Tone Dead

Loved it! 😍 – Rachel Deeming, Reedsy Discovery 

A murder mystery, lightly told with the deft hand of Sydney Preston, which is big on character and well-plotted.

“I love murder mysteries like this. They don’t tax you too much with their grittiness as it’s all about the investigation and getting to the truth of the mystery and you usually have a capable and likeable detective/policeman/investigator to hold your hand as you follow them through their discoveries as well as getting an insight into who they are as a person.

And that is exactly what you get with Sydney Preston’s Tone Dead: a light murder mystery which unfolds on beautiful Vancouver Island in the safe hands of Jimmy Tan, dependable and determined to seek out the truth by doggedly using all his powers of detection to unearth the killer.

What I really like about mysteries which are set in small communities is the sense that you get of the atmosphere within them, created by the full spectrum of people who make them what they are . . . Preston has created a range of characters in this novel, just enough for the Britannia Bay community to feel whole and just short of making too many for it to be confusing.

Most importantly, I liked her protagonist, Jimmy, and his wife, Ariel and the relationship that Preston creates between them with their two cats and their cozy, comfortable life.

In fact, there was nothing that I didn’t like about this novel. For me, books like Tone Dead are a delight as they provide you with a good story that you can enjoy, characters to whom you can warm, action and plot which is not transparent and is revealed at a pace which is steady, keeping enough mystery to tempt but not frustrate and the occasional twist which surprises – a thoroughly satisfying read.”


From Goodreads:

It was an unforgettable reading experience that kept me guessing till the end, only to have a completely different outcome unfold. It is truly a book that throws reasoning out the window.

– Jonathan Huffman

The story’s pacing was ideal for building suspense over who might be the murderer, as the formerly idyllic community became a breeding ground for suspicion and distrust among its inhabitants.

-Enzo Bush

Initially, I mistook the novel for a normal mystery thriller, but I was mistaken because the plot proved time and again to keep me guessing about all the various outcomes of the narrative.

-Trevor Khan

The moment where the detective found a link between the deceased and his prime suspect had me jittery as [I] thought that it was the piece of the puzzle to solve the case.

-Junior Cox

The most realistic scenario in the novel is police enforcement’s easygoing attitude toward viewing the tragedy as a natural occurrence, as no one wants to jump to the conclusion that there is a serial killer among the public.

-Javion Lamb

As the mystery began to unwind with clues being revealed, I was filled with excitement to read to the end of the book to find out the truth, and what can be share is that it was an unexpected twist.

-Steve Lopez


Too Late for Redemption

I loved the book, and I’m a harsh critic.  The first 40 pages seemed slow to me but I’m happy I persisted as it was a marvellous story.  Of course, the many [local] landmarks and events were delicious to discover.  You had me running to the dictionary a number of times and I’m impressed with your wonderful vocabulary.  All in all, a lovely read.  Congratulations and can’t wait to read “Tone Dead.”

– Ruth Findlay

Love the main characters and hope they continue into your next book. I would find it helpful to have a list of the names of the characters and their positions at the front of the book. Enjoyed the storyline and the setting, especially as I recognized Britannia Bay as our community. A well thought-out murder mystery and a very enjoyable first novel.  Congratulations.

– June Hansen

“Too Late for Redemption” is an intriguing tale of murder and mayhem set in beautiful British Columbia.  Many characters come and go as the two principal detectives, Jimmy and Ray, wrestle with an exasperating attempt to track down an unexpected and illusive murderer.  This labyrinthine story is written in an easy-to-read style that is a pleasure to explore

-Dianne Kennedy

I really enjoyed it. I have never read a murder mystery. I don’t even read fiction. I also don’t ever watch crime dramas or the like in movies or on TV. I was surprised to get so drawn in to the plot and I guess that’s a sign of a good author!

– Noella Pertch

Once I started it, I kept reading! I went to the mall, but decided to just read a bit more in the car. I stayed there for two hours! Then I realized that I was hot, so I went in the mall. I might have died out there in my car because of that book! In the mall, I sat at Waves and read while I had a cup of coffee. Then I had a second cup of coffee so I could read more! I did my stuff at London Drugs and came home. I put the book on the counter between the sink and the cupboards and I rested on my elbows and read more, and more, and more! I think I may have grabbed a little something to eat and then I kept reading. I thought it was probably time for bed, so I looked at the clock and it was past 3 AM! I decided to get to bed, but I had read up to Chapter 40, almost non-stop! I loved the characters, and I loved that the two main detectives loved their wives and didn’t play around on them!

– LaVernne Miller

I just finished your book the other week while I was on vacation.  I enjoyed it, You’ve set it up nicely for a second book by developing some of your main characters like Jimmy and Ray.  I don’t know whether I was satisfied with the ending or not, in terms of “who dunnit”.  Can’t decide what an alternative ending would/should have been though.  Definitely a fantastic first effort!!!

– Linda Sheldon

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and even more so during a second read – it was a mystery full of intrigue without frightening the reader. The characters were delightful – all except the Berdahl family of course, for whom I couldn’t conjure up the slightest empathy, and yet did feel for the troubled suspect.

The varied ethnicity of the characters was very well done and mostly, I enjoyed the many bits of humour. Swayve and deboner took me back to my high school days when that was a commonly deliberate pronunciation faux pas. Incorporating numerous community events into the story that mirror many that are proudly held within our exquisite town of Qualicum Beach, as well as the Lower Mainland, was fun to visualize.

Even though the premise of the book was murder, the writing style was engagingly delightful. I look forward to more of Sydney’s Britannia Bay Mystery series.

– Jennifer L Fleming

I really enjoyed reading this novel – very interesting characters and the plot kept me guessing all the way through.

-Joan Bryan

I really did love this book. [Got] a few chuckles too. A very enjoyable read. Looking forward to the next in your series.

-Laurel Barclay

I am really enjoying your book. I find your writing style very engaging and I look forward to the sequel.

-Linda Gray

This book kept me totally motivated until the very last page. Looking forward to the sequel.

-D. Dussault

I started reading Too Late for Redemption too late yesterday evening and only put it down at 2 AM when my eyes failed me. Coffee is poured, my daily email to my Mom is sent, and thanks to you I am settled into my favourite reading chair for the rest of the morning.

-S. Tait

I just finished reading your book. I am a very slow reader, but it did move along quite fast. I really enjoyed it. I think it was great! I remember when Too Late for Redemption was first released, you said it was more of a woman’s book and men may not enjoy it. This one is definitely open to men and for people who don’t know the locale of Britannia Bay. This one seems to go right to the point which is exciting. I give it two thumbs up. Now that we have seen your versatility, I hope Number 3 isn’t too far behind.

-Noella Pertch

I loved Tone Dead. Honestly think I liked it better than Too Late for Redemption. Very engaging, couldn’t put it down. You have a wonderful easy going style to your writing. It is light reading yet very compelling. Thank you for the hours of enjoyment. Looking forward to the sequel.

-Laurel Barclay

I finished your second book a couple of days ago and am pleased to report that I enjoyed both of them. You are a good writer. Both books had good plots and characters, they didn’t drag at any point and kept me interested all the way through. Keep up the good work.

-Tom Spicer

I was reading your book last night and didn’t realize it was 10 to 3:00! There are so many things I like about reading your books – the names you choose, how you describe the natural world, and observe people’s reactions. You must have watched people all your life! And of course, all the musical references. I don’t want the book to end!

-Neysa Wiens