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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

2018 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction Shortlist

The shortlist for the 2018 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction has been announced by the University of Alabama and the American Bar Journal. From the 27 submitted entries the following books were chosen:

         1.) Exposed by Lisa Scottoline;
         2.) Proof by C.E. Tobisman;
         3.) Testimony by Scott Turow

What strikes me about the list that all of the titles consist of a single word. As lawyers often struggle with brevity I doubt they were chosen by lawyers.

I have not read any of the books on the shortlist. I have read several of Turow’s books. Some I thought brilliant. Others I considered average.

I had expected Turow’s book to be on the shortlist. It has done well in sales since publication. As well, from the trio of best know popular American legal fiction authors – Turow, John Grisham and Michael Connelly – he was the only one not to have won the Prize. As winners are no longer eligible it was a probability Turow would be on the shortlist with his latest book.

It has been 14 years since I read Scottoline’s book, Dead Ringer. I thought it a good book but have not read more of her legal fiction.

I am not familiar with C.E. Tobisman. A quick search disclosed that Cynthia E. Tobisman is an appellate lawyer with the California law firm of Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland. She has been listed in the Southern California Super Lawyers as an appellate lawyer for the past two years. For her writing career she states on her website that she is the “author of books, comics, screenplays and anything else fun”.

The judging panel for 2018 as set out in the University of Alabama press release is composed of:

        They are: Dr. Hilary Green, Assistant Professor History in the     
        Department of Gender and Race Studies at the University of
        Alabama; Jini Koh, Attorney and University of Alabama 
        School of Law Graduate; Tony Mauro, U.S. Supreme Court 
        correspondent for Law.com and The National Law Journal;
        and Sent Jeter Naslund, Author, Co-founder and former 
        Program Director of the Spalding University MFA in Writing.

As with the Award in recent years readers of the ABA Journal will form a 5th voter for the Award.

The Award will be presented again at the Library of Congress during the National Book Festival.

Following my reading practice I plan to read the shortlist and provide posts on each book and my thoughts on the winner.


  1. Thanks for this, Bill. I'm not surprised, either, that Turow's on the short list. It'll be very interesting to see which one wins. I look forward to your posts on the novels as you read them.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I wonder if it is an advantage or disadvantage for Ms. Tobisman to have only two books compared to the numerous books of the other two authors.

  3. Thanks for this list. I'm putting Scottline's book on library hold. I'll check out "Proof," and wait until I read a review of Turow's.

    1. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. You are a disciplined reader.