James R. Coggins wrote his first novel in high school (okay, it was never published). Since then he has published a wide variety of non-fiction, fiction and poetry.
John Smyth Mystery #1
Airplane passenger John Smyth sees what appears to be a murder on the ground as his plane descends into Winnipeg airport. But when he reports what he saw and reveals that he is editor of Grace magazine, a Christian publication, the police dismiss his statements as the ravings of a religious fanatic. Then a woman’s body is discovered, identified only by a necklace inscribed “Grace”. The police pursue three possibilities for the dead woman’s identity: a missing housewife, a widow and a prostitute. As they ponder the mystery, John Smyth soon moves from religious crank to prime suspect.
Interesting characters, crisp writing, careful plotting and touches of humour make this a very readable and intriguing novel.
Published January 2004.
John Smyth Mystery #2
The discovery of dismembered bodies along a remote highway in northern British Columbia has Sergeant Troy Wesson of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police wondering if he should be looking for a chainsaw murderer. As his investigation continues, he finds that the northern woods are full of strange and suspicious characters, including an editor named John Smyth who says he is in the area researching a story.
Published September 2004.
John Smyth Mystery #3
It is just like a second honeymoon when John and Ruby Smyth are invited to stay in a beautiful mountaintop house while attending a church convention in the Bible Belt (Abbotsford, British Columbia). Everything seems perfect – until the woman next door is murdered. Has a criminal element from an older, poorer section of Abbotsford invaded this idyllic upper-class neighborhood? As Smyth is drawn reluctantly into the investigation, he encounters an enigmatic professor, two prisoners on a weekend pass, a troubled teenager and other fascinating characters. In addition to discovering the identity of the murderer, he gains insight into the social divisions which frequently afflict the church and society.
Published April 2005.
Samples of my work