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review 2018-11-11 19:35
Uncertain Justice: Canadian Women and Capital Punishment, 1754-1953 - F. Murray Greenwood,Beverley Boissery

This is a quite interesting book. In general, the book is in chronological order though it does start with a modern case. The authors are looking at how Canadian justice treated women for about two hundred years. Various cases are studied in depth. The particular reason I brought this book was that I was looking at the story of La Corriveau, and this presents a very good historical context on that case.

It does help to have some basic historical knowledge of Canada, but outside of that, it is an easy enough read for the non-criminal justice major.

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text 2018-08-24 10:22
Harsh judgment for Full Disclosure
Full Disclosure: A Novel - Beverley McLachlin

Jilly Truitt is a young, ambitious criminal lawyer making a name for herself.

 

When a wealthy businessman, Vincent Trussardi is accused of murdering his young wife, he reaches out to Truitt to defend him. This will be a high profile case with a significant retainer and Jilly is eager to take it on even though the evidence overwhelmingly suggests her client is guilty.

 

Full Disclosure is Beverley McLachlin’s first novel after retiring as the longest Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada for seventeen years, the first women to hold that position and the longest-serving Chief Justice in Canadian history.

 

As a jurist, McLachlin is formidable, as an author she’s just a beginner, and it shows.

 

There are a number of plot points in the book that stretched this reader’s suspension of disbelief nearly to the breaking point, but I hung in there expecting some insights regarding the Canadian legal system, the professionals involved and those they prosecute or defend.

 

There weren’t any. In fact, the lack of originality had me wondering if I hadn’t read this before. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it. The story takes place in Vancouver, Canada, my hometown and hers, and it was fun recognizing the restaurants, landmarks and neighbourhoods where the scenes unfold.

 

Unfortunately, as the novel draws to an end, and with many questions still unanswered, the author (out of desperation?) resorts to the old, tired technique of having her protagonist goad a suspect, Perry Mason style, into confessing. Of course, this confession is taped on a recorder hidden in her pocket and is used to exonerate her client. See what I mean about lack of originality.

 

Though it didn't have any real bearing on the novel, I was surprised and disappointed at the author’s treatment of a First Nation person in her story. Though a very minor character, when this young woman is challenged by isolation and unhappiness her choice is to become a drug addict and support her habit by prostitution.

 

With so many other positive possibilities out there, why did someone of the McLachlin’s stature and presumed sensibilities choose this clichéd depiction of our Indigenous people?

 

Despite the efforts of the best editors Simon and Schuster employ, I doubt Full Disclosure would have been published had it not been for the author’s significant profile which, like all books written by celebrities, assures at least some sales.

 

The real test will be McLachlin’s next novel.

 

 

 

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-08-20 02:40
Full Disclosure (McLachlin)
Full Disclosure: A Novel - Beverley McLachlin

This could have been just a novelty - a mystery novel written by an ex-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Excellence in the judicial sphere, though it implies a good mind and a decent command of language, doesn't necessarily presage excellence in fictional composition. But I thought this was much better than just a novelty, though it's clearly a first effort. There's a little bit of over-explaining.  The clues about the big reveal were far too numerous and a little too obvious. But the plot was well-managed on the whole, and there was just a little soupcon of ethical ambiguity at the end, which was a pleasant surprise. And, of course, the courtroom scenes were outstanding, with every psychological twist and turn fully understood and made clear, with its curious mix of deadly seriousness and lawyers' games.

If McLachlin felt inclined to self-reference, I only caught her at it once, and it was a funny sentence near the beginning: "The Arthur Erickson building that houses the Supreme Court of British Columbia  is light and airy, and there's a portrait of the chief justice of Canada on the wall (when she was young and looked good) to remind me that sometimes, occasionally, women do rule."

McLachlin made the interesting choice to locate her young defence attorney protagonist in Vancouver, and lurking not very far in the background is the still very sombre memory of Canada's worst mass murderer, Robert Pickton, who preyed on disenfranchised women, many of them indigenous, from the East End of that city. Though it was subtly signaled earlier on, I was still taken aback by the boldness with which the author made that horror personally relevant to Jilly, our heroine.

This is a very, very Canadian novel, from its description of Vancouver in sun and fog to its particular social and legal history to - dare I say it? - the genuine niceness of most of the main characters. I realized as I was reading that because of that Canadian feel, I was becoming unusually irritated by being confronted with spellings like "gray" and "splendor". A little thing, I know, and Simon & Schuster are an international firm, but once I noticed it I couldn't stop noticing it. It was like a small but noticeable distortion of McLachlin's voice. If she writes another - and I hope she will - I would be much happier if it were with a Canadian publisher or at least with one who will issue a Canadian/British edition.

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review 2018-08-07 21:05
Historical Romance
The Mysterious Governess - Beverley Oakley

The Mysterious Governess is a historical romance by Beverley Oakley.  Ms. Oakley has delivered a well-written book.  Having read a few of Ms. Oakley's books and enjoyed them, this one was a bit of a disappointment.  Lissa's parents are not married.  While being jealous of her half-siblings, she still treats them with kindness.  She is working as a governess and does portraits that her employer's son passes off as his own.  Ralph works as a secretary for a scoundrel.  Lissa and Ralph's story has drama, a few sexy bits and a little action.  I look forward to my next book by Beverley Oakley and hope that I enjoy it as much as the other books of hers that I've read because this one left me flat.  The Mysterious Governess is book 3 of the Daughters Of Sin Series but can be read as a standalone.  

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review 2018-05-05 01:28
A little too much head hopping, but an enjoyable story nonetheless
Devil's Run - Beverley Oakley

I liked this story though it was a little helter skelter with points of view. Eliza's past comes back and gives her a big reason to get married. Problem: not to the right man. Her belief in fixing the past gave her a strength through unconditional love. Rufus was a good man but had to work through his concept of right and wrong before accepting what was in front of him.

I received a copy of this story through Candid Book Review, and this is my unsolicited review.

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