Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ten Years Today

Ten years ago today this blog and all its weirdness began. From day one there was a sarcastic attitude. That is still present though I try to tone it down a bit these days. While a lot has changed over the ten years and much of it for the better, I still hate Halloween and I still can't program my VCR.

If interested, you can read how all this began here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Authors Behaving Badly-- A Case In Point

In recent days more examples of authors behaving badly have come to light. Frustration over reviews seems to be driving these authors to do various things, even criminal behavior on occasion, in some misguided attempt to sell books. While one can sort of understand why some of these things happen with a new book, one wonders what drives an author to suddenly complain about a book review more than ten years later?

Over ten years ago I reviewed Bourbon and Bliss: A Palmer Morel Mystery by Larry Rochelle on Amazon and elsewhere after getting the book sent to me because of my review work for "The Blue Iris Journal." That fact as well as the fact I had reviewed a couple of other ones preceding this one in the series. Like the others I had read, there wasn't much mystery to it. Instead, it was a very graphic men's adventure novel. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it failed from the cover and content in the mystery genre. I noted the pluses and minuses of the book in my review at the time and moved on to the next read.

I had completely forgotten all about the author and the series he has self published through a number of outlets until last week when the author cut and pasted a twelve year old review by another reviewer into the comment field on my review at Amazon. In recent months a number of sites have turned off their comment fields because of such behavior, but Amazon has yet to do so. Thinking that author Larry Rochelle had simply made a harmless and accidental mistake, I reclaimed the discussion by posting my own review back into the comment field.

I then got what should have been my first clue that the author was doing some very deliberate and very desperate marketing. Larry Rochelle responded with another posting. This time using the cliched marketing phrase "ripped from the headlines" to describe in detail another book in the series he recently had self published he posted a spam ad. While clearly deliberate, I thought he was just being a jerk so I pointed out he was spamming and showed a lack of class.

Proving he could sink even lower, Larry Rochelle decided he would heap insult after meaningless insult on me in subsequent posts as seen here. The more off base with his hysteria and assumptions about me the funnier it got. Clearly he still has no idea of my body of review work. While his book has gotten one review since my review in 2004 creating a total of four reviews, I have gone on to do several hundred more reviews at Amazon and elsewhere while also having my fiction work published in a variety of outlets.

Then it got kind of sad because I felt sorry for him that he had to resort to such weak name calling in an effort to try and disgrace what was an even handed review. At his age, he should have been able to do trash talking better---- if he was going to do that-- as well as know better.

Usually, those who try and trash me in public are much better at it. As any reviewer knows, we are brilliant when we love the book and an evil idiot and worse when we don't. I figured it was that sort of thing though Rochelle seemed to trying very hard to insult me while missing by a mile. I just didn't know why.

I started doing some research this morning in the wake of his most recent nonsense and realized as I looked around at his many self published books and the few reviews on them that his actions were not the accident I first thought they were. Instead, he has recently done the same thing to other folks on Amazon. This is his shtick these days. Not that he gets reviewed that often, but over the last week or so he has posted cut and paste spam ads in the review discussion fields as well as more positive old reviews he lifted from others. Instead of dealing with the issues reviewers have noted again and again in his series so that he can try to improve his product, he has gone on this pathetic and very misguided marketing campaign.

While other reviewers ignored his foolish nonsense I gave him the benefit of the doubt in the beginning and then continued to engage with him. I didn't realize that what he was doing was a deliberate and very pathetic desperate marketing campaign destined to fail before it got started. I should have done my research earlier and not written off his first attempt at nothing more than a mistake. If I had figured that out from the start, I would have never engaged him and wasted a little bit of my time.

While I am playing into his desperation a little bit by detailing his actions here, it also serves as another example how NOT to go about things. Such actions by a desperate author will not help sales. It also serves as yet another warning to reviewers to do your research regarding author behavior before you agree to read and review the work as well as before you respond to nonsense on your reviews. Even ten years later a review can cause trouble if the author involved decides to play games instead of focusing on moving forward and improving his or her craft.

Via The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: Members' Publication News

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: Members' Publication News: The following members sent in publication news this month: M.H. Callway, Windigo Fire , Seraphim Editions (October 2014) Peter DiChellis,...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Crime Review Update--- New issue of Crime Review

As posted elsewhere earlier today....

In our new edition of Crime Review (*
*) this week we have sixteen reviews (http://
together with Edward Wilson in the Countdown interview hot seat:

Crime Review can be followed on Twitter: @CrimeReviewUK
Linda Wilson can be followed on Twitter: @CrimeReviewer
Sharon Wheeler can be followed on Twitter: @lartonmedia

This week’s reviews are:

PERSONAL by Lee Child, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler
A cryptic message in a newspaper takes Jack Reacher to Paris and then to
London to track down an assassin with world leaders in his sights

MASTERS OF WAR by Chris Ryan, reviewed by Linda Wilson
SAS trooper Danny Black leads a small team of fellow soldiers riding
shotgun for an MI6 agent who is attempting to make contact with one of the
rebel factions in war-torn Syria.

TATIANA by Martin Cruz Smith, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
A fearless reporter, Tatiana Petrovna, is found dead, apparently having
committed suicide by throwing herself from the sixth floor of an apartment
block. At about the same time a billionaire Mafia chief is shot dead. As
Senior Investigator, Arkady Renko, looks into the first case, he comes to
believe that it is in some way connected with the second.

WHITE CROCODILE by KT Medina, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Tess Hardy is clearing mines in Cambodia, trying to find why her husband
died, and whether the feared White Crocodile holds the explanation.

BLINK by Niamh O’Connor, reviewed by John Cleal
DI Gavin Sexton is looking into a spate of teenage suicides when he meets a
young girl paralysed by 'locked-in' syndrome. Communicating by blinks, she
tells him: 'I hired a hitman.'

CLOSE CALL by Stella Rimington, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler
MI5 agent Liz Carlyle has to deal with a blast from her past, as well as a
possible homegrown terror plot that kicks off in the Yemen

PATHS OF THE DEAD by Lin Anderson, reviewed by Linda Wilson
The body of a young man is found at a Neolithic stone circle in Glasgow. DI
Michael McNab thinks the killing is drug-related but forensic scientist
Rhona Macleod isn’t convinced.

THE NIGHT THE RICH MEN BURNED by Malcolm Mackay, reviewed by John Cleal
Two young friends try to escape a pointless life on Glasgow fringes and
become involved in the loan-sharking and collection rackets. One rises
quickly up the ranks. The other becomes a victim of growing debt and

KILLER by Jonathan Kellerman, reviewed by Sylvia Wilson
When Dr Alex Delaware is called in to write a court report in a
straightforward custody battle between two sisters, he thinks that it is an
easy job. Then one of the sisters threatens to kill him but is herself
murdered and the other disappears with her child.

YOUNG PHILBY by Robert Littell, reviewed by John Cleal
Kim Philby fled Beirut aboard a Russian ship that sailed so hurriedly it
left much of its cargo on the dockside. Cleared by a British inquiry
through lack of evidence, the former senior intelligence liaison officer in
Washington had spied for the Communists for more than 30 years.

MARKED by David Jackson, reviewed by Maddy Marsh
In New York’s East Village, the remains of a young girl are found.
Detective Callum Doyle has seen a similar killing in the past and he knows
who committed both crimes. The problem is, no one believes him.

ACT OF FEAR by Michael Collins, reviewed by Chris Roberts
A girl is murdered, a policeman on the beat is robbed of everything he
carries, and a man goes missing. Dan Fortune is hired to find the man and
tries to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

WALKING WITH GHOSTS by Jean G Goodhind, reviewed by John Cleal
Hotel owner ‘Honey’ Driver, police liaison officer for her association,
becomes involved in a murder and a hunt for a priceless artefact when a
woman is killed on a ghost walk.

ART OF DECEPTION by AJ Cross, reviewed by Linda Wilson
A mummified body is found in the remains of a deserted summerhouse in a
country park. Kate Hanson and Birmingham’s Unsolved Crimes Unit have to
delve into the past to make sense of the present.

LOST WORLDS: SHADOW CREATURES by Andrew Lane, reviewed by Fiona Spence
In the search for new DNA and a cure for his paralysis, Calum Challenger
and his friends plan to hunt down a shadowy creature in Hong Kong. But when
Calum's taken hostage and taken to New Mexico, no one knows he's gone. And
he's not the only one in trouble.

GAME by Barry Lyga, reviewed by Linda Wilson
As Jasper Dent proclaims in one of his tattoos, he hunts killers. It’s an
unusual job for a teenager, but he’s well-qualified, as he’s the son of
America’s most notorious serial killer.

Best wishes


Via Latina Book Club-- REVIEW: EVERY HIDDEN FEAR by Linda Rodriguez (& Giveaway)

REVIEW: EVERY HIDDEN FEAR by Linda Rodriguez (& Giveaway)

Via Writers Who Kill: Writer Outs Herself (with a Big Pat on the Back) f...

Writers Who Kill: Writer Outs Herself (with a Big Pat on the Back) f...: Readers here may remember a blog I posted on WWK a while back about the whole crazy StopTheGoodReadsBullies mess. http://writerswhokill...

Via Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

Saturday, October 18, 2014

KRL This Week Update--- Halloween mystery short story by Claire Murray & much more in KRL

As posted elsewhere earlier today....

 Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine a review & giveaway of another Halloween mystery, "The Legend of Sleepy Harlow" by Kylie Logan

We also have a review & giveaway of another book perfect for the Halloween season, a paranormal mystery-"The Night Visitor" by Dianne Emley

Also reviews & giveaways of 5 more Penguin mysteries "Literally Murder": A Black Cat Bookshop Mystery by Ali Brandon. We also have "Off Kilter": A Scottish Highlands Mystery by Hannah Reed, "Weave of Absence" by Carol Ann Martin, "Bless Her Dead Little Heart" by Miranda James, and "Gilt Trip" by Laura Childs with Diana Orgain

Also up, another Halloween mystery short story from our contest, this one by Claire Murray

And we have another countdown to Bouchercon mystery Coming Attractions by Sunny Frazier-this one with a giveaway from June Gilliam

For fantasy readers, we have a review & giveaway of "Broken Soul" by Faith Hunter

And a perfect TV review for the Halloween season, a review of "The Walking Dead"

Also a review of another Halloween book-"The Halloween Tree" by Ray Bradbury

Lastly, on KRL Lite a review & giveaway of "Finding Sky", a mystery by Susan O'Brien
Happy reading,

KRL is now selling advertising & we have special discounts for
mystery authors & bookstores! Ask me about it!
Mystery section in Kings River Life
Check out my own blog at


Posted by: Lorie Ham

Via Lesa's Book Critiques-- A Cozy Debut Series Giveaway

A Cozy Debut Series Giveaway

Via Amazing Stories--- "Your Reviewer, Some Modern Urban Fantasy and Some Thoughts on Publishing and Stuff" by Steve Fahnestalk

Friday, October 17, 2014

Via The Rap Sheet-- Bullet Points: Wheeling Around the Web

Bullet Points: Wheeling Around the Web

Via New Republic-- Amazon's Elite Reviewing Club Sabotaged My Book

For the record, I am am a Amazon Vine Reviewer. I became one, at their request, because of my long track record of reviewing books on a variety of platforms. I never reviewed this book. I had zero interest in reviewing this book. I certainly would not now after the author showed such a complete lack of understanding how the program works and managed to insult everyone involved. 

Finally Back Home

This was supposed to be another infusion Friday but thinds did not go as planned. IVIG infusion was cancelled as they have some blood work questions and are doing additional blood work.

CT Scan came back with nearly identical results to the last time. Of course, that is fairly meaningless because those scans have never showed her cancer. AETNA has flatly refused to allow her to have a PET SCAN so we will remain in limbo with no idea if Sandi is in remission or not until some time next Spring or so when she goes on  Medicare.

FFB Review: "A Painted House" by John Grisham

Friday means Friday's Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. I had intended to run another review from Patrick Ohl this week. That review as well as a number of e-books and a lot of other important stuff from the last four years was in my Thunderbird mail program and lost when the computer went bad last week. So, instead, this week you get my review from 2003 on A PAINTED HOUSE by John Grisham.

I am always a bit leery and concerned when an author I like attempts something radically different than the previous works. Usually the book is a disaster, the author learns a lesson and gets it out of his or her system, and goes back to what made the author worth reading in the first place. I expected the usual situation in this novel and expected to have to work my way through, reading glasses firmly in place and nose to the grindstone, to finish it. I simply dreaded this book and I could not have been more wrong.

It simply wasn't the case. The man best known for setting off the continuing wave of lawyer style mysteries and thrillers with his second novel, The Firm, creates a powerfully moving human story. This novel is written in a completely different style and is a remarkable change of pace from his other works. The characters are rich and developed from the beginning and as the story evolves, nuances and shading are added, changing each character in subtle, yet powerful ways.

The story revolves around the small world of Luke Chandler, age seven, who lives on a cotton farm in Southern Arkansas with his parents and grandparents. The family rents 80 acres and on a good year, barely breaks better than even. The depression came and never left. The year is 1952, late fall, the cotton is ready to be picked, and his uncle is off fighting the war in Korea. Luke does not want to farm and instead, wants to play ball for his beloved St. Louis Cardinals.

His mother hates the farming life and is determined that Luke will go to college. His father would prefer him to farm, but is willing to go with what Luke's mother wants. His grandparents are equally divided as well, with his grandfather aware that a way of life is passing by. They have rented the acreage for generations and never made enough to buy it outright. Without enough hands to pick the cotton, the Chandlers must rely on the good graces of migrant farm workers.

The Chandlers, like other farm families in the area, go through a yearly ritual of hiring workers as they begin to trickle into town. The farm is deep in debt, cotton prices are down, and the cost of labor is going up. But, the cotton has to be picked and everything else becomes secondary to the harvest. The harvest becomes the dominant theme of the work. A full harvest of a good crop allows them a few extra luxuries while a poor harvest or no harvest means they slide further in debt and face losing the little they rent and own.

The first ones hired are a family down from the Ozarks who have complex problems of their own. The Spruills are a family of seven. There are four boys and a young lady, ten years older than Luke, and he is instantly attracted to her. She is also attracted to him in a big sister sort of way, but Luke reads too much into it. The Chandlers also hire a group of Mexicans from a large pool that is trucked into town every year. Unfortunately for Luke, his friend Juan isn't with the group this year, and he is forced to deal with that fact and make new friends.

Against the backdrop of the unrelenting heat and the backbreaking effort to pick cotton, cultures and personalities quickly clash in deceit, treachery and murder. For Luke Chandler, this harvest will be like no other and will change his life forever. His priorities will change massively as he realizes what is truly important.

This is a pleasant change from the usual Grisham fare of deceitful lawyers, back stabbing judges, and corporate greed. The characters are more diverse, driven by other factors than the worship of a dollar. Grisham shows a breath of characters and writing style not shown in his previous works and I hope this was not a one-time thing. While I thoroughly enjoyed The Firm, and to a lesser extent some of his more recent works, this one was a refreshing breath of air and very enjoyable.

Kevin R. Tipple (c)2003, 2014