Thursday, April 14, 2011


My new baby is two weeks old today, having burst forth on the scene on April Fool’s Day.

No, not my new puppy, my new book. I feel guilty because until now, I have not even sent out birth announcements. Cedric O’Toole already has enough to feel inferior about, without adding maternal neglect. So I’m going to brag a bit.

The Fall Guy is the first in what I hope will be a new series featuring simple country handyman Cedric O’Toole. It is part of Orca’s Rapid Reads imprint of short, entertaining novels aimed at the busy or reluctant reader. This book is quite different in style, setting and characterization than my Inspector Green novels, and I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to delve into something new, play with an entirely new set of characters and setting. Cedric couldn’t be more different from Michael Green. He lives alone with his dog on a hard-scrabble farm he inherited from his mother, he’s a dreamer and a tinkerer who collects junk in the hopes of scoring the next great invention. He barely made it through high school and finds his tongue tied in knots whenever the spotlight shines upon him. But he’s good with his hands and ekes out a living as a handyman. A perfect way to accidentally stumble upon people’s secrets.

The setting for The Fall Guy is the rural Ontario countryside, dotted with lakes, cedar swamps and craggy Canadian Shield hills. Although serene and beautiful on the surface, it provides plenty of opportunity for trouble, from decades-old grudges between families to simmering tensions between cottagers and locals. I use my own cottage area around Sharbot Lake as the inspiration.

All the Rapid Reads books have a brisk, punchy style that keeps the reader wide awake and turning the pages. But they are big stories in small packages, written with an eye on character and emotional depth. Perfect for a quick read on the deck at the cottage, or on an airplane, or as a refreshing break from the Stieg Larssons threatening to topple your TBR pile. Written by some of Canada’s foremost crime writers, they are well worth a peek at

In keeping with Cedric’s style, my launch for The Fall Guy will be unlike any I have had in the past. I have always wanted to throw a party in a pub, and this is my chance. I am teaming up with two other Orca authors, Brenda Chapman, who is launching her own Rapid Reads title The Second Wife and Jeff Ross, who is launching his young adult novel The Drop. We are throwing a party at the Clocktower Brew Pub at 575 Bank Street in the Glebe (Ottawa). There will be pub food, beer on tap, door prizes, and of course, books for sale, courtesy of Books on Beechwood.

So if you live in Ottawa or want an excuse to visit the city during the Tulip Festival, come on down on May 15 between 4 – 6 pm and raise a pint to Cedric.

It’s his day.

Barbara Fradkin is a child psychologist with a fascination for how we turn bad. In addition to her darkly haunting short stories in the Ladies Killing Circle anthologies, she writes the gritty, Ottawa-based Inspector Green novels which have
won back to back Arthur Ellis Awards for Best Novel from Crime Writers of Canada. The eighth in the series, Beautiful Lie the Dead, which explores love in all its complications, is hot off the press.


  1. Welcome, Cedric! And congrats, Barb. I am really looking forward to reading this new book. I'll be at the party!

  2. I can't wait to meet Cedric. Looking forward to the launch.

  3. I hope to plunge into the Rapid Reads very soon - you've made them sound perfect for those on the run, and Cedric I can tell will be one of those characters who just grows on you. I'd be at the launch if it weren't for the fact that I'll be leaving for Switzerland a couple of days later.