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.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer

34. - 547.) The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer – It is the rarest of spy thrillers. At the heart of the plot is family. Milo Weaver has returned to being a Tourist after the drama of The Tourist. New superiors are testing him with minor assignments. His first major assignment is to kill a Moldovan teenage girl, Adriana Stanescu, whose family has emigrated to Germany. The assignment puzzles him. While Tourists do not analyze assignments he cannot understand the reason for killing her. As he considers the assignment he thinks about his 6 year old adopted daughter in New York. He eventually decides to kidnap rather than kill her and gives her to the safekeeping of his father, Yevgeny Primakov, a Russian employed in the U.N. At the same time a Ukranian defector claims there is a mole within the agency. His information is accurate but why would a Chinese spymaster trust a low level Ukranian spy. Then Adriana is killed. Weaver’s personal and professional lives are unraveling. He struggles to understand why she died and whether the agency is compromised. A complex game is being played involving American, German and Chinese intelligence agencies. Weaver wants to live an upright life with his wife and daughter but he remains caught up in the dark world of international espionage. On the book cover Stephen King described The Tourist as “best spy novel I’ve ever read that wasn’t written by John Le Carre”. While not as dramatic as The Tourist characters and agencies are explored more deeply. The ending is magnificent in drawing together the plot. The conclusion is not as bleak as Le Carre but it has the feel of his novels. Life does not go well for spies. A superb novel. (Aug. 29/10)

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