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.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Black Hats by Patrick Culhane

A few years ago I enjoyed seeing Max Allan Collins at Once Upon a Crime bookstore in Minneapolis. The event inspired me to read Black Hats.
42. - 452.) Black Hats by Patrick Culhane – When Sharon and I were in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago we went to the Once Upon a Crime bookstore to see Max Allan Collins talk about writing. He wrote this book under his pseudynom. Collins writes mysteries (alone and with collaborators who include his wife and under the pseudynom), screenplays, graphic novels (Road to Perdition) and comic books. He is also a move director. He said he can write a novel in 2-3 weeks when he starts actually writing. He said he did not know how many books he had written.
I was captured by the premise of the book – aging Wyatt Earp confronting Al Capone in 1920 in New York. I had never realized that Earp lived until 1929. In the book he goes to New York to help Doc Holliday’s son, Johnny, who is operating one of the first speakeasies. Johnny has been threatened by the Italian gang of which Capone is a member. In New York Earp joins up with Bat Masterson who in fiction and real life became an early 20th Century sportswriter in New York. The spoken language has a convincing Western flavor. The story is well done. It does not have the many twists of some stories. The violence is limited. Earp is no saint but he is a hero. It was a satisfying honest story. It may be one of the year’s most interesting because of its historical theme. Paperback. (Oct. 12/08)


  1. Bill - What an interesting premise for a novel! Thanks for sharing this. I like the historical aspect as well as the main plot idea. I'm glad you found it enjoyable.

  2. Great concept for a novel, like you that would make me want to read it. The writer sounds fascinating.

  3. Margot: Thanks for the comment. It was a very clever premise.

  4. Moira: Thanks for the comment. Collins is both an excellent writer and a movie director.

  5. I have been wanting to read some books by Max Allan Collins for a long time but haven't gotten around to it. Hope to get to one soon. I don't know how he writes so much. Even working with other people sometimes.

  6. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. When I heard him at the bookstore he spoke of writing a book in a month or so once he has it clear what the plot will be. Once he starts writing he barrels along.