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John Farrow Books In Order

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Publication Order of Émile Cinq-Mars Books

Publication Order of The Storm Murders Trilogy Books

The Storm Murders (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Seven Days Dead (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Perish the Day (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

High Water Chants (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Onyx John (As: Trevor Ferguson) (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Kinkajou (As: Trevor Ferguson) (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
The True Life Adventures of Sparrow Drinkwater (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Timekeeper (As: Trevor Ferguson) (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Fire Line (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The River Burns (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

John Farrow is the pen name of Canadian novelist Trevor Ferguson. Ferguson lives in Hudson, Quebec, and was born November 11, 1947. He was written 11 novels and 4 plays, and also been named Canada’s best novelist by the Toronto Star and Books in Canada. He was born in Seaforth of Huron County, Ontario, but moved to Montreal at age 3, where he was raised. Ferguson worked on railway gangs in his teenage years and began writing at night in bunkhouses. In his twenties, he worked and traveled in Europe and the U.S. but eventually returned to Montreal to write, working as a night taxi driver. He published his first novel, High Water Chants, in 1977. His second novel Onyx John was published in 1985 to great acclaim. It was named one of the top five best twentieth-century novels by Leon Rooke, and became a best seller in France.

Ferguson finished his third novel, The Kinkajou, in 1989. It debuted to high acclaim as well. He went on to write The Timekeeper, which debuted in 1995, became a movie, and also won the Hugh MacLennan Prize for fiction. The Fire Line was published the same year. Ferguson went on to compose a number of novels under the pen name of John Farrow. These novels featured the character of Emile Cinque-Mars. The first novel in the series is City of Ice (1999), followed by Ice Lake(2001), River City (2011), The River Burns(2014), The Storm Murders (2015), and will include Seven Days Dead and The Talisman Quarry by 2016-2017.

City of Ice has been published in seventeen countries and was named the best book ever written in genre fiction in Canada by The Vancouver Sun. Booklist said that the series was the best in crime fiction today, while Die Ziet in Germany called it the best of all time. Ferguson’s plays include Long, Long, Short Long, and was produced in Montreal and was nominated for a Masque award for best text. Beach House, Burnt Sienna, had a successful showing, and his follow up plays, Barnacle Wood and Zarathustra Said Some Things, No? were well received. Ferguson (or Farrow) has been a writer-in-residence for the University of Alberta, a chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada, invited as a special guest to the Paris Book Fair in 1999 and invited to the Festival of the Americas in Paris in 2002, and served as faculty for the May Writers’ Studio at Banff Centre for the Arts in addition to teaching creative writing at Concordia University.


Émile Cinq-Mars is an old school detective right out of the classic novels. He’s also smart, and relies on his intelligence, intuition, and a few informants in the right places to get the job done. Émile first appears in the John Farrow novel City of Ice. The series soon became a favorite, and Émile was featured in several follow up novels. Cinq-Mars prefers to work independently and without a team, but is ethical and relies on his own talent in place of technology to solve crimes and get the job done. Émile is also a brilliant logician and regarded as a bit of an eccentric. At the end of the day, Émile Cinq-Mars follows his own rules. But as the wave of crime and violence grows quickly out of control, Émile may just be in over his head. He’s an old school detective in a modern world, following his instincts, made out to be a local hero for his arrests, and trying not to end up like the bodies he sees on the beat.

City of Ice (The Émile Cinq-Mars series)

City of Ice is the very first novel in the Émile Cinq-Mars series. When a college kid in Montreal is found tortured and dead hanging from a meat hook in a Santa Claus suit on Christmas Eve, it’s a message for one man. Or rather, a gift, for the eccentric Sergeant-Detective Émile Cinq-Mars. Montreal is in the midst of reeling over violent crime as a result of social, economic, and political strife due to separatism, and organized crime is taking full advantage of the situation. Sergeant-Detective Emile Cinq-Mars has never seen the city this bad– and it’s all thanks to a police force that is divided unto itself and filled with corruption struggling to keep up with the surging presence of motorcycle gangs, the Russian mafia, CIA operators and more, not to mention the turf wars between all the major factions.

Sergeant-Detective Émile Cinq-Mars may be viewed as a hero thanks to his series of arrests, and he’s not done yet. When the murder turns up, Cinq-Mars must figure out who killed this college student and why. Luckily, detective work and dedication to his cases are his specialty. The lone wolf must take to Montreal’s streets and use a combination of skills, intuition, leads, and informants to figure out who did this and why. Along the way, he finds a young female operative that he must choose to help get out of the mob, or just wash his hands from the whole situation. Montreal definitely has a voice in this novel, becoming another character in the story. There’s plenty of Montreal in the book, and it’s easy to see why this novel is seen by many in Canada, France, and around the world as some of the best of Canadian literature out there.

Ice Lake (The Émile Cinq-Mars series)

Ice Lake is the second novel by John Farrow in the Émile Cinq-Mars series. This novel opens with a dead body discovered under the ice on a frozen lake under a fishing hut in Montreal. In the bitter cold of the dead of winter, Sergeant-Detective Émile Cinq-Mars must figure out who shot this man through the neck. He has a pretty good idea that the man was lured out to the lake by an unknown woman. The identity of the woman is something Cinq-Mars must find out for himself.

This book incorporates colorful characters and groups, as well as contemporary themes. Just some of the groups that appear in the book include motorcycle gangs, the mob, Mohawk Warriors, pharmaceutical head honchos, gangs, police, and more. In a world where money talks louder than the value of life itself, where conspiracies abound and companies and individuals will stop at nothing to succeed and roll over those in their way, what will Cinq-Mars find on his quest for the truth?

Books Made Into Movies

The Timekeeper

The Timekeeper debuted in 2009, based off the book by Trevor Ferguson(John Farrow). Co-written by Lorraine Dufour and Louis Belanger and directed by Belanger, the film premiered at the Brooklyn International Film Festival June 5, 2009, and in Canada August 21, 2009. The Timekeeper is about 18 year old Martin Bishop, who joins a gang of rail workers and ends up challenging the authority of the foreman. The film starred Craig Olejnik as Martin Bishop.

River City

Based on Farrow’s novel River City, this book was optioned to be a mini-series in November 2013.

Book Series In Order » Authors » John Farrow

2 Responses to “John Farrow”

  1. Trevor ferguson: 2 years ago

    In your list of my novels you omitted ONYX JOHN (1985). Thank you.

    • Graeme: 2 years ago

      Hi Trevor – As that one is listed as being written by yourself instead of the pseudonym, it was only listed on the Trevor Ferguson page:

      However I have made some amendments in the database to get the ones attributed to Trevor Ferguson listed on this page as well 🙂



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