Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Please welcome Jeanne of the BPL back to the blog today….
I picked up this graphic novel from a review that ran on the Bristol Public Library’s Bookblog, so Ambrea did a good job of selling this book!
The short description is that this is a sort of The Great Detective Meets The Great Cuthulu but of course there’s a twist. As the story opens, a veteran of the campaign in Afghanistan finds lodging with an idiosyncratic detective—does this sound familiar?—and the two of them are soon called to the scene of a shocking murder. Lestrad, the policeman, is suitable astounded by the swift deductions by the consulting detective and soon they are called to an audience with a Royal Personage who wants the case solved quickly.
In Gaiman’s story, we soon learn that The Great Old Ones of Lovecraft conquered Earth and have become rulers of their various human countries, maintaining the Royal bloodlines. Let’s just say I won’t ever quite look at Queen Victoria in the same way.
The graphic novel is based on a Hugo Award winning short story by Gaiman and now I really want to read the original just to see how some things are handled. For example, the graphic novel boasts advertisements for various things, such as Doctor Jekyll’s Powders which are “Guaranteed to Release the Inner You!”
It’s this sense of playfulness amid the grim investigation and all the little inside jokes that made this such a hit with me. I am more of a Holmes fan than Lovecraft so I’m sure I missed some things there, but the little fannish Easter eggs delighted me. From some other things I’ve read, I have wondered if some reviewers missed a crucial plot point, but that certainly didn’t seem to mar their appreciation.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have actually read it over a couple of times, finding some new little tidbit each time. For that reason, I highly recommend it.
Monday, May 10, 2021
Lost You (Crown, 2019) by Haylen Beck, Irish crime writer Stuart Neville’s alter ego, is a hair-raising thriller, anxiety-provoking in its plot, nerve-wracking and awe-inspiring in its execution. The book opens with a young unnamed woman climbing to the top of a wall on a hotel roof, holding a small child and preparing to take both of them over the edge to the pavement far below. After reading four pages of this intense scenario, I was not sure I was going to be able to proceed, but fortunately the story flipped to several months earlier, something that the book does a lot, and began to fill in the details of just how this desperate situation came to such a sorry pass.
Libby Reese’s dabbling in creative writing has turned into her first novel and after its sale her agent urges her to treat herself to a nice vacation. Libby has had a hard time since her husband Mason left her with a newborn three years earlier, and the luxurious getaway is a celebration of her successful new life and a well-deserved break. She and her son Ethan fly to a resort in Florida, where they enjoy the sun and the relaxed environment. Near the end of their stay, on their way to the pool one afternoon, Ethan dashes down the hall to the elevator, jumps in when the doors open, pushes buttons, and disappears before Libby can reach him. Hotel security starts a massive search of the property as well as a review of the films from cameras stationed all around the buildings. Then they call the local police who start asking a lot of questions.
Many authors can create suspense on the page but Beck is a master. He’s likewise incredibly skilled at folding flashbacks into a cohesive story. This book has two separate plot lines and both are built with chronological interruptions until they collide. Flashbacks are hard to write and even harder to incorporate smoothly. I know moving back and forth in a story timeline is in style but it’s one I never cared for, partly because it results in a disjointed read. However, I was struck by how well this one was accomplished. The plot itself is complicated, as are the main characters, neither of whom are quite honest with themselves or the reader. Crime fiction fans who find stories of children in jeopardy upsetting should avoid this one. On the other hand, followers of psychological thrillers will love it.
Starred review from Kirkus.
· Publisher: Crown (August 6, 2019)
· Language: English
· Hardcover: 320 pages
· ISBN-10: 1524759589
· ISBN-13: 978-1524759582
Aubrey Hamilton ©2021
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, May 09, 2021
For those interested, I welcome guest posts or blogs on my blog. The open days are currently Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. I usually run excerpts from published or about to be published works on Sundays as they seem to work best on those days.
Gumshoe Review May 2021 now Online @
As we roll into the summer and the heat, I am still an Amazon Associate. Every time you click through one of my links and buy something, I get a few cents added to my account as a referral fee. It does nothing on your end to raise your price. I just get a few cents and those pennies that cost you nothing start adding up for me on this end. I use the small fund to buy some medical stuff I need and the occasional book.
So, if you are inclined, when shopping at Amazon, please go through my links for whatever you are ultimately buying. Doing so helps me out and is always very much appreciated.
Saturday, May 08, 2021
Invincible: The Ultimate Collection, Volume 4 the mission to Mars complete in Volume 2 has ramifications and consequences in this book. Additionally, humanity continues to prepare for the Viltrumite invasion while Mark's half-brother Oliver continues to grow at an accelerate rate. Mark also has girl problems, decisions to make in his regular life, and more villains to face. Building off of the previous volume, Mark has to decide what he wants and what is priorities are.
Action packed and interesting, the read suffers a little bit due to the fact that the focus is so much on Mark. The supporting cast continues to not get as much development as they should due to the Mark heavy focus. That means that some moments are not as intense or as strong as they should be. Also, a couple of Mark's insults do not age well now here in the real world. Asking an alien that can not speak English well “if he is retarded” or calling someone else “gay” for what he wears is not really appropriate.
Once again, some future plot points are seeded in this volume in order to set up things in the future. One character in particular makes an incredibly stupid decision that is out of character for him. A decision so monumentally out of character and stupid so the reader knows that it will backfire.
Despite the flaws in the read, I still recommend Invincible: The Ultimate Collection, Volume 4 as well as the series. As always, these books need to be read in order as they build on each other.
Invincible: The Ultimate Collection, Volume 3
My reading copy came from the Lochwood Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple ©2021
Friday, May 07, 2021
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 325 Paying Markets for Short Stories, Poetry, Nonfiction
Beneath the Stains of Time: Lost in Space-Time: "Scenes from the Country of the Blind" (1977) by John Sladek
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: Mega-List of Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazines - Paying markets
From the archives...
Things often don’t go as planned. Elliot Stilling had planned out his suicide and it should have worked. As far as he is concerned as this novella from author Jake Hinkson opens, it is exceedingly unfortunate that he didn’t stay dead. He had been dead for about three minutes when the emergency room staff at a hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas screwed up everything and brought him back to life.
The only thing he really remembers is seeing a black star tattooed on the wrist of a nurse with beautiful blue eyes. That same nurse by the name of Felicia Vogan shows up in his room hours later. Not only did she make an impression on Stilling as he lay dying, the former reverend made quite an impression on her. They have some sort of connection that will draw them together in ways neither saw coming in this intense noir style novella.
Considering that this read comes from the publisher “Beat To A Pulp” one already knows before starting the book that it will be dark, twisted, and feature multiple murders as well as at least one other major crime of some type. The Posthumous Man features all of that and more as well as a consideration of theology and the state of the world and the people in it. It is also an intensely good read.
The Posthumous Man
Beat To A Pulp
December 20, 2012
E-Book (also available in print)
190 Pages (estimated)
Material was picked up last month during publisher’s free read promotion.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2014, 2021
Monday, May 03, 2021
Jeremy Brown is the author of several hardboiled military and crime thrillers. The Wrench (Wolfpack Publishing, 2021) is the first in his Bruder Heist series. Bruder is a career thief in the style of Parker, Wilson, and Wyatt, a good addition to the fictional pantheon of professional criminals. Bruder and his colleague Kershaw hear about a $2.5 million dollar cash transaction at an investment firm in New York City and they decide to intercept it. The accountant who relays the information has been directed to find a way to hide the cash from the IRS. Bruder reasonably concludes the transaction is illegal and knows the police won’t be called in. Stealing from people who won’t call the authorities is his favorite kind of gig: he knows all he has to do is take the money and disappear. The only down side he sees is the schedule, which is tighter than he would like, only a week to plan, and Bruder calls in a few men he’s worked with to help.
Bruder is a brilliant logistician. He works out a meticulously detailed strategy to relieve the investment firm’s CEO of the bundle of cash in broad daylight in plain view of hundreds of people in the financial district of New York City. Execution is exactly as planned, except the CEO fights to keep the money instead of handing it over to the man with a gun pointed at him. That’s when Bruder learns the money belongs to the Labyrinth, a shadowy crime organization. Its reputation for relentlessness in finding those who cross them is only matched by the ruthlessness with which their enemies are dispatched once located. In seconds the steal becomes far more complicated than anyone imagined.
Readers who miss Parker will find Bruder a satisfactory, but not great, replacement. He is callous, brutal, intelligent, and fair; he makes sure that the money is divided as agreed upfront, even when circumstances change. He knows crossing his co-workers will only come back to haunt him. His luddite view of computers is amusing. The early sequence when he tosses someone into a ditch for refusing to give up his telephone lets the reader know that Bruder doesn’t like computers and doesn’t trust anyone who does. The story structure could use some work, though; it lags near the end of the planning sequence, where several pages could have been pruned to create a crisper, tighter effect to match Bruder’s persona. Perhaps the verbosity is overcome in later titles. The second book in the series is available now, and the third is due to be released later this year.
· ASIN: B08YKGKDTM
· Publisher: Wolfpack Publishing (April 14, 2021)
· Publication date: April 14, 2021
· Language: English
· File size: 3473 KB
Aubrey Hamilton ©2021
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, May 02, 2021
Back when Sandi and I were driving down to Medical City Dallas Hospital on Forest Lane from our apartment in Plano, we used to occasionally talk about what I was working on when she was up to it. It was an hour one way—on a good day—as we came down south hoping that the car would not break down or some other calamity would not happen. She was on a schedule and we always knew that even if everything went right, it would be a long day.
We would get down into Richardson, and about the Spring Valley Road area, we would normally start seeing the many cargo trucks and vans for various pest control services. Many of them used a version of a squirrel on the side of the vehicle, but there were also ones decorated with skunks and other rodents. One morning in the fall of 2016 it seemed like every possible truck was at one of the intersections in that area. There were lanes of traffic all stopped with the various trucks line up nose to tail. The way I remember it, they were lined up at all four sides of the intersection as we waited for the traffic signal to start working again. There had to be more than twenty trucks everywhere. Sandi made some comment about all the rodent trucks which became the title of this story.
At the time there was an anthology that I was aiming for and I had an idea. Some writers have tons of ideas. I am not one of those people. I never have been. But this day, I had an idea I had been mulling around and we had talked about it a little bit. I knew where I wanted the tale to take place so I had the setting. I now had a title.
We bandied it about some more the rest of the way into the hospital. About an hour later after she was all checked in and asleep as the chemo dripped into her, I got to work. That became the project I worked on that fall of 2016. Unfortunately, it did not make it into that anthology.
We rolled into January 2017 and soon my Mom passed from a massive stroke. Writing was the last thing on my mind as I dealt with what one does in such situations. I also had managed to have a car accident while going back and forth to see Mom at the hospital so I had that to contend with as well. Beyond all of that, it was also becoming clear that Sandi was not doing as well as we all had hoped. With our situation and everything else, it was clear the only real option was to move to the house I grew up. That was never the plan, but it was now.
As the weeks passed into months and Sandi had a succession of setbacks, she was hospitalized almost all the time as I worked on getting us moved here. That was finally done in August 2017. Sandi was here, once we got in this house, a couple of times for a day or two and then came home on hospice right before Thanksgiving 2017.
They thought she had six weeks to two months. She had two weeks.
Writing remained the last thing on my mind.
I know everyone says 2020 with the pandemic was the worst year ever. They have good reason to say that. It was no piece of cake around here with Scott’s seizure and my major colon scare and some other stuff. But, for me, there is no question that 2017 was absolutely the worst year ever. It is not even close. I still grieve on a daily basis. Sandi is always on my mind. I suspect this is how it will always be.
In the years since, about once a year, I have dusted off the piece, worked on it, and sent it off. It always came back. I was fully prepared and braced for it to be rejected again. I remain very shocked and massively grateful that my first publication in at least seven years, if not longer, has finally happened.
I have no idea if this means, as some folks have suggested, I am back writing again. I have looked at my old stuff, at different times the past couple of years, and they read to me like somebody else wrote them whether they won awards or not. I am radially different now than I was and whatever creative side I had seems to be gone. At this point, I am not sure that any of this means anything other than a piece that carries the weight of the world, in my mind, is out there in print.
If you are still here, and still reading, now you know a little more about the background of the tale. If you are still interested, you can read about my story and many others in the Mystery Weekly Magazine: May 2021 issue at their website.