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About The Book

Welcome to The Dark Side, a collection of excerpts from some of Simon & Schuster Canada’s most terrifying, mysterious, and suspenseful novels. From Nick Cutter’s old-school thriller, The Troop, to Kathy Reichs’ internationally bestselling Bones series, these stories will leave you trembling.

The Dark Side ebook includes excerpts from:

Bones of the Lost by Kathy Reichs

The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

Shoot the Dog by Brad Smith

Eye of the Storm by Rob Pobi

The Troop by Nick Cutter

Open Secret by Deryn Collier

A Murder of Crows by David Rotenberg

The Guilty by Sean Slater

Death of a Patriot by Don Gutteridge

Stranglehold by Robert Rotenberg

Freak by Jennifer Hillier

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Open Secret, by Deryn Collier, includes an introduction and discussion questions for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

After the abrupt end to his military career, Bern Fortin has settled into an uneasy peace in Kootenay Landing—a peace he knows can’t last.

Small-time drug dealer Seymour Melnychuk is found dead after being shot in the forehead. In a seemingly unrelated incident, Gary Dowd abandons his van while crossing the US border. Could the incidents be connected? As Bern and police constable Maddie Schilling close in on the killer, they soon find that secrets can’t remain buried forever – not even their own. 

Questions for discussion

1. The Kootenay Landing community is, to some degree, supported by the financial and health benefits of the marijuana industry. Discuss the importance and the detriments of individuals breaking the law for something they believe is their right. 

2. Early in the novel, we are introduced to Cindy Forsberg as a young girl in an abusive and poverty-stricken home. Why do you think the author chose to include this narrative of familial abuse within Indigenous communities? 

3. In what ways are women marginalized in the book? In what ways are they empowered?

4. What are Gary Dowd’s motivations for marrying Cindy’s adopted sister, Michelle? Do you feel compassion for Gary?

5. Bern Fortin takes on various roles throughout the book. He is a lover in Montreal and New York, a soldier in Rwanda, and a coroner in Kootenay Landing. How does he adapt to these roles? In what ways does he remain the same?

6. Nature acts as both a benevolent and malevolent force throughout the book. How does the book explore the concept of nature?

7. Both the growing and the sharing of food play significant roles in the book. What do you think food symbolizes in Open Secret?

8.“A soldier’s instinct is a terrible thing, as is a police officer’s. At a certain point, training takes over. It’s not a choice. Society depends on this fact (page 421).” How does the book explore the idea of instinct?

9. What is the significance of Aimee’s abduction?

10. Was Gia justified in her actions?

About The Author

Photograph by Marie-Reine Mattera

Kathy Reichs is the author of nineteen New York Times bestselling novels and the coauthor, with her son, Brendan Reichs, of six novels for young adults. Like the protagonist of her Temperance Brennan series, Reichs is a forensic anthropologist—one of fewer than one hundred and fifteen ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. A professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she is a former vice president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and serves on the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada. Reichs’s own life, as much as her novels, is the basis for the TV show Bones, one of the longest-running series in the history of the Fox network.

 

Photograph by Heidi Pyper

Andrew Pyper is the author of The Only Child, which was an instant national bestseller in Canada. He is also the author of six previous novels, including The Demonologist, which won the International Thriller Writers award for Best Hardcover Novel and was selected for The Globe and Mail’s Best 100 Books of 2013 and Amazon’s 20 Best Books of 2013. The Killing Circle was a New York Times Best Crime Novel of the Year. Four of Pyper’s novels, including The Damned, are in active development for feature film. He lives in Toronto. Visit AndrewPyper.com or @AndrewPyper.

Photograph by Lorraine Sommerfeld

Brad Smith was born and raised in southern Ontario. He has worked as a farmer, signalman, insulator, truck driver, bartender, schoolteacher, maintenance mechanic, roofer, and carpenter. He lives in an eighty-year-old farmhouse near the north shore of Lake Erie. Red Means Run, the first novel in his Virgil Cain series, was named among the Year’s Best Crime Novels by Booklist.

Photograph (c) Robert Lacombe

Rob Pobi is an internationally bestselling novelist whose books have been sold in fifteen countries. He does most of his writing at an isolated cabin in the mountains. He divides his time between Montreal, Northern California, and Florida. Visit him at RobertPobi.com.

Nick Cutter is a pseudonym for an acclaimed author of novels and short stories. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

Photograph © Laura Wilby

Deryn Collier grew up in Ottawa and Montreal and is a graduate of McGill University. She now lives in Nelson, British Columbia, with her family and welcomes visitors to her blog at DerynCollier.com.

Photograph © John Reeves

David Rotenberg has published five mysteries set in modern China as well as the Canadian bestselling historical fiction novel Shanghai. He is the artistic director of the internationally renowned Professional Actors Lab. He has directed on Broadway, in South Africa, in major regional theatres in North America and for television. He directed the first Canadian play staged in the People’s Republic of China—in Mandarin. He lives in Toronto.

sean slater

Sean Slater is the pseudonym for Vancouver Police Officer Sean Sommerville. As a police officer, Sommerville works in Canada's poorest slum, the Downtown East Side—an area rife with poverty, mental illness, drug use, prostitution, and gang warfare. He has investigated everything from frauds and extortions to homicides. Sommerville has written numerous columns and editorials for the city newspaper. When not patrolling the “Skids,” Sean is working hard on the next novel in the Jacob Striker series.

Don Gutteridge is the author of forty books: fiction, poetry and scholarly works. He taught high school for seven years and then joined the Faculty of Education at Western University in the Department of English Methods. He is now professor emeritus and lives in London, Ontario.

(c) Ted Feld Photography

Robert Rotenberg is one of Toronto’s top criminal lawyers and the author of several bestselling novels, including Old City Hall, The Guilty Plea, Stray Bullets, and Stranglehold. He lives in Toronto. Visit him at RobertRotenberg.com or follow him @RobertRotenberg.

Photo by Darren Blohowiak

Jennifer Hillier is the author of Wonderland, Creep, Freak, and The Butcher. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, she lives in the Seattle area with her husband and son. Visit her on the web at JenniferHillier.ca.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 2014)
  • Length: 106 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781476785400

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