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Chris Laing Books In Order

Publication Order of Max Dexter Mystery Books

A Private Man (2012)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Deadly Venture (2014)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Family Matter (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Devious Dame (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

West End Kid: Tales from the Forties (2004)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Chris Laing
Author Chris Laing is a native of Hamilton, Ontario. Chris grew up in Hamilton, Ontario during the Second World War.

He lived in the so-called “Wartime Houses”, tiny concentration of prefab houses, plywood structures that were hastily put together. They allowed maximum amounts of cold in during the winter and the maximum amount of heat in during the summer. Chris lived in a neighborhood that was full of kids with dads that either worked in war-related jobs or served overseas.

Chris fondly recalls these experiences, which taught him about life and how to survive from early on, and includes them in his writing. His collection of short stories, called “West Side Kid”, is an example of this. Working in downtown Hamilton in the fifties strongly influenced his “Max Dexter” series.

He worked for twenty years in private business before he joined the Federal Public Service, where he served in the National Museums of Canada and the Department of the Secretary of State until he retired.

While growing up, he would listen to mystery stories on the radio and read them. Later in life he expanded his long-time interest in detective tales from just avid reader to writer. He got the idea he could do even better than some of the books he was reading. So Chris began writing in his retirement, only as a hobby.

It is something he does for his own entertainment. He knows that he has hit the sweet spot when he’s either scared the pants off himself or made himself laugh out loud. That is why he continues to do it. If other’s are entertained too by his work, then that’s just an added bonus.

Chris’ favorite author is Elmore Leonard, an author that he’s learned more from than any other.

Chris’ short fiction has appeared in Hammered Out, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and Best New Writing 2013, as well as many online journals.

He lives with Michele LaRose, an artist and his wife, in Kingston, Ontario.

“A Private Man” was a Finalist for Best First Crime Novel in the year 2013 from the Crime Writers of Canada and a Kerry Schooley Award. “A Deadly Venture” won the Kerry Schooley Award in the year 2015 which was presented to him by the Hamilton Arts Council.

Chris’ debut novel, called “A Private Man”, was released in the year 2008. His work is from the mystery genre, and he writes the “Max Dexter” series.

“A Private Man” is the first novel in the “Max Dexter” series and was released in the year 2008. July 1947, and hotter than hell in Hamilton. So starts the exploits of Max Dexter, a former RCMP officer.

Max, who recently discharged and limping off from a serious war injury, goes back to his hometown so he can run a private detective agency. Then he gets more than he bargained for after taking on a missing person case for some wealthy client. Before too long, more than the weather’s making things for Max and Isabel O’Brien, his new assistant.

They become involved with art theft, money laundering, arson, and murder. The trail takes them through the mansions of high society and along the gritty streets of Hamilton to a barn burner climax in Niagra Falls.

These are interesting and complex characters in a noir mystery with some hardboiled detective elements in it.

“A Deadly Venture” is the second novel in the “Max Dexter” series and was released in the year 2014. Max Dexter and Isabel O’Brien (his easy-on-the-eyes assistant) are back. When Roger Bruce, their artist friend, gets arrested for killing one of his clients and is in Barton Street Jail. Max and Isabel try tracking down the real killer yet Hamilton mobsters attempt to discourage them.

The city itself is still a vital part of the action. Those wondering if Max and Isabel get together romantically, will watch closely as the pair high-step it through this tale.

The plot is intriguing in this one, without being overly complex. Chris Laing delivers a good old-fashioned detective novel with some well crafted characters who all have their own quirks.

“A Family Matter” is the third novel in the “Max Dexter” series and was released in the year 2017. Max’s mom returns to Hamilton after being gone for twenty something years. Max isn’t all that anxious to meet up with her. And why should he after she had abandoned him during childhood?

She now lives in Florida, and works as an accountant for the mob. Max and Isabel end up meeting with her and she attempts enlisting Max’s help in her nefarious plans.

To make things worse, Max and Isabel are still in the cross-hairs of Dominic Tedesco, a crime boss, who is looking to even up the score. However a bigger question lurks. Could she be involved in an internal Mob war now heating up and coming close to explode?

Now, just one week before Christmas in the year 1947. Max and Isabel are feeling the heat from the dark forces that do not believe in “Peace on Earth”.

“A Devious Dame” is the fourth novel in the “Max Dexter” series and was released in the year 2019. Early spring in the year 1948. Max Dexter tries helping a young boy out that was abandoned by his mom. Her name’s Ida Lucas and she is quite a doozy: ambitious and sleek, she’s a hostess at the classy Royal Connaught Hotel where she’s usually seen in the company of Hamilton’s well-to-do gents that are anxious to show their appreciation for her attention.

Max and Isabel, after Ida’s abrupt disappearance, set up arrangements for Ida’s neglected young son to live with some friends as they attempt to track down his mom. Meanwhile, they’re also investigating a divorce case that involves a prominent Hamilton businessman and race-horse owner whom they discover is leading an after-hours and secret life that brings each of them into contact with Vincenzo Belcastro, the city’s new mob boss.

Post-war Hamilton’s in the grips of Spring Fever as Isabel and Max work on the case of the Devious Dame.

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