Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Via Not The Baseball Pitcher--- The Destroyer News

The Destroyer News

Via FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Goodbye to Another Old Friend (Hardboiled Magazine...

 Very sad news .....

FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Goodbye to Another Old Friend (Hardboiled Magazine...: Over the weekend, I received a copy of the latest Hardboiled (#47) from editor/publisher Gary Lovisi. In the envelope, Gary includ...

Senior News Newspaper Book Review Column--August 2014

For my monthly newspaper book review column in the Senior News Newspaper, I usually make sure to choose one fiction and one nonfiction book in the hopes of interesting more readers. This month I went with The Splintered Paddle by Texas resident Mark Troy (highly recommend this book and anything else has done) and When Your life Is Touched By Cancer: Practical Advice and Insights for Patients, Professionals and Those Who Care by Bob Riter. As anyone who has read the blog knows, cancer continues to dominate our lives over everything else. Longer reviews of both books are available here on the blog. Included below are the relevant book covers for my August 2014 column…  

The Splintered Paddle
Mark Troy
Five Star Publishing (division of Cengage)
ISBN# 978-1-4328-2859-2
304 Pages

Private Investigator Ava Rome has no idea in the beginning that she is being hunted. She has no idea at all a man from her distant past is in the islands watching her every move. Fantasizing over and over again what he is going to do to her once he finally gets her alone. His name is Norman Traxler and he is coming for her--- after he eliminates whatever she cares about a chess piece at a time.

That situation is just a small part of what is going on in this complicated mystery featuring multiple story lines. Written by Texas author Mark Troy who spent a number of years in Hawaii before moving to Texas, this complex read features four separate and distinct story lines that gradually interweave as readers are slowly filled in on Ava's often difficult past.  A Second place winner at the 2012 Claymore Awards at Killer Nashville, The Splintered Paddle: An Ava Rome Mystery is one of those rare books that pulls you deep inside a world far from home right from the beginning. It isn't all sundrenched beaches, cool waters, and happy days in paradise. Ava, also seen in the very good novella The Rules, knows something about the dark undercurrents at work in the 50th state in the union and is more than ready to protect the defenseless.

When Your life Is Touched By Cancer: Practical Advice and Insights for Patients, Professionals and Those Who Care
Bob Riter
Hunter House Publishing
ISBN# 978-0-89793-679-8
145 Pages

Around here we know something about cancer and its impact. More than we ever wanted to know. So does Bob Riter, cancer survivor. He is also the executive director of Cancer Resource center of the Finger Lakes in Ithaca, New York. The nine chapters of this book are made up of various columns he wrote for the Ithaca Journal newspaper about his cancer as well as cancer in general. He wrote about, not only his experience, but the various cancer questions he has heard from patients or their loved ones over the years. The short chapters are designed to be read here and there as the mood or need strikes.

All I can say is When Your life Is Touched By Cancer: Practical Advice and Insights for Patients, Professionals and Those Who Care by Bob Riter is an incredible book. I hope and pray you will never need it, but if you ever do, it’s good to know it is out there and can help ease everything just a little bit.

Kevin R Tipple ©2014
Author of Mind Slices and contributor to the Carpathian Shadows, Volume II Anthology

Monday, August 25, 2014

Via Mystery Fanfare: Map Back Monday!

Mystery Fanfare: Map Back Monday!: Today,  I'm starting a new feature on Mystery Fanfare: Map Back Monday ! I've been collecting the iconic Dell Map Backs for years, a...

Via Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

Review: "The Bone Orchard (Mike Bowditch Mysteries) by Paul Doiron

It is late May and Mike Bowditch has recently done what some in the Maine Warden Service have long wanted---he quit. These days he is working as a fishing guide. That decision had many consequences some of which were obvious and some that were not. One of the not so obvious ones, at least to Mike, was the fact that he wasn’t available when his friend and mentor Sargent Kathy Frost needed him the most. Instead, she was with a rookie officer when dealing with the call about a troubled veteran who might be suicidal.

Unfortunately, things escalated quickly when Sargent Frost and Danielle “Dani” Tate arrived on scene. Fearing for their safety they were forced to shoot Jimmy Gammon. The same Jimmy Gammon Mike had known before he was deployed to Afghanistan where he would suffer severe wounds thanks to an IED.  Jimmy died in his parent’s barn and the officers are on suspension and being investigated.

The family is outraged as are many other people and both officers are receiving threats. Somebody may have decided not to wait for the investigation into the shooting to conclude. Who fired the shots at her home that killed her dog, Pluto, and gravely wounded Kathy Frost is one of the many questions Mike Bowditch intends to answer. He faces an uphill battle because of his status as a civilian and numerous complications via various secondary storylines. Sticking in his nose in things and being his normal obstinate self is going to cost--- the real question is just how much.

Fifth in a great series that started with The Poacher’s Son author Paul Doiron continues to bring the beauty of the Maine woods alive for readers in ways that few authors can achieve. He also mixes in plenty of mystery, adventure, and humanity making all the characters-- major and minor-- fully fleshed out people and not caricatures. Award winning Paul Doiron has crafted another very good book in an excellent series that shows no sign of stopping. Like all really good ones, this is a series that is best read in order.

The Bone Orchard
Paul Doiron
Minotaur Books
ISBN# 978-1-250-03488-5
Hardback (also available in e-book
306 Pages

Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

KRL This Week Update-- Jenny Milchman, Rhys Bowen, Ellery Adams, Kylie Logan, True Detective, Scandal, giveaways & much more in KRL

As posted elsewhere yesterday....

Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine a review and giveaway of "Ruin Falls" by Jenny Milchman http://kingsriverlife.com/08/23/ruin-falls-by-jenny-milchman/

Also up, a review & giveaway of "Queen of Hearts" by Rhys Bowen http://kingsriverlife.com/08/23/queen-of-hearts-by-rhys-bowen/

We also have 3 more Penguin reviews & giveaways-"Murder in the Mystery Suite": A Book Retreat Mystery by Ellery Adams, "Extra Sensory Deception": A Raven’s Nest Bookstore Mystery by Allison Kingsley and "Death by Devils Breath" by Kylie Logan http://kingsriverlife.com/08/23/three-fun-penguin-mysteries/

And we have a couple more Emmy nominee reviews--this one of "True Detective" http://kingsriverlife.com/08/23/true-detective-review-emmy-review/

Also this week, we have a review of a noir/magic/mystery, "Broken Souls" by Stephen Blackmoore http://kingsriverlife.com/08/23/broken-souls-by-stephen-blackmoore/

And for even more fantasy, we have a review and giveaway of "Happy Hour in Hell" by Tad Williams http://kingsriverlife.com/08/23/happy-hour-in-hell-by-tad-williams/
As always, you can find all of these and more by also going to our home page and scrolling down http://KingsRiverLife.com

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 http://KingsRiverLife.com
Check out my own blog at http://mysteryratscloset.blogspot.com/

Via Mystery Fanfare: Cartoon of the Day: Police Artist

Mystery Fanfare: Cartoon of the Day: Police Artist: This one's for Robin Burcell !

Friday, August 22, 2014

Back Home from Texas Oncology

We are back home from Texas Oncology down at Medical City Dallas Hospital. Sandi's IVIG infusion seems to have gone okay. The bloodwork that they do before they do anything came back a little wonky today so meds have been adjusted.

They plan on us being back down there Tuesday morning to do things again and make sure everything is okay. Assuming the numbers are better the plan is to just watch her and have another IVIG infusion on September 19.

FFB Review: "The Singing Bone" by R. Austin Freeman--Reviewed by Patrick Ohl

Patrick Ohl is back this week for Friday Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. This week he is reviewing The Singing Bone by R. Austin Freeman.

The inanimate things around us have each of them a song to sing to us if we are but ready with attentive ears.
— Dr. John Thorndyke, “The Echo of a Mutiny” (collected in The Signing Bone)

And thus we have come to R. Austin Freeman. At one point in time, he was a highly respected author, even earning praise from Raymond Chandler (no mean feat, that – Chandler’s praise seems to have been very difficult to earn!). Flash forward to the publication of Bloody Murder in 1972, and what does Julian Symons write about Freeman? “Reading a Freeman story is very much like chewing on dry straw.” And he hasn’t fared much better today, which just puzzles me. My confusion increased after reading The Singing Bone, a collection of short stories originally published in 1911, in which Freeman invented what is known as the “inverted detective story”—a technique that the television show Columbo excelled at. I was expecting an interesting experiment but not much more. But once again, Freeman surprised me and smashed the ball out of the park.

As I’ve mentioned, this is a short story collection, consisting of five tales. The first four are inverted detective stories—the final one is a more conventional one. Freeman felt the need to comment on this in his preface: “The peculiar construction of the first four stories … will probably strike both reader and critic and seem to call for some explanation, which I accordingly proceed to supply.” Each of these stories, as it turns out, is very entertaining and interesting, and I will proceed to comment on each below.

The Case of Oscar Brodski
Oscar Brodski, a Polish man who was born in Warsaw, makes the mistake of travelling alone with a stash of rough diamonds he intends to have cut in Amsterdam. He makes an even bigger mistake when he get lost and comes to the house of Silas Hickler for help. Hickler is a criminal, and as it turns out, the temptation of the diamonds is too much for him—he kills Brodski and proceeds to cover up his crime. But, he didn’t count on the presence of Dr. John Thorndyke. Several circumstances add up to point out the murderer’s guilt, but you’re on the detective’s side. Hickler is a man of no perceivable conscience—he only hesitates with the murder because he knows that few can get away with it and the prospect of hanging is great. He doesn’t struggle with his conscience, just with the last bit of reason he possesses—and once he leaves that behind, he becomes a marked man. This is one case where you feel justice has to be carried out. However, it is precisely for this reason that this is my least favourite story. Hickler is a monster, and the interest lies not in whether or not he will escape justice, but in seeing how Dr. Thorndyke brilliantly tracks him down. Once again, Thorndyke’s logic is impeccable. He deals with every reasonable theory and proves his case step by step—and even when the amount of evidence is high enough to make little room for doubt, he allows for the possibility that he could be wrong.

A Case of Premeditation
Mr. Pratt was at one time a warder in a prison, and he uses this knowledge to his advantage. Mr. Rufus Pembury is now a respectable citizen, but at one time in his life, he found himself in jail, the same one Mr. Pratt worked in. He broke free and never again reverted to crime… until Mr. Pratt decides to turn blackmailer. It immediately becomes obvious to Pembury that Pratt must be eliminated, and he sets about doing so ingeniously.

I found this story a major improvement on The Case of Oscar Brodski. The murderer’s character is far more interesting and sympathetic—a blackmailer, after all, is a very unpleasant person to deal with. If you removed the first half of the story, it would make a fine mystery. The killer’s plot is a good one, and Dr. Thorndyke lays to rest the old superstition about bloodhounds being able to sniff out the guilty party in a crime. Yet the first half only adds to the story’s interest.

The Echo of a Mutiny
This is my very favourite story in this collection, because there is a far bigger element of suspense involved. Though this is an inverted murder mystery, you have no idea who will be the victim and who will be the murderer. You can only watch helplessly as events unfold— a sailor named Brown commandeers a sailboat to a lighthouse, ready to relieve one of the men there. Unfortunately, the same fellow, who has broken his leg, takes a ride in another boat that will pass by his home town. This leaves a sailor named Jeffreys, who awaits the arrival of the man who will be confined to the island on which the lighthouse is built for a month with him. When Brown finally arrives, the eyes of the two sailors meet and they recognize each other as accomplices in a mutiny years ago. Since then, they have both adopted the aliases I use for them. Brown betrayed Jeffreys to the law to save himself, and Jeffrey has been on the run since then. The atmosphere in the lighthouse is strained, and soon, one of the men is killed by the other. The survivor then goes about trying to ensure that he will not be blamed.

This story is marvellous. Both murderer and victim are interesting, and their confrontation is just brilliant. The emotional storm that goes through the lighthouse is genuinely suspenseful and the ultimate outcome is an unfortunate one which could’ve been prevented if not for a series of idiotic miscommunications that led to their meeting each other.

And the way Dr. Thorndyke finds the truth is brilliant. Every little fact turns out to be important, right down to a small and seemingly irrelevant one that is initially mocked by a stander-by, Captain Grumpass. I have only one minor complaint—Jeffreys is left alone for a considerable time, which is when he reflects on his past and we learn of the mutiny he took part in. It’s nicely done, but how much more effective would it have been to have those thoughts race through his head when he lays his eyes on the newcomer for the first time?

A Wastrel’s Romance
This is another fine inverted detective story, in which the murderer is a sneak thief who commits his crime on an impulse and immediately regrets it, panicking and fleeing the crime scene, believing to have killed a woman he loved. But the woman is not dead, though the distraught man failed to notice, and she wants to find out who attacked her so that the man may be punished. As the net closes in and Thorndyke gets closer to the truth, you anticipate the scene where the victim will meet her attacker—the irony is present throughout, but the final scene where they meet is just priceless, and the concluding statement of the story is one of the most perfect endings to a mystery I’ve ever read. This may have been my favourite story, but the problem I noticed in The Echo of a Mutiny is more ingrained and pronounced in here. I think it would’ve been so much more effective for the murderer to not realize who he was attacking until the struggle was over, and then have the backstory flash through his mind. But we are given a few scenes with these reflections prior to the attack, which makes it seem quite out of character, although it loses none of its ironic tragedy.

The Old Lag
The final story in this collection is unfortunately not as interesting as the inverted murder tales that came before. First, Freeman gives an extremely condensed version of his book The Red Thumb Mark which is well worth reading. The book itself, I’ve been told, feels like a padded out short story. So it’s interesting to read a short story version, where Dr. Thorndyke proves the fallacy of fingerprint evidence, at a time when people thought them to be infallible. (This method won’t work anymore, though—I won’t spoil what it is!) The second half of the story is a fairly run-of-the-mill murder case which doesn’t quite match the level of the inverted mysteries. While it’s still interesting and the logic is perfect as usual, it lacks a certain… je ne sais quoi.


And that’s The Singing Bone. How does it hold up? Extremely well! The stories are all interesting and the characters are rather well-done. Each story, including the final one, is split into first halves. The first half is told from the murderer’s point of view and the second half is told by Dr. Jervis, Thorndyke’s assistant. (The last story has the same two-half structure but the contents of those halves are different.) The murderers are usually interesting characters, and the stories are written really well, with just a dash of humour at precisely the right spots. Dry straw, you say, Mr. Symons? I can only quote the wisdom of Nero Wolfe: “Pfui!”

Dr. Thorndyke is a marvellous creation. Freeman doesn’t concern himself with giving his detective as many eccentricities as possible. Thorndyke’s hobbies don’t include knitting and he doesn’t have a fixation for his moustache. He is simply an intelligent and observant man who knows how to use his remarkable mind to make a solid deduction. His logic is simply perfect, and he always allows for the possibility that he may have miscalculated somewhere. And the way he goes about solving his crimes is just fascinating to watch. Indeed, Thorndyke (and through him, Freeman) made some pretty shrewd observations on forensic science and its future possibilities. The Eye of Osiris featured X-ray photography, for instance! Here, Dr. Thorndyke disproves the myth that bloodhounds will track a killer with the same ease as proving fingerprint evidence fallible. It makes me wish R. Austin Freeman were still around—just think of what havoc he could wreak with DNA evidence!

So why has time been so unkind to R. Austin Freeman? He possessed creativity, ingenuity, a genuine gift for writing, and the logic of his tales is solid. In short, he possessed all the ingredients necessary for a timeless mystery author, yet he was omitted from P. D. James’ “Talking About Detective Fiction”. A serious injustice is being done to this man’s work!

Patrick Ohl ©2014
Make sure to read more of Patrick’s excellent work here on the blog as well as his website At The Scene Of The Crime.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Health Updates

Sandi is doing okay. Tomorrow is an IVIG infusion Friday for her so we shall be spending most of the day down at Medical City Dallas Hospital.

My foot is not any better at all after a week of the shoe and lots of ice. Swelling has gone down and the bruising looks better, but the foot itself is still just as painful as it was the first day.

Tomorrow is not going to be any fun for us at all and I am not looking forward to trying to move around there in the shape I am in right now.

FFB is set up for tomorrow courtesy of a piece by Patrick Ohl.

Via Slate-- Here’s Why We Need to Protect Public Libraries By Jordan G. Teicher