Tag Archives: R.J. Harlick

A day in the life of Meg Harris by R.J. Harlick

Several days before

“Time to get up, sleepyhead,” drifted a male voice through the haze. “You’ve been sawing away loudly enough to wake the dead.”

Where did he come from? I blinked, but could only see the icy blue eyes of a white-haired old woman glowering at me. She looked too much like my dead mother.

Something touched my shoulder.

I swatted it away as hard as I could and woke up.

Eric, my husband, rubbed his hand as he backed away from the bed. “Sorry, I forgot.”

“No, no, please, don’t, it’s my fault.” I tried to quell the revulsion sweeping over me and failed. Usually I could. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have reacted like that. Did I hurt you?“

I pushed myself up and leaned against the pine backboard of the narrow bed with the duvet still tucked firmly around me. My skin burned where he’d touched me.

He shook his head. “It’s my fault, Meg. I know better.”

I tensed, worried he would break the gnawing silence that was now an unspoken part of our marriage.

He peered down at me through eyes glistening with both love and pity.

I glanced away. I couldn’t bear the pity.

Instead he changed the topic. “It looks like you got some sleep last night. It’ll do you good.”

“I guess. What about you?”

We no longer shared the same bed. I’d moved into one of the spare rooms, while he remained in our bedroom. We’d argued over it initially. Though he reluctantly accepted the need for separate beds, he felt he was the one who should move. But I’d insisted that I was the one with the problem, therefore I should be the one to move. And so we’d lived ever since.

“Big day today.” His smile didn’t touch the sadness in his soft grey eyes. “You better get packing. Will’s coming to drive us to the airport in a couple of hours.”

My stomach clenched.

“I brought your suitcase up.” He wheeled the hard-sided, purple bag into the room and turned it over to unzip.

“Just leave it, okay? I’ll do it myself.” I’d been ignoring the suitcase waiting in the kitchen, where Eric had left it after retrieving it from the shed.

“You are coming?”

“I said I would, didn’t I?” I could feel the fear crawl over my skin. I didn’t know how many months it had been since I’d dared to travel beyond my Three Deer Point property. No, that wasn’t true. I knew exactly when.

“A visit to Yellowknife will do you a lot of good. And you’ll be able to have a nice visit with Teht’aa.”

“I know.” It had been many months since his daughter had tried to help me pull my life together. Once suspicious of each other, we had become good friends. Given the ten-year age difference we were more like sisters than step-mother and daughter.

“Look, I know this will be difficult for you, but you need to get away from this house, these woods and all the. . .” He paused and ran this fingers through his mane of grey-streaked black hair as if trying to decide if he should continue. “This place has too many bad associations. You’ll feel a lot better once you are away. Remember, that’s what the therapist said.”

“I know.” In the early days, right after The Nightmare, Eric had persuaded me to see a psycho-therapist. I’d lasted two visits.

“So come on, get out of bed. I have breakfast waiting for you downstairs. Your favourite, poached eggs on toast with smoked salmon.”

He gave me one last thoughtful glance before heading out the door and down the stairs.

I didn’t think I could eat. My stomach was too tied up in knots.

Poor Eric. My one and only love. I didn’t deserve such a wonderful and caring man.

If only I could break the silence. But I can’t. I’ve tried. But I’m afraid. If he knew everything that had happened, he wouldn’t want me anymore. And if he left, my life would be over.

I heard a running patter up the stairs and along the hall floor. A rippling ball of grey curls rushed through the door and onto my bed.

“Oh Shoni.” I buried my face in the dog’s soft fur. “I don’t know what to do. If I keep acting like a frigid ice queen, he’s going to leave me anyway.”


You can read more about Meg in Purple Palette for Murder, the 8th book in the “Meg Harris” mystery series.

With her husband under arrest for murder and Meg desperate to prove his innocence, she flies to Yellowknife, where a tangled web of family secrets and greed awaits her.

Meg Harris is forced to leave the sanctuary of Three Deer Point and fly to Yellowknife, where her stepdaughter lies near death and her husband is in jail for killing a man. Expecting to find Eric shouting his innocence, she instead finds him cowed and willing to do hard time. But Meg doesn’t believe he’s guilty.

Convinced that there’s more to the murder victim — and the attack on her stepdaughter — than the police think, Meg finds herself on a sordid trail of family secrets and greed, hoping she can prove her husband’s innocence. Fragments of an ancient embroidery lead her to a remote Dene hunting camp, where all is not what it seems.

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Giveaway: Three lucky readers (U.S. and Canadian entries only, please) selected at random will receive a print copy of Purple Palette for Murder. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends November 17, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
Called “the queen of Canadian wilderness fiction” R.J. Harlick, writes the popular Meg Harris mystery series set in the wilds of West Quebec. Like her heroine Meg Harris, R.J. loves to roam the forests surrounding her own wilderness cabin or paddle the endless lakes and rivers. But unlike Meg, she doesn’t find a body at every twist and turn, although she certainly likes to put them in Meg’s way. While most of the action takes place close to her century old Victorian cottage, occasionally Meg travels to other Canadian wildernesses. In the eighth and latest book, Purple Palette for Murder, Meg travels to Canada’s Far North in a desperate attempt to prove her husband innocent of murder.

Connect with R.J. at www.rjharlick.ca, on Facebook and on Twitter

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Purple Palette for Murder by R.J. Harlick

Purple Palette for Murder by R.J. Harlick is the 8th book in the “Meg Harris” mystery series. Publisher: Dundurn, coming November 7, 2017

With her husband under arrest for murder and Meg desperate to prove his innocence, she flies to Yellowknife, where a tangled web of family secrets and greed awaits her.

Meg Harris is forced to leave the sanctuary of Three Deer Point and fly to Yellowknife, where her stepdaughter lies near death and her husband is in jail for killing a man. Expecting to find Eric shouting his innocence, she instead finds him cowed and willing to do hard time. But Meg doesn’t believe he’s guilty.

Convinced that there’s more to the murder victim — and the attack on her stepdaughter — than the police think, Meg finds herself on a sordid trail of family secrets and greed, hoping she can prove her husband’s innocence. Fragments of an ancient embroidery lead her to a remote Dene hunting camp, where all is not what it seems.

Meg has to leave her self-cocoon to help her husband and what an adventure she finds herself involved in when trying to clear his name. From concerns about her husband and her step-daughter, to stepping into family issues, and to missing embroidery, they all seem connected and the question is how?

I found this drama to be both intriguing and full of suspense as I didn’t know what was going to happen next. The mystery was well-written where greed, cultural betrayal, secrets and the past all play heavily in this tightly woven tale. The twist and turns were done in a manner that enhanced how well this story was being told. The visually descriptive narrative gave me a sense of time and space as the words and dialogue put me in the middle of all the action as I navigated through streams of emotions from Teht’aa to Gloria to Uncle Joe to Eric and to Meg, to name a few. This fast-paced drama held my attention from beginning to end and when it was all said and done, I was not ready to let go of Meg and her journey. A terrific read and I look forward to reading more stories with Meg Harris in this wonderful series.

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FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

A Day in the Life of Meg Harris by R.J. Harlick

A Cold White FearThere goes that stupid woodpecker again. This is the third morning this week that he’s woken me up at the crack of dawn with his incessant hammering against the logs of the bedroom wall. Sure, there are likely tasty bugs hiding out in the wood, but as that lump of a husband still snoring beside me says “What can you expect, when you’re living in a century old timber house.”

Well, I never expected it. I didn’t even consider it when I moved into Three Deer Point, the Victorian cottage I inherited from my Great-aunt Agatha. I’m a city girl. I grew up surrounded by the brick and asphalt of Toronto and its manicured parks. What did I know of the perils of wilderness living in Quebec, apart from the swarming black flies that attacked me during my summer visits with Aunt Aggie?

I sure know about the pitfalls now, like the squirrel that chewed its way through a window screen and proceeded to chew its way through my kitchen or the raccoon that took up residence in the attic, an attic which I discovered held more secrets than a raccoon. I mustn’t forget the tree that came crashing through my porch roof and smashed a window during a major blizzard or the time Sergei, my wimpy standard poodle, came prancing home with a deer leg clenched between his teeth.

But hey, these things happen and I’m getting used to them, sort of. I’ve even become used to the long dark nights when the faintest squeak can start my heart pounding. But the one problem I never get used to is the bodies.

I fled Toronto to escape a bad marriage, hoping the natural beauty of Three Deer Point would heal my bruised soul. Whenever life’s trials become too much, I settle into Aunt Aggie’s old bentwood rocker in the screened-in porch and gaze out over the shimmering black waters of Echo Lake. I listen for the haunting cries of the loons living on the lake or watch the deer feed on the salt lick standing at the clearing’s edge. I love tramping through the forest, though I am mindful that a bear might be lurking beyond the next bend. But with Sergei as my scout, I figure he’ll give me plenty of warning, as long as he doesn’t come running back to me with the bear in close chase.

I’ve never had a lot of friends and the friends I had, I left behind in Toronto along with my family. Since moving to Three Deer Point, I have made new ones, many from the nearby Algonquin First Nations reserve, my closest neighbor. They have been kind enough to teach me some of their traditional ways and on occasion will invite me to participate in their ceremonies. One summer, the highlight was to help build a birch bark canoe.

Invariably when I feel that my life is finally settling down something intervenes to disrupt it, like a corpse. It’s not as if I willingly seek them out, far from it. Take for example the time I was canoeing down a river filled with rapids and dumped. While the canoe continued floating down the river, I swam ashore where I found myself sitting on a skull buried in the sand. If only I’d left it there. No one would’ve died.

Or the time I answered the front door during a major blizzard and discovered two strange men desperate to come inside. Not one of my smartest moments. I knew when I let them into my house that I was inviting in trouble. But I couldn’t send them away. Not in a snowstorm as bad as this one and not with one of them badly injured.

And there you have it. I find myself in situations that I can’t ignore. My desire for justice takes over. I have to do what I can to make it right.

I almost forgot the big lump snoring beside me. How could I? He is my rock. If it weren’t for Eric, I’d likely be lying comatose in a drunken stupor. Mind you, I wouldn’t be listening to that relentless hammering. Our relationship hasn’t been an easy one, with more downs than ups. But he is a paradigm of patience and puts up with the curves I throw at him. He is my other half. I wouldn’t be whole without him.

But man, I sure wish he’d do something about that wretched woodpecker. Do you think I should wake him up?


A Cold White Fear is the seventh book in the Meg Harris mystery series, published by Dundurn, November 2015.

Stranded by a blizzard at her isolated cabin, Meg Harris, an escapee from a failed marriage into the remote wilderness, 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.

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Meet the author
Canadian author, R.J. Harlick, writes the Meg Harris mystery series set in the wilds of West Quebec. Like her heroine Meg Harris, R.J. loves nothing better than to roam the forests surrounding her own wilderness cabin or paddle the endless lakes and rivers. But unlike Meg, she doesn’t find a body at every twist and turn, although she certainly likes to put them in Meg’s way. The 4th book, Arctic Blue Death was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel. A Cold White Fear, the 7th and latest in the series, has been likened to “a rough acid trip. You know you’re going to survive it, but you’ll have to white-knuckle it all the way.” Visit R.J. at www.rjharlick.ca and on Facebook.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of A Cold White Fear. US and Canadian entries only, please. The giveaway will end March 31, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.