Ilze Berzins

The Ottawa Citizen
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Page: C10
Section: Citizen’s Weekly: Reading
Byline: Mike Gillespie
Source: The Ottawa Citizen

Editor’s picks

Perennial mystery favourite Ilze Berzins is back on the shelves with the thriller Kolka (Albert Street Press, $24.95). The Ottawa novelist/artist, who has produced a compelling series of novels including such favourites as Revenge on the Rideau, Death in the Glebe, Riga Mortis and Riga Blanca, has found a touchstone — that mystery lovers like to read about their home towns. So while Kolka, and Berzins’ other cleverly drawn novels, criss-cross the world, home (Ottawa) is where the heart is.

But that’s no recipe for parochialism. Kolka, replete with comedic barbs, moves with ease across two continents, from Ottawa Centre (where Ed Broadbent’s election signs predominate — “largely because his followers remove anyone else’s”) to Sweden and the far reaches of Latvia, where Berzins grew up.

Kolka, which takes its name from a remote coastal area on the Baltic Sea, follows Birdie Finch as she searches desperately for a friend who has mysteriously vanished.

Berzins tells readers on her new website ( that the realism that laces her thrillers spins from a very real source: “Everything I write comes from personal experience — almost always from a traumatic and painful event in my life.”

But here’s trauma that pays off for the reader.

Mike Gillespie
Deputy Editor
The Citizen’s Weekly
(613) 596-3767
E-mail: [email protected]

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