Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Via Eric Beetner-- Giants among us

Giants among us

Via Smashwords: Is Kindle Unlimited Bad for Authors?

 Full Disclosure---My work is not in the KDP Select program as I have been trying to reach as many readers as possible. My sales are fairly equal between all the platforms so the business decison for me is to stay the course. Others will feel differently .......

mashwords: Is Kindle Unlimited Bad for Authors?: Amazon today unveiled Kindle Unlimited, following in the footsteps of Smashwords partners Scribd and Oyster. When I first heard of Kindl...

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Review: "The Shamus Sampler 2" Edited by Jochem Vandersteen

Editor Jochem Vandersteen crafted a very good read with The Shamus Sampler and does it again with The Shamus Sampler II. The 13 stories in the book are all good ones though they go about things in very different ways. By doing so the authors show in very practical terms the argument put forth by author Timothy Hallinan in the introduction that the private investigator comes in many different flavors and those mean streets can be just about anywhere and may not always be all that mean.

The book opens with “Bobby's Bar” by Graham Smith. Having your office near the bar you frequent can be a good things as well as a nuisance. In this case it is a bit of both though the dead woman in the bar's office is most definitely having the worse day. Bobby needs help and Leonard Peters isn't about to say no.

“Brain Mistrust- A Vic Valentine Vignette” by Will Viharo follows with private investigator Vic Valentine. He should be in San Francisco as that is his home address according to his PI license in his wallet. But, the view out the window indicates Chicago as does the folded newspaper on the nightstand, and he has no idea how he got there. He seems to have lost a few days as well as picked up a bedroom companion that is very naked, but also thankfully alive. Hopefully when she wakes up she will have some idea what is going on as he is pretty much clueless.

Likes Graham Smith, Peter DiChellis is back in The Shamus Sampler II. This time it is an art case in a tale titled “With Cunning Wickedness.” Mr. Wellington Cathcart has had some paintings stolen out of his 200 year old family mansion. Carthcart has a suspect in mind and wants the private investigator to get them back in a tale that is sequel to the previous story.

It has been two years and Dale Burnett has gotten away with murder. He didn't do the crime himself, but hired a well-known criminal idiot, Tommy Kane, to do the deed of killing Dale's wife, Brenda. Her father Bob Allen just wants justice and is paying more than money in “Exceptions to the Rule” by Phillip Thompson. It is a complicated case with many moving parts and reminiscent of a Mike Hammer style tale.

Mark Troy in next with his tale “IFHC” set in Hawaii.  Ava Rome (The Splintered Paddle” and the novella The Rules) hates Christmas with a passion. The holiday has brought her nothing but grief over the years so she helps others who want a day off to spend with family. A private investigator who is perfectly willing to tend bar or wait tables is a rarity in the islands. Irene Ao, manager of the Long Board Beach Shack, is willing to give Ava an opportunity to work. The bar has a history, but then again so does Ava. A robbery Christmas evening and the aftermath will add legend to both.

The story is set in England and the missing medal is from long ago soccer glory, but the tale is one that will strike a chord in all readers. Jimmy Jazz (a Joe Geraghty story) by Nick Quantrill is about family legacy and pain as well as much more. A medal needs to come back home and some family dynamic issues need straightening out one way or another.

It is a dingy office in a dingy strip mall two blocks away from the jail on the day before Thanksgiving. The name of the P. I.is Jake Roberts though everybody calls him “Jake the Snake” for some wrestler. Rebecca, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy man named Charles Faulkner needs help and her brother is willing to pay to get it in “The Season OF Brotherly Love” by Michael Koenig. Fancy lawyers can't do anything but maybe a down on his luck P. I. who rents a desk from a local bail bondsman can. If not, Rebecca could be in prison for a long time.

“Burned Down to the Heart” by Gareth Spark comes next in a tale where the father of a female friend wants a guy found. A wife of a guy named Rick died and Rick needs to be found so he can be told. He knows the guy is 40, that his full name is Rick Saltmarsh, and that he is English. The hunt begins in a very complicated tale.

Mr. Simeon Von Runck is clearly an oddball from the get go in “The Hard Boiled Detective No 3: Simon Von Ruck” by Ben Solomon. It isn't just because he keeps asking if you have ever planned a murder? Discussing it at a party seems odd, but the strange Mr. Runck has his reasons.

“The First Time He Smelled Fresh Death” by Michael W. Clark does double duty in this book as a short story as well as being an excerpt from The Ambivalence of Good and Evil. Marlow is still recovering from recently being shot which resulted in his having to get a new Kevlar vest. While working out his mind drifts back to the first bloody crime scene he had seen years earlier while teaching.

Jet keeps hearing threatening voices every morning at precisely 2:30 am. He wants his old police partner to figure out what is going on in “Voices” by Nick Andreychuk. Internal affairs knows that Jim “The Jet” Jenkins was a crooked cop. His partner knew too though he never took a dime of the money. If Jets wants to help for old time sake he is going to pay.

Nick Forte has little patience for fools in “Zero Tolerance” by Dana King. He is also a father and what upsets his daughter upsets him. Some folks just need a reality check.

Editor Jochem Vandersteen comes next with a tale that does not feature Noah Milano. Instead, this tale features a roady who works at the private investigator thing as a hobby. When in town Lenny Parker works out of a Thai restaurant and that is where his latest client, Howard Bagley, meets him. Howard has a daughter who is showing up with lots of new stuff she can't afford. The answers she gives are bogus and he knows it. Howard is worrying about how she is paying for these things and wants Lenny to discreetly find out the real truth in “Girl Gone Wild.”

As in the first book, the tales of The Shamus Sampler II are complicated with plenty of back story, competing agendas, and folks often at their worst. The stories here feature characters full of nuance where nothing is as it appears and everyone involved has an agenda in a read that moves around the world. In a number of cases the private investigator is never named while in others the tales are linked to series featuring the private investigator. Regardless of the setup, all the tales are executed very well resulting in a very good read well worth your time.

The Shamus Sampler II
Edited by Jochem Vandersteen
Sons Of Spade Publisher
June 2014
168 Pages (estimated)

Word file submitted by the editor in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014
Amazon.com - Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

Saturday, July 19, 2014

KRL This Week Update-- Marcia Muller, Andrew MacRae, Gerrie Ferris Finger, short story, giveaways, TV & more in KRL

As posted elsewhere earlier today....
Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine a review & giveaway of Marcia Muller's new mystery "Night Searchers" http://kingsriverlife.com/07/19/night-searchers-by-marcia-muller/

Also up, a review & giveaway of Andrew MacRae's new mystery "Murder Miscalculated" http://kingsriverlife.com/07/19/murder-miscalculated-by-andrew-macrae/

We also have a fun look by Deborah Harter Williams at some TV mysteries from Down Under http://kingsriverlife.com/07/19/tv-mysteries-from-down-under/

And we have a mystery short story by Ilene Schneider http://kingsriverlife.com/07/19/miami-snow-mystery-short-story/

And a review & giveaway of "Murmurs of Insanity" by Gerrie Ferris-Finger http://kingsriverlife.com/07/19/murmurs-of-insanity-by-gerrie-ferris-fingers/

And for my fantasy/horror loving friends, a recap and review of "Supernatural" http://kingsriverlife.com/07/19/supernatural-recap-and-review/

Over on KRL Lite we have a review of "Games Creatures Play", featuring stories by the likes of Charlaine Harris and Toni L P Kelner http://kingsriverlife.blogspot.com/2014/07/games-creatures-play-anthology.html

As always you also can find all of these (except the KRL Lite one) and much more by 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/

Blue Sharks and the Tapir And Friends Animal Store

Back in High School when just about everything seemed possible I seriously thought about pursuing a degree in marine biology. Life had a different plan so that didn't happen. Even though I am very much land locked these days and there is no way I can ever learn to scuba dive like I always wanted to,  I'm still very interested in marine life. One of the fun things about doing the freelance writing for Tapir and Friends Animal Store is that every so often I get to write about stuff that really interests me.

Such is the case here with blue sharks.

Review: "The Untreed Detectives" edited by J. Alan Hartman

After a short introduction to the book by, publisher J. Alan Hartman, it is on to the twelve short stories. Some are written by names you may recognize. Others by names that are unfamiliar to you. All authors involved have weaved a complex tale very worthy of their inclusion in The Untreed Detectives anthology released last year.

Kara L. Barney leads things off with “A Knife in the Dark.” This story is set in the time before Sherlock became legendary. Watson has been injured by a killer as this story opens and Mrs. Hudson is urgently needed to save his life. She will also need to do far more then stitch Watson's stab wounds in order to bring this case to be a successful conclusion.

Paula and Mitexi run the uniquely named PMS Private Investigations in “Angus Wants a Peanut” by Amber Rochelle Gillet. According to Mitexi, the two have to be in Lilli Pad Park at 11m by the statue of the bull frog to meet a Mr. Ryan Majors. He insists on meeting there and won't discuss what he requires until that time. After the very serious previous story, this occasionally amusing tale is nice chance of pace. Mr. Ryan as well as his case are quite surprise.

Jessie Schroeder has moved back to her small town of Riverport in the wake of a brutal divorce. She has resumed writing while moving on with her life. In “Breathing Under Water” by Janet Majerus, Jessie has traveled to La Cumbre, New Mexico, to teach a writing workshop for her friend Sharon. Fortunately for her she won’t be the only instructor. The small workshop of ten students in this mountainous location in northern New Mexico is going to be interesting. She had needed a break from home on many levels, but this is not what she had intended at all in this serious story.

“Dessie's Jaded Past” by Lesley A. Diehl comes next. Like Jessie in the story before this one, Kaitlin Singer is starting over after her divorce. She has come home to the Catskill Mountains to write children's books and get on with life. Her plans for solitude have been interrupted as Mary Jane and her son, Jeremy, have moved in with her. So too has their potbellied pig, Desdemona. She has helped capture the killer of the newspaper's advice columnist and will play a vital role again in this tale.

Known for his book In Dog We Trust and others, author Neil Plakcy contributes “Dog Is in the Details” next. Rochester, a two year old Golden Retriever, helps Steve Levitan not only find his father's sport jacket, but how to deal with some painful aspects of the past.

Halloween in Philadelphia is the setting for “Faint Heart” by Gillian Roberts. For Amanda Pepper, a teacher who should be working on the essays of her seniors, she is instead thinking about how the magic of Halloween isn't around anymore. That is until Rosalie Tucker, new to the faculty, comes into the lounge talking about the scary gorilla outside in the square across the street. Something may have been out there, but it is Halloween and there are private school students to teach. Soon there will be a murder case to solve.

Imogene Duckworthy has been solving cases since she was a child. We see a little bit of that childhood here in “Immy Goes to the Dogs” by Kaye George. It began near her home of Saltlick, Texas when she pet sat Mrs. Yarbrough's two Cocker Spaniels. It is the summer and Immy is supposed to let out Sweetums and Tweetums so they can do their business and get them back into the house. Should have been a simple deal, but there were complications.

If you don't like clowns you probably won't like a story where clowns are an actual species. In “Scandalous Silence” by Whit Howland, not only are clowns a species they bleed makeup and not blood. Cheating happens on that world just like they do here and Huey Dusk’s latest case is about somebody cheating on somebody. It is a dark and twisted world and Huey travels the mean streets of Kermisberg doing what he needs to do to make a buck. At least the clown gangs and mime syndicates don't exist anymore and one can get Bubble Gum Whiskey.

Diana Andrews is being asked by Detective Breitwieser if she knows anything about a certain guy as “Split the Difference” by Albert Tucher begins. She does not know him, but she knows of him. As a prostitute she knows to stay well away from the man known as “The Baker.” The detective wants her help and she really has no choice.

Instead of sitting in a car conducting surveillance on a cheater, P. I. Nathaniel P. Osgood III works cases involving nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters. In “The Cinderella Caper” by Herschel Cozine we learn the real truth about that tramp Cinderella and lots of other things in this occasionally amusing tale.

P. I. Guillermo Lombardo is at work in “The Wrong Move” by Rodolfo Pena. Chess, a complicated case, and Mexico City combine well here in a tale that is part mystery and part thriller. Not all chess games are on boards.

“The Trident Caper” by Wade J. McMahan is the final story and features private detective Richard Dick in a mystery tale that has paranormal elements as well as fantasy elements. Interrupting Dick's chess game with Percy (a ghost) she walked into his Chicago office. Great body, great legs, but the hair is green. She says her name is “Coral” and has no last name as the merpeople don't have them. Coral is a mermaid who is on a long trip from home looking for more than her father's treasure chest. The chest does not matter for her, but they also took her father's golden trident and she wants that back.

A section of author bios brings the book to a close.

This is an interesting anthology of twelve stories where each one contains a mystery of some type. Not all mysteries have a murder case and several that do not are contained here in The Untreed Detectives. The stories fluctuate widely in tone as some are light hearted and even playful while others are far more serious. Most of the tales here are short stories featuring series characters from novels which gives readers an excellent way to sample various author's works. It is an interesting smorgasbord of cases that will provide plenty of good reading.

The Untreed Detectives
Edited by J. Alan Hartman
Untreed Reads Publishing
December 2013
160 Pages

Material was supplied in the form of a PDF by the editor some time ago in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

Lesa's Latest Contest-- Thriller Giveaway

As posted elsewhere earlier today...

This week, I'm giving away two thrillers. FaceOff is edited by David Baldacci, and features a pairing of the the characters written by some of the best thriller writers of today such as Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly. Or you could win Sharon Bolton's A Dark and Twisted Tide. Details on my blog at http://www.lesasbookcritiques.blogsot.com. Entries from the U.S. only, please.

-- Lesa Holstine 

Via Tapirgal's World: Adding Animals

 Update on some things that have been going on....

Tapirgal's World: Adding Animals: Drake Park, Bend, Oregon ~ February 7, 2009 Canada Goose Photo by Sheryl Todd Lee , Kevin , Amy , and I have all been working hard ...

Via Western Fictioneers: 3 Tips for Writing Short Stories #amwriting @Jacquie Rodgers

Western Fictioneers: 3 Tips for Writing Short Stories #amwriting @Jacqu...: So You Want to Write  a Short Story? by Jacquie Rogers Website | Pickle Barrel Gazette Like everyone who reads the Western Fict...

Via Ericka Dreifus-- Friday Finds for Writers

Friday Finds for Writers

FFB Review: "The False Inspector Dew" by Peter Lovesey --Reviewed by Patrick Ohl

 Patrick Ohl is back this week for Friday's Forgotten Books. make sure you check out the list of suggested reads later today on Patti Abbott's blog. By the way, please note that Patti's books CONCRETE ANGEL and SHOT IN DETROIT have survived the shutdown of Exhibit A Books and have been picked up by Jason Pinter and Polis Books. Thrilled for Patti as well as readers everywhere......

H. H. Crippen was one of the 20th century’s most infamous murderers—or, at the very least, accused murderers. Over time, much doubt has been cast upon the “guilty” verdict, and some controversial new DNA evidence suggests that the remains found in Crippen’s basement may not have been his wife’s after all. (This evidence cannot be completely trusted, however. I’d go into details, but you’re here for a book review, not a true crime article.) Whatever the truth of the matter, Crippen and his lover, Ethel le Neve, fled to Canada, but thanks to the miracle of wireless communication, were arrested upon arrival by Inspector Walter Dew, who simply took a faster ship to get there first.

It is this infamous real-life murder case that inspires The False Inspector Dew by Peter Lovesey. In it, a dentist named Walter Baranov decides to murder his shrew of a wife Lydia on board the ocean liner Mauretania. The plan is a perfect one— he will be free to live with his lover Alma, a girl absolutely devoted to him. And in a touch of irony, to get away with the scheme he registers under a false name as Walter Dew, after the famous inspector who caught Crippen. There’s no way the scheme could possibly fail. But, irony of ironies, when a body is found bobbing in the ocean, the captain of the ship quite innocently asks the eminent Inspector Dew to investigate!

An awkward situation, investigating a murder of your own— especially when you haven’t the slightest idea how to act like a detective! So Inspector Dew goes around talking to his fellow passengers and discovers that he may not have been the only one up to no good during the night…

The False Inspector Dew combines a little bit of everything—inverted mystery, comedy, and through an ingenious plot development there’s a genuine mystery to be solved as well. It’s a delightful and downright delicious book to read. The plot twists and turns throughout, making it a definite page-turner. It’s ingenious as well—Lovesey gives his readers every clue, and when you reach the ending you realise just how neatly the author has treaded the line between cheating and fair play, while always remaining firmly on the “fair play” side.

The characters are also on the good side. The titular “False Inspector Dew” is a wonderful character; he’s a boring lover and a bad detective who is desperately trying to pass himself off as an ex-inspector. His lover Alma is a bit on the psychotic side, but in a very funny way—she is the one who starts the whole romance, finding Walter’s smallest, most ordinary gestures filled with romantic symbolism. She is a big reader of romantic novels and has unrealistic expectations, and that makes for plenty of fun. Even the doomed wife Lydia can be plenty of fun with her pig-headedness over the most unreasonable requests. And then there are all the passengers aboard the boat…

The writing is excellent and can be very funny indeed, especially in those moments where Inspector Dew’s mask drops and he says something he really shouldn’t have. It can also be quite suspenseful, such as a great scene during a storm, or another scene where a killer is apparently caught-red-handed. It’s part of the package that makes The False Inspector Dew such a treat— and the ending is just plain perfect. It’s a really nice way to wrap everything up for good.

Overall, I highly recommend The False Inspector Dew. It won the CWA Gold Dagger Award, and in my opinion it was a very deserved prize. The story is an ingenious one, with terrific plot twists throughout to easily hold your interest. The ending is top-notch, and the reader is given every clue to solve the mystery that crops up. The comedy is terrific. The characters are loads of fun. And when you look at it in retrospect, there are some passages where I can only admire the author for creating a grand puzzle-plot in the fine old tradition. In short, the book is an absolute triumph. I highly, highly recommend it.

Patrick Ohl ©2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Via The Los Angeles Times-- Netflix cuts costs by ending Saturday DVD shipments

I thought that they might have done this......

Netflix cuts costs by ending Saturday DVD shipments

Review: "Half In Love With Artful Death: A Dan Rhodes Mystery

Burt Collins is just one of those difficult folks that Sheriff Dan Rhodes has to deal with on a daily basis. Burt Collins has a very narrow view of the world and Rhodes has to listen to him complain and demand action. His latest issue is that he doesn't like the artists that have shown up all over Clearview, Texas. To hear Burt Collins talk those artists, who are in town for a workshop being taught by a couple of county residents, are an infestation that has to be removed before they ruin everything. Burt Collins doesn't like the artists, the organizers involved, and plenty of other things in Clearview or in Blacklin County, Texas. Not that Rhodes is of a mind to do anything about the artists even if there was a legal reason and there is not.

Burt Collins has been known to say quite a lot of offensive things over the years and certainly hasn’t mellowed with age. He has also been known to do a few things. While it may not have been good enough for a court of law folks know he's behind some of the petty vandalism and crimes that has gone on in the area. So, after a number of paintings by the visiting artists are vandalized isn't surprising that Burt Collins in the number one suspect for nearly everyone. He has that reputation after all and was found at the scene of the crime minutes after the vandalism was done.

It also isn't surprising that Burt Collins is soon very much dead thanks to having his head bashed in. It is also pretty clear that in all likelihood the murder weapon was a bust of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Find the bust and Sheriff Dan Rhodes might just find the killer.

It would go quicker if he didn't have to deal with some runaway donkeys, a series of convenience store robberies, a naked woman wandering around, and meth cookers with serious firepower. To top it all off, Dan Rhodes can't even have a decent Dr. Pepper thanks to their closing of the bottling facility in Dublin. That also means the joy is gone from eating peanut butter crackers while sitting in his courthouse office and thinking.

Scheduled to be released on August 12th, Half In Love With Artful Death: A Dan Rhodes Mystery is another very good read in a great series. All the usual suspects readers love along with Rhodes are present in this latest tale set in East Texas. A member of the “Texas Literary Hall of Fame,” this award winning author keeps turning out quality reads year in and year out. He has done it again with Half In Love With Artful Death: A Dan Rhodes Mystery and shows how you can mix a little humor, some mystery, some action, and a whole bunch of asking questions into yet another very good read. Highly recommended.

If you are new to the series it would be best to start in the beginning with Too Late To Die. While there is not really any character development in this novel as they were set long ago, the interplay between some of the characters goes back years and would be more appreciated by those who know the context of the series.

Half In Love With Artful Death: A Dan Rhodes Mystery
Bill Crider
A Thomas Dunne Book (Minotaur Books)
August 12, 2014
ISBN #978-1-250-03967-5
Hardback (also available in e-book form)
272 Pages

ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014