence. With two side-kicks, one a motorcycle and the other a hooker, and a new police chief dogging her every move like an overgrown puppy, she struggles against poverty and crime to play her part in the mating of two giant exotic flowers, in a bizarre effort to regain control of a life that hit the fan when her marriage fell apart. Bliss is like the friend we lost track of and now scramble to catch up with, whose adventures are funnier, more painful, more absurd, than our own. The author’s pleasure in writing is infectious. I look forward to reading more of her exploits with Bliss in the future.




Corpse Flower 5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, witty ride

By Catherine Astolfo – Feb. 13, 2014


You know how some people are slow to grow on you, but end up being your BFF's? That's the way I felt about Bliss Cornwall. At first, I wasn't used to her sardonic, witty voice, but as soon as I tuned into her, I fell completely in love. Ferris is a master at intelligent, understated humor. As an author, I am totally jealous of this skill. It's not easy, even though the writing reads smoothly and quickly. The dialogue in Corpse Flower is hilarious, as are the asides by Bliss. A great, twisting, interesting plot and intriguing sub-plots add to the allure of the book. I simply, truly, could not put it down. I had to look up "corpse flower" and discovered that it's just as Ferris described. Even though the titular flower is actually a subplot, the way the plots intertwine through Cornwall is genius. Simply knowing that such a flower exists makes me laugh out loud, ever since I read this novel. Make sure you give it some time and really get into the characters - you'll be very happy that you did. Highly recommended!


Mystery Scene Book Review of Corpse Flower by Robin Agnew, Feb. 27, 2014

Despite a rather dark and grim cover that had me expecting blood and gore, this is a funny and sweetly off-center mystery. It’s actually a rollicking blast of an adventure story. Gloria Ferris’ central character is Bliss Cornwall, a woman who works several jobs to afford the rent on her crummy trailer after being thrown out on her ear by her ex. She refers to her ex as “the Weasel,” and he seems to richly deserve it. Her next-door neighbor is a working hooker and her other neighbors bear even less scrutiny.Ferris certainly has the narrative chops to keep a reader’s interest. Bliss herself is an illustration of what happens to women thrown out on their own with nowhere to go. It's a good look at contemporary mores, and Ferris has a subtle eye and a light touch. All in all, a very enjoyable read.

To read the full-length review, click on:



Corpse Flower, 5.0 out of 5 stars, great story, quirky characters! Feb. 16 2014

By J. E. Forman

Bliss Cornwall has a green thumb for trouble. Her fast-paced story is potted with everything from phallic plants, spotted turtles, a slimy Weasel, home baked brownies (made with an extra-special horticultural ingredient), and a couple of corpses tossed into the mix. Straddling her Savage, she drives Chief Redfern to distraction … and attraction — and I think he’s probably looking forward to their next adventure almost as much as I am.




Corps Flower, 5.0 out of 5 stars This is a Full Length Novel Jan. 30 2014

By Dianne E. Socci-Tetro - Published on, *ARC supplied by publisher*


Much to my surprise, any lover of say, author Joan Hess and her Maggody series would enjoy this delightful and funny mystery. Actually, anyone who likes funny clever and difficult to figure out mysteries will most likely love this book. The characters are spectacularly quirky, acerbic and cunning. The who-done-it aspect was gratifyingly difficult to figure out. The main characters are rich, multi-layered and well written. The secondary characters are equally well written and are also a hoot to boot.


In this very small town, ex-socialite, Bliss, now divorced from the mayor who has `swindled' her out of a fair divorce settlement, is doing anything and everything she can just to scrape by. She is trying to put enough cash into a fund to take her ex back to court. However, things start looking up for Bliss when her agoraphobic cousin needs her help in pollinating a rare plant. Of course, a good chunk of cash is involved. But things take a turn when Bliss realizes that people and things in her small Canadian town aren't who and what they seem to be.Bliss is a canny, cunning and wry character. She has seen it all, but has a little problem with assumptions, especially when it comes down to the new Chief of Police Redfern. Are sparks flying or does Redfern just suspect Bliss of nefarious doings? Is he a `bent' cop or is he working an angle?


I hate to be trite, but I just could not put down this book. I had to gobble it up in one sitting just to find out what the heck was going on! It truly was fun seeing some of the characters that needed to get a kick in the butt and taken down a few pegs, get their just deserts.I can't wait to see if there will be a follow up book, because this would be a series I would love to keep reading. There is so much rich material in this small town and with these quirky characters.



Corpse Flower, Mystery Maven Review.


Every now and then it's good to cleanse the palette with a fun, zany mystery! You know the kind, where you end up snickering every couple of pages or else you're thinking, 'oh boy, why did she do THAT?', which is the equivalent of closing your eyes if watching a movie. Corpse Flower had just such an effect on me.


Sounds like it would be tricky, working this all into a mystery novel. Not every writer can write for laughs and make it work.It takes great skill to do both. Enter Gloria Ferris, whose first novel, Cheat the Hangman won the 2012 Bony Blithe Award. And, Corpse Flower won the Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award in 2010 from Crime Writers of Canada.  Read! Enjoy! And go ahead, laugh out loud when necessary!



Corpse Flower is of the mystery genre, but it is also so much more. I’d like to think of it as an all-encompassing story with a murder, mystery and intrigue, humor and quirk, and even a little bit of romance. Ferris builds up a stellar cast of characters to carry forward the series. Bliss is very likeable and quite the underdog – so I was totally invested in her life, and I can’t wait to read more about her and Redfern.

An absolute treat to read, this one is highly recommended.



I highly recommend you read CORPSE FLOWER. This Arthur Ellis Award-winning story is the first book in the Cornwall and Redfern Mystery Series and is a well-written tale chock full of action, humor, and quirky characters. Guaranteed to keep you invested in the life of the protagonist from start to satisfying end of the story, it's just the right kind of book to lighten your day or take to the beach. I totally enjoyed CORPSE FLOWER and look forward to the next book in Ms. Ferris's delightful new series.

Blue Moon Mystery Saloon



Corpse Flower Review

It’s definitely fun, and ‘humorous mysteries’ are making a big comeback in the book world. It’s a sub-genre that I particularly enjoy, and Corpse Flower is a great example of this kind of book done right.” Anne Logan, reviewer for “I’ve Read This”



Corpse Flower Review

I actually liked this story.  It was a great little mystery with it’s 408 pages and gave a peek into  a “possible everyday-type person”  that just trying to survive in any means possible.  The multiple jobs, the sticking & stinking way of not only dealing with her agoraphobic cousin but with his ex-wife too.  To the underhand dealings of her ex-slime err husband as he strives to bigger/better hopes through politics. The book had me giggling  at the antics of all the characters as Bliss seems to find out that everyone around her has “pot” on the brain, including the somewhat sleazy parrot. Say What??  Bliss makes for a character that makes you glad you might not have her life & really glad at the end of the day.  This would make a great “pick-me-up” story at a time you need some humor and giggles in your  day.  I give that story a 4.5 out 5 stars.   My hats off to Gloria Ferris as I add her to my list of “New & Upcoming Authors” to read.  My thanks to Dundurn Press for allowing me to review this book for them as “Corpse Flower”  is due to come out Jan. 7, 2014

Ramblings of a Quilter,



Quill & Quire» Booksellers’ top crime and mystery books of 2013:

Corpse Flower, Gloria Ferris (Dundurn Press)


After being named Best Unpublished First Crime Novel at 2010′s Arthur Ellis Awards, Corpse Flower was published this month by Dundurn Press. The first book in a series, it follows divorcée Bliss Moonbeam Cornwall as she struggles to maintain her former lifestyle, eventually facing the prospect of engaging in illicit activity to make ends meet.Sian Bumstead at Whodunit put the book on her top-five list for 2013 crime and mystery. “We really enjoyed the character and look forward to reading the next book,” she says.- See more at:



Cheat the Hangman

Book Reviews Reviews as of April 16/16:  49 4.5 /5 Star Reviews on



(5.0 out of 5 stars) This review is from: Cheat the Hangman (Kindle Edition) I completely immersed myself in this well-written book enjoying every minute. It was definitely deserving of being short-listed for the Crime Writers of Canada "Unhanged Arthur". Gloria Ferris' writing reminded me somewhat of one of my favourite authors, Donna Andrews, especially with the very large quirky extended family interaction and antics. She brings "skeletons in the closet" to a whole new level. Take a decades-old cold case of a missing child, a sudden unexpected inheritance of a huge fabulous and museum-like home to divorced grand-niece Lyris Pembroke, who must then quickly plan and host the annual Pembroke family reunion comprised of about 400 extended family members all too soon after moving into her new home. Throw in a good helping of the paranormal and hidden secrets, a headstone with no name, a fire, attacks on Lyris and you have a pretty good perception of what fun this book is going to be. Lyris definitely has her work cut out for her. Fortunately she has also inherited Conklin the butler, and is able to hire Caroline, an excellent cook and housekeeper. For the reunion, Lyris shows admirable organizational ability as she works her way through what must be done prior to the reunion.

Not all is fun and games, though. There are also some dangerous intruders lurking about, not all of them necessarily human. Or perhaps otherworldly would be a better way to put it. Toss in a small dog with sharp teeth, soon joined by an oversized black cat, and the house begins to fill with more rooms occupied than the residents realize. Spanning so many decades, it would be strange if there were not romances, both current and decades old. Reignited passions, and reawakened love and trust with those who have suffered at the hands of their exes in the past and discover there is still a chance for happiness, even if it comes almost too late. The book is loaded with many different types of chaos and stress and yet it doesn't confuse the reader, it is just all a part of the whole. I loved the balance of the book, I laughed at the shenanigans, shed a few tears as the cold case is dealt with, worried with our heroine, relived the past with the few remaining WWII veterans even enjoying the singing of Vera Lynn in my mind, went through terror, thrills and chills, and loved the ending. This book certainly ran through a gamut of emotions, old and new. I am really looking forward to the further adventures to come.


          —Betty Gelean "nightreader" (Smithers, BC) Oct. 25/11


Gloria Ferris is a storyteller of the highest caliber. Sometimes witty, sometimes dark, Ferris hits all the right buttons in Cheat the Hangman, a refreshing and chilling paranormal mystery you won't want to miss. Ten out of ten.


—Jeff  Bennington, author of Reunion


Some families really do have skeletons in the closet. In Cheat the Hangman, Gloria Ferris offers Southern Ontario Gothic at its spine-chilling, provocative, hilarious best. An old family mansion on the shores of Lake Huron, haunted with romantic secrets, brimming with macabre mysteries, inherits a new owner, a feisty thirty-eight year old divorcee by the name of Lyris Pembrooke, whose exuberant wit is matched by reckless curiosity as she struggles to right the wrongs of the dead.  In a dazzling blend of the bizarre and the domestic, horror and humour, nostalgia and intrigue, Ferris enthrals her readers in the most frightening and delightful ways.


—John Moss, author of Reluctant Dead and other mysteries


Lyris Pembrooke has an ironic, hilarious way of looking at life, even in the direst circumstances. Her witty personality instantly captivates and endears the reader. Juxtaposed with the traditional butler, Conklin, her modern outlook (e.g. she can't cook) creates many very funny situations. Conklin's staid response of "Madam" is comical, while the antics of Jacqueline the dog and Rasputin the cat are uproarious. Lyris's many complicated relationships – her ex-husband, relatives such as the psychic auntie, her son and his girlfriend, her own yummy boyfriend, not to mention her spirit guide, Leander – add layers to the story. The main plot is an historical tragedy, one that provokes Lyris into examining her own problems, but the way that Lyris handles the many twists and revelations is delightful. The ending is satisfying and romantic. Cheat the Hangman is an excellent, enjoyable read! I would love to see Lyris and Leander come back to tackle more problems in the future.


—Catherine Astolfo, author of the Emily Taylor Mysteries


Sometimes you just want to sink into a really good mystery. Ferris has managed to blend the past with the present in this Ontario-grown who-dun-it, heading her cast of characters with heroine Lyris Pembrooke, amateur sleuth, armed with latent psychic abilities and a twisted sense of humour. Entertaining and well written, Cheat the Hangman is a great first book. No wonder it was shortlisted for Canada's Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award.


—N.A.T. Grant, author of Race without Rules


Women's intuition, spirit guides, our ancestors crying out to us – call it what you will, Cheat the Hangman says so much about both what we owe our ancestors and the burdens they pass down to us. A mysterious family death long ago sends Lyris on a search for the truth about those who came before her. A powerful, layered story told with clarity, pizzazz and humour.


—Eileen Schuh, author of Schrodingers's Cat


Ferris weaves an exciting story demonstrating her work is worth keeping an eye on. Cheat the Hangman is a non-stop guessing game. An intriguing and immensely entertaining read that blends paranormal with mystery and a touch of romance.


—Midwest Book Review


Clipped Reviews for Cheat the Hangman


A refreshing and chilling paranormal mystery you won't want to miss.


—Jeff Bennington, author of Reunion


Southern Ontario Gothic at its spine-chilling, provocative, hilarious best.


—John Moss, author of Reluctant Dead


A dazzling blend of the bizarre and the domestic, horror and humour, nostalgia and intrigue.


—John Moss, author of Reluctant Dead


Satisfying and romantic.  An excellent, enjoyable read!


—Catherine Astolfo, author of the Emily Taylor Mysteries


Entertaining and well written.  No wonder it was shortlisted for Canada's Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award.


—N.A.T. Grant, author of Race without Rules



Some Family Reunions Aren't All Fun & Games; Some Are Deadly


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