Canaryville Bridge

An Urban Mystery

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
270 Pages
Reviewed on 10/27/2021
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Author Biography

Paul Terrazino is a writer whose published works include arts reviews and feature articles for the entertainment industry.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite

Canaryville Bridge: An Urban Mystery by Paul Terrazino is a unique, thoroughly engrossing mystery involving searching for a birth mother and DNA. Based on true events, amateur sleuth Paul Terrazino helps his wife on her quest to find her biological mother, but it isn't easy since her mother adopted her out to a Chicago orphanage, then disappeared into the streets. Sixty years later, Paul is now an older man, but DNA has entered the modern world of investigation and identification, and he learns how to dig into records of all kinds, from immigration to death. Quite the character, he's a drinker of Irish whiskey, and his road to solving the birth-mother mystery brings some sad times as well as happiness, humor, and exasperation.

With a talent for storytelling and a hand for building plot, character, and enriching details, Terrazino brings you a mystery that builds on another with twists and plot points you won't see coming. The author sets the scene gradually, letting you get to know the backstory and situations. Then, when you find yourself caring about the characters and situations, he introduces the mystery and suspense, and you are all-in, finding yourself sleuthing with them along the way. I love his phrasing and the touching language he uses at times, like when he describes how his wife had a medical hole in her heart and an emotional one from not knowing her birth mother and her origins. He also has a knack for playing with words, like finding "a needle in a needle stack." I like how he describes his wife's personality and background. Some authors let the character reveal itself, but I'm equally fond of it being spelled out for me.

Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was learning about DNA and finding a birth parent. I like the characters' commitment during the grueling search and the surprises in the plot along the way. For a good mystery that immerses you in a story about real-life characters with purpose and heart, be sure to put Canaryville Bridge by Paul Terrazino on your must-read list.

K.C. Finn

Canaryville Bridge is a work of fiction in the mystery genre. It is aimed at mature adult readers and was penned by Paul Terrazino. The book is inspired by the true story of author Paul Terrazino’s mission to find his wife’s birth mother. Paul must fumble his way through newly available technology such as DNA tracing and digital access to immigration records as a member of an older generation. In his race to find his wife’s birth mother, he’ll do everything in his power to answer the questions his wife has about her origins, but the solving of one mystery may lead to an even bigger one.

It’s a little hard to determine whether this book should have been placed in fiction or non-fiction, being so closely based on real-life events from the author’s life. Paul Terrazino’s willingness to depict himself as aging, clueless, and often a bit too keen to hit the whiskey is either a startlingly honest self-portrait or a masterclass in injecting humor into a serious subject matter. Whichever is the truth, the effect is the same; Paul is an everyman hero attempting to act the detective without any of the skills or resources that Holmes and Poirot enjoy. The highs of the investigation are higher due to how hard Paul fights for them, and the lows are lower due to just how much a wall feels like a wall to an amateur. Canaryville Bridge offers a lot of storytelling in its pages and uses its detective and his situation to bring the trappings of the mystery novel to a level that we readers can understand and connect with.

Susan Sewell

Following hunches and gut feelings, a husband searches for his wife's natural mother in the novel Canaryville Bridge (An Urban Mystery) by Paul Terrazino. Happily married, Paul decides he will make his wife's greatest desire come true, so he begins searching for her parents. Paul initiates the long and arduous journey by examining his wife's birth and baptismal certificates and visiting the orphanage that handled her adoption. Both of the documents have some odd discrepancies, and the orphanage is not very helpful. As he continues to seek answers, false leads and dead ends block his progress. Paul gradually accumulates bits and pieces of the puzzle that makes up his wife's mysterious history. After decades of searching, miles of footwork, DNA tests, hours at libraries and on computers, Paul believes he found her father and mother and their families. Has he finally found them? Will they want to meet his wife?

Canaryville Bridge by Paul Terrazino is a fictional account based on an authentic experience. The story records the step-by-step journey the main character, Paul Terrazino, goes on in his hunt for his wife's natural mother. The story realistically portrays the sweat and tears, failures and triumphs of those who seek to connect with estranged and long-lost family members experience. Because of its formatting and authentic feel, I didn't realize at first that the story was fiction. Those who like real-life stories founded on actual people and genuine circumstances will enjoy reading this book.