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“[Vintage Canada publisher Marion] Garner… is touting Scott Thornley’s Erasing Memory… as the most promising crime fiction debut in her stable.”

Quill & Quire


“The Ambitious City is built around a topical, layered storyline… and firmly anchored in nuanced characters and assured writing. It’s always a bonus for a reviewer to be able to confirm that a major new crime-writing talent has emerged, and Scott Thornley is just that. The Ambitious City… confirms Thornley’s growing mastery of the genre.”

Jim Napier

“The Ambitious City delivers exciting storytelling with every turn of the page. Action, plot, dialogue and setting: Each element is developed, provoked and stimulated by one of the finest new mystery characters on the Canadian horizon.

Hamilton author Scott Thornley gives us Detective Superintendent MacNeice, a singularly pensive, acidly frank policeman with dashes of devious humour … a man in touch with who he is.

If you enjoy Canadian detectives like Lousie Penny’s Gamache or Barbara Fradkin’s Green, you’ll want more of MacNeice and his first-rate supporting cast.

The locals know about the “concrete shoe” graveyard in Dundurn harbour. But dredging for a new project produces bodies and a drowned Packard all linked to an area biker gang, local competing concrete suppliers and a frustrated, yesterday’s hockey player.

Lots of wannabe mystery novels boast good ingredients; fewer manage to fashion a story from them. Writers like Thornley spin a web that makes mystery reading a passion. In The Ambitious City, MacNeice and Dundurn (Hamilton) have arrived. Don’t miss it.”

Don Graves, Hamilton Spectator

“Hamilton writer Scott Thornley’s homicide detective MacNeice is still struggling in the wake of his wife’s death, and his state of mind is not improved when he takes on the case of a particularly vicious murder of a beautiful young female violinist. Her body, clothed in a formal evening gown, is found in a deserted lake cottage with a Schubert sonata playing on a turntable. Thornley’s accomplished first novel introduces us not only to MacNeice but to two young cops he is mentoring — one a young Muslim woman called Fiza Aziz who hails from Lebanon and an Italian-Canadian called Michael Vertesi. As the trio set to work to uncover the mystery of who killed the girl, the trail leads to some ancient Eastern European grievances, and a history of revenge and misery. Let’s hear more from this talented new voice. (Random House)”

Joan Barfoot, Toronto Sun, March 11, 2012

“Beginning with a murder unlike any you’ve ever imagined, or would want to, Scott Thornley spins a gripping tale whose heroes and villains are equally and refreshingly human.”

Howard Shrier, author of Buffalo Jump (Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel) and High Chicago (Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel)

“Scott Thornley leads with his heart and reads like ripping silk. Erasing Memory is an intricate, deeply satisfying book that opens the door wide for a new and wonderful writer.”

David Young, Novelist, playwright, screenwriter, long time editor at the Coach House Press, Founding Director of the Writer’s Trust and Founding Trustee of the Griffin Prize for Excellence in Poetry. Among his many accomplishments are the plays Fire, Inexpressible Island and Glenn.

“For crime fiction junkies, Scott Thornley’s first novel, Erasing Memory, a beautifully written police procedural set in a fictional version of Hamilton, just whets our appetite for more. Our hero, senior homicide detective MacNeice, a literate and complex man, who may remind the reader of Peter Robinson’s beloved Inspector Banks, runs an interesting team of investigators dealing with a truly weird murder. Please tell me this is the first of a series.”

Stevie Cameron, author of On the Farm: Robert William Pickton and the Tragic Story of Vancouver’s Missing Women