Monday, February 18, 2013

Jean Rae Baxter – The Write Read

There was evil, wrongdoing, and twisted little minds everywhere.  With each turn of the page, Baxter impressed me.  Finally, a kindred spirit. 

A writer friend had pressed a copy of the short story collection, A Twist of Malice, into my hands and said, Jean Rae Baxter is an award-winning author from Hamilton, Ontario and she writes dark stories.  You’ll like her.

Being the only writer in our group whose muse encourages crime and suspense, I often feel like a misfit.  In a recent blog I said, Imagine a gathering of writers, elbow to elbow, sharing their traditional haiku, literary prose, and symbolistic poetry and then I’m next in line with, ‘The knife dangling from his fingers dripped a bloody path to the bathroom.’

This introduction to Baxter was a way of showing support for my genre of choice – crime fiction.  That’s what I like to think anyway. 

My friend had piqued my interest.  Not only was Baxter a noir writer, but Seraphim Editions publishes her work.  A publisher I had researched for my creative non-fiction collection. 

Hmmm ...  a book of short stories.  I’d rather sink my teeth into a novel.  Short stories tend to be so ... short.  Yet, I was intrigued.  Intrigued enough to read A Twist of Malice.

Not only is Jean Rae Baxter an excellent writer, she’s a great storyteller.  An unbeatable combination.  Her characters make the stories come alive.  I don’t care what your plot is, if your characters don’t measure up, your story falls short.

Baxter not only has great characters but she has DETAIL in her book.  I love DETAIL.  How does she write riveting stories with great characters and voluminous detail in so few words?  Not all writers can master the short story. 

Naturally, appreciating her writing style and storytelling led me on a search of her other works.  The librarian suggested her novel, Looking for Cardenio, a story about a play by Shakespeare that had been lost since 1613.  As much as I like Jean Rae Baxter’s writing, the storyline did not interest me. 

Undeterred, the librarian scanned the shelves for a copy.  The story description on the back cover was too compelling to pass up.  I couldn’t help wondering if the blurb was taken from the query the author sent to the publisher. 

Fortunately, the next day I was snowed in and had to stay in my p.j.’s (not really HAD to, but it seemed like a good idea) and didn’t stop reading until I finished the novel.

I tingled with the discovery of a ‘new’ favourite author.  The same tingle I feel when I see a new Like on my facebook page, or the taste of goat cheese and sautéed onions on a cracker – preferably with a glass of red wine.

I have a lot of catching up to do.  I look forward to reading Scattered Light, another collection of short stories of murder and revenge.

A fan is born – sorry it took so long to find you, Jean Rae Baxter!

For more information on the author including her historical fiction trilogy, visit her website at  or


  1. Isn't it just great to find a new voice in writing! Great share!

    1. There are so many wonderful writers to book at a time!

  2. She was at Genrecon back in 2009. I read her book about the lost play of Shakespeare. Looking for Cardenio? Something like that.

    1. Sorry I missed her. I've attended Genrecon the last couple of years.