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A Toby Wong Novel
BY ELKA RAY
Part cozy mystery and part family drama, the second novel in Elka Ray’s Vancouver Island mystery series will keep you up late with a twisty tale of love, money, and murder.
While divorce lawyer Toby Wong spends her days helping couples split up, she’s still hoping for her own love story. The second novel in Elka Ray’s Vancouver Island mystery series finds Toby settling back into island life and looking forward to getting to know two attractive men better–charismatic Josh Barton, whom Toby first fell for as a teen, and the newly-met Detective Colin Destin.
Unfortunately, Toby’s romantic prospects take a hit when she’s sucked into a family drama. Toby’s mom, Ivy, is distraught when her best friend–wealthy socialite Daphne Dane–goes missing. Is Daphne’s new boyfriend behind her disappearance? And is he a conman, like his betrayed wife–who’s also Toby’s client–alleges?
Things get worse when Toby finds a battered body. As well as threatening her relationships with Josh and Colin, Toby’s involvement with the Danes puts her in danger.
Vividly realized with memorable characters
Toby Wong visits her quiet hometown in British Columbia, where nothing ever happens–until her old high school rival is found murdered. Shortly after returning to her sleepy hometown on Vancouver Island, Chinese-Canadian divorce lawyer Toby Wong runs into Josh Barton, who broke her heart as a teen at summer camp. Now a wealthy entrepreneur, Josh wants to divorce Tonya, the mean girl who made Toby’s life hell all those years ago. Not long after Toby takes Josh’s case, Tonya is found murdered. Josh is the prime suspect. Together with her fortune-teller mom and her pregnant best friend, Toby sets out to clear Josh, whom she still has a guilty crush on. While he seems equally smitten, can Toby trust him? The handsome cop charged with finding Tonya’s killer doesn’t think so. Since Tonya stayed in touch with everyone from that lousy summer camp, Toby keeps running into ex-campers she’d rather forget. Could one of Tonya’s catty friends be her killer? Are Toby’s old insecurities making her paranoid? Only too late does she realize that she really is in danger.
“A little romance, a little murder, and mean girls galore. A delicious mystery set on Victoria’s stunning shores.”
– C.S. O’Cinneide, host of She Kills Lit
Toby Wong, Character Interview
1. What is your name? Do you have a nickname?
Toby Wong. Definitely no nicknames I like.
2. Who is your best friend? What kinds of things do you do when you’re together?
I’ve had the same best friend, Quinn, since kindergarten. For Show & Tell I brought in a dead toad. It was dried out and squished flat – toad jerky, if you will. The teacher wasn’t impressed but Quinn was all over it. She’s a marine biologist now and one of the most curious people I know.
We don’t need to be doing much to be have fun, just meeting for coffee or going for a walk. Quinn has a newborn daughter so I’m seeing less of her than I’d like. I try to help with the baby but it’s tough.
3. If you have a family, how do you get along with them? If you don’t, are there people in your life that you consider family? How do you get along with them?
My mom, Ivy, raised me alone, after my dad left when I was fourteen. She’s a fortune teller and sort of out there – into crystals and tarot and stuff. While her New Ageyness drives me up the wall, there’s no denying her insights are oddly correct, once in a while.
She got sick last year, which is why I moved back to Vancouver Island. Luckily she’s doing well now.
4. Do you have a birthmark? Scars? Where are they? How did you get them?
Can we skip this question? Vancouver Island’s meant to be peaceful and dull but, since moving back, I’ve had a misadventure or two. Nothing too major, apart from that time I got shot… But like I said, let’s not go there. That was a one-off and the damage was minor.
5. When you’re angry, what do you do? Where do you go? How do you deal with your anger?
Sadly, I tend to get mopey instead of mad. I’m working on that. Self pity is like crack – destructive and addictive.
6. A penguin walks up to you, right now, wearing a sombrero. What does he say to you and why is he here?
Penguin: “I’m starving! Please feed me, lady!”
Me: “Um… Well, what do you eat?”
Me: [to myself]: I knew I should have skipped that last shot of tequila.
7. What’s the one thing you’re afraid of losing?
My mom. My job. My chance at lasting love. Wait, you said one? Impossible. Does anyone actually worry about only one thing at a time?
8. What makes you laugh out loud?
Only this morning I discovered that Colin – this guy I’m seeing who comes from Saskatchewan in the Canadian prairies – uses the word “gitch” for underwear. It made me think of pioneers in horse-drawn wagons telling each other to hitch up their gitch.
9. What’s your favorite food?
Mac and cheese made by my best friend’s mom. She uses crazy amounts of butter.
10. What’s the one thing you want out of life that you don’t think you can have? Why can’t you have it?
Seeing Quinn find a great partner and have a baby has made me realize I want that too. You’d think a big city would be a better place to meet someone, but back in Toronto, I was too busy working to date much. Here on the island, my love life’s picked up a lot. I’ve met two interesting guys… We’ll see.
As a divorce lawyer, I witness a lot of heartbreak and relationships gone wrong. I have to remind myself there are love stories that last out there too.
Elka Ray is the Canadian author of The Toby Wong Novels. Born in the UK and raised in Canada, Elka divides her time between Central Vietnam and Canada’s Vancouver Island and sets her fiction in both locales, to include Saigon Dark, Hanoi Jane, a short-story collection, What You Don’t Know: Ten Tales of Obsession, Mystery & Murder in Southeast Asia and a series of children’s picture books published in Vietnam.
Elka is also a freelance editor for Heritage, Vietnam Airlines’ inflight magazine, based in Hanoi, Vietnam; a designer and editor for MaiGuppy, a producer of picture books, greeting cards, and souvenirs in Hanoi; and a freelance writer and copywriter, whose clients include Vietnam Tourism Administration and the Four Seasons Resort.
When she’s not writing, drawing or reading, Elka is in the ocean.
Links to Elka‘s website, blog, books, etc.
YouTube: Elka Ray
Goodreads: Elka Ray
Thanks, Elka, for sharing your story with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!