Author Tags: Fiction

Lou Allin grew up in Cleveland and received a Ph.D. in English Renaissance literature from Ohio University in 1975. She reclaimed her Canadian citizenship and taught writing and public speaking at Cambrian College in Sudbury for 28 years before relocating to the beach at Sooke, B.C. Her fifth mystery featuring an Ontario realtor named Belle Palmer is Memories are Murder (Napoleon & Co. $15.95) about a murdered zoologist who just happens to be a boyfriend from her high school days. Allin's second novel, Blackflies Are Murder, was shortlisted for a Arthur Ellis Crime Fiction Award. She is now developing a new series of West Coast crime novels about RCMP Corporal Holly Martin in a fictitious village called Fossil Bay, starting with And on the Surface Die (Napoleon 2008).

A departure from her Belle Palmer detective series, Lou Allin's Man Corn Murders is set in southeastern Utah where reporter Terry Hart and her Aunt Judith get sidetracked as they try to follow an historic Mormon road through the canyons--only to find the mummified body of a missing student who was helping to uncover an ancient Puebloan village.

In her second Holly Martin mystery, She Felt No Pain (Napolean & Company, 2010), an RCMP Corporal investigates the overdose of a homeless man who has hidden something at the site of his death.

Allin's first 'Rapid Reads' novel for Orca Books, That Dog Won't Hunt, is about detective Rick Montoya's efforts to clear his name after being accused of taking a bribe. Returning to the city, he discovers someone is living in his apartment. Before he can find out who it is, the apartment house goes up in flames. "Rick watches covertly as the police remove two bodies. Was the firebombing meant for him? Who exactly was killed in the fire? And why? What was his landlady Cheryl doing at home in the middle of the afternoon? And why is her daughter Susanna acting strangely? Then his estranged wife arrives at the scene of the fire. The questions mount up, along with the suspects."

Lou Allin's second 'Rapid Reads' novel, Contingency Plan [See review below] was shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis Award.

DATE OF BIRTH: June 5, 1945



EMPLOYMENT OTHER THAN WRITING: Communications Professor: Cambrian College (1977-2005)


Contingency Plan (Raven Books / Orca 2012) 9781459801141
She Felt No Pain (Napolean & Company, 2010) 978-1-926607-07-8 $16.95
That Dog Won't Hunt (Orca 2010)
Man Corn Murders (Gale 2009) 978-1-59414-750-0
And on the Surface Die (Napoleon 2008)
Memories are Murder (Napoleon & Co. 2008) $15.95)
Murder, Eh? (2006) RendezVous Press (Toronto)
A Little Learning is a Murderous Thing (2005) Five Star Press
Bush Poodles Are Murder (2003) RendezVous Press
Blackflies Are Murder (2002) RendezVous Press
Northern Winters Are Murder (2000) RendezVous Press

[BCBW 2013] "Fiction"

Contingency Plan (Raven Books / Orca $9.95)
Review (2012)

from Cherie Thiessen

Having written two detective series since she received her Ph.D. in English Renaissance literature back in 1975, Lou Allin has graduated to making things simpler.

In Contingency Plan, Allin’s second contribution to Orca’s Rapid Reads series, newly widowed Sandra Sinclair discovers it doesn’t pay to go too fast when it comes to finding new love. A scant few months after their too-hasty marriage, successful and handsome lawyer Joe Gillette finds it out, too.

Sandra and her 12-year old daughter, Jane, are in a quandary familiar to many women. Without resources, confidence, or close family ties, how will they be able to escape the abuse? They flee north to a deserted cabin in more familiar territory, but have they covered their tracks well enough?

Their predicament is beyond creepy. Who was the mysterious woman who claimed on the phone to be Gillette’s mother? How did Joe really get the family heirloom and did it ever really belong to his mother?

Did he kill his first wife? Could he be responsible for the death of Sandra’s beloved aunt?
Men like Joe often prey on dependent, timid and socially isolated women. Sandra, still in mourning after the death of her beloved husband a year earlier, appears to fall into that category.

Is he going to kill her? And what are his plans for his bright 12-year old stepdaughter? The wise always have a contingency plan, and Sandra turns out to be much wiser than Joe anticipated.

Contingency Plan is one the latest offerings in Orca’s Rapid Read series, a line of short novels and non-fiction books dealing with contemporary themes and aimed at adult readers. “We started publishing them in 2010 because we had great success with our shorter novels for teens,” says publisher Andrew Wooldridge, “and people kept asking for books for older readers.”

There are now 25 books in the series. Plot-driven, these large print, short novels can be read in one sitting. Not surprisingly, many are murder and mystery titles. Not everyone can devour text; so thrillers such as Contingency Plan allow slower readers to get into the literacy race.

[Cherie Thiessen regularly reviews fiction for BCBW from Pender Island.]