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, June 30, 2021

Hurry Home by Roz Nay

(21. - 1093.) Hurry Home by Roz Nay - The Floyd family lives in a dirty rundown home. It is a stinking mess. Frank and Evelyn are probably abusing drugs. There is little food in the house. They have a 1 year old child, Buster, who is distinctly not thriving. It is doubtful he is being fed properly or having his diaper changed regularly or getting attention. Yet there is little direct evidence of abuse or neglect.

I read many reports of such families as a young lawyer dealing with Family Service cases. What is the minimal standard of child care before apprehending a child? What are the minimun objective criteria for parenting? Not the best care but the least care before intervention. 

Alexandra (Alex) Van Ness is a young social worker doing her best to save children. She would have taken Buster during that visit. Alex has a zeal for saving children. While admirable there is a righteousness about her that is ill-suited to assisting struggling parents. Many cases are not as clear as she would make them.

Her senior co-worker, Minerva, does not want to take action. She sees the Floyd family as in need of supports concerning the basics of parenting. She also recognizes that they do not have enough evidence to remove Buster.

Alex lives with Chase, a male model / former ski racer / resort representative in his trendy condo in Moses Springs, Colorado. He is an uncomplicated guy focused on living and eating healthy and spending limited time thinking.

Her older sister, Ruth, arrives. Alex has not seen her in 10 years. Some vestige of family compels Alex to let Ruth stay with her and Chase.

It is less than subtle irony that Ruth, with a chaotic even criminal past, who is now pregnant seeks refuge with Alex, the child protection worker.

Their family life back on the farm in Horizon, North Dakota is revealed slowly, almost agonizingly slowly. When there is a sudden full revelation the reality of their past is as painful as any fiction I have read in some time. Having grown up on a farm it was all too vivid.

Everything is about their minds. Dark minds. Alex and Ruth brood about the terrible tragedy on the farm. And what I thought I knew about the sisters is turned upside down in one paragraph. It caught me so off guard I had to go back to make sure I had not forgotten what was said earlier.

Responsibility and manipulation and control are at the heart of the book. What will sisters do for and against each other?

The pace accelerates and I raced to the end. Hurry Home is the first book in the 2021 shortlist for the Best Crime Fiction Novel in the Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence. It is well worthy of the shortlist.


  1. This sounds like a multi-level sort of novel, Bill. And I like it when the author can surprise me and turn around expectations while still doing it in a believable way. The story sounds sad in its way, too. I can see why it would make the short list.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. It has been awhile since an author caught me so off-guard. Sad is a good word. Child protection cases are wrenching.