Beyond the Book: Background information when reading By the Time You Read This

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By the Time You Read This

A Novel

by Giles Blunt

By the Time You Read This by Giles Blunt
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2007, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2008, 352 pages

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Beyond the Book

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Giles Blunt was born in 1952 in Windsor, Ontario, and grew up in North Bay, Ontario. He describes his parents as being "so English that the space on their passports for citizenship could only be filled in" British Beyond Belief". He spent most of his education at a Catholic boys' school called Scollard Hall, moving to a "regular school", Algonquin Composite, for his last two years.

His career started with poetry which was published in various publications including Grain and Poetry Canada. Then he fell in love with movies and decided to write screenplays and, in 1980, moved to New York, where he lived for the next 22 years. He says, "living in New York gave me enough distance from northern Ontario to see it through a very long lens. I now visit North Bay and it seems exotic. It is exotic. It's ridiculous that anybody should live there, really, in the land of ice and snow. I mean, what kind of person comes to a hunk of rock surrounded by ice and pine trees and figures it's a good bet to settle down there? Okay, fur traders. But as soon as they have enough money fur traders head for Florida just like everyone else."

He worked in various restaurants and bars in New York before getting a two-year contract with Grosso-Jacobson, who co-produced Night Heat. In addition to working on Night Heat he wrote the pilot for Diamonds, a detective show that ran for a couple of years; and also wrote episodes for Law & Order and Street Legal.

His first novel, Cold Eye, was published in 1989 and was made into a French movie, Les Couleurs du diable (1997). He wrote the first in his John Cardinal series, Forty Words For Sorrow, in 2000. This was followed by The Delicate Story (2002); Blackfly Season (2005); and The Fields of Grief (2006), published in the USA as By the Time You Read This. The series, which has won both the British Crime Writers Silver Dagger and the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis awards, is set in Algonquin Bay - a thinly disguised version of the city of North Bay, Ontario (about 200 miles from Toronto on the Ottawa River and Lake Lake Nipissing).

Blunt is currently taking a break from the John Cardinal series.  Two stand-alone novels are scheduled for publication in Canada in the coming months (no dates yet known for the USA): No Such Creature (Oct 2008) and Breaking Lorca (February 2009).

This article was originally published in February 2007, and has been updated for the July 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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