Smorgasbord Book Promotions – New Book on the Shelves – #Crime #Alzheimer’s The Lilac Notebook by Carol Balawyder

Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Carol Balawyder – a crime thriller The Lilac Notebook.

About the book

Three university friends. One in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, another out for revenge and a third murdered.

Holly Baranov is in the beginning stages of fast advancing Alzheimer’s at 40. Unwilling to care for her, Holly’s husband leaves her. While frightened to be on her own, Holly is relieved to be freed from the clutches of a controlling husband.
She moves out of her large home in the middle-class west end section of Montreal and into a small apartment near McGill University where she enrols in a poetry course in the hopes of stimulating her brain.

There she meets Kim Harris, a thirty-something beautiful but damaged law student and Amelia Rose, a twenty-year-old pole dancer in a seedy nightclub who wants nothing more than to graduate, teach high school, marry and raise a family. Both Kim and Amelia were victims of incest, though each see her perpetrator differently. Kim chose law so as to right the justice she was denied while Amelia is angry at the justice system for separating her from a flawed father who was nonetheless her whole world.

When Amelia is found strangled in her apartment, Holly becomes involved in the investigation, both as prime suspect and as a means to defend herself.
Detective Alice Vireovich and her rookie partner, Detective Dan Cardoni, currently investigating the murders of two middle aged men, are also tasked with investigating Amelia’s murder: They come to believe all three murders may be linked because of a Van Gogh Starry Night postcard found at the scene of all three crimes.

Holly’s health worsens quickly. She is transferred to a support facility. Along with her fading memory, Holly is also losing her ability to speak and write. She is uncertain whether she killed Amelia as her friend Kim, ex-husband Roy and the police suspect.

A niece (whom Holly doesn’t recognize and whose motives she distrusts for suddenly wanting to help her) visits Holly regularly and reads Holly’s notes about Amelia’s investigation. This eventually leads the investigation away from her as they seem to implicate Kim.

Kim’s law teacher at McGill agrees to take on the case pro bono, motivated by her interest in litigating whether damaging effects of childhood abuse pose the question whether murder can ever be justified in such cases.

The expanding investigation leads to more findings relating to the postcard found next to Amelia’s body, bringing into view a surprising new suspect.

An early review for the book

Lauren Scott  5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling crime novel unlike any I’ve read before! Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 9, 2023

The Lilac Notebook touches on three intense subjects: Alzheimer’s, Incest, and Murder. The mystery component is accompanied with the main protagonist, Holly, being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Sadly, she follows in her mother’s footsteps. She’s also been married for two decades to a controlling man who can’t be burdened with her disease. So, Holly finds herself on her own, dealing with the slow declining of her mind. But she meets and befriends two women along the way; both have been abused in their childhood, but both view the abuse from opposite spectrums. And of all things to happen, Holly discovers a dead body! She loses her ability to speak and write, but she can formulate thoughts, and perseveres to the end to find the killer!

Carol Balawyder does a superb job in keeping the reader engaged until the last page. Along with telling a story that kept me on the edge of my seat, she incorporates facts about Alzheimer’s. My brother-in-law passed away years ago from this horrible disease, and even though my sister is a nurse, the effects drained her. It was heartbreaking for her to see the love of her life transform through the various phases, and it was heartbreaking for me to witness her caring for him.

Throughout this compelling murder mystery, I felt compassion for Holly, fearful for her safety, and questioned the trustworthiness of her two new friends. Other supporting characters had me wondering if they were the murderer. This book is a real nail-biter for those who enjoy crime novels, but also for anyone whose life has been intruded by Alzheimer’s. Carol inserts a plethora of information, so reading this story is a way to gain more knowledge on this disease. Highly recommended! 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Other books by Carol Balawyder

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read more reviews : Goodreads – WebsiteCarol BalawyderLinkedIn: Carol Balawyder – Facebook: Carol Balawyder   

Meet Carol Balawyder

I hold an undergraduate degree with a major on English Literature and a graduate degree in Criminology. I taught Criminology in Police Technology and Corrections programs in Montreal. My area of expertise was in drug addiction and I worked in a methadone clinic with heroin addicts. I helped set up a writing workshop for women in prison and worked in halfway homes and drug rehab centers.

My short stories have appeared in Room Magazine, The Canadian Anthology of Fiction, Mindful.or, Between the Lines and Carte Blanche. I was awarded an honorary mention for a play submitted to The Canadian Playwright Competition.

I manage a blog where I write about: Women Nobel Prize Winners for Literature, Famous Writers’ Desks, Femmes Fatales, India, Book Reviews and my dog, Bau.


Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the news of Carol’s new book.

55 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Book Promotions – New Book on the Shelves – #Crime #Alzheimer’s The Lilac Notebook by Carol Balawyder

    • Thanks, Sharon for letting me know about your book Going Home. I’m going to put it on my TBR list and am curious to know how you handled the subject, especially since you had firsthand experience. My experience with Alzheimer’s was mostly with patients. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • The book is fiction, of course, but I based the mother’s character on my own mom. A lot of the conversations / interactions in the book were very similar to what happened in real life. Probably the hardest part of watching a loved one succumb to Alzheimer’s is the personality change, watching the memories fade, and knowing things will only get worse, not better. When I was dealing with my mom, having these circular conversations (that had to be repeated 5 minutes later), I wondered what it would be like to interview a witness or a crime suspect who had dementia. That was the inspiration for the murder mystery.
        The story opens when the protagonist comes home to find her mom standing over the bludgeoned body of her caregiver—and she can’t give a straight answer about what happened. Since she’s alone in the house, she becomes a suspect. The daughter has to become an amateur sleuth to prove her mother’s innocence (and also step into the caregiving role).
        I bet you probably saw a lot of different stages of Alzheimer’s and a range of patient behavior in your work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sorry, Sharon that you had to witness your mother’s fall into dementia. What a heartbreaking experience for you. I find your motivation to write a murder mystery fascinating. Art imitating life.
        I did see a lot of not only different stages of Alzheimer’s but also how it manifests differently in patients. Lots of research is being done and hopefully, one day a cure will be found for this debilitating disease. My book deals with early onset of Alzheimer’s. The main character is only 40 but like your character she also becomes a suspect in a murder case. Indeed, it must be a challenge to interview a witness or suspect who has dementia. Although we both wrote a murder mystery around Alzheimer’s our approach was quite different.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I think early onset Alzheimer’s is even more heart-breaking, because they’re struck down in the prime of life. Did you ever read Still Alice? It’s not a murder mystery, but it’s about a woman suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s. What’s unique is that it’s written from her point of view.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Quite apart from the unusual premise, this book comes with so many great personal recommendations I’m off to buy my copy now. Many thanks.♥♥

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – May 15th – 21st 2023 – Twitter, Starlings, The Jive, Diana Krall, Soul Mates, Zabaglione, Personal Power,Book Reviews, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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