Going to Beautiful, by Anthony Bidulka (Stonehouse): Selected by The Rap Sheet’s Jim Napier

Toronto, Ontario: celebrity chef, author, and restaurateur Jake Hardy, together with his husband, successful fashion designer Eddie Kravets, are living a dream life. Comfortably ensconced in spacious digs on the top floor of a fashionable apartment building, they go from success to success, pausing only to realize just how fortunate they are.

But even dreams aren’t perfect. In one morning’s early hours, Jake is awakened abruptly by the police, who break the news that his partner’s body has been found on the ground just below their balcony. Eddie Kravets is dead.

Over the weeks that follow, Jake and the closest of those around him wrestle with a toxic mix of well-meaning sympathizers, nosy gawkers, and online gossip-mongers, all of them having the effect of ripping a bandage off the fresh wound that is now Jake’s daily reality. He finds only a tiny measure of solace in sifting through Eddie’s left-behind things. Ever the planner, Eddie had made a list of places he wanted his ashes spread. They include, enigmatically, the single word Beautiful. Further searching reveals that the word in not simply a placeholder, but an actual place in rural Saskatchewan.

Determined to honor Eddie’s final wishes, Jake begins his odyssey. He will discover along the way that, far from living up to its name, the small prairie town of Beautiful harbors more than its fair share of dark secrets—and more than one murderer.

With its richly textured and layered plot, nuanced characters, and sometimes brooding environment, Going to Beautiful moves between being a lyrical celebration of life and an unflinching exploration of the dark recesses of twisted souls. It offers an inventive and evocative journey that will keep you enthralled throughout. If you’ve never before encountered the work of Anthony Bidulka, creator of the Russell Quant private-eye series and a multiple winner of both the Arthur Ellis and Lambda Literary awards, you’re in for a real treat.

See full list of The Rap Sheet favorites for 2022 at: http://new.deadlypleasures.com/2022/12/23/the-rap-sheet-best-of-2022/