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.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva

33. – 496.) The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva – Gabriel Allon, Israeli super secret agent and art restorer, is caught up in the kidnapping of the daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Great Britain by the Sword of Allah (a radical Islamist organization headquartered in Egypt). Allon pursues leads to the kidnappers through Europe. When the kidnappers demand the release of a leader in American prison or they will kill her in a week the pace of the plot accelerates. Allon and his fellow Israelis are willing to torture and kill to defeat the terrorist plot. Both Israel and the U.S. support the Mubarak regime in Egypt which features extreme amounts of torture against Islamists to preserve the regime. The twists are better than most thrillers. It is not the comic book unbelievable violence of most current movies. The book explores radical Islam in an increasingly secular Western Europe. I had never heard Londonistan before this book. The terrorists are willing to kill the innocent as are the allies of the heroes. The book recognizes that using torture perpetuates terror but is still willing to use torture. It follows the classic belief that torture applied immediately with credible consequences can produce important intelligence. It does not recognize the risk of false or misleading information from torture. It is a smooth compelling thriller with an underlying political discussion. (Aug. 22/09)


  1. Bill - Thanks for this thoughtful review. I agree with you that this book raises really important questions about the value of torture as an intelligence-gathering tactic. And in my opinion, it does so in a way that goes much deeper than a "stereotypical" (if there is such a thing) thriller. Silva does an effective job in my opinion of creating characters, plot twists and larger questions that go far beyond what we too often see in a lot of thrillers. I'm glad you thought this was a good read.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the insightful comment. The Torture Team by Phillipe Sands is a non-fiction book chronicling how America went into and out of approved torture.