The Globe and Mail

The Unknown Masterpiece

Every so often, John Brooke gives us a clever book featuring Inspector Aliette Nouvelle, who chases down criminals just inside the French border. In this novel, she’s called to Switzerland to investigate the murder of a Basel art dealer. But the book begins with the death of Aliette’s dearest and most cherished friend. If I weren’t already a fan, the death of Piaf the cat would make me one for life. Brooke knows how to tell a story and maintain suspense, but his strength is in his carefully crafted characters. This is the best Aliette Nouvelle so far.

Stifling Folds of Love

Brooke is easily one of Canada’s best crime writers, and this series, set in the environs of Strasbourg (the far environs) at France’s eastern border, is a real delight...This is a smart, sophisticated mystery with lots of Gallic verve. Definitely the best of a very good series.

All Pure Souls

He has a great eye for detail and is a dab hand with dialogue. That, along with a strong plot, great setting and good characters, is everything anyone can ask for in a mystery.

The Voice of Aliette Nouvelle

This book by Montreal poet and filmmaker John Brooke dropped into my lap and I was smitten. Interesting premise, fascinating central character…Poetic images, film stills and literary writing, none out of place.




Globe and Mail


The Winnipeg Free Press

The character of Nouvelle is intriguing and refreshingly unconventional. She is an intelligent and independent single woman, open and honest about her weaknesses and desires.


Winnipeg Free Press


The Arthur Ellis Awards

Finalist, The Arthur Ellis Awards for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing

(…Winnipeg based) Signature Editions has been publishing John Brooke's series of novels about French policewoman Aliette Nouvelle, starting with The Voice of Aliette Nouvelle in 1999… Brooke has followed the original Aliette story with All Pure Souls, Stifling Folds of Love, The Unknown Masterpiece, and now Walls of a Mind, a complex tale of love and deception in which every character has a past they either revere or despise. Set in the idyllic wine country of southern France, the idyll is real enough in the abundant sunshine, but lurking in the shadows of the vines are EU politics and businessmen and elected officials willing to exploit the overproduction of wine in Italy and Spain that has resulted in the so-called "wine lake" of southern Europe for their own cynical ends. They are opposed by French wine traditionalists fiercely determined to stop the dumping of cheap foreign porch-climber on their traditional markets…I missed the earlier books.  I'd order The Voice of Aliette Nouvelle and begin at the beginning with a comfortable chair and the comforting excuse of a good reason to stay in it.  John Moore / subTerrain


The Creemore Echo

While the Music Lasts

Brooke has a good ear for dialogue and he is adept at explaining the intricacies of the French legal and police systems. He has created a character, Aliette Nouvelle, who has to contend with problems in both her personal and professional life, making her a believable and complex character, who I enjoyed getting to know.


Winnipeg Free Press


The Voice of Aliette Nouvelle

In Chapter 10…police inspector Aliette Nouvelle sits on the toilet and meditates "the way people do, on the nature of the things inside myself." She is contemplating the slippery mucus that tells her she is fertile today and she is feeling lonely. She feels she is working at cross purposes with herself; she is committed to her career but her body is operating "just as it was meant to". The Voice of Aliette Nouvelle is not just another detective story and you don't have to wait to Chapter 10 to figure this out…as both Aliette and her quarry confront the myths that have been created around them, we feel as if we are right there, in France, "in a city on the Rhine".



Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan

Walls of a Mind

It is a very good book. Nouvelle is a clever woman determined to do her job well but not with the obsessive compulsion of many contemporary North American fictional police to investigate 24 hours a day. She has time for good meals, for a new love interest and for reading – mysteries being her favourite...I consider Brooke as someone with talent. I found that he created not only two convincing female characters, he had insight into their minds and how women interact with each other. I shall be interested in hearing from female readers if they thought Brooke can write well of the female psyche.

Tropéano’s Gun

Tropéano’s Gun is far from the North American thriller. Violence is there, but does not dominate the story. Instead, the book focuses on the dangers within our minds… To remain an officer, the inspector starts carrying her gun and going to the shooting range. Carrying a gun does not mean she will use it, but Aliette starts thinking differently with a gun on her hip. She is a little less careful. She will venture more readily alone into risky areas of the city. She becomes more aggressive. How some men relate to her is different. There are men who are excited about a woman with a gun. We usually associate guns with men. Readers can instantly visualize a man with a gun. Do we see a woman with a gun differently? …This is a mystery which requires the reader to think rather than just riding the flow of the action.



Halifax Daily News

The Voice of Aliette Nouvelle

…a fascinating story of detection in which one soon begins to wonder who is tracking whom. For the first third of the novel one watches the action unfold through the eyes of Aliette. Then the perspective changes as author Brooke chooses to re-tell parts of the story through Normand's eyes. In essence this novel becomes a study of two characters locked in combat with any number of outcomes possible.

Halifax Daily News

Montreal Gazette

...All Pure Souls is far from plot-driven. Brooke's dream-like style and powerful sensuality clash with the reality of Mari Morgan's whores, creating the dissonance that draws us into the heart of the story. It is less about a criminal investigation than about the myths we construct to mask life's grimmer truths...Brooke's message rings true...for an abrupt shift from the ordinary, it's worth a second look.

Montreal Gazette

The Montreal Review of Books

Last Days of Montreal

John Brooke shows himself to be the kind of writer who can consistently achieve that noblest of fiction's aims: to render the local so faithfully that it becomes, paradoxically, universal.

Mtl Review of Books

subTerrain (Vancouver)

John Brooke’s novel Last Days of Montreal follows Yeats’ adage about writing on sex and death. The novel is ribald, serious fun, and it treats the “death” of Montreal with humour. Serious, in its attention to political, economic and social forces in Quebec, and fun, with its light, love, eroticism and grace in many guises.

re The Unknown Masterpiece

…Brooke's secondary characters - other police officers, pimply delinquents, museum and gallery personnel, freelance arts technicians - are well-realized. Nouvelle's emotional range, if not Jungian in complexity, deepens too: "Aliette didn't know if she was going to sleep with agent Rudi Buchholtz - but it was a notion she was willing to explore." She's not your regular Miss Marple.