Janice Landry, inspired by the heroic actions of her recently deceased father, Halifax firefighter Basil Landry, meticulously recounts Basil’s 1978 rescue of Nick McKenzie, a baby boy—an act that won the firefighter the Medal of Bravery.
The story—fleshed out through public records and the recollections of Basil’s fellow firefighters, witnesses and the McKenzie family—is surrounded by the tale of the nine firefighters killed by the Halifax explosion, the devastating impact of post-traumatic stress disorder on first responders and their loved ones, and the author’s efforts to find and meet McKenzie and his family.
Despite excellent research by the author, the telling is jumbled by her own interjections about the process of writing the book, often taking the reader out of the story. Poor proofreading also mars the book, but Landry’s is a compelling human-interest story.
The section on PTSD provides valuable information for a society attempting to de-stigmatize mental illness.
The Sixty Second Story: When Lives are on the Line
by Janice Landry
$19.95, paperback, 176 pp.
Pottersfield Press, November 2013