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Brenda Buchanan Books In Order

Publication Order of Joe Gale Books

Quick Pivot (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cover Story (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Truth Beat (2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Brenda Buchanan is a crime fiction author from Maine best known for the “Joe Gale Mystery” series of novels. A Maine native, she sets most of her novels in Portland. While she pivoted towards business law in the latter part of her legal career, she did some criminal defense work early on. Over more than three decades in the law, she was fortunate enough to meet and work with many fascinating people. These people now appear in one form or another as the villains and heroes in her novels. As a sixteen-year-old teen, she got interested in journalism and went on to write an expose that criticized the huge disparity between the amount spent on girl sports as compared to that of boys. She managed to ruffle many feathers in the school but she learned a great lesson in how powerful the press can be. Brenda worked for the Boston Globe as a reporter trainer and copyboy while she was still studying for her bachelor’s at Northeastern University. She also worked at the York County Coast star as a columnist and reporter before she went to the University of Maine to study law. She currently lives with Diane Kenty her spouse in Portland, Maine.

Brenda started as a journalist before she changed careers to become a lawyer. She got interested in writing at a young age when she wrote poetry fiction and then got into journalism. She loved storytelling as she came from an Irish family where storytelling was a huge tradition. As a child, she remembers sitting around with other kids and listening to stories told by adults. Growing up, she was also a huge mystery reader and even thought of penning a story herself. In high school, she served as the editor of the high school paper. It all began to come together when she went to college and dabbled in creative writing while she studied journalism. She was soon writing for the Boston Globe and found it thrilling to work in the newsroom as a young teen. At University, she studied with Robert Parker who is the author of the “Spencer Series.” Once she graduated from Northeastern, she decided to move to Maine where she got a job working on the “York County Coast Star.” She published her debut novel “Quick Pivot” in 2015 that was the first of the highly popular “Joe Gale” series of novels. The series was inspired by her first career as a reporter for newspapers and the long hours she spent reading the Boston Globe as a child in Massachusetts.

As a New Englander, she has found a lot of influence in her place of birth. She grew up in Fitchburg, a small town in Central Massachusetts, where she spent a lot of time reading. Combining her childhood, study, and work years, she has lived for more than thirty-five years in Maine. About 12 of those years were spent on Casco Bay, where she would spend several months without venturing out except when absolutely necessary. As such, the New England setting shines through most of her works that are set in small towns the state. For instance, Joe Gale the lead character of her second novel Cover story is set in the Massachusetts town of Machia that is few miles from the Canadian border.

“Quick Pivot” the first novel of the “Joe Gale” series by Brenda Buchanan is set in 1968. A cunning thief had stolen more than 500k from the accounts of a textile mill that supported much of the Riverside community in Maine. George Desmond the sharp-eyed accountant had stumbled upon the discrepancy but he had been murdered just as he was about to go public with it. After hiding the body, the killer thief had planted evidence to make it look like the accountant had stolen the money and skipped town. He thought he had gotten away with it but several decades later Joe Gale a veteran detective decides to investigate. He had been writing a story for the Portland Daily Chronicle when a skeleton had dropped out of crawl space in a basement. The basement was in the old abandoned mill that had collapsed many years ago when the company lost a huge amount of money. For the veteran detective, trying to investigate that far into the past means that he will have to walk in the footsteps of Paulie Finnegan, the man that had investigated the case more than four decades ago. But the same people that had been responsible for the theft and murder are now watching him. The closer to the truth he gets, the more paranoid they get and the more danger he gets into.

“Cover Story” the second novel of the “Joe Gale” series by Brenda Buchanan follows Joe Gale the veteran reporter. He loves his work best when he is assigned the crime beat of the local paper. At the start of the novel, we are in the dead of winter, and Joe is heading Downeast, where he is reporting on the murder trial of Danny Boothby. The fisherman had been accused and subsequently charged with killing Frank O’Rourke, a well-connected social worker. The murdered man had performed a thankless task for the community but many people thought him arrogant though no one could say he deserved death. For some, it was O’Rourke’s behavior had got him killed and he had no one but himself to blame. Joe goes hard at it and is making inroads but it is clear that he has provoked someone when he is run off an isolated road. He realizes that his life is in danger and that he needs to find the killer who he is now sure has him in his sights. But it could be anyone as the suspects include members of Boothby’s family, enemies or friends of the murdered man, or O’Rourke’s influential brother. Digging deeper, he soon unearths lies and secrets that could very well fill a cemetery. He needs to solve the case fast if he does not want to end up in the obituaries in his paper.

Brenda Buchanan’s “Cover Story” opens to Joe Struggling with unreliable sources while working on two explosive stories. One involves a series of destructive bombings while another involves the killing of a priest that had disagreed with his congregation on some issues. The outspoken priest’ body had been found in the garden but Gale’s investigations indicate that he could have been killed in another place before he was dumped in his garden. The murderer had certainly gone a long way trying to cover up the crime. Parishioners and friends assert that Patrick has been selfless and sincere, though there are a couple of rabble-rousers that tell of his corruption. Just as he starts working on the case, he is called away by a crisis that is many times worse. A bomb had gone off near a local high school and it is just the latest of many such bombings. On the eve of the priest’s wake, the police put forth a communique that asserts that he may have been involved in criminal activities before his brutal murder. As Joe tries to solve the two mysterious deaths, they combine in a complicated mess that puts his life in great danger.

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