McClintock, Norah

views updated

McClintock, Norah


Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; married. Education: McGill University, B.A. (history); graduate study (medieval history). Hobbies and other interests: Reading, hiking, biking, long walks, cross-country skiing, going to the movies.


Home—Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Agent—Transatlantic Literary Agency, 72 Glengowan Rd., Toronto, Ontario M4N 1G4, Canada. E-mail—[email protected].


Mystery writer and editor. Centre for Philanthropy, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, former editor.


Crime Writers of Canada, Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers.

Awards, Honors

Arthur Ellis Awards for Best Juvenile Crime Novel, Crime Writers of Canada, 1995, for Mistaken Identity, 1997, for The Body in the Basement, 1998, for Sins of the Father, 2000, for Scared to Death, 2002, for Break and Enter; White Pine Award nomination, Ontario Library Association, 2000, for Over the Edge; Palmares Communication-Jeunesse award, 2001, for Cadavre au sous-sol (French translation of The Body in the Basement); Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice designation, 2003, for Break and Enter; White Pine Award nomination, Anthony Award nomination for Young-Adult Mystery, and Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award shortlist, all 2004, all for No Escape; Red Maple Award, Ontario Library Association, 2004, for Hit and Run; Red Maple Award nomination, 2005, for Dead and Gone.



End of the Line, RFP Publications (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1981.

Shakespeare and Legs, Scholastic Canada (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), 1987.

Sixty-four, Sixty-five (for children), McClelland & Stewart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1989.

The Stepfather Game, Scholastic Canada (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), 1990, revised and published as part of the "Chloe and Levesque" series as The Third Degree (also see below), 2005.

Jack's Back, Scholastic Canada (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), 1992.

Mistaken Identity, Scholastic Canada (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), 1995.

The Body in the Basement, Scholastic Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1997.

Sins of the Father, Scholastic Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1998.

Password: Murder, Scholastic Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1999.

Snitch (for young adults), Orca Book Publishers (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 2005.

Tell (for young adults), Orca Book Publishers (Custer, WA), 2006.

Seeing and Believing, Scholastic Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2006.

Bang, Orca Book Publishers (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 2007.

Author's works have been translated into French, Swedish, Norwegian, and German.


Over the Edge, Scholastic Canada (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

Double Cross, Scholastic Canada (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

Scared to Death, Scholastic Canada (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

Break and Enter, Scholastic Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

No Escape, Scholastic Canada (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

Not a Trace, Scholastic Canada (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2005.


Hit and Run, Scholastic Canada (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

Truth and Lies, Scholastic Canada (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2004.

Dead and Gone, Scholastic Canada (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2004.


Last Chance, Scholastic Canada (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2006.

You Can Run, Scholastic Canada (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2006.

Nothing to Lose, Scholastic Canada (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2007.

Out of the Cold, Scholastic Canada (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2007.


Body, Crime, Suspect: How a Murder Investigation Really Works, illustrated by Paul McCusker, Scholastic Canada (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

Editor with Rick Blechta) Dishes to Die For—Again: Crime Writers of Canada Put the Mystery Back into Good Cooking!, Crime Writers of Canada (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada), 2004.


Norah McClintock is a prolific writer of books for young adults, as well as a freelance editor, who lives in Toronto. A five-time winner of the Crime Writers of Canada award for Best Juvenile Crime Novel, she peoples her compelling storylines with likable teen characters who frequently find themselves involved in unusual and often challenging relationships. In addition to standalone thrillers such as Jack's Back, The Body in the Basement, and Password: Murder, McClintock has gained fans through her "Mike and Riel," "Chloe and Levesque," and "Robyn Hunter" mystery series. Noting that her "plots are complicated enough to keep readers in suspense," Resource Links reviewer Nadine d'Entremont added in an appraisal of the "Chloe and Levesque" novel Break and Enter that they are also "not so intricate that we are left scratching our heads wondering whether it all really works out." Combining an entertaining original story with the wealth of information she has learned while researching her novels, McClintock has also produced Body, Crime, Suspect: How a Murder Investigation Really Works. Consisting of a fictional story framed within the real-life workings of a crime-scene investigation, the book was praised by Resource Links contributor Eva Wilson as an engaging "presentation of nonfiction material" that also presents "useful career information."

In Mistaken Identity McClintock introduces sixteen-year-old Zanny Dugan, a girl who lives an isolated and peripatetic life under the care of her overprotective, single dad. A lengthy stay in the small town of Birk Falls seems to mean the end of their constant moves, that is until Zanny's father is found murdered. The constant family moves were done to shake whoever wanted her dad dead, the teen now realizes. But what if the killer is not finished yet? Another relationship between a teen and her father is at the center of The Body in the Basement, but this time Tasha Scanlan's dad is accused of murdering his wife, Tasha's mom. When the woman's body turns up in the basement of a demolished building five years after she disappeared, suspicion quickly turns to Tasha's dad. With the help of a friend, the teen must now work to prove her father's innocence, and her search for the truth leads her into her parents' past and ultimately into danger. In Resource Links, Margaret Mackey called The Body in the Basement an intriguing "pageturner" with a surprise ending in which McClintock weaves together "a competent mixture of mystery and romance."

Focusing on fifteen-year-old Mick Standish, Sins of the Father finds a teen forced to deal with his anger toward his alcoholic, recently paroled father, Dan. Deposited at his grandfather's house, Mick begins to suspect that, despite his father's poor track-record for honesty, the man may not have committed his worst offense after all. Now, should the teen attempt to help the parent who has caused him such emotional pain due to his negligence? In Password: Murder seventeen-year-old Harley Dankser suffers the loss of his dad in an auto accident in which Harley was driving. Feelings of guilt propel the teen into a mental hospital, where he attempts to deal with nightmares about the accident and his role in his father's death. Meanwhile, Harley's mom has remarried, and his new step dad is his real father's best friend. When Harley returns home to live with the newlyweds, he is haunted by new dreams, this time dreams hinting that the car accident was actually murder.

An easy-to-read young-adult novel, Snitch features two teens who face a moral quandary after they steal some money from a charity organization dedicated to AIDS research. While Scott wanted to give the money back, Josh did not, and now he finds himself forced to go to a dog-training program as a form of court-ordered rehabilitation. While working with the dogs tests Josh's patience, a tumultuous home life provides other

challenges. When Scott is beaten by someone wielding a club and Josh is framed for the violent attack, the teen must discover the identity of the real attacker and also learn to control the anger that has made him a convincing scapegoat for the crime. Noting that McClintock presents a realistic character dealing with anger-management issues in Snitch, Kliatt reviewer Lisa M. Carlson added that the novel's troubled teen "protagonist is well developed." Noting that Snitch would be a good choice for reluctant readers—particularly boys—Resource Links reviewer Leslie L. Kennedy went on to praise the novel as "a darn good read from a very talented writer." Reviewing another easy-reading novel by McClintock, Kliatt critic Sherri Forgash praised Tell as "a well-written, compelling story" that brings to life "a complicated family relationship." Citing the novel's intriguing plotline about a young poker player and his efforts to discover his stepfather's killer, Linda Aksomitis wrote in Resource Links that McClintock's "resolution is a strong one that brings the novel full circle without moralizing."

McClintock's "Chloe and Levesque" novel series includes the books Over the Edge, Double Cross, Scared to Death, Break and Enter, No Escape, and Not a Trace. Readers meet Chloe Yan in Over the Edge, which finds the teen dealing with a new stepfather and problems over fitting in at the high school in the suburban community where she and her parents now live. Chloe is struggling on both fronts: her stepdad, Louis Levesque, has not only forced the move from Montreal to East Hastings; he is also the chief of police. Fortunately, the teen has found a new group of friends as well as a boyfriend in football star Thomas Rennie. When Levesque asks her to help him in the investigation surrounding the suspicious death of Peter, one of Chloe's classmates, the girl soon discovers that her new friends are not what they appear. In Double Cross Chloe sides with an unpopular fellow student who is trying to clear his father of accusations of murder, while in Scared to Death she realizes that her best friend, Ross, is a suspect in the mysterious death of a woman who had come to Chloe for help only days before. More corpses pop

up in Break and Enter, while in No Escape the teen begins to doubt the violent nature of Caleb, a man who has recently returned to town after spending time in prison. When Levesque is shot and the evidence points to Caleb, Chloe takes it upon herself to clear Caleb's name. Noting that McClintock's mysteries are "excellent choices for … both avid … and reluctant readers," Brenda Dillan wrote in a Resource Links review of No Escape that the "engaging" series features a "strong [main] character who gets involved in some very interesting situations." Calling Over the Edge a "good combination of thriller and mystery," another Resource Links contributor maintained that McClintock's suspenseful plot leaves "lots for the reader to discover and think about."

Hit and Run, the first installment in the "Mike and Riel" series, introduces fifteen-year-old Mike, who is living with a disinterested uncle now that he mom is dead and his father has left the scene. While his mom's death had always been thought to be an accident, Mike's new teacher, an ex-cop named John Riel, begs to differ, and also takes Mike into his home as a foster son. A fellow student turns up dead and Mike becomes suspect number one in Truth and Lies, while an unsolved murder and the discovery of a hand-dug grave combine to turn Mike's world upside down in Dead and Gone. Praising McClintock's ability to create realistic characters, Joan Marshall noted in a Resource Links appraisal of Dead and Gone that Mike's "acute observations of the people around him and his witty, self-deprecating remarks, will keep young teens, especially boys, laughing in recognition."

The sixteen-year-old heroine in the "Robyn Hunter" series finds herself on the wrong side of the law in Last Chance, as Robyn is forced to do volunteer work at a local animal shelter. There she meets Nick, a troubled teen who is at the shelter working off his own misdemeanor. It seems that Nick has now added car theft and criminal negligence to his list of crimes, but Robyn is not so sure. Her investigation into Nick's background serves as the focus of a novel described by Resource Links reviewer Brendan White as "easy to read and hard to put down." Other books in the "Robyn Hunter" series include You Can Run, Nothing to Lose, and Out of the Cold. Admitting to being a fan of McClintock's many novels, Resource Links contributor Teresa Hughes wrote in her review of You Can Run: "The great thing about McClintock's books is that she writes about young teenagers who have real problems—separated parents, trouble with the law, challenges at school, peer problems, and weaves them into a mystery setting where they play a significant role in the outcome." You Can Run, Hughes added, "is no exception."

"Sometimes it takes as long to plan a book as it does to actually write it," McClintock explained on her home page in discussing her career as a crime novelist. "I try to stop myself from starting to write it until I know exactly how the story's going to end because, with a mys- tery, you can get off-track…. I spend the time beforehand asking ‘What's the crime that actually happened? Who actually did it? How did they do it? How did they manage not to get caught so far? Who are some of the other people who conceivably could have something to hide?’ … I make sure I have a crime that makes sense and somebody who has done it for a good reason and has managed so far to get away with it. Sometimes that's hard. People don't just go killing people willy-nilly. There has to be some logic to it."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Canadian Book Review Annual, 2000, review of Double Cross, p. 493; 2001, review of Body, Crime Suspect: How a Murder Investigation Really Works, p. 556.

Canadian Children's Literature, spring-summer, 2002, review of Password: Murder, Over the Edge, and Double Cross, pp. 105-106.

Emergency Librarian, March-April, 1993, Dave Jenkinson, interview with McClintock, pp. 66-69.

Kliatt, May, 2006, Lisa M. Carlson, review of Snitch, p. 21; November, 2006, Sherrie Forgash Ginsberg, review of Tell, p. 22.

Resource Links, June, 1998, review of Body in the Basement, p. 19; October, 2000, review of Over the Edge, p. 28; December, 2001, Eva Wilson, review of Body, Crime, Suspect, p. 27, and Betty McDougall, review of Scared to Death, p. 38; February, 2003, Nadine d'Etremont, review of Break and Enter, p. 42; June, 2003, Brenda Dillon, review of Hit and Run, p. 28; February, 2004, Brenda Dillon, review of No Escape, p. 36; April, 2004, Theresa Hughes, review of Truth and Lies, p. 40; February, 2005, Joan Marshall, review of Dead and Gone, p. 38; February, 2006, Leslie L. Kennedy, review of Snitch, p. 47; June, 2006, Brendan White, review of Last Chance, p. 26; October, 2006, Leslie L. Kennedy, review of Seeing and Believing, p. 36; December, 2006, Lisa Aksomtis, review of Tell, and Teresa Hughes, review of You Can Run, both p. 35.

School Library Journal, January, 2007, Sadie Mattox, review of Tell, p. 132.

Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 1992, review of The Stepfather, p. 33; February, 2006, Teri S. Lesesne, review of Snitch, p. 488.


Canadian Review of Materials, (December 1, 1995), Leslie Millar, review of Mistaken Identity; (February 27, 1998) Marsha Kaiserman, review of The Body in the Basement; (January 1, 1999) Valerie Nielsen, review of Sins of the Father; (January 21, 2000) Ruth Scales McMahon, review of Password: Murder; (November 17, 2000) Betsy Fraser, review of Over the Edge; (April 13, 2001) Betsy Fraser, review of Double Cross; (June 9, 2001) Dave Jenkinson, interview with McClintock; (June 22, 2001) Betsy Fraser, review of Scared to Death; (January 4, 2002) Julie Chychota, review of Body, Crime, Suspect.

Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers Web site, (April 17, 2007), "Norah McClintock."

Norah McClintock Home Page,˜nmbooks (April 17, 2007).

About this article

McClintock, Norah

Updated About content Print Article