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Books and authors reviewed below (Selections).
Living in the Tall Grass | The Tree By the Woodpile | Shadow Hymns | Eyepiece | Stop Making Art and Die | More Tough Crimes | Shrunk | Tough Crimes | 5000 Dead Ducks | A Painful Duty | Milt Harradence

Living in the Tall Grass: Poems of Reconciliation. Chief R. Stacey Laforme
The Sunday Edition (CBC) with Michael Enright, “I Love This Land.” November 5, 2017.
Ranch and Reserve Magazine. “Book Review: Living in the Tall Grass.” December 2017. Read article here.
“In addition to becoming a treasured component to personal collections, Living in the Tall Grass has the potential to become a part of both high school and post-secondary curriculums…. there are integral chapters, stories, and poetry that can help readers process their emotions, relate to First Nation people, and recognize their historic traumas and efforts to heal.”
Hamilton Spectator. “We cannot move forward without looking back.” January 9, 2018. by Steve Milton. Photos by Scott Graham. Read article here.
“As he does in all his poems, Laforme becomes the character in “I Love This Land,” an Indigenous soldier returning from war with his non-Indigenous battle mates only to find them getting better treatment. It is addressed to Canadian society and the government, with the overriding theme, ‘Why am I left like this?'” – Steve Milton.

Anishinabek News. “Book Review: Living in the Tall Grass.” March 03, 2018. by Carrie MacKenzie.
“Chief Laforme’s poetry creates clear and vivid images in the mind of the reader. The reader sees and feels what Chief Laforme is expressing with his verse. …This is an amazing and moving collection of verse that can generate conversation and educate the reader. In fact, these poems will even teach the reader something about themselves!”

TVO. The Agenda With Steve Paikin. “Reconciliation in Poetry.” March 8, 2018.

The Tree By the Woodpile and other Dene ‘Spirit of Nature’ Tales. By Raymond Yakeleya.
The Globe and Mail. “Family ties inform an Indigenous New Wave.” January 5, 2018. by Carrie Tate
Read also here.

“Raymond Yakeleya has spent 20 years fulfilling his grandmother’s deathbed wish that he document ‘what happened to our people.’ He is among Indigenous people ‘taking control of messaging in interesting ways’.” — Carrie Tait

Shadow Hymns Photography by Austin Andrews
“These are photos that inspire.” — Nick Ut, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist
The Calgary Herald. “A Wonderful, Whimsical World.” December 28, 2017. by Eric Volmers
“There is power in the everyday scenes that often speak about reality, hardships, and the inspiring reliance of the people Andrews shoots.” – Eric Volmers
(Article also appeared in The Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen and other Post newspapers.)

The Globe and Mail. “Views from behind the curtain in North Korea.” February 17, 2018. Special to the Globe and Mail, by Austin Andrews.

CTV News. Exploring the world, one story at a time. February 23, 2017. 

Eyepiece: Adventures in Canadian Film and Television. By Vic Sarin
The Georgia Straight. “Director Vic Sarin’s memoir, Eyepiece, offers insightful observations about Canadian film policies.” January 25, 2018. by Charlie Smith
“Sarin’s rollicking recollections belong on the bookshelf of any serious aficionado of Canadian film history.”

Less Painful Duties: Reflections on the Revolution in the Legal Profession. By CD Evans.
Book Review Alberta Views Magazine. Review by Alex Rettie, March 2018. Read the article here.
““It’s a pleasure to hear somebody who knows what he’s talking about find fault with the aspects of the justice system that are generally treated with white-gloved piety.”

Stop Making Art and Die: Survival Activities for Artists. By Rich Theroux
The Calgary Herald. “Rich Theroux’s colouring book survival guide tackles life, death and art.” November 26, 2016. by Eric Volmers.

“Stop Making Art and Die is a colouring and activity book that asks big questions about creativity, fulfilment and happiness and explores Theroux’s theories about the artistic process and what fuels that “inner compulsion” to pursue it.” — Eric Volmers

(Article also appeared in The Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen and other Post newspapers.)

More Tough Crimes: True Cases by Canadian Judges and Criminal Lawyers
Advocate’s Journal. By Julianna Greenspan. “More Tough Crimes” book review. Fall 2017. Volume 36. No. 2.

“We are fortunate to have a legal system that, despite its inevitable frailties, seeks to be just, righteous and good. The chapters in this book are about the indomitable people who never case striving to ensure our justice system protects us all. More Tough Crimes continues to give us hope that such people do exist in our criminal justice system.”
Download review here. Advocates’ Journal.

Vancouver Sun. By Kim Bolan. “Surrey Six lawyer critical of Crown deals with former gangsters.” August 28, 2017

CBC News. By Jody Porter. “Pervasive racism remains outstanding issue from First Nation student deaths inquest, lawyer says.” June 27, 2017. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/inquest-anniversary-1.4178539

Winnipeg Free Press. by Mike McIntyre. “An incredible amount of guilt” Judge opens up about gruesome murder case in new book. June 20, 2017

Global News. “Edmonton criminal lawyer Brian Beresh describes emotional toll of job in new book “More Tough Crimes.”

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CTV News Channel. “More Tough Crimes: Mike Duffy’s lawyer reflects on trial. June 4, 2017.

Michael Harris, from iPolitics “Dispatches from the sewer: Bayne opens up about the media and Mike Duffy.” Thursday, June 1st, 2017.

Dispatches from the sewer: Bayne opens up about the media and Mike Duffy

Charles Adler Tonight. Corus Radio Network. June 2, 2017



May 2017.

Sean Fine, The Globe and Mail. Cover blurb.

“A revealing, at times searing and always very human look inside our criminal courtrooms and the people who populate them.”


The Honourable Patrick LeSage

“The authors of More Tough Crimes are all exceptional persons with in-depth knowledge and experience of our justice system in Canada. Their recounting of cases in which they have been involved illustrates the workings of that system, including the experiences of and effect on the lawyers involved in those cases. These stories not only provide the reader with insight into some long-held views of our justice system, but they also reflect the personal experiences of the lawyers and other participants in those cases.

The Honourable Mr. Justice Richard D. Schneider

“More Tough Crimes is a fascinating collection of cases recounted by judges and lawyers who were actually involved. Their insights and observations are not those one would ever see in the reporting of those same cases by the press or through the other media. The authors contributing to More Tough Crimes are not just well known, preeminent judges and lawyers, they are very clearly articulate storytellers able to provide the reader with vivid pictures of the trials they describe. I would recommend this volume to anyone interested in hearing the inside story surrounding several of the more interesting and notorious criminal trials from Canada’s recent past.”

Paul Atkinson, School of Law and Justice, Sir Sandford Fleming College

My Evidence students love the compelling case descriptions in TOUGH CRIMES, all related in fascinating style by lawyers who have lived through the dramatic events. I look forward to introducing them to MORE TOUGH CRIMES. Having had a sneak preview of Donald Bayne’s account of the media circus that was the Mike Duffy trial, Mona Duckett’s insightful commentary on the frightening impact of a “Mr. Big” sting and Judge Raymond Wyant’s heart-rending account of a grisly crime, the sequel is a must read for anyone with an interest in Canada’s criminal justice system.


SHRUNK: Crime and Disorders of the Mind
True Cases by Forensic Psychologists and Psychiatrists

January 2017. CBC the Fifth Estate. Featured interviews from Shrunk authors Dr. Richard Waldman and Dr. Joel Watts.

CBC The Current with Anna Maria Tremont. Interview with Dr. Joel Watts. June 20, 2016. Listen Here.

John Moore from Radio 1010 (Toronto) interviewed author William Trudell on June 15, 2016.

Donna McElligot from CBC Alberta at Noon (Calgary) interviewed Dr. Thomas Dalby on May 25, 2016.

Dan Riendeau from NewsTalk 660 (Calgary) interviewed Dr. Lorene Shyba and Dr. Thomas Dalby, editors of Shrunk, May 16, 2016. Listen here.

Richard Cloutier from CJOB AM 680 (Winnipeg) interviewed Dr. Jeffrey Waldman about Shrunk, May 15, 2016.
Listen here.

Marcy Markusa from CBC Information Radio (Winnipeg) interviewed Dr. Jeffrey Waldman about Shrunk, May 5, 2016.

Scott Fee from Global Television, Calgary interviews Dr. Lorene Shyba, May 4, 2016, . Watch here.

John Gormley from NewsTalk 650, (Regina and Saskatoon) interviews Dr. Patrick Baillie. April 18, 2016. Listen here.

Colin Perkel writes in The Canadian Press review, April 14, 2016. Ottawa Citizen, Winnipeg Free Press, Calgary and Toronto Sun papers, and many others.

Excerpt. “Now, a new anthology takes a deep dive into the darkest, sometimes ugly, recesses of the minds of those whose deeds fill communities with shock, fear and revulsion. In “Shrunk: Crime and Disorders of the Mind,” forensic psychiatrists and psychologists write about trying to fathom what drove an accused to commit unfathomable acts of violence and, if possible, explain it to the rest of us. ”

Download full pdf. Apr 15 Winnipeg Free Press


TOUGH CRIMES: True Cases by Top Canadian Criminal Lawyers

“Tough Crimes demonstrates that Crown prosecutors and criminal defence lawyers do not escape unscathed from serious trials. The disturbing memories remain.”
— Hon. John C. Major CC QC, Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada

“These stories illustrate the gamut of emotions from exhilaration to fear experienced in the world of criminal trial work.” 
— Hon. Felix Cacchione, Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia

Daryl Slade writes in The Calgary Herald review, November 15th, 2014.

Excerpt. “Long-time Calgary criminal lawyer Christopher (C.D.) Evans and publisher Lorene Shyba have co-edited an incredible collection of memorable cases … In Tough Crimes: True Cases by Top Canadian Criminal Lawyers, readers go behind the scenes as lawyers prepare for difficult cases and see how they handle their clients, witnesses, and other evidence during and after trial.”

Colin Perkel writes in The Canadian Press review, November 10, 2014. Vancouver Sun, Hamilton Spectator, and many others, online.

Excerpt. “Tough Crimes … essays that detail the crimes along with the writers’ ethical and strategic decisions, their reaction and feelings to finding themselves in the media and legal maelstrom that engulfs high-profile, high-stakes cases. Although written by lawyers, the writing seldom strays into legalese. Instead, they provide a window on their thinking: How do I cross-examine this witness? Do I let my client testify? How do I cope with the horrors? How do I justify defending someone who seems so obviously and abhorrently guilty?”

Steven Dykstra write in Above the Law review, December 3, 2014.

Excerpt. “Well worth the read. There are lots of interesting stories and important lessons contained in them. I would certainly recommend every law student read this book…. Tough Crimes is a mentoring book. Reading stories from talented lawyers, seeing how they struggled with strategic and ethical concerns, is a great way for young and old lawyers to learn.”

CBC Calgary’s The Homestretch interviews Noel O’Brien. November 13, 2014

Excerpts in The Advocate Daily. November, 2014

Lynn Desjardins interviews CD Evans for Radio Canada International. December, 2014.

Glenn Krauth’s review in Law Times. December 29, 2014.

“A key theme in the book is the integrity of the criminal justice process and the important role of defence lawyers in upholding it, ensuring the rights of their clients, and holding the state to account.”

Anna Maria Tremonti’s interview on CBC The Current. January 5, 2015

Damian J. Penny’s review in Canadian Lawyer magazine. January, 2015

Excerpt. “Edited by C.D. Evans and Lorene Shyba, Tough Crimes features essays by several eminent Canadian lawyers, discussing the most interesting, notorious, or compelling cases they’ve worked on.  The most noteworthy thing about the book is that it illustrates the emotional toll criminal law can take on the people who practise it.”

Lisa MacLean Tofts review in Tofts Reviews. January, 2015

Excerpt: “Written by each separate lawyer and edited by CD Evans and Lorene Shyba, these stories give readers a new perspective on how an extraordinary case can lead to lifelong hauntings. Not only are these cases troubling enough, these prominent lawyers still today have to deal with the lingering effects.”

Doug Horner’s review in Alberta Views. April 2015.

Excerpt: “…Tough Crimes is an invaluable dispatch from the polished-wood trenches of Canada’s courtrooms. As we’re reminded of our nation’s most horrific crimes, we also meet the cast of intelligent, compassionate and tireless lawyers who help us make sense of them.”

“Many of the lawyers-turned-writers exhibit a natural capacity for suspense. The cases are suffused with whodunit energy as the reader rides shotgun from crime to arrest, charge, trial and verdict. The exhilaration and overwhelming responsibility of working on the frontiers of the justice system is palpable.”

“Ex Libris” review in Architypes Legal Archives of Alberta Newsletter. Summer 2015.

Excerpt: “The authors write with emotion that shows how involved and intricately connected criminal lawyers can become to their work and their clients. Moreover, each author illustrates that certain cases remain with them emotionally and psychologically regardless of the distance in time. Likewise, many of the cases detailed were so sensational and notorious the they have remained in the public consciousness as well.”


5000 Dead Ducks: Lust and Revolution in the Oilsands

New novel takes a darkly satirical look at ducks, politics and the oilsands


Christopher D. Evans co-wrote the novel 5000 Dead Ducks, a newly-released fictional account of politics and the oilsands.
CALGARY — It all begins with the futuristic grisly discovery by an avid environmentalist of thousands of dead and dying, oil-enveloped ducks in PetroFubar Energy’s grimy tailing pond near the fictional northern Alberia community of Fort Ath.
Sounds familiar. Only the names have been changed and reality is replaced by ominous fiction.
But the recently-released novel by retired Calgary criminal lawyer Christopher D. Evans and University professor of interactive media Lorene M. Shyba develops into what they call a sordid, comedic tale of “lust and revolution in the oilsands.”
5000 Dead Ducks is a masterfully-crafted satire weaving together two of the hottest topics in Alberta (or Alberia) today: provincial politics and the oilsands.
The authors did extensive research on totalitarian governments and the oilsands.
Evans studied world political history, in particular the rise to power and fall of Nazis, fascists and other regimes; Shyba did her PhD dissertation on the oilsands, studying energy issues from a humanities standpoint and ways to make activist statements through the arts.
The plot develops very quickly, with a corrupt far-right-thinking group based in Bos Taurus (Calgary) on the Blow (Bow) River spinning a lie to gain power in Alberia, then declaring independence and then a state of emergency. To remain in power, the Alberia Special Party’s goose-stepping military exterminates all environmentalists and non-compliant politicians.
“Like Dr. Strangelove, our novel has a plot that moves from the bizarre to the even more bizarre,” says Shyba, “The story provides suspense at the same time as delivering a humorously subversive political message through comedy.”
“What the book is about is a fictional extreme political reaction to ducks in tailing ponds becoming a big international story and capitalized on by environmental groups,” says Evans. “You’ve got the environmentalists on the one hand, the oil companies on the other, and the people in the middle.”
Shyba says, “We developed a cast of characters in which most Albertans, and even Canadians, will recognize ourselves and the dilemma of big decisions we are facing around the oilsands issue.”
Evans adds, “What we are doing is saying, ‘here’s what could happen, in the worst-case scenario.’ It could happen and perhaps this book is a wake-up call. It is a serious message, imparted by the literary device of satire.”
The authors say they are not the least bit worried about ruffling any feathers (oil covered or not) with the tale of greed, power and ultimate collapse of a political party they compare to the Nazis.
It’s not far afield from being a combination of two of George Orwell’s masterpieces — 1984 and Animal Farm — dealing with totalitarian regimes of the Second World War era.
In fact, the authors “acknowledge the instructive scholarship” of Orwell. “Orwell projected not only what could happen, but what has happened,” says Evans. Shyba emphasizes the magnitude of the current oilsands debate.
“I have been on assignment in America over the past few years and it is very interesting to see how the oilsands issue, in the form of the Keystone pipeline, has become a magnet for controversy,” she says. “What will happen is anyone’s guess but in any case the political ramifications are already huge.”
But they don’t pick sides. Both fictional opponents of the new regime and the corrupt politicians who took over the oilsands industry and sold out to the Far East have their warts exposed.
“People will read this and think we took sides,” says Evans. “We did not. We simply point out the different facts and leave it to the reader.”
Of course, like most corrupt dictatorial governments, this one eventually implodes as a result of its own mistakes, with only a handful of the leaders surviving — albeit in exile.

A Painful Duty: 40 Years at the Criminal Bar
“With the mirthful flourish of his pen, and top gallant sails flying, C.D. Evans guides us through myriad shoals of madness, mayhem, and folly encountered over four decades at the Criminal Bar. Chock full of character and characters, this is a classic of the first water.”
Richard C. C. Peck, QC, FACTL, Peck & Co., Barristers, Vancouver Co-Chair, Federation of Law Societies’ National Criminal Law Program.

“Burn this book! It is far too provocative and seditious to circulate freely amongst the masses. But before you burn it, read it and laugh until your eyes water and your belly hurts.”
Cameron Gunn, Crown Prosecutor, Fredericton, New Brunswick and author of Ben & Me: From Temperance to Humility.
“A highly recommended romp through the career of one of this country’s pre-eminent… criminal lawyers and his willingness to share his insights into the characters and practices of our criminal courts.”
The Hon. Mr. Justice John Z. Vertes, Senior Judge, the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories

Milt Harrradence: The Western Flair

Lawyer Christopher Evans recalls 40 years at ‘dirty job’
Criminal practice akin to ‘shovelling manure down in the sewer’
By Daryl Slade, Calgary Herald November 12, 2010

Photograph by: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald
”Recently retired criminal lawyer Christopher Evans says, “For 40 years I moiled at the criminal bar, which is sort of the tarsands of the legal industry.”
Four decades of advocating for the underbelly of society as50a respected, high-profile criminal lawyer has left Christopher Dudley Evans not only a very wise man, but also unabashedly irreverent about his profession.
In the introduction of his self-published memoirs, A Painful Duty, Evans gets to the point immediately: “For 40 years I moiled at the criminal bar, which is sort of the tarsands of the legal industry.”
A couple of chapters later, in Evans’ typical cynical humour, he contrasts the practice of criminal law as “greatly akin to shovelling manure down in the sewer,” but then immediately quotes his late friend and Court of Appeal Justice Buzz McClung: “It’s inside work and no heavy lifting.”
Evans, recognized before he took down his shingle in 2005 as one of the most tenacious advocates for the accused — many of them police officers who had scrapes with the law — calls himself a barrister from the old school. He admits, though, he almost didn’t even get his foot in the door of the profession.
He says he failed academically, missing out graduating with his class by a semester, and only because of the keen talent recognition of Wilbur Bowker, the law school dean at the University of Alberta, did he finally get his degree in 1963.
A year later, he was admitted to the bar.
“I never would have made it without him,” Evans, 70, recalled in a chat in his sixth-floor office at the historical Grain Exchange Building featuring a picturesque view of the Calgary Tower, a quarter-head-spin to his left while seated at his desk.
“He called me ‘Evidence.’ He said, ‘You’re no academic, but I want to see you on your feet in a courtroom.’ I also wanted to get into court . . .” recalled the barrister-turned-writer.
Evans tracks his early days from growing up in London, England, to moving to Canada when he was just eight years old, but mostly concentrates on highlights from his law career after departing Central High School in Calgary.
He spent four years as a Crown prosecutor before going into private practice. His last firm featured the likes of one-time rival prosecutor Peter Martin, Earl Wilson, Sheilah Martin — all three who have gone on to become judges — Hersh Wolch and Willie DeWit.
As the memoir title suggests, being a criminal lawyer involves advocating for a client by knowing when to ask questions and when to keep quiet, in order to get the best result possible.
“My job for 40 years was to stand in the shoes of my client and put all that I could say for him before the court,” said Evans. “I was put in touch with the dark side of human condition. You had to have had a very hard shell to survive.
“Some awful people I’ve acted for included child molesters, murderers, rapists, thieves, and a lot of white-collar criminals the last few years. Do I miss it? No. Since I took my shingle down, I write every day.”
Evans dedicated the book, which has been wholeheartedly supported by the Legal Archives Society of Alberta, to his late wife Bernice, his greatest advocate.
He also gives much credit to the late Court of Appeal Justice and friend Milt Harradance, of whom he also wrote his first of now three books.
“Milt Harradance told me every time you walk out of a courtroom, you’ve left a little bit of yourself behind,” he said. “I say sometimes you’ve left so much of yourself in so many court rooms there’s not much left for your loved ones.”
Evans says, “To those of us who practice for years at the criminal bar, extricating life’s sticky situations becomes second nature. It’s a dirty job and a painful duty but, dammit, someone has to do it.”
Reprinted from The Calgary Herald