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Elka Ray Books In Order

Publication Order of Toby Wong Mysteries Books

Divorce Is Murder (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Hanoi Jane (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Saigon Dark (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

What You Don't Know: Ten tales of obsession, mystery and murder in Southeast Asia (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Author Elka Ray was born in England and was raised in Canada and Africa. She reads highbrow journals and is a great lover of scientific facts yet can be found crystals for good luck and reading tabloid trash. She refuses to watch romantic comedies yet she moved in with the man she would later marry while they were still on their first date.

When she frustrated, weary, or dispirited, she will walk two minutes to the sea. All of the little things that will build up and will get to you are washed away in the ocean.

Even when she was a child she would have dreams about the sea, about looking through the clear water in order to see fish swimming around, tsunamis, and jumping killer whales. She believes that it relates to creativity and the subconscious, attempting to peer into it and not at all knowing what could leap out and possibly even eat you.

Elka enjoys writing and reading stories about morally questionable choices and crimes. If there is nobody screwing up, then there really is not a story there for her.

Scott Smith’s “A Simple Plan” was what turned her on to a life of reading and later writing about crime. Scott does not just make the reader understand the actions of his characters, but actually makes them complicit along with the guys.

She was taught the power of poetic language because of a book by Michael Ondatje called “In the Skin of a Lion”. She read the book in her twenties and there were some scenes that made her feel like she was truly there.

She got the spark of interest for “Saigon Dark” because her first child died as a baby. The more she was pretending to be fine, the worse she actually felt. It sparked an interest in both trauma and grief and it led her to create Lily’s story, who, after one grief-stricken choice, is unable to ever reveal her real feelings.

Her favorite part of writing the book was the moral complexity and she is intrigued by characters that justify the choices that Elka herself might not make.

Her debut novel, called “Hanoi Jane”, was released in the year 2011. She writes the “Toby Wong Mysteries” series. She has published a short story collection and some kids’ books she also illustrated. She writes suspense and mystery and crime books.

“Hanoi Jane” is the first stand alone novel, which was released in the year 2011. Months after moving to Hanoi with Wyatt, her banker fiance, Jane Moxley finds out that he is cheating on her. Unable to come to terms with the fact that their relationship has ended, Jane sets out to discredit Lindy Tran, Wyatt’s new girlfriend who is a sexy French-Vietnamese aid worker. Smart, accomplished, and hot, Lindy looks to be the perfect woman. Is she really, though?

The more Jane finds out, the less plausible Lindy becomes. She is dating three guys at the same time, and, as if that weren’t enough, the charity she manages to appear to be awfully shady. What begins as a desperate bid to get Wyatt back winds up becoming the adventure of Jane’s life.

This is a delightful and fun read where Elka captures the essence of expatriate life in Hanoi in a story of heartbreak, adventure, and renewal. It is a book that is sure to hook readers right from the start. Fans found this to be much funnier than they expected and is interesting on many fronts. Elka Ray is a witty and wildly creative writer that is able to use both romance and mystery to tell this story of an expat woman in Hanoi.

“Saigon Dark” is the second stand alone novel, which was released in the year 2016. Life and death, good and bad. Some decisions are not black and white.

A grief-stricken young mom switches out her dead baby for an abused kid, and then spends the next decade living out a lie. She gets remarried and feels safe for a bit when she gets a note that tells her they know what she did. Will she be able to save her family from her dark secret?

Readers found the characters to be well constructed, particularly Yna, who is Lily’s best friend and may or may not have her best interests at heart. Lily is a flawed character that all mothers will identify with and the choices that she gets presented with.

“Divorce is Murder” is the first novel in the “Toby Wong Mysteries” series, which was released in the year 2019. Toby Wong visits her peaceful hometown located in British Columbia, where not much ever happens. Of course, until her former high school rival is found murdered. Right after coming back to her hometown on Vancouver Island, Toby Wong, a Chinese-Canadian divorce attorney runs into the man that broke her heart when they were teens at summer camp.

Josh, who is now wealthy entrepreneur, would like to divorce Tonya, who is the rude girl that made Toby’s life hell many years ago. Not too long after Toby takes Josh on as a client, Tonya is found murdered. Josh is suspect number one. Together, with her fortune teller mother and her pregnant best friend, she sets out to clear Josh’s name, whom she still has a guilty crush on.

He seems to be just as smitten, will Toby be able to trust him? The good looking cop that is charged with finding whomever killed Tonya’s killer does not believe so. Tonya stayed in touch with everybody at that awful summer camp, Toby continues to run into former campers she would rather forget. Can a catty friend of Tonya’s be the person who killed her? Could Toby’s old insecurities be making her paranoid? It is only too late that she even realizes that she really is in danger.

Toby Wong is able to keep readers glued to the page in this fun, fast paced, and fresh novel. The book keeps you guessing until the end, and it is an engaging read that manages to be romance, cozy mystery, and psychological thriller. Elka’s writing is evocative and is laugh out loud funny at times.

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