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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh

(32. - 1137.) Th1rt3en by Steve Cavanagh – Cavanagh challenged my reading preferences or prejudices depending on perspective. I am not fond of serial killers. Who is? Deaths are in abundance. Major violence is self-evident. They are abhorrent creatures. Yet they can be compelling. 

Joshua Kane is a brilliant man. Unfortunately, he is a wicked man. Killing is a game he has mastered. A master of disguise he is incredibly patient and well studied in the disposition of bodies. I was reminded of several villains created by Jeffery Deaver in the Lincoln Rhymes series.


New York City defence lawyer, Eddie Flynn, is clever in court and confident to the point of cockiness. He is asked by Rudy Carp to be second chair on the trial team for star actor Bobby Solomon in another Trial of the Century. Solomon has been charged with killing his wife, Ariella Bloom, and the head of their security, Carl Tozer.


Providing Flynn with the evidence and arguments no longer involves multiple binders of documents. Flynn is provided with all the material on a laptop. A member of Solomon’s security team accompanies the computer.


On the morning jury selection is to begin, Carp withdraws from the case as Solomon’s movie studio has decided not to pay Carp’s fees for a trial.


The prosecutor is Art Pryor. He is a roving prosecutor called in by D.A.’s to conduct high profile murder cases. He is talented with an ego that fills the courtroom.


Flynn takes up the challenge of representing Solomon on his own with the aid of jury consultant, Arnold Novoselic.


Kane killed Bloom and Tozer and is determined to be one of the jurors deciding Solomon’s case. He is inventive and ruthless. How he got a summons, answered the written questions and responded to the oral questioning of the lawyers reflect his twisted talents.


Flynn is still building his defence as the trial gets underway with Flynn’s good friend, Harry Ford, the presiding judge. While fond of Flynn he will not favour Flynn during the trial.


Tossed into the plot is a feud between Flynn and New York detectives. It was a distraction which detracted from the plot.


The trial was gripping. The evidence is laid out briskly. Flynn challenges the State’s witnesses seeking to create doubts in the mind of the jury. While mounting attacks on the prosecution evidence Flynn faces the challenge of not having an alternative to Solomon. Claiming there was an “unknown killer” is difficult in front of a jury. “Unknown” leaves juries with the impression there is no alternative.


Flynn has no idea there is a rogue juror out to sway the jury in favour of conviction.


Through the book Kane explains his actions. He is on a mission. Cavanagh’s venture into the mind of a serial killer is effective.


In the background, the FBI is searching for a serial killer they have named “Dollar Bill”.


There is a lot of action for a legal thriller. I would have appreciated less blood.


Cavanagh further reminded me of Deaver with an unnecessary twist at the end of the book.


While the plot strained credibility, as will be further discussed in my next post, Cavanagh drives the story and the pages turn easily. There is barely a pause. I read a good portion of the trip during a pair of 3 hour flights as Sharon and I made our way home from our November cruise.


  1. Sometimes it's not bad to have one's biases tested, Bill. Like you, I don't particularly like serial killers in crime fiction. So I can see how you might have had your hesitations about this one. The really interesting part of this story sounds like the trial itself, and I give credit to Cavanaugh for making it an important part of the novel. Trials can make for suspenseful storytelling. The blood doesn't appeal much to me, but I can see why you liked this one overall.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. It was a book which gave my both joy and frustration.