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.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Beneath Her Skin by C.S. Porter

(22. - 1127.) Beneath Her Skin by C.S. Porter - Officer Cooper Harrison and his 14 year old son, Mac, are at a shooting competition. Mac is resentful about the divorce of his parents and the outing is a chance for some father - son bonding. Mac is shooting at a target on the end of a large round bale. As Mac hits a trio of bullseyes Harrison sees something red seeping from the target. He rushes to the bale and finds a naked older man wedged inside the bale with his head in the centre of the target. He is dead.

And I was hooked,

Kes Morris, a homicide detective with the Special Investigations Unit, is assigned to the case. She is 38. She has a photographic memory and a vintage Jaguar XJ6 and a big attitude.

Kes visits the local hospital in the small ocean town near the shooting comeptition site to see the medical examiner.

A woman who was in another bale was also shot. She has already been airlifted to the city. She is in critical condition. 

Kes is a hard boiled tough girl detective. Prickly with a sharp tongue she drives the investigation. Her team of 3 men tread carefully. 

Unknown to her colleagues, every day she takes one or more little pain pills initially prescribed for a shoulder injury. No longer needed for her physical injury she “just liked how they made her feel”.

More die. The elaborate murders reflect a killer or killers who are meticulous at planning and diabolical in their cruelty. There is a powerful hatred underlying the murders. Who would have the knowledge needed for the crimes but be unnoticed by local residents?

The investigators struggle to find motives for the killings. What is common to the lives of the victims is that they lived in isolation with few social contacts.

The prospect of more murders drives the investigators. Still they are not the superhuman investigators working day and night of much American police crime fiction. Kes and her team wind up their days with a 6:00 meeting. They have a meal and then go home or to a motel for Kes.

The writing of dialogue fades a bit from credibility at times. Towards the end it became cliched.

I wish the identities of the province and the city where Kes resides were provided. It helps me to see the story better in my mind when the location is more specific than Atlantic Canada. Imaginary towns in defined areas are fine with me. It is the context of location that I prefer in books.

I have mixed emotions about the book. I thought the premise was very clever and Kes is a great character. Yet the plot became more and more Hollywood as the end neared. It grates upon me when a very bright police officer becomes the Lone Ranger. But the actual ending was as well done as the beginning. I want to read the next Kes Morris file. I expect Porter can and will improve as a writer.

(C.S. Porter is a pseudonym. The author blurb reveals neither gender nor residence beyond a reference to Porter living near the Atlantic Ocean. I think Porter is a man. We shall see if my feeling is correct as most pseudonyms end up revealed.)


  1. Kes does, indeed, sound like a really interesting main character, Bill. I can see how she'd appeal to you. And that beginning would be enough to get me reading, too. It's funny you'd mention the dialogue. I think it's easy to forget just how important believable dialogue is. You also make an important point about authors improving as they go along. I think a lot do, and I wish Porter success.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. A good beginning and a good end. I hope Porter can be better in between.