John Schlarbaum

John Schlarbaum - Official Site of Scanner Publishing - Since 2005

Barry Jones' Cold Dinner

Barry Jones' Cold Dinner cover


trade paperback

pocket paperback

trade paperback

pocket paperback



In this town, nobody goes missing for long . . . Sooner or later, a body is found.

In March 1990, after kissing his wife and boys goodbye, Barry Jones departed his small town home and headed to work in the city.

He never arrived.

Now seven years later, in order to collect his life insurance, Cathy Jones is set to have the courts declare her absentee husband dead once and for all.

Enter P.I. Steve Cassidy – a man with a checkered past and looking for a second chance.

Hired by Global Insurance to take a fresh look at this cold case, Cassidy must try to uncover new clues to Jones’ disappearance. However, with the court date looming, there is precious little time to complete his investigation.

Steve Cassidy, a disgraced ex-cop with a broken soul, had his work cut out for him. He knew this time around, he had one final shot at redemption, and could blame no one but himself if he failed to solve his first big case.

Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner – Steve Cassidy Mystery
August 2008 – Windsor, ON.

A Delicious Mystery is Served Author publishes the first book of an exciting new P.I. series “An enthralling mystery all the way through, Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner is a finely crafted work of the genre, and a great choice for fans.”
– The Midwest Book Review–

The tagline on the cover of Canadian author John Schlarbaum’s new cold case mystery novel, Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner states, “You never know where you’ll find the truth . . . or where it will find you” – a reference to the trials and tribulations about to face the story’s main character. Billed as a Steve Cassidy Mystery, the storyline follows a troubled private investigator’s quest to locate the elusive Barry Jones, a family man who disappeared without a trace seven years earlier. With Mr. Jones’ wife petitioning the courts to declare her chronically absentee spouse dead, P.I. Cassidy is hired by her insurance company to determine the truth behind the mysterious vanishing act.

After working for years as a Private Investigator, the writer clearly knows his way around the field of insurance cases.

“I let the reader get inside the head of a P.I., as he methodically pieces together each clue one step at a time,” Schlarbaum states. “As in all cold case files, the investigator inevitably has to deal with the faulty memories of witnesses, and track down new leads, no matter how insignificant some appear on the surface. For all the dead ends Steve Cassidy pursues, usually a new avenue of inquiry is revealed along the way, propelling the storyline forward.”

Although the novel is a straightforward mystery, it is also a richly detailed account of one man’s journey to restore a sense of normalcy in his life. After years of substance abuse, a failed and dishonorable career as a cop, and a broken marriage, P.I. Cassidy finds himself back in his old hometown, which he had left many years earlier.

After writing the first chapter in a conventional third person narrative, Schlarbaum opted to try his hand at composing his mystery in a first person style, with the narrator being Steve Cassidy. “It permitted me to bring Steve’s true feelings to light,” Schlarbaum says, “and allowed the reader to connect with him in a more personal way. It also gives the reader an opportunity to figure what happened to Barry Jones in real-time, even before the main character does.”

Combining his love of writing, his P.I. experiences, and the chance to “virtually” revisit his own former small town life, was a rewarding experience for Schlarbaum, which shows in each chapter.

With a second Steve Cassidy Mystery in the works, the author believes Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner will be the beginning of a very popular series of books for years to come.

An enthralling mystery all the way through, Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner is a finely crafted work of the genre, and a great choice for fans.

– Midwest Book Review


Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner has sturdy traditional crime bones. Schlarbaum isn’t lacking in wit or an attractive protagonist.

– Sun Media


R.S.V.P Cold Dinner Reservation – Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner is more than just a novel in which characters chase down a mystery or run away from truth. It is a story that is both compelling as it is rewarding. There is something intriguing about the life style of a private investigator. The novel Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner quenches this hardly spoken about fascination. It allows a reader to immerse themselves into an under current of this world through private investigation. It also grants a real-to-life opportunity to revisit former friends and lovers through the lives of the characters. An opportunity most of us desire but only dream about as the chrisms of life unfold. Complimented by the triage of meeting John Schlarbaum in person, being intrigued by Schlarbaum’s Private Investigator background as inspiration to the formation of script, and living the life of a vitual Investigator Steve Cassidy couldn’t have been a more compatible relationship in this experience.

– Rachel James, Guelph, ON


Thoroughly Enjoyable! I like to consider myself a “Mystery-Reader Connoisseur”. Mystery novels are my favourite and I generally, almost always figure out “whodunit” before the end. It was with great joy that a bookstore opened in our community, and I was glad a PUBLISHED author was there to greet me. When he asked nonchalantly, “Have you read any Steve Cassidy novels?” my interest peaked.Who is this Steve Cassidy and can this John guy stump ME? So, with signed book in hand I went home and started to immerse myself in Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner. The small town of Delta with it’s zany cast of characters mirrors our own community. I really do like Steve, he is the guy we all know. The one in your family/friend circle who keeps making bad choices and yet always comes out on top. He is a funny, engaging character who you don’t want your sister, or best friend to date. (but if she did you’d want to know how he kisses!) I do have to admit that I did NOT figure out the ending! I did however, shed a few tears at the end. Way to go STEVE! Now with my signed copy of When Angels Fail to Fly I have given into Steve Cassidy. Who’d of thunk!

– Ena Monteleone, Amherstburg, ON


I’m not usually a fan of detective novels, but this book was recommended by a friend. I was immediately drawn into the story and finished it in only two nights. The cast of characters keeps you guessing “whodunit” right to the end, not to mention the question of what Steve is going to do about his love life. This was a great read!

– Jennifer Macleod, Amherstburg, ON


What a fabulous read!  I just couldn’t put it down. Right from the start, I ‘connected’ with the characters and found myself being ‘Steve’, the protagonist. Every time ‘Steve’ thought to himself about something, the linkage to the plot line became stronger. The characters are rich, with many angles and clearly have human emotions and reactions. The scenic descriptions are very effective as well. Enjoy, enjoy enjoy.

– Marshall Goodman, Toronto, ON


I finished Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner while I was on vacation in Antigua. Fantastic! Could not put it down. Look forward to the 2nd Steve Cassidy Mystery!

– Jay Shoemaker, Oakville, ON


I am usually an avoider of all sleuth type books, but I was amazed at how it captivated my attention. This book took me through a labyrinth of twists and turns and introduced me to a begrudgingly, likeable main character, who comes to terms (or not) with the dark corners of his past. Definitely worth reading.

– Rhonda Bentley, Windsor, ON


I throughly enjoyed this book. It was an easy read and I was able to really get into the characters. The tiny plot twists were great and there were areas that I just laughed out loud. Great job!

– Elizabeth Soares, Hamilton


Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner was one of the best books I’ve ever read. Could not put it down once I started reading it. Can’t wait for the next book.

– Tracy Desmarais, Windsor, ON


A perplexed mystery that leads the reader into various directions and assumptions. Sex, murder, deception, and intrigue. It had me hooked and I couldn’t let go until the very end at 2:00 a.m. this morning. Looking forward to Schlarbaum’s next novel.

– Adele Figliomeni, Shakespeare, ON


I thoroughly enjoyed Barry Jones Cold Dinner! Steve Cassidy is a complex, interesting character and I’m looking forward to reading more of his clever solutions to crimes. The word puzzle twist was innovative and the writing excellent – kept this reader turning the pages to see what happened next. Here’s to more Steve Cassidy stories!

– Persis Willis, London, ON


An extremely clever mystery! Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner is a compelling mosaic of intrigue, suspense, deception, and surprise. The thickening plot gives you no choice but to keep reading – you can’t put this one down! P.I. Steve Cassidy will sweep you off your feet with his burning desire to uncover the truth. Well worth the price of admission! I am eagerly awaiting Cassidy’s next adventure!

– Dianne Downie, West Lorne, ON


It was fun to try to anticipate the twists and turns in the plot. I look forward to reading another Steve Cassidy Mystery.

– Patti Hopper, Leamington, ON


Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner is a riveting story of suspense, love, and mystery. The characters are very well developed and add a level of depth to the plot, pulling the reader further into the story itself. Once I started reading I was captivated by the story and found I couldn’t put the book down. I needed to know what was going to happen next. I highly recommend this book to all readers and am anxiously awaiting for the sequel.

– Nicole Dupuis, Squamish, B.C.


What a great book-very easy reading. Keep up the great work John!

– Tammy Trace, Wasaga Beach, ON


My sister recommended this book to me, and I am very thankful that she did. It was really captivating and I couldn’t put it down. I cannot wait for a sequel. I definitely recommend it to anybody looking for a great book that will keep you interested until the end.

– Felicia De Marco, Windsor, ON


I quite enjoyed solving this mystery right along with Steve Cassidy. Engaging, real characters, and a very good story. Looking forward to the next one!

– Laura Borland, Amherstburg, ON


The twists and turns of Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner kept me up to the wee hours finishing the mystery. The characters were real and sprang off the pages. It was delightful having a story set in small-town Southern Ontario. Can’t wait for the sequel!

– Marilyn McPhail, Toronto


This book is an awesome book! Like some of my other favorites, this one was a page-turner and I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend this book for all readers.  – Kevin Jarvis, author of Personal Underworld


An absolute must-read! This book was a real page-turner. I could not put it down. I loved the way this book kept you in suspense wondering who did it. The characters were great and kept me interested throughout the whole book. I am recommending this book to my friends and I am looking forward to reading more mystery books by John Schlarbaum. A job well done!

– Divina De Marco, Windsor, ON


I usually read romance novels and was not sure how I would like this book. However, it captured my attention right away and continued throughout the book. It was an incredible story and very well written. Thanks, John, for making my Christmas vacation very enjoyable and relaxing.

– Wendy Davies, Windsor, ON


Steve Cassidy is a very engaging character. A cross between Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer and Gregory MacDonald’s Fletch! I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. Every page was an adventure leading to an exciting climax! I would recommend this novel to anyone.

– Jim Lintern, Oshawa, ON


I’ve never been much of a mystery reader. In fact, I initially only picked up Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner because the small town in the book was based on the town where I live. My interest in picking out recognizable streets and landmarks very quickly turned into interest in the mystery that was unfolding before me, and it wasn’t long before I found that I couldn’t put the book down! I have recommended the book to others, and I can’t wait to read the next one.

– Laura Wilkins, West Lorne, ON


Great reading and suspense! I enjoy these types of novels. What I liked about reading this book was What will happen next? The suspense had me wanting to read more and not put the book down. I read this book in 4 days and loved it. Looking forward to the next installment. I have recommended your book to my friends and they all loved it after reading it.

– Glenn Girard, Amherstburg, ON


We are all reading your book and Ted and I found it very, very good – couldn’t put it down. Keep up the good work and looking forward to reading your next one.

– Kathy and Ted Johnston, West Lorne, ON


An awesome, thrilling, suspenseful book. I could not put it down. Keep writing, John! I know you will be on the NY Times Best Seller list. I also loved The Doctor’s Bag. I have recommended both books to all my friends and family.

– Christine Foster, Stratford


Thoroughly enjoyed reading your book, looking forward to the next Steve Cassidy Mystery.”

– Nelson Tavares, Harrow, ON


This is a very good first novel and I am looking forward to see where the next book in the series goes. My favourite aspect about the book is knowing John Schlarbaum is a private investigator with a long knowledge of working for insurance companies. He writes from experience not research, where some other authors fall flat on the realities of the job.

– Edward Petrie, Woodstock, ON


My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book. It kept my interest totally and found I wanted to read all the detail, and did not want to miss anything because of all the twists. The descriptions made the imaginary town and people come to life, even their peculiarities. I always enjoy a good mystery.

– Susanne and Claude Ouimet, London, ON


I thoroughly enjoyed reading Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner. The characters and storyline captured my interest immediately! I am so excited to have a new Author to refer to my friends and look forward to your next novel.

– Dodi Harrison, Windsor, ON


John, I totally enjoyed your book, Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner. You are right up there with my favourites, John Grisham, Richard North Patterson, Sandra Brown and Catherine Coulter. Can’t wait for your sequel!

– G. Santo, Maidstone, ON


What a great book! Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner is excellent and very well written. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. The story’s twists and turns where unreal. I love murder mysteries and would give this book a “10” on a scale of 1 to 10. I can’t wait for book number four to come out. Keep up the good work!

– Sidonia Farkas Woolley West Lorne, ON


I just finished your book. Overall an excellent read – I really enjoyed it. This seems like a movie franchise to me.

– Simon Crawshaw, Dundas, ON


Great beginning and keeps the reader interested during the entire book! Full of comedy, suspense and action. I highly recommend Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner for anyone looking for an excellent new mystery.

– Phil Baker, Toronto, ON


Just finished Barry Jones – it’s fabulous! Very impressive for sure! It’s a really good mystery and I’m a BIG mystery reader! The characters were terrific – I felt like I knew them, and you’re really great at conversations too. Great job, John! Hurry up with the next one in the series!

– S. Fulmer, London, ON


“Humour, homecoming, old high school friends (and enemies), mayhem, and romance all work together in this mystery.”

~ Susan, Goodreads review


“I bought Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner from the Stratford Craft Show and I brought it with me when I moved out west. I just finished it and I wanted to tell you how much I loved it! I thought it was really well written and all of the little pieces of the mystery tied together nicely at the end. Congrats on a job well done  I look forward to buying the rest of the Steve Cassidy series!” ~ Jenny, Whistler, B.C.


“Hi John – I just finished reading ‘Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner’ and I must say, that it is one of the best books I have ever read. I couldn’t put it down and probably lost sleep over it. Move over James Patterson – you have competition!” ~ Mary-Lou Trombley, Windsor, ON.


“I am not one for mysteries but this story was fantastic and it held my attention from cover to cover. I could totally relate to Maria and Steve and their story, and I love the mix of romance and mystery!” ~ Nina, Windsor, ON.