Deryn Collier
Open Secret (A Bern Fortin Mystery)

Book Cover

After the abrupt end to his military career, Bern has settled into an uneasy peace in his new life in Kootenay Landing — a peace he knows can't last. Out for a fall hike, he discovers Dr. Juniper Sinclair, the town's lone doctor, attempting to revive small-time drug dealer Seymour Melnychuk, who has been shot in the forehead. In a seemingly unrelated incident, Gary Dowd abandons his van while crossing the US border. Gary is a local father of two, an accountant, and a steady, predictable guy. He's also been best friends with Seymour Melnychuk since elementary school.

Bern knows the two disturbing events must be related and works with police constable Maddie Schilling to uncover the hidden ties that connect the two cases. Why was Dr Sinclair already on the scene? Why is there no exit wound on Seymour's body? Why did Gary Dowd disappear while trying to cross the border? Who truly controls the hills and forests around Kootenay Landing? Amidst the chaos of the case, Bern's military background comes back to haunt him, forcing him to confront the secrets of his own past that he has long sought to keep buried.Content

As Bern and Schilling close in on the killer, each is drawn into the case personally and the stakes are higher than anyone can imagine. Everyone has something to hide, and no one in Kootenay Landing seems willing to talk. But Bern Fortin is well aware that no secret can remain buried forever — not even his own.

Praise for Deryn Collier's Open Secret:

  "[S]atisfies as a mystery but also stands as something richer and more complex. … Collier demonstrates subtle and impressive control, downshifting into seemingly casual scenes then revving back up for the story's resolution. The climax leaves the reader with a genuine emotional pang … It makes for powerful reading." – Quill & Quire

"Open Secret drew me in from the first chapter and never let go. An intriguing mystery, a love story, and in Bern Fortin, a memorable investigator - I savoured every page." —D.J. McIntosh, The Book of Stolen Tales

"Deryn Collier wonderfully captures the alternating tranquility and turbulence of small-town life. Open Secret is a riveting page-turner from a talented new voice." —Kathy Reichs

"[S]eriously enjoyable . . . Collier has created a realistic and intimate world, one in which breakfast is a sacred bond between neighbours, but the pains of systemic mistreatment of First Nations are still reverberating." —The Nelson Star

"With quirky, nuanced characters, Deryn Collier takes a small mountain community and turns it into the center of a riveting tale of murder. The tempo is unhurried, but it hooks you . . . The setting may be cozy, but Collier's style is dark and deep, and reminiscent of Minette Walters." —Ian Hamilton, author of the Ava Lee Novels

Praise for Deryn Collier's Confined Space:

"This excellent debut novel by B.C. author Collier was short-listed for the 2010 Arthur Ellis Award for best unpublished first crime novel. I don't know what happened to the winner, but S&S was smart to pick up this one.... This is a nice mystery with good characters in a very well-developed setting, and the series has promise." —Globe and Mail

"Collier is close to masterful in presenting the crimes in the context of the working life in the staggeringly complex brewery. And she knows just how to insert into her story the right hints of menace to keep readers in a state of iffy balance." —Toronto Star

"...she doles out ingredients in an appealingly low-key fashion and paces the book and clues at a steady clip. Deryn Collier is a welcome addition to the crime fiction scene here, and I'll be looking out for her next book in due course." —National Post

Length: 400 pages
Setting: The Kootenay Region, British Columbia, Canada
Period: Contemporary
Genre/Category: Mystery/Crime Fiction
Publication Date: April 8 2014

Canada English rights, Simon & Schuster

For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.
Deryn Collier

Deryn Collier is a freelance communication specialist, coordinator for the Crime Writers of Canada mentorship program, has worked on a military inquiry as a research analyst, and recently found herself a witness in a murder investigation. While she lives far away from any crowds, Deryn is always connected to the world through social media. Through her blog at www.deryncollier.wordpress.com she carries on an ongoing conversation with readers about writing, life, and favourite first crime novels.