Fiction - Suspense
322 Pages
Reviewed on 08/27/2013
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Joan Mauch has a varied background ranging from teaching and working for nonprofit organizations advocating for the poor, to a career in marketing and public relations. Over the years, her nonfiction has appeared in a wide variety of publications. Joan has been composing fiction for over a decade. She works as a proofreader at the Moline Dispatch/Rock Island Argus newspapers in Moline, Illinois. Joan has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a master's in urban studies. Her son, Benjamin is a photojournalist with FOX News in Tampa, Florida. Joan's second novel, "The Mangled Spoon" will be published April 2014 by Whiskey Creek Press.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite

Ellie is a 40-year-old school cafeteria worker who believes she will never live the life she wants. She’ll always be plain and she’ll never be as great as her wonderfully beautiful and perfect sister, Carrie, no matter what she does. At least that’s what her overbearing harpy of a mother relishes telling her, despite the fact that it is Ellie who lives at home and takes care of her.

Halifax truly begins when a gunman opens fire at a park, taking aim at young kids. Ellie summons strength and courage even she didn't know she possessed and strikes the man down with his own gun. She is a hero and enjoys the spotlight, but still has trouble getting over witnessing one of young boys, Sammy, being gunned down. Joan Mauch does a splendid job of painting the picture of Ellie’s life and just how disconnected she feels towards her mother and sister.

The way Joan Mauch illustrates the progression of Ellie’s anger in the aftermath of the shooting is brilliant. She highlights the changes to come within Ellie as she imagines herself performing brutal acts of violence on her mother, her sister, and her “ill-behaved brats” and even a general killing spree. Her thoughts darken the more she allows herself to put up with the abuse from those around her. She realizes the only way to avoid succumbing to these dark thoughts is to flee her hometown of Hummerly. After trotting around for a few days, Ellie makes her way to Halifax. In Halifax, Ellie comes to life which includes a healthy dose of friendship, love, a lost virginity, and even the sting of betrayal.

Halifax is a well-written novel that proves it’s never too late to start living your life and becoming the person you want to be…just ask Ellie!

Alyson Sousa

Travel to Halifax with Joan Mauch. September 1, 2013

Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
With Joan Mauch as your travel guide, you'll see a different side of Nova Scotia: the dark side. Following heroine Ellie Hurley's sightseeing itinerary,I raced through this fast paced read.The author pauses here and there, to describe some of the locations worth visiting and set the mood for Ellie's adventure. Otherwise, the plot speeds along like a race car heading down a narrow, winding road on the side of a steep mountain.
Emotionally abused by her family, stuck in a job where no one respects her, Ellie's transformation begins when she shoots a mass murderer and becomes a hero. As a result of this traumatic event, she struggles with a growing temptation to use violence as an effective way to solve problems. Because she's afraid she'll strangle her annoying mother or self absorbed sister, Ellie eventually packs up her car and leaves town, heading North. Like Cinderella, she finds romance and adventure. Unlike Cinderella, she also finds sex and violence. Load this ebook into your Kindle and you'll be staying up past midnight just to find out what happens next.

Pamela Briggs

Kept me up past midnight--and worth it! April 13, 2013

I am very picky when it comes to fiction. If it doesn't grab me, I stop reading. "Halifax" kept me up till the wee hours, and I finished it in two nights.

Eleanor is thrown into a tough situation where she shines, and after many years of degradation and fear starts to realize she can be more than she has been. I loved this story of a woman coming into her own power. I'm very much looking forward to Ms. Mauch's next novel.

Andy Leheny

Mauch Mystery Keeps Reader Guessing April 22, 2013

Halifax, a novel by Iowan author Joan Mauch, presents a mystery with a unique premise. In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, Halifax examines how one's heroic action prevents a similar loss of life, and also, how that individual's own life changes by an instinctual act of courage.

Halifax, published by Whiskey Creek Press, is the story of Ellie Hurley, a meek, 40-year-old woman far more comfortable in the background of life, rather than as a featured player. Yet when Ellie witnesses a senseless loss of life it is her subsequent unexpected violent response that saves the lives of several children. But that necessity to embrace violence to save others also opens Ellie to the power, and danger, that her own capacity for violence may present.

One of the treasures of Halifax is its plotting. Mauch, who has balanced a career in marketing and public relations with mystery writing, has created in Halifax a novel in
which expected outcomes do not arrive, and no red herrings are offered to divert the reader.

Like Ellie, the other primary characters of Halifax are individuals who have been affected by violence in ways that have guided their lives, bringing each to Nova Scotia
for the unexpected resolution of Mauch's novel.

As novelist and short story writer Flannery O'Connor once shared "a good man is hard is find." A good mystery is equally as elusive. And as readers turn the pages of Halifax it is encouraging to know more mysteries by Joan Mauch are yet to come


Twist :), July 19, 2013

I read the book on my kindle and I loved it. I spoke with the author (my great-aunt)in the middle of my reading about how fun it is. It is a bit twisted but I enjoy the ending. Great and easy read!!

Sharonov "Lovestoread"

Page Turner, May 29, 2013

A friend sent me this book and said, please just read the first chapter. I did. Then I read the second, and before I knew it the book was over--I couldn't put it down! If you're in the mood for a page turner, this is absolutely the book you want. It's short (300+ pages), has a good story and is, for the most part, very well written.

The main character, Ellie, is a meek and downtrodden 40-hr-old woman whose life is dull, circumscribed and pretty miserable. She lives with a harridan of a mother who never misses a chance to put her down or to compare her with her very attractive older sister. Virtually everyone treats her like S*** . Then one day she saves a group of children from a gunman--by shooting him with his own gun (yes, it's written to be believable) and this opens up a whole new world of self-understanding and discovery. One discovery is that she might be fully capable of killing the people who are making her life miserable. This leads her to leave home and journey to...well, where do you think? The title of the book is "Halifax"! There she finds friendship, love, betrayal, has sex for the first time and almost kills again.

The descriptions of Halifax are wonderful and make me want to go there. The writing style is simple but not simplistic, and best of all it flows very well. I highly recommend this book.


Great read! March 18, 2013

I really enjoyed this novel by Joan Mauch! It kept my interest from the beginning to the surprise ending. I highly recommend it.

C. Sapp

"Halifax" February 16, 2013

Halifax is a worthwhile read. It kept my interest throughout the entire book. The twists and turns led to a very surprising ending. Loved it and would recommend it to anyone who likes mystery with a touch of romance.


Great read! February 14, 2013

Halifax is a great read. You immediately start rooting for the main character Ellie, which propels you through the book, wanting to know if she ever overcomes her inner demons. This suspenseful thriller entertains you through the twists and turns of Ellie's inner search for what makes her tick.

Miss Mauch's prose is lyrical and lays bear the human condition. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who wants to sit down to an intellectual read.

Michael McCarty, Horror A

HALIFAX is a hell of a book. January 8, 2013

HALIFAX by Joan Mauch is a sojourn of discovery spanning two countries from sunny Florida to eastern Canada. This is Joan Mauch's debut novel and she begins her novel writing with such an impressive piece of work. Highly, Highly recommended.

Sharon A Lecnar

What a great mystery! April 22, 2013

I could not put this book down. It keeps you guessing until the very end. I recommend it for anyone who likes great mysteries.