E/view: Condemed to Repeat: A Randy Craig Mystery

Local author Janice MacDonald uses her hometown as the backdrop for the fifth installment in her anticipated "Randy" Craig mystery series, Condemned to Repeat.

By Paula E. Kirman

Janice MacDonald's 'Condemned to Repeat.'
Condemned to Repeat is the fifth in the series of mystery novels centering around Miranda “Randy” Craig, an academic, writer, and researcher in search of the elusive tenure track position. However, she manages to land a plum contract doing archival research and web development for Rutherford House, an historic Alberta landmark. However, it does not take very long for Randy to stumble upon an unsolved mystery linked to the building, which leads her to become entwined in a path of death and intrigue. 

As someone who is admittedly not a huge fan of mystery novels, for me the true strength of the book lay in its main character. It was easy to become emotionally invested in a strong, well-developed, intelligent woman who uses her brains and talent to figure things out. There are no super human abilities here – Randy is very real and I could really relate to her. 

Readers in Edmonton will also see the city represented very accurately and ubiquitously. The novel is set entirely in the city, and on every other page it seems another attraction, event, coffee shop, restaurant, or other key location is mentioned or used as a setting. Condemned to Repeat is a novel containing the most thorough description of urban Edmonton that I have read thus far. 

Plot-wise, the story builds and builds, with a climax and conclusion that is quite dramatic and unexpected. Janice MacDonald injects some witty and funny dialogue into a novel that is also about love and friendship. Readers who may not be familiar with previous Randy Craig mysteries (like me) should have no problem getting into the novel quite quickly. 

I am also impressed with the amount of research that likely went into the novel. Rutherford House is a place with a lot of history, and much of that is delved into, but not in an academic way. Condemned to Repeat is a substantial novel that is not in the least bit intimidating and should appeal to a variety of fiction lovers, even if mystery is not necessarily their thing. 

Book promo for Janice MacDonald's 'Condemned to Repeat.'

Condemned to Repeat: A Randy Craig Mystery
Janice MacDonald
Ravenstone Books/Turnstone Press
ISBN 978-0888014153


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