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Case Against Owen Williams by Allan…

Case Against Owen Williams (2010)

by Allan Donaldson

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2013515,329 (3.58)9



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Well, the murder mystery aspect of the story was interesting. I’d have to say I didn’t care too much for the writing style. The story did take a while to get going and for a good part of the book it was extremely repetitive. I’m sure the goal was to attempt to establish how the crime could have been committed. There were several possible scenarios. However it was being repeated at least three times and I soon started wondering if any plot advancement was going to take place. It was frustrating to read and made the plot slow to a crawl.

The possible list of suspects were interesting, albeit small as the setting does take place a in a rather small town. I did like how word does spread fast in towns such as these, and gossip remains rampant. It’s typical of a small town, and since Dorkin is an outsider, he sticks out like a sore thumb and citizens are reluctant to talk to him. I like Dorkin though. He’s very persistent and seems to be the type to strive for the greater good even though the odds are stacked against him. I considered him to be a one of those “quiet unsung heroes” and liked him for his sense of justice. Owen Williams is different and I understand how Dorkin felt when he felt irritated towards him. Owen’s a wuss. I couldn’t help but feel irritated too. He was just a spineless little twit that needed toughening up and he really didn’t help himself in regards to the court case.

I really did enjoy reading the court case part of the novel. It was interesting and grabbed my attention, it did seem like how a court case should be. I liked how Dorkin acted during court. It was a different side to him and although he was blindsided a couple of times he was still determined to prove his client innocent. However, towards the end of court, the repetitiveness of the crime came out again and it got extremely tedious to read. It came to the point where I did skip those pages as I could memorize by heart what had happened (since it was being repeated so much.)

The ending was good, a little predictable, but good nevertheless. It provided a little spark of excitement the book needed. I was not prepared for Owen’s 360 personality change and disliked him even more for it. He deserves a good punch in the face!

Despite the tedious repetitive moments, and the writing style is a little on the dry side, I’m not sure if I could say I enjoyed this book. There were moments were it was worth a read, but perhaps I’m just not used to this writing style and I felt it drag. It did take me a considerably long time to finish this book (despite it being 288 pages). I’m not sure if I could recommend this book to anyone, however, if you’re patient enough to read through the dry bits then give it a try. I would say take it, or leave it. ( )
  sensitivemuse | Jan 18, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is definitely my kind of book - an historical (well 1940's) legal mystery. I enjoyed the setting in New Brunswick since there aren't too many of this genre with a setting in Canada (that I've come across); it was refreshing. This book is well-written, engaging and kept my interest throughout. I'd read another book by this author. ( )
  Myckyee | Nov 28, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I enjoyed this -- it's a competently written historical mystery set in WW2 New Brunswick. I particularly enjoyed the way Donaldson uses little known aspects of Canadian history as part of his plot.

It's not as strong or compelling a novel as McLean. The shift into the mystery genre has, for me, led to a less powerful story. ( )
  heatherm | Nov 15, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This review and others can be seen on my blog: http://bookworm-meags222.blogspot.com

I received this book from the Early Reviewers program. I have to say I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this book at first. It is during war time on the east coast of Canada. A young girl goes missing and Owen Williams is the last one to see her alive. The book is based on the trial as Williams is automatically persecuted by his peers regardless of the lack of evidence against him. I enjoyed reading this novel but at the same time I found the novel for the most part is a bit predictable. The novel was well-written and focused more on character development. Overall I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. ( )
  meags222 | Oct 29, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It’s a good thing I don't judge a book by it's very first sentences because when I read the first page, with a straightforward description of a Dominion day army parade, I was quite discouraged and silently cursing my decision to request this book via Early Reviewers. But it wasn't long before I was willingly led into the story and then completely wrapped up in this compelling judicial drama about a soldier stationed in a small Canadian town with his fellow "Zombies" during WWII (men who refused to go fight overseas) who is subject to discrimination and is unfairly accused of the homicide of a local young woman, despite a complete lack of evidence. Since there is so little to like about the accused would-be rapist and murderer Owen Williams, I wasn't really interested in his fate, or care much about whether he'd actually done it or not, but rather curious to see how his lawyer Dorkin would pull of the difficult task of defending him. Especially considering Dorkin's lack of experience, his tendency to jump to conclusions and incur the wrath of many in the process and the formidable prosecutor he must contend with, who along with great talent and skill, also displays an utter lack of principles. The cast of unsavoury characters kept the action and dialogues interesting, and though I have to say the twist at the end hardly came as a big surprise, I would still recommend for the sheer pleasure of reading a well told story that lingers on in one's mind. ( )
  Smiler69 | Oct 28, 2010 |
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Dominion Day, 1944, fell on a Saturday. Elsewhere across Canada, the shipyards and factories worked on without ceasing, turning out the materiel of victory. But in Wakefield, New Brunswick, popula- tion 5,783, nothing that was postponed until Monday was going to lengthen the war by one second, so the town took its holiday as usual and staged the parade that in some form or other it had staged every July 1 since 1867.
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Allan Donaldson’s first novel, Maclean, was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Donaldson’s new novel is a literary mystery set in the fictional town of Wakefield, New Brunswick, against the backdrop of the Second World War.
Following a night at The Silver Dollar dance hall, a teenage girl turns up dead in a gravel pit. The last person reported to have seen her is Owen Williams, an introverted soldier stationed with the local garrison of “Zombies”-conscripted men unwilling to serve overseas. When Lieutenant Bernard Dorkin, a young lawyer from Saint John, volunteers to defend Williams, whom he believes is innocent, he finds himself up against a theatrical local favourite leading the prosecution and a town mostly hell-bent on a foregone conclusion.
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