About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

“Z” is for Mark Richard Zubro

The end of the alphabet has been reached this week in the 2012 Alphabet in Crime Fiction meme hosted by Kerrie Smith at Mysteries in Paradise. I am concluding 26 weeks of author profiles with “Z” is for Mark Richard Zubro.

The American author was a Grade 8 English teacher at Summit Hill Jr. High in Frankfort, Illinois. He has been president of the teachers union.

He lives in the Chicago suburb of Mokena.
At the kareenacolcroft website there is an interview between Zubro and his character Tom Mason from the Tom and Scott series. In the mysteries Tom is a high school teacher and Scott a professional baseball player. In the interview Zubro and Tom discuss Zubro’s mysteries delving into gay issues.

Tom: But isn’t the mystery genre limiting? How can those kinds of books be socio-political?

Zubro: A writer is only limited by his or her imagination. I set out to do some very specific things with my characters. I knew I was going to have happy, loving gay people as protagonists. Talk about socio-political! There is a significant portion of the population who are angry simply because gay people exist. Then if we dare to present ourselves as happy, we might as well have announced the wend of western civilization and/or the destruction of the planet. Writing anything with gay characters is socio-political simply because it exists. Remember, the first book in the series, A Simple Suburban Murder, came out in 1989, when you could the number of happy, openly gay characters in print and on screen on one hand.

The topics include the decision on whether to come out and the challenges of coming out. In a shift from my usual approach I will include some comments of Zubro on these topics which are featured in his book, The Truth Can Get You Killed, which features Chicago gay detective, Paul Turner. I will post a review of the book on Tuesday.  

Tom: How many team sport athletes are out at the professional level? And the ones who came out after their playing days are over don’t count.

Zubro: People make arguments about dangers to their careers. I’m out in my life. I’m afraid I become far more judgmental about their decisions than I have a right to be.

Tom: Something as mundane as coming out can be such a plot point?

Zubro: What planet are you on? Sure, coming out is reasonably easy for you. You’re a saint about the whole thing. In the real world it is never that simple. Coming out, as you well know, is a life-long process. Unfortunately, even in this day and age it can be an issue.

The Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books provided some information on the retired Zubro and summarizes who is at risk in his books:
He retired from teaching in 2006 and now spends his time reading, writing, napping, and eating chocolate
One of the keys in Zubro’s mysteries is you do not want to be a person who is racist, sexist, homophobic, or a school administrator. If you are any oh those, it is likely you are the corpse, or t the least, it can be fairly well guaranteed that bad things will happen to you by the end. And if in Zubro’s books you happen to be a Republican and/or against workers’ rights, it would be far better if you did not make a habit of broadcasting this. If you did you’re quite likely to be a suspect, or worse.


  1. Bill - I'm very glad you featured Zubro. I like his books quite a lot. I very much like the Chicago setting he uses and I do like his characters. If you haven't truied his Paul Turner/Buck Fenwick series I recommend that one as well as his Tom Mason/Scott Carpenter stories.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I will be putting up a review on Tuesday of Paul Turner in The Truth Can Get You Killed.

  3. A new author for me, thanks Bill definitely sounds worth pursuing. And congrats on finishing the alphabet!

  4. Sergio: Thanks for the kind words. I hope you get to read Zubro.

  5. This author sounds very interesting. I will add him to my list of possibilities.

  6. Tracy: Thank you for the comment. I think you would enjoy Zubro.