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joan boswell: books

Cut to the BoneThe fourth Hollis Grant book, CUT TO THE BONE, ISBN 978-1-926607-33-1 will be published by Dundurn Press.

It’s happened again! Hollis Grant, who has fashioned a new life for herself with a foster child, a puppy and a job as resident super of an eight story apartment building finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation when a fifth floor tenant, a woman working for an escort agency is murdered. Hollis’s life is further complicated by the disappearance of an Aboriginal tenant who leaves her young niece behind and a message asking Hollis to care for her. Her search for the woman places her in grave danger. Meanwhile a body dumped in Lake Ontario leads back to the apartment building. Hollis narrowly escapes being the third victim and her quick thinking leads to a surprising solution to the case.

Cut to the BoneISBN 978-1-926607-33-1 will be available from Dundurn


Cut to the ChaseThe third Hollis Grant book, CUT TO THE CHASE, was published by RendezVous Press in November 2009 – ISBN 978-1-894917-89-6.

Once again Hollis Grant who has taken a year from teaching to see if she can succeed as a painter discovers that her landlady’s brother has disappeared and may be the unidentified mutilated body lying in the morgue. Of course she responds to her friend and landlady’s plea for help and finds herself in life threatening trouble. To her surprise she also discovers that the police detective, Rhona Simpson, with whom she crossed swords in the past, is in charge of the case. It’s a race to find the killer before he finds her.

Cut to the Chase – RendezVous Crime – ISBN 978-1-894917-89-6


CUT TO THE QUICK the second Hollis Grant mystery was published in May, 2007 by Napoleon RendezVous Press – ISBN 978-1-894917-47-6

Hollis Grant is hoping for a quiet summer of fine art study in Toronto. She plans to take a painting course from a friend’s husband, but the murder of the friend’s secretive stepson tragically halts those plans. Her friend needs support and begs Hollis to move in with the family and help unravel family secrets. As Hollis probes she uncovers secrets that lie beneath the family’s perfect facade and begins to question who the real target is. It soon becomes clear that the crime is the work of a cold-blooded murderer who intends to strike again.

From the Hamilton Spectator:

Cut To The Quick drops you into the action almost from page one. Two longtime friends meet: Hollis Grant, a painter who has come to Toronto to study with an artist, and Manon, the artist’s wife.

Grant soon learns that her painting teacher is suffering from serious heart problems and during lunch listens while her friend learns that her stepson has been murdered.

The paralyzing devastation that strikes a family during such tragic circumstances is portrayed with compassion and insight complicated by the emotional triggers that such pain can produce.

The two female detectives assigned to the case struggle to overcome their own workplace stresses while facing a growing list of suspects: the artist’s ex-wife’s obsession with who is responsible for the death and her means of coping with her own parental guilt quickly pushes near the top of the list.

The young victim’s hidden life and why he felt so driven to insulate himself from his family adds to the puzzle, as does the artist himself with his self-protecting, hard-edged persona. Are these volatile feelings a reflection of grief or a deflection of guilt? The building tension finally erupts into terror as the artist’s younger son also becomes a target.

Cut To The Quick is the tightly woven result of what can happen when deeply buried revenge spews its pain over everyone within range.

Motive and suspects are neatly built into a pyramid of tension that makes Cut To The Quick a page-turner.

Cut To The Quick – Napoleon RendezVous Press – ISBN-13:978-1-894917-47-6 Trade Paperback, $14.95 Canadian,
$12.95 U.S.


CUT OFF HIS TALECUT OFF HIS TALE, the first Hollis Grant mystery was published in the spring of 2005 by RendezVous Press – ISBN 1-894917-1819.

The starter’s gun explodes and Hollis Grant excitedly begins her very first marathon only to stumble almost immediately over the body of Reverend Paul Robertson, her soon-to-be ex-husband. When the crush of runners passes and the medics arrive, it becomes clear that the Reverend has not collaped from the rigours of the race, but has been brutally stabbed. Although Hollis’s relationship with Paul was on the skids, her challenge now is to find out who dislikes his activist stance towards gay rights? Could it be one of the many people who have sought counselling and now find themselves in The Reverend’s latest book? or the husband of one of the church ladies whom the charming Reverend has bedded?

As Hollis and Detective Rhona Simpson probe the secretive life of Paul Robertson, they discover multiple motives for murder. As the murderer comes after Hollis herself, the solution to the crime takes on the urgency of life and death.

Cut Off His Tale – RendezVous Press ISBN 1-894917-18-9
Trade Paperback, $12.95 Canadian $10.95 Available through Dundurn Press