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If Looks Could Kill by Michael Blair

Finalist for First Book Prize in 2001


Vancouver photographer Thomas McCall’s summer gets off to a rocky start when his hearing-impaired 12-year-old daughter arrives for a visit (with pet ferret in tow), his parents’ marriage hits the rocks, his assistant unaccountably botches a batch of film, his girlfriend pushes for a commitment he can’t make, and the houseboat he lives on starts to sink. In other words, the usual complications of a busy life. Nothing he can’t cope with. That is, until Carla, his stunningly beautiful, former lover, walks back into his life, unapologetic for having ripped off his stereo, computer, and expensive (albeit broken) Hassleblad camera when she walked out on him two years earlier. Worse, she now needs McCall to find her a place where she can hide away for a few days, no questions asked. McCall, still hopelessly in lust with her, reluctantly agrees. But Carla never turns up at the hideaway. And now her menacing new boyfriend, Vince, is frantic to find her – so frantic that he turns to McCall for help.

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McClelland & Stewart