cover image Dead Ends: B.C. Crime Stories

Dead Ends: B.C. Crime Stories

Paul Willcocks. University of Regina Press (UTP, North America dist.), $19.95 trade paper (204p) ISBN 978-0-88977-348-6

"British Columbia has a rich tradition of outlaws, wrongdoing, and evil," writes Willcocks, and his selection of 40 cases stretching back as far as 1864 ably illustrates that claim. He writes in an attractively hardboiled reporter's style, taking readers into one case this way: "Drugs and sex. Death in a cruise ship penthouse. Mysterious changes to a will. Odd Characters. And money%E2%80%94lots and lots of money." Capturing the gist of each true crime story, Willcocks also reveals a "great deal about the rest of us, and the society we live in." Devoting a few succinct pages to each crime, he covers the still-notorious such as Robert Pickton, Clifford Olson, and the Air India conspirators, as well as a gallery of lesser known bombers, kidnappers, thugs, killers, corrupt %E2%80%98upstanding' citizens (from police chiefs to religious leaders), and deadly standoffs between government and outliers with the author frequently indicating the excesses and ethical lapses of those in power. He chooses a few simply because they are "darn good stories," as in an RCMP sting to capture a murderous housewife and the sensational %E2%80%98milkshake murderer' of 1965. Though some register as arbitrary inclusions, all are told with compelling precision. (Sept.)