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The Bricklayer by [Natan, Rene]
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The Bricklayer Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 341 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


In Rene Natan’s exhilarating mystery novel, a contracting company besieged by questions is a revolving door of deceit, blackmail and accidents.

Constables in London, Ontario, see nothing devious in paraplegic Deborah Dalton’s suicide, but her husband, Fred, piques their interest after two anonymous phone calls make him look suspicious. Why is he tearing out and hauling away a pool so soon after Deborah’s death, and what about the secret apartment in his sister’s name? That’s only the start of a series of people winding up dead amid a shadow of dubious behavior: Fred’s employees skimming from jobs; Tessa enlisting Nick, Fred’s old friend, into helping her become Mrs. Fred; a blackmailer claiming to have incriminating evidence against Moira, who works for Fred; and a hefty amount of cash that may be counterfeit but most definitely doesn’t belong to the person stashing it. Natan’s book is an exemplary whodunit boasting a litany of suspects. The author capably pulls readers into the mystery within the first few pages—questioning not only the recent suicide, but also the accident that rendered Deborah paralyzed four years prior to the story’s start. The gleefully relentless mysteries are piled on one after another; Natan sustains curiosity by resolving several of the uncertainties as the story progresses and leaving just enough unknown to keep readers invested until the end.

Numerous characters are skillfully maneuvered throughout the plot, and identities remain clear and rarely confusing, making the preceding “List of Characters” (with corresponding roles) superfluous. Fred is a protagonist so charming that he woos Peggy, his company and the officer investigating the suspicious deaths. But Moira, who cares for her troubled brother, is the most prominent character, as well as the only female professional among a sea of men.

The type of mystery that other mysteries wish they could be.

-Kirkus Review

Fred Dalton is a man who has it all. Owner of a highly successful construction company, he has a beautiful wife, a lovely home, and a seemingly bright future. A tragic accident that leaves his wife in a wheelchair is the catalyst that sets in motion a series of events that threaten to send Fred’s life spiraling out of control.

The Bricklayer begins with the funeral of Fred’s wife, whose mysterious death causes authorities to look at Fred as a suspect. While the stress of suspicion is disturbing enough, Fred also becomes increasingly concerned that two of his employees may be embezzling from the company. To complicate matters even further, an old friend with a checkered past suddenly comes back to town and another former acquaintance, Tessa, begins a relentless pursuit of Fred despite the recent loss of his wife.

The Bricklayer is a compelling and enjoyable thriller, filled with enough twists and turns and interesting characters to keep readers engaged. Dialogue reads naturally and the prose flows smoothly, deftly increasing the tension and intrigue all the way through to a satisfying conclusion.

The author’s talent for comprehensive and credible characterization shines, and readers will appreciate getting to know each character thoroughly. Main character Fred is drawn with a subtlety that matches his strong, reserved, and cautiously hopeful nature, and Natan writes all of her other characters with the same depth and sense of realism. The villains of the story are quietly malevolent in varying degrees. Natan draws their individual motives clearly while also maintaining a sense of humanity for some that adds clarity to their actions.

As crimes and mysteries continue to pop up all around him, Fred doggedly pursues a new life, rebuilding everything from his home to his heart, and readers will cheer on a budding romance. Natan’s protagonist is reserved and sympathetic without being stagnant or dull, and readers will surely root for his exoneration and future.

-Foreword Clarion Review

About the Author

Rene Natan (aka Irene Gargantini), is a professor of computer science who, close to her retirement, decided to revert to the passion of her youth: story telling. She took several e-courses on fiction and then jumped into writing with the enthusiasm of a novice. She has about a hundred scientific papers to her credit and has received four awards in science; two from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (25 Years of Excellence in Research and Recognition to Contributing to Canadian Research) and two from the IBM Centre for Advanced Studies: Contributing to Canadian Research and Pioneer of Computing in Canada. She has authored seven novels, seven short stories and co-authored a novella. Her genres vary from romantic suspense to thrillers with romantic interludes. Here are a few snapshots of her tales. Novels — The Collage, a 2004-best seller of Creative Guy Publishing, is a story of a young heiress caught in a web of lies and violence; Operation Woman in Black, a release dedicated to all parents of disabled children, portraits the struggle of a man who has to share every minute of his day between police work and the parenting of a handicapped teenage daughter. Cross of Sapphires describes the inner turmoil of a man of the law in love with a fugitive accused of a horrendous crime. Mountains of Dawn brings to life the distress of an orphan with no roots and no place to go. The protagonist of The Jungfrau Watch (a political thriller) has the tormented soul of a man whose political belief has been destroyed, and whose motherland, Russia, has been precipitated into chaos while his life floats in an absolute vacuum. The Red Manor is about family bonds that stretch over two continents and where love overcomes both greed and cleverly engineered criminal plots. In The Blackpox Threat (2010) Tamara Smith—her country threatened by a deadly epidemic—moves from her comfort zone to a world filled with deception and treachery. Natan was a finalist of the 2011 National Indie Excellence Award for The Blackpox Threat. Novella — In Fire Underneath the Ice (co-authored by Sharon Crawford) stockbroker Michael Hamming wants to revenge against the daughter of his nemesis, but ends up falling in love with her. Set during the financial crisis of 2008, Michael Hamming neglects to take care of his company in order to save his kidnapped love. Rene Natan makes her home in Strathroy, Ontario. Visit her at or contact her at

Product details

  • File Size: 1882 KB
  • Print Length: 341 pages
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,325,911 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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on October 16, 2016
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