SUDBURY -- A northern-centric book publisher is out with its three latest offerings of 2020. Latitude 46 Publishing, based in Sudbury, has been holding virtual book launches for its latest offerings.

"It’s been OK but it’s not the same," said Heather Campbell of Latitude 46 Publishing. "It’s not the same as going to a restaurant or a bar and celebrating and having cake together and signing. That’s the one thing we’re missing, is the signing of books and being able to really connect with the author."

One of its offerings this fall is Ann Burke’s debut novel 'The Seventh Shot: On the Trail of Canada’s .22-Calibre Killer,' telling the story of Ronald West, an infamous Canadian murderer with ties to the north. Burke herself has a connection to the killer.

"We were in Grade 12 together and he wasn’t a particularly memorable character," said Burke over Zoom. "In fact, he was the type of person who sort of stayed back in the shadows. He came across as a very nervous sort of person, he had trouble with eye contact, with women at least."

Transfixed by the story

Laying out the long and complex story of the former Toronto police officer, Burke, who herself is a retired Sudbury-area journalist, was quickly transfixed by the story.

"It became quite addictive, the research -- the more I got into it, the more I’d want to know," said Burke. "So where it’s often described as a well-researched book, which surprised me at the time, I did spend a lot of time and research and the further I went, the further I found out. I probably could still find out more to this day!"

While she said she doesn’t have anything to compare it to, the launch of Burke’s book comes at a challenging time for the publishing industry.

"A lot of people think that everybody’s reading right now, and yes, people are reading, but how do they get the books,” said Campbell. "The distribution channels have been challenged. People can’t go into a bookstore and browse, so they have to go online and find their books -- and you can imagine how many books are online and how hard it is to find books."

While she sympathizes with the fact every bookseller is probably facing challenges, as an independent publisher, she’s imploring everyone to support local stores.

"I’m encouraging readers to go and find your independent bookseller out there," Campbell said. "It’s not that we don’t want to support Indigo, because they’re challenged as well, but we look at all the places that we can purchase books and support particularly local, but to support Canadian booksellers."

Latitude 46 Publishing is also releasing two other books.

Cobalt-based author Britt Griffin is out with the third and final instalment of her series, 'The Wintermen,' while North Bay’s Rod Carley's 'Kinmount' is out, as well.