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.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

“Z” is for Outburst by R.D. Zimmerman

“Z” is for Outburst by R.D. Zimmerman (1998) – Todd Mills is famous in Minneapolis. Not only is he a very successful investigative journalist for WLAK television Todd is one of the city’s best known gay men.

Mysteriously called to the old Stone Arch bridge one night he searches for the anonymous caller who promised him the lead to a blackmail story. As a powerful mid-American thunderstorm crashes down Todd encounters another man who was also summoned to the bridge. Before they can talk another figure appears and shoots the handsome young man Todd has just met on the bridge. As Todd tries to make sense of the scene he dodges a shot and then is knocked unconscious by a falling sign. As he comes to his lover, police detective Steve Rawlins, charges to his side.

At the same time Kris Kenney, formerly known as Christopher Kenney, is coping with thoughts of her future. As a teenager she had lost her testicles in an accident. Later she makes the decision to change genders and is in the midst of the process. Only partly transgendered she finds herself neither a member of the gay nor straight world. She desperately wants to find love.

With Todd on the scene of a murder and even being shot at the producers at the station are in paroxysms of joy. They have an eye catching story that forces other news sources to reference WLAK.

When it turns out the murder victim was also gay the producers are even more excited. Todd is the lead story newscast after newscast.

There are tensions between Rawlins investigating the murder and Todd investigating the story of the murder. While they love each other they are equally passionate about their work.

Rawlins has another level of stress in his life as he is HIV positive. It is an era when he could be out on the force but not open about his HIV status.

Zimmerman does a good job of plausibly connecting Kris / Chris to the investigation.

The investigation requires Todd, Rawlins and Kris / Chris to all consider their sexual orientations and how they fit into current society. The investigation takes everyone into the world of the transgendered.

It is a good book and I am glad I read it. Were it not for needing a “Z” post to finish the Crime Fiction Alphabet meme hosted by Kerrie Smith at her blog, Mysteries in Paradise, I doubt I would have read the book.

I found myself forced to think about presumptions and assumptions in the murder of a gay man. (Oct. 1/13)


My connection to the book is the city of Minneapolis. I have traveled there numerous times over my adult years. Most recently, Sharon and I were there last January. It is quite easy to get a good deal on hotel rooms in Minneapolis in January.


  1. Bill - Yes, I can well imagine that Minneapolis in January is not an expensive or hard-to-arrange trip... As to the book, it sounds like a thought-provoking look at assumptions as well as a murder investigation. I'm glad you found it worth the read.

  2. Bill, this sounds like a very good book. I like books that make you think and challenge your own assumptions.

    Congratulations for getting to the end of the Crime Fiction Alphabet.

  3. Bill, congratulations on completion of a successful journey through the Crime Fiction Alphabet. I hope there'll be a round-up of the 26 books you read for this challenge.

    "Outburst" seems like an unusual crime story. I think writers are experimenting, qutie successfully, with both the characters and plots of their novels. The only books I have read about a gay man is LAPD detective Milo Sturgis in the Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman.

  4. Margot: Thanks for the comment. You should make a trip to Minnesota in January. It is a definite contrast to California.

    It has been a long time since I was as startled by the opening of a book as I was by Outburst.

  5. TracyK: Thanks for the kind words. I do not go looking to be challenged when reading crime fiction but appreciate but pushed to think when it happens.

  6. Prashant: Thanks for the congratulations. The crime fiction world has stretched to include all the types of people in the real world.