In 2012 I published my first book, Phase Shift, the adventures of Molly McBride and Palmer Richardson. Phase Shift was actually the second book I wrote with these characters, the (still) unpublished The Guardian being the first. Since then, I’ve written a number of short stories and novellas with these characters including Aliens’ Waltz–featuring Josef Schliemann; The Nexus–featuring Molly, Palmer, and Josef (both of which have now been published in The Nexus and Other Stories); The Mummy Wore Combat Boots–featuring Palmer and Michael Crestwood; and Throwaway Child–-featuring Molly, Palmer, and Josef, with a nod to Clinton Johns from The Guardian.
This month, I’ve re-issued Throwaway Child and The Mummy Wore Combat Boots. Here’s what the two books are about, both of them reissues of police procedural mystery fictions involving forensic anthropology to solve the case:
A recent report written after a six-year investigation into residential schools for Canadian First Nations people stated that at least 3,201 student deaths occurred in these schools, with many more going unrecorded.
The report goes on to state that “many students who went to residential school never returned. They were lost to their families…No one took care to count how many died or to record where they were buried.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in a 2016 speech to the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly said, “We know all too well how residential schools and other decisions by governments were used as a deliberate tool to eliminate Indigenous languages and cultures.”
Throwaway Child is the story of one of these children.
The skeleton of a young girl is found beneath the cement basement floor in an abandoned Victorian in Toronto. On duty is Detective Constable Michael Crestwood who contacts forensic anthropologist Dr. Palmer Richardson to assist in the investigation. What they uncover is the story of a six-year-old Cree girl, stolen from her family, warehoused in a government run facility and then forgotten.
In a story with ties to current headlines, Throwaway Child explores the injustice experienced by two girls imprisoned in a mid-twentieth century residential school, their families, and the tragedy that results from one girl’s need to find a home.
The Mummy Wore Combat Boots
The Sandy Hook School shooting, the Colorado movie theatre massacre…was online gaming to blame?
Psychologists believe that engaging in violent virtual gaming desensitizes the player and dehumanizes opponents. When the division between what is real and what is virtual becomes unclear, the results can be catastrophic.
When forensic anthropologist Palmer Richardson is called to investigate an uncatalogued sarcophagus found in storage at the Royal Ontario Museum, he has his work cut out for him. Upon investigation, he discovers the mummy inside is that of a teenage boy and involves Detective Constable Michael Crestwood of the Metropolitan Toronto Police.
Their investigation delves into the world of online gaming, where losing health points in a skirmish could have serious implications for a player’s life in the real world.
Inspired by real-life headlines, The Mummy Wore Combat Boots highlights the growing divide between children who live their lives immersed in a digital culture and the adults tasked with raising them who live in the real world.