A blog reviewing mystery books, with a listing of Saskatchewan mysteries, and a sprinkling of non-fiction books, especially history and biographies
- Bill Selnes
- 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, December 29, 2016
A Baseball Coming Out in Mystery Fiction
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Safe at Home by Alison Gordon
Setting the story firmly in Toronto is that
Opening Day is the Titans first game in a new stadium with a retractable roof. It is clearly modeled on the Skydome, now the Rogers Centre, which has been the home of the Toronto Blue Jays since 1989.
What does excite Henry is that she can resume her relationship with Staff Sgt. Andy Munro of Toronto Police Services. Putting the relationship on hold for two months while she was at spring training has been hard.
The joy of reunion is interrupted repeatedly as Munro is searching for a serial killer. Three boys have been taken and killed and sexually assaulted.
Munro is frustrated. The victims appear to be random choices. There is no way to protect a metro area with hundreds of thousands of young boys. Will they have to wait for more murders to gain enough information to find the killer?
Back at the ballpark Henry is writing about a transition at first base for the Titans when she gets a call from their outfielder Joe Kelsey.
The Titan player has decided to confide in her. Kelsey comes to her home with Sandy Montgomery. He startles Henry by telling her that he is gay and Montgomery is his lover. He wants Henry to write the story of his coming out to baseball and the rest of the world.
After confirming Kelsey understands the publicity storm that will erupt Henry is delighted to write the story. It will be a story that gets national and international attention. No active major leaguer has come out of the closet.
There is a degree of hesitancy as the day for publication approaches. There is as much apprehension as excitement for Henry.
The reaction to the story is mixed. Acceptance and tolerance and rejection are all present. In my next post I shall write further of the media story.
In an apt example of societal priorities Henry's story on Kelsey's coming out is given greater play on the front page of the paper than the story of the hunt for the serial killer.
Titan players and fans uncomfortable with Kelsey's story find the world has not changed because Kelsey is openly gay.
The book is well written. Not surprisingly Kelsey's coming out dominates the book. I read swiftly wanting to know how he was treated in a world of men not known for their sensitivity concerning sexual orientation.
The mystery was the weakest part of the book. It was not very mysterious. It is rare I can see the solution long before the end of the book. I appreciate it is not easy to have a credible character for the serial killer but there was not enough doubt about this killer. It might have been better to simply have identified the killer early on and made the plot about finding him.
Saturday, December 24, 2016
'Twas the Night Before Christmas for Bloggers Repeat
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a computer was stirring, not even a mouse
Mystery bloggers everywhere had inserted their flash drives with care;
In hopes St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The bloggers were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of new books danc’d in their heads.
And Sharon in the kitchen, and I in the den,
Had just settled from our computers for a long winter's nap -
When on my computer there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the monitor I flew like a flash,
Tore open Google, and avoided a crash,
The moon on the screen of new fallen snow,
Gave the luster of mid-day to the icons below;
When, what on the screen to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny bloggers,
With my little old computer driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his bloggers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call'd them by name;
"Now! Margot, now! Moira, now! John, now! Kerrie and Bernadette,
"On! Tracy, on! Prashant, on! Norman and Jose Ignacio;
To the top of the screen! To the top of the fire wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As letters before a computer storm fly,
And when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the cloud;
So up the computer screen they flew,
With the sleigh full of e-books - and St. Nicholas too;
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the speaker
The prancing and pawing of each little blogger.
As I drew back my head, and was spinning around,
Down St. Nicholas came with a bound:
He was dress'd all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnish'd with glitches and errors;
A bundle of e-books flung on his back,
And he look'd like a reader just opening his hard drive;
His eyes - how the pixels twinkled! His dimple; how merry,
His cheeks were like Apples, his nose like a cherry
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it floated over the screen like a wreath
He had a broad face, and a round little belly
That shook when he laugh'd like a bowl of jelly;
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laugh'd when I saw him in spite of myself;
A wink of his pixels and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And fill'd all the flash drives; then turn'd with a jerk
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a shake, up the screen he rose.
He sprung to his sleigh, to his bloggers gave a nod
And away they all flew right into the screen,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight -
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
- With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore
Merry Christmas to bloggers and readers around the world!!!!
Friday, December 23, 2016
Losing the Rule of Law in Mexican Drug Wars
Monday, December 19, 2016
Cartel by Don Winslow
The book was published 10 years after The Power of Dog in which Art “Killer” Keller battled Mexican drug lords, Adan and Raul Barrera, the leaders of the El Federacion in Mexico
Keller, half Mexican and half American, left the DEA at that time after decades of fighting drug dealers in Mexico. He has lost his soul and his marriage during that quest.
The horrors reach deep. Winslow fictionalizes the real life story of an 11 year becoming an assassin. In Cartel he is utilized by the Zetas (the drug organization formed from former members of Mexico's special forces).
Overall it is a compelling, if depressing story, of the impact of drug trafficking on Mexico. Cartel hammers home the war on drugs will fail as long as there are billions of dollars to be made in selling illegal drugs in America.
After an unflinching recounting of the wars the ending was somewhat disappointing. It approaches but not does quite become a conventional thriller conclusion. A finish appropriate to the rest of the book would have made it a great work but I doubt would have been accepted by a publisher.
If you can stand the slaughter you will not put the book down. Winslow will keep you turning the pages.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear
Friday, December 2, 2016
The Conclaves of Malachi Martin, Walter Murphy and Robert Harris
Harris in Conclave has as his protagonist, Cardinal Lomelli, who supports a progressive candidate. Personally he would be considered a moderate whose principles fall between the traditionalists and the progressives.
Sunday, November 27, 2016
Conclave by Robert Harris
Harris, Robert - (2002) - Archangel; (2004) – Pompeii; (2008) - Imperium; (2012) - "H" is for Robert Harris; (2014) - An Officer and a Spy; Hardcover or paperback (See also in non-fiction)
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Crossing the Atlantic
Sharon and I are back at sea on the Rivieria. Part of the Oceania Cruises fleet the ship has a capacity of 1,250 passengers plus almost 800 crew members. We are on a transatlantic voyage and staying on for a Caribbean sojourn. We came aboard in Barcelona and entered the Atlantic last night. Tomorrow we spend the day in Madeira and then across the Atlantic.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Sam Wiebe on His Sleuths
2. There are absolutely similarities, but that's also because I wrote both of them!
Monday, November 14, 2016
Invisible Dead by Sam Wiebe
While his time is spent mostly on dark streets Wakeland is the rare tough guy P.I. comfortable in the rarified air of academe.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Musings on Longmire In Its 5th T.V. Season
Johnson, Craig – (2007) - The Cold Dish; (Best Fiction of 2007); (2008) - Death Without Company; (2008) - Kindness Goes Unpunished (Third Best Fiction of 2008); (2009) - Another Man’s Moccasins; (2011) - The Dark Horse; (2011) - Junkyard Dogs; (2012) - Hell is Empty; (2013) As the Crow Flies; (2013) - Longmire T.V. Series; (2014) - A Serpent's Tooth; (2015) - Radio in Indigenous Mystery Series; (2015) - Any Other Day; (2015) - Where is the Walt Longmire Series Headed; Hardcover