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, July 24, 2020

Fair Warning by Michael Connelly

Fair Warning by Michael Connelly - Connelly does not write many books with a message. In Fair Warning he clearly fears the risks of information gathered from personal DNA tests for genealogical or personal reasons being compromised. Evil is about.

McEvoy was the journalist in an earlier “message” book, The Scarecrow, where the issue was the collection of vast amounts of information in data farms.

Connelly continues to describe the downsizing of traditional newspapers and the efforts, somewhat desperate, of terminated journalists trying to create their own online news organizations.

McEvoy is working for Fair Warning which is a small consumer product investigation site which seeks to place stories in partnership with such organizations as the Los Angeles Times. Such partnerships allow the Times to avoid the costs of salaried sources of stories.

When a pair of LAPD detectives aggressively question him over the death of Tina Portrero he reacts by pursuing what happened to her. 

The actions of the detectives are portrayed as intrusive and insulting. Harry Bosch is also aggressive. His actions are justified as leading to killers. Depending on whether the character is the good police officer or the bad police officer will be the interpretation of comparable actions.

As McEvoy delves into Portrero’s life he finds she was concerned about cyber stalking. Once again depending on whether the internet searcher is good or bad will result in an assessment of whether the searcher is a researcher or a predator.

What reflects the genius of Connelly is that he takes her method of death, Atlanto-occipital dislocation (AOD), where the head is twisted until the spinal column is broken and turns it into the pivotal fact for the investigation. In Potrero’s death the killer has manually snapped her neck.

McEvoy, cleverly using the internet, finds there are a number of such deaths.

His further investigation takes him into the world of personal genetic testing. It was frightening to read of the lack of regulation with regard to the sale of such information by the companies to which samples are sent for analysis. We have seen the use of such data for public benefit such as the finding of the Golden State killer but what about potentially wicked uses of the data.

Former FBI agent, Rachel Walling, who is also a former McEvoy lover is re-introduced in a somewhat awkward way to the story. It was unconvincing how she was used to liaise with her former employer and how much they were willing to share with McEvoy.

As with the villains of his recent books we learn little about the character Shrike in Fair Warning. The Shrike is an almost satanic figure who causes nightmares.

The first half of the book did not grip me in the way most Connelly books have me anxiously reading to see what happens next in the story. I was absorbed in the second half as the chase accelerated. I thought for a few pages it might be like The Poet in leaving resolution with regard to the killer to another book. It had a climactic ending which would be a dandy Hollywood movie finish.
Connelly, Michael – (2000) - Void Moon; (2001) - A Darkness More than Night; (2001) - The Concrete Blonde (Third best fiction of 2001); (2002) - Blood Work (The Best);  (2002) - City of Bones; (2003) - Lost Light; (2004) - The Narrows; (2005) - The Closers (Tied for 3rd best fiction of 2005); (2005) - The Lincoln Lawyer; (2007) - Echo Park; (2007) - The Overlook; (2008) - The Brass Verdict; (2009) – The Scarecrow; (2009) – Nine Dragons; (2011) - The Reversal; (2011) - The Fifth Witness; (2012) - The Drop; (2012) - Black Echo; (2012) - Harry Bosch: The First 20 Years; (2012) - The Black Box; (2014) - The Gods of Guilt; (2014) - The Bloody Flag Move is Sleazy and Unethical; (2015) - The Burning Room; (2015) - Everybody Counts or Nobody Counts; (2016) - The Crossing; (2016) - Lawyers and Police Shifting Sides; (2017) - The Wrong Side of Goodbye and A Famous Holograph Will; (2017) - Bosch - T.V. - Season One and Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch; (2018) - Two Kinds of Truth; (2019) - Dark Sacred Night and A Protest on Connelly's Use of Vigilante Justice; (2020) - The Night Fire


  1. I do like the way Connelly explores modern trends and events, etc., in his work, Bill. It sounds as though he does that here, and it sounds interesting. And McEvoy is a well-developed character. I'm glad that the book caught your attention as it went on.Some books really are like that; they start slowly, and pick up speed, so to speak, as they go on.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Connelly has that knack of running with a contemporary issue. I wish Rachel had been given a larger role.