About Me

My photo
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, June 14, 2016

2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction Shortlist

Last month the American Bar Association Journal and the University of Alabama Law School announced the shortlist for the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.

The finalists are: 

1.) Allegiance by Kermit Roosevelt:

2.) Pleasantville by Attica Locke; and,

3.) Tom & Lucky and George & Cokey Flo by C. Joseph Greaves

The revised criteria do not allow repeat winners so John Grisham cannot win a third time and Michael Connelly, Paul Goldstein and Deborah Johnson cannot win a second award.

Of the trio I have read only Kermit Roosevelt. I read In the Shadow of the Law back in 2007 and included my review in a post I did for the letter "K" as part of Crime Fiction Alphabet meme for 2013 hosted by Kerrie Smith at her Mysteries in Paradise blog.

I thought it an excellent book that managed to combine "securitization of assets" and a death penalty case. I am looking forward to Allegiance which I can see by the cover will involve Japanese Americans during World War II.

The ABA Journal provided the following information on the selection committee:

     The panelists who will vote to select a winner from the group of
     finalists this year are Philip Beidler, author and professor at the
     University of Alabama; Helen Ellis, author of American
     Housewife; Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys; Rheta
     Grimsley Johnson, author, journalist and syndicated columnist;
     and Angela Johnson, author of Wind Flyers and Heaven.
Information about the finalists can be found on the ABA Journal website at http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/2016_harper_lee_prize_finalists

Once again readers of the Journal can help pick the winner by voting online at the Journal. The public, through the book attracting the most votes, effectively becomes a 6th voter whose vote is recognized as an equal vote to each of the selection committee members.

I am getting ready to read the books on the shortlist so I can post reviews and my selection for the Prize prior to the Award being presented in September.

The Prize will be presented on September 22 in Washington as a part of the Library of Congress National Book Festival.


  1. Pleasantville is excellent, one of my favorite books of the year so far. A lawyer is the hero, of course.

    1. Kathy D.: I am always up for the lawyer as hero.

  2. I like Attick Locke's work quite a lot, Bill, so I admit I'm biased. But still,l I do hope you'll like it. And I'm looking forward to your reviews of the other finalists, too.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I have several recommendations for Locke's book.

  3. Agree, lawyers as heroes. Reminds me of Grisham's A Time to Kill and then Sycamore Row, with several other books in-between.

    This goes back to my Perry Mason days as a teenager. But, as you say, in real life, few witnesses confess on the stand. But it made for great TV. I still remember those fantastic denouements with Raymond Burr.

    I think that's what started off the love of legal mysteries; that and the TV series "The Defenders" in my teen years.