By the Book

A Canadian Crime Novel

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Pub Date 12 Nov 2020 | Archive Date 30 Nov 2020

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A clue is left at a murder scene: a page from a paperback novel. The title of the book is Murder by the Dozen, and local author, T.L. McGinnis, cannot provide any leads. Detectives Josh Riddell and Clint Weller of the Ottawa Police Service are worried about what lies ahead. It soon becomes evident their worst fears have been realized, and a serial killer is using the novel as a guide. It’s impossible to foresee and safeguard all the potential victims, and time is running out. But who is the killer’s real target?

A clue is left at a murder scene: a page from a paperback novel. The title of the book is Murder by the Dozen, and local author, T.L. McGinnis, cannot provide any leads. Detectives Josh Riddell and...

A Note From the Publisher

A.J. McCarthy grew up with books by Agatha Christie, Sidney Sheldon, and many other masters of mystery and suspense. She’s an award-winning author with four published suspense mysteries to her credit and plans to have many more to come. She’s a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Crime Writers of Canada. For more information about A.J. and her work, please go to

A.J. McCarthy grew up with books by Agatha Christie, Sidney Sheldon, and many other masters of mystery and suspense. She’s an award-winning author with four published suspense mysteries to her credit...

Available Editions

ISBN 9781684335879
PRICE $6.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 14 members

Featured Reviews

Thanks Netgalley for allowing me to read this book A killer is re creating murders from local author T L McGinnis book. Detectives Josh and Clint are trying to capture a killer. This book kept me guessing until the very end. I cant wait to read A J McCarthy's next book

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T. L. McGinnis, murder mystery author, finds herself unexpectedly smack dab in the middle of a real-life murder case. A page from her recent book release has been placed at the scene of the first murder. She is horrified and is determined to discover what is going on. But it gets worse. Her book is called Murder By The Dozen.

Detectives Josh Riddell and Clint Weller are in charge and with her help and cooperation, they try to untangle the sticky web of deceit. But murdering psychopaths aren't exactly easy to track.

The twists and turns and interesting different perspective in this book are well done. Though not scary, I felt tension and suspense in a good way. The psychopath maddeningly taunts.

Those who are seeking a refreshingly different murder mystery without the violence will enjoy this. It's riveting and will keep you glued to the pages. Looking forward to the next book by this author! I'm hooked.

My sincere thank you to Black Rose Writing and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this enthralling book in exchange for an honest review. Much appreciated.

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An interesting storyline for a serial killer story; copying fictional murders almost exactly in choosing the victim and the method. I can see why the killer changed his method as the death toll rose, he felt he was improving on the author's decisions on locations for example. Very much emphasis seems to have been placed on the author's feelings and reactions to her book being used in this way, and perhaps not quite enough in the actual "detectoring" of the crimes. The killer's motives and personality were explored but I felt that there was more to learn. I would have expected to read more about the efforts of the police and the individual detectives to solve the crimes, instead of waiting for the next victim to appear. The personal relationships seemed to have overtaken the investigation of the crimes. A good read however and only following the misdirection was the identity of the killer arrived at.

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Almost a story within a story, this is a great premise of the copycat killer and the author who has a personal stake in solving the mystery. The focus is very much on the mystery with less on the detailed and violence which often accompany modern mysteries. This is more reminiscent of Agatha Christie type novels. Great characters, dialogue and overall a well written story.

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<i>By the Book> describes a horrific scenario for those who write murder mysteries. T. L. McGinnis has written a popular novel for which she must now deal with the fact that it is being used as a template for murder. <i> By the Book </i> fourth novel set in Canada by award winning author A. J. McCarthy.

The story begins with the murderer placing a red object in the mouth of his victim and another object under the bed where the victim lies. The objects are a plastic heart and a page from a novel where an identical murder is described. This leads police to the author, T. L. McGinnis, who has written a murder mystery where a serial killer kills 12 people. Police try to comfort the author but she fears that this is just the beginning of a murder rampage based on her book. When another murder takes place, which is again identical to the one described in the book, everyone begins to wonder who is next and where it will all end.

I like that A. J. McCarthy focuses story on the suspense and not on the gruesome circumstances of each murder. The readers are kept on the edge of their seats wondering when, and if, something will happen. As well, McGinnis’s reluctance to accept police protection significantly adds to the tension.

The story is fast paced and a real page turner. Changing the narration keeps it interesting. There are endless possibilities for where the story can go and this keeps the reader’s interest.

One question I have is about the parallel story of one of the secondary characters. Why bother? It isn’t related, nor is it interesting. To me it is just a needless page filler. I also think Ottawa is a beautiful city in a beautiful part of the country. A little more description of the surroundings would have been a pleasant addition.

This is with no doubt an excellent choice for those who like a fast-paced suspenseful murder mystery. I give it a 4 on 5. I want to thank NetGalley and Black Rose Writing for providing me with a digital copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review

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📝Copy cat serial killer stalks the Ottawa suburbs: kept me guessing all the way😊

I love a murder mystery that keeps me wondering about the killer's identity and surprises me with the outcome, By the Book gave me lots of suspects, a little romance, and a killer I did not see coming. There was just enough personal drama for homicide detectives Josh Riddell and his partner Cliff to make them interesting without detracting from the investigation. And Tierney, the murder mystery author who gets tied up in murders resembling ones from her successful whodunit is a great character. She's torn apart with guilt because the murderer is using her book as a guide and ends up in as great a danger as any of her characters!

The writing is to the point which makes it an easy and fairly quick read. I also appreciated that, despite the number of suspects, the author did not overwhelm me with secondary characters I had to keep straight. And retired cop Matt was a lion with the heart of a pussycat nice touch😊.

Lastly, I loved the idea of a novel set in Canada. It was a really nice change from the typical U.S. or British setting yet not too exotic.

I would gladly read more of A.J. McCarthy's work.

Thanks to publishers Black Rose Writing and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest review.

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Det. Josh Riddell is not quite ready for a new murder victim to land in his lap, the last murder investigation did not end well. When a woman is murdered, a single book page is left as a clue. Describing her murder down to how the killer entered her home, Josh knows this is not a one and done murder. Josh finds the full book along with the author to see if the murders can be stopped. To his dismay, there are 12 murders in all.

While writing her third novel, T.L McGinnis finds Det. Riddell at her door explaining that her book Murder by the Dozen, is serving as a blueprint for a new serial killer. Attempting to help the police catch a murder, T.L begins to make a list of all the people who have helped her write the crime fiction and who could have the motive.
But the killer is starting to deviate from the laid out plan but knows that there are two murders in the book that get too close for T.L and Josh.

I read this book in about two days. I found it to be a fast and enjoyable read. A.J. McCarthy does a great job leaving the reader guessing which character could be the murder.

Thank you to A.J. McCarthy, NetGalley, and Black Rose Writing for allowing me to read this ARC

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Enjoyable whodunnit.
The only clues left at a murder scene are a small, red heart and a page from a mystery novel by a local author that turns out to have the ominous title "Murder by the Dozen". Can Detectives Riddell and Weller catch the killer before the body count rises?
The story is told from multiple perspectives, providing insight into the characters' thoughts and emotions, which made for an engaging read. It was a nice change of pace to read a good murder mystery that was a whodunnit and not a violent crime thriller. Reading a novel set in my hometown is always nice and the author did a good job of explaining the areas instead of just naming them though I would've like more descriptions of some of the places and scenery.
I am looking forward to reading many more of A.J.'s books.

Thank you Netgalley and Black Rose Writing for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I hardly ever give a mystery book a 5 star review.. but this one deserved it! A.J. McCarthy perfectly crafted this novel to draw readers into the story. I was so invested in the characters and what happens to them that I couldn’t put this book down.

I loved the concept of a copycat killer based upon an author’s book and I thoroughly enjoyed how everything tied together throughout the novel.

If you are a fan of murder mysteries, you must read this book!

Thank you to Black Rose Writing and NetGalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review!

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By the Book (A Canadian Crime Novel) by A.J. McCarthy set for Nov12, 2020 publication is 4th mystery/suspense novel by this author.
It is told through four POV’s, the two Ottawa Police Detectives Josh Riddell and Clint Weller, the protagonist Tierney McGinnis and the “killer”.
A woman is dead and Ottawa Police detectives Josh Riddell and Clint Weller are called to the scene. Jennifer Danvers has a red plastic heart in her mouth and pages cut from a novel are under her bed. The pages found describe the scene in front of them. The killer has taken great care to make it so. The part of this whole tableau that makes the detectives the most apprehensive is the title of the book from which the pages came, “Murder by the Dozen”.
When victim number two turns up the detectives are convinced a visit to the author is at the top of their list. What follows is a thriller of a mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.
This smoothly written novel easily fills three categories, a mystery that keeps you guessing, a thriller that will keep you turning pages and a light romance that will give you the occasional smile. “By the Book” is a very readable novel that will pull you in and I give it 4 ½ stars.

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I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. This book is well written and the characters are described well. This is my first A. J. McCarthy book, and I can tell you guys, I can't believe I haven't read any book by her until now. The writing style is incredible. It makes you feel as though you are the detectives in this book. I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend reading this book to anyone and everyone. This is the first canadian book I have read. I definitely will read more by this author. This book has all the twists and turns you look for in a mystery, thriller book. This ebook is in stores now for $6.99 (USD).

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