Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: A Cold White Fear: A Meg Harris Mystery by R.J. Harlick

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Dundurn (Nov. 7 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1459731999
  • ISBN-13: 978-1459731998

Book Description

 Stranded by a blizzard at her isolated cabin, Meg Harris finds herself in a desperate and terrifying situation when two strangers arrive.

As night approaches, a major blizzard has cut off road access to Meg Harris’s isolated wilderness home, Three Deer Point. She is alone with her young friend Adjidamo, preparing for Christmas, when a knock suddenly echoes through the house. She finds two strange men at her front door, one of them bleeding. Against her better judgment, she lets them in.

At that moment, the power goes out, plunging the group into total darkness and severing all phone links to the outside world. So begin a terrifying twenty-four hours that have Meg summoning up a courage she didn’t know she had to get herself and Adjidamo out alive.

About the Author

 Called "One of the brightest new voices in the mystery business" by the Ottawa Citizen, R.J. Harlick is a Canadian writer, who bides her time between her home in Ottawa and log cabin in West Quebec. Her Meg Harris mystery series is set in the Canadian wilderness with an underlying native theme.

The fourth book in the series, Arctic Blue Death, was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Best Novel award. Silver Totem of Shame was named one of the top ten summer crime fiction reads by the Globe & Mail.

With Death's Golden Whisper, the first book in the Meg Harris mystery series, RJ introduces protagonist Meg Harris who has fled the urban frenzy of Toronto and her failed marriage to Three Deer Point, a remote wilderness property in West Quebec, that she inherited from her Great Aunt Agatha. She lives in a century old Victorian timber cottage perched on a granite point overlooking the black waters of Echo Lake. Her only neighbour is the reserve of the Fishhook Algonquins, or Migiskan Anishinabeg. She drinks a little too much and is afraid of the dark, yet her only companion in this remote cottage is her wimpy standard poodle, Sergei.

She has fled to this northern paradise to heal her bruised soul. But her sought after peace is invariably interrupted by injustice and murder. Unable to ignore it, Meg becomes enmeshed in a quagmire of murderous intrigue.

After travelling to Baffin Island in Arctic Blue Death, Meg decided that she would love to explore a different Canadian wilderness and visit with its native peoples in every other book. Silver Totem of Shame takes place in Vancouver and Haida Gwaii, the mystical islands of the Haida.

Though the story of each book can stand on its own, there is a backstory about Meg and other characters that evolves from book to book. So avid readers of mystery series might want to start with the first book, Death's Golden Whisper.

Harlick is a member and past president of Crime Writers of Canada and Capital Crime Writers. She is also a member of Sisters in Crime.

She is a regular panelists at such conferences as Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, Bloody Words, Malice Domestic and When Words Collide. She also does many store signings and library readings. To check out her schedule visit her blog.

RJ blogs every second Tuesday on Criminal Minds -

Visit with RJ on Facebook -
and on her website -

My Review

It is nearing Christmas in the cold, snow-filled back country in North-Western Quebec. It is very isolated there. The closest settlement is an First Nations reservation miles away. R.J. Harlick knows this rugged area of Quebec well and writes about it beautifully. If you follow Harlick on FaceBook you can see the snow photos she posts of the gets amazingly deep!

I really enjoy this series featuring a very flawed, very real Meg Harris. Meg lives with her husband Eric, a First Nations leader, in a beautiful old home left to her by her great aunt. He left on a business trip in a snit that has Meg in a tailspin. Young Jid (Adjidamo), who lives on the reservation with his aunt spends quite a bit of time with Meg and Eric. While A Cold White Fear can be read as a stand-alone, it is nice to have the characters backgrounds from reading the earlier books.

A Cold White Fear is a fast paced read. The action takes place over 24 hours. It is scary good. Meg's tranquil life is interrupted by two men at the door. One of deathly injured and needs help. After much deliberation and against her better judgement, she lets them in. It is a suspense filled ride from that point onward. I could not put this book down! A Cold White Fear is a great read. I was completely stressed out about Meg and Jid's welfare. But I could not stop reading. I had to know what was going to happen next!

The setting is a beautiful area that I have only seen in the summertime. One of my sister-in-laws lives in Ottawa and has a "camp" in the area. I live in the temperate rain forest on the coast so can only imagine from photos what the winter snow there is like. I think I can wait to find out!

A Cold White Fear is a must read once it is published in November. I think readers around the world will enjoy this book set in rural Canada. I highly recommend  A Cold White Fear.


  1. Sounds good to me. And I haven't read any other books in the series. Off to see what it's like. :-)

  2. Your references to prior Meg Harris books in the series is spot on - my favourite "The River Runs Orange," was so taut with suspense I stayed up until long after midnight to finish. I appreciate the splendid cultural background and awesome research Robin brings to her writing and I can't wait until the November launch of "A Cold White Fear!"

  3. Can't wait to read this one. The cover is fantastic.