- 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.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Friday, June 24, 2016
Writing about Saskatchewan is both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is in attracting readers unfamiliar with Saskatchewan and even Canada in general. Readers like to read about the familiar and characters and places they can relate to.
People love to see themselves in the books they read. My view and hope has always been that such challenges may be overcome through aggressive marketing and simply writing a good story.
Paradoxically, the opportunity comes from the same source: writing about a place so few people know about. Many readers love to read about the unknown, to learn, to experience something new through reading. In a way, my Saskatchewan settings are what set my two series apart, which can be a very good thing if you take advantage of it.
My new book, Set Free, will not have a Saskatchewan setting, with most of the action taking place in Boston and Morocco. This will be my first published work without an obvious Saskatchewan tie.
This choice was, again, my own. At this point in my career, fifteen plus years in, I am seeking creative challenge and change, and this is one of them. For Set Free, a stand-alone, the settings I chose 'felt right' for the story I wanted to tell. I've still incorporated some of my travel experiences, having travelled to Morocco, but I'm investigating writing main characters who do not have the prairie background which I am so familiar with.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Saturday, June 18, 2016
For years, Ramirez had been shadowed
by ghosts. His Yoruba slave
grandmother had prophesized that
messengers would come, sent by Elegua,
the god of the crossroads. They began to
appear shortly after Ramirez's
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Last month the American Bar Association Journal and the University of Alabama Law School announced the shortlist for the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.
1.) Allegiance by Kermit Roosevelt:
2.) Pleasantville by Attica Locke; and,
3.) Tom & Lucky and George & Cokey Flo by C. Joseph Greaves
The revised criteria do not allow repeat winners so John Grisham cannot win a third time and Michael Connelly, Paul Goldstein and Deborah Johnson cannot win a second award.
Of the trio I have read only Kermit Roosevelt. I read In the Shadow of the Law back in 2007 and included my review in a post I did for the letter "K" as part of Crime Fiction Alphabet meme for 2013 hosted by Kerrie Smith at her Mysteries in Paradise blog.
I thought it an excellent book that managed to combine "securitization of assets" and a death penalty case. I am looking forward to Allegiance which I can see by the cover will involve Japanese Americans during World War II.
The ABA Journal provided the following information on the selection committee:
The panelists who will vote to select a winner from the group of
finalists this year are Philip Beidler, author and professor at the
University of Alabama; Helen Ellis, author of American
Housewife; Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys; Rheta
Grimsley Johnson, author, journalist and syndicated columnist;
and Angela Johnson, author of Wind Flyers and Heaven.
Once again readers of the Journal can help pick the winner by voting online at the Journal. The public, through the book attracting the most votes, effectively becomes a 6th voter whose vote is recognized as an equal vote to each of the selection committee members.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
Thursday, June 9, 2016
The Lion’s Mouth should have been the strong contender for book awards. I did not check the date before starting to read the book and was wondering for a time why there was a book set before Hanne was shot that was written after she was shot and then I realized it was another translation out of order. I do not think I will ever get used to books in a series being translated in some apparently random sequence.
What is unusual is that in each book Hanne is not really acting as a police officer. In 1222 she attempts to shun the investigation preferring to sit in her wheelchair waiting for the storm to end. She grudgingly helps in the investigation. In The Lion's Mouth she is not on duty having gone for an extended leave to California. She returns to Norway to help Billy T. but has a significantly secondary role.
Hanne in 1222 , intentionally or not gives a strong Nero Wolfe impression, having the suspects assembled for her and then revealing the killer. The impression is heightened as Wolfe always conducts those meetings seated behind his massive desk.
In The Lion's Mouth the ending unfolds in a series of climaxes as investigators put together what happened. It is far more emotional and realistic.
I remain unsure if I want to read more of the "new" Hanne when I liked the "old" Hanne better.