Friday, November 15, 2019

Lesa's Book Critiques: Winner and Christmas Giveaway

Lesa's Book Critiques: Winner and Christmas Giveaway

FFB Review: Grace: A Willie Black Mystery by Howard Owen


FFB Review returns today with a series that I am enjoying very much. Grace: A Willie Black Mystery by Howard Owen is the fifth book in a great series that started with Oregon Hill. This is a series that should be read in order. For more reading suggestions, make sure you head over to Todd Mason’s Sweet Freedom blog.

The fifth in the series, Grace: A Willie Black Mystery, opens early in December 2014 a few months after the preceding novel, The Bottom. Kids have been vanishing for years from Richmond’s East End. Nobody has been doing much about it because of racism, the fact that kids come from poor families, or for some other reason. The bottom line is that young black kids have been disappearing for years now and Artesian Cole is the latest young boy to vanish.

But, this time is different as they have the child’s body. Despite being bagged and weighed down with rocks, Artesian Cole surfaced in the waters of a lake over in Bryon Park. In the fifth grade, he also attended an afternoon tutoring program at the “Children of God.” Local legend Sam McNish has been running the program for many years despite some opposition in the neighborhood who would rather see the property put to a better use as they see it.

The death of Artesian Cole soon causes the arrest of Sam McNish by the local cops. Not only is he subsequently blamed for the murder of Artesian Cole, he is publicly blamed for the disappearances of other children as well. A fact that does not sit at all well with Willie Black.

Reporter Willie Black is well aware that the evidence against McNish is barely better than fence line gossip. Having worked the police beat for many years he is also aware that often the local cops have it all wrong. Both these two factors push him to start investigating and digging into the case. As usual, his digging causes issues with local law enforcement as well as his bosses at the paper who would prefer him to accept the official line.

Grace: A Willie Black Mystery by Howard Owen builds on the previous books in the series. Along with the occasional references to previous books in the series, characters in this read continue to evolve and change. While one could read this one as the starting point, one could also go jump off the roof if one wanted to do so. It would be far better to avoid roof jumping as well as to start this very good series from the beginning, Oregon Hill.

The Series to this point and my Reviews

Oregon Hill (June 14, 2019)

The Philadelphia Quarry (July 19, 2019)

Parker Field (September 2019)

The Bottom (October 4, 2019)




Grace: A Willie Black Mystery
Howard Owen
The Permanent Press
October 2016
ISBN# 978-1-57962-434-7
Hardback (also available in audio and digital formats)
245 Pages

My reading copy came from the Central Downtown Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2019

Thursday, November 14, 2019

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 11/14/19

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 11/14/19

Buried Under Books Review: Past and Present by Judy Penz Sheluk

Buried Under Books Review: Past and Present by Judy Penz Sheluk

Ladies of Mystery: Law or Justice? What Do They Mean to Mystery Writers? by Janis Patterson

Ladies of Mystery:  Law or Justice? What Do They Mean to Mystery Writers? by Janis Patterson 

Mystery Tribune: Sarah Dessen is Your Helpful Reminder to Never Punch Down

Mystery Tribune: Sarah Dessen is Your Helpful Reminder to Never Punch Down

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Flying Boat Mystery (1935) by Franco Vailati

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Flying Boat Mystery (1935) by Franco Vailati: Leo Wollenborg Jr. was the son of a German-born Italian economist and a journalist, who moved to the United States in response to the int...

Matt Paust's Crime Time Review: THE SIBERIAN DILEMMA by Martin Cruz Smith

Matt Paust's Crime Time : THE SIBERIAN DILEMMA – Martin Cruz Smith: My fears after reading Arkady Renko’s previous adventure have proven unfounded. I’d predicted that Tatiana , #8 in the Russian crime seri...

Bitter Tea and Mystery Review: Death After Breakfast by Hugh Pentecost

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Death After Breakfast: Hugh Pentecost: I read the Pierre Chambrun novels by Hugh Pentecost years ago, and remember them fondly. Chambrun is the manager of a luxury hotel in New Yo...

Do Some Damage: The Joy of Quitting by David Nemeth

Do Some Damage: The Joy of Quitting: By David Nemeth Americans don't quit enough, a writer may have told me. It might have been, "Americans don't like quitt...

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Keller, Blaedel, Mrs. Sherlock Holmes,...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Keller, Blaedel, Mrs. Sherlock Holmes,...: Reported by Kristin Nevermore began with laughter, as one reader exclaimed that she really did not enjoy A Killing in the Hills...

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 11/12/19

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 11/12/19

Beneath the Stains of Time: A Twisted Fairy Tale: "The Too-Perfect Alibi" (194...

Beneath the Stains of Time: A Twisted Fairy Tale: "The Too-Perfect Alibi" (194...: " Dark theaters are best for dark deeds ." Previously, I reviewed Christopher St. John Sprigg's The Perfect Alibi...

Jeanne Reviews: Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert

Please welcome back Jeanne of the BPL with her latest review …


Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert


As with many small towns, Taylorsford, Virginia is looking for a festival to act as a draw for tourists. The mayor thinks a revival of the traditional May Day festivities might be just the ticket, and a college professor and her class are gathering information on local folklore and customs to add weight. Things go awry when one of the students goes missing.  The search turns up the student, injured but alive.  Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the person found with her. . .  and just like that, librarian Amy Webber finds herself trying to solve a murder.

This is the third in the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, and it is an enjoyable entry. I confess I had my doubts early on, as Amy’s significant other Richard Muir is considered a suspect and Amy fears that Richard’s affections may be waning.  One thing I had particularly appreciated in the series was the relationship between the two characters which I found refreshing for the lack of drama.  I’m happy to say that issue was resolved relatively early on in the book, letting the mystery take over.

The small town Blue Ridge setting is well done, and I especially like the folklore aspect.  Since I live near the region depicted in the books, I found much that rang true:  the old May Day festivals, the ghosts, hidden treasure, etc. all sounded very familiar.

The plot featured some good twists and turns, red herrings, and an interesting solution.  Gilbert is good about playing fair with the clues, which I appreciate in an author.

In short, this is a solid mystery that will entertain the cozy aficionado. While reading the two prior books in the series would illuminate character, this can be read as a standalone.

The other books in the series are A Murder for the Books and Shelved Under Murder.  However, keep in mind that the solution to the first mystery spoiled in the second. The fourth book in the series, Bound for Murder, is due out in January 2020.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 11/11/19

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 11/11/19

Matt Paust's Crime Time : EASY ERRORS by Steven F. Havill

Matt Paust's Crime Time : EASY ERRORS – Steven F. Havill: Were I to consider becoming a police officer I doubt I could find better and more interesting training literature than Steven Havill'...

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Perfect Alibi (1934) by Christopher St. John S...

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Perfect Alibi (1934) by Christopher St. John S...: Christopher St. John Sprigg 's The Perfect Alibi (1934) is the third novel in the regrettably short-lived series about the Mercury ...

Bitter Tea and Mystery Review: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Bitter Tea and Mystery: The Woman in White: Wilkie Collins: This book is one of the first sensation novels. First published in 1859, it tells the story of a young woman  (Laura Fairlie) who marries un...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End...: Reviewed by Jeanne Modern medicine has had an enormous impact on society, and not just in the form of longer lifespans.   Ther...

Unlawful Acts: Incident Report No. 81

Glad to see this deal by David Nemeth return....

Unlawful Acts: Incident Report No. 81

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 11/11/19

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 11/11/19

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar Nov. 11-17...

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar Nov. 11-17...: Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of November 11-17, 2019 compiled exclusively for  Lone Star Literary Life  by Texas Book Lover.  ...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Wyatt by Garry Disher


The anti-hero always has a place in my crime fiction reading. I happily collected all of the Parker books, was tickled to discover Canada’s equivalent in Wilson, and now I find Wyatt. Wyatt by Garry Disher (Soho Crime, 2011) is the seventh book in this series about a professional thief in Melbourne but the first one published in the U.S. Wyatt is being driven out of his livelihood by technology. Few people carry enough cash these days to attract his attention, since they use their credit and debit cards instead. He lacks the skills to bypass the high-end security systems protecting large amounts worth the risk. Stealing art is not as easy as taking cash, and disposing of jewelry can be difficult. He’s begun taking on partners, which he really doesn’t like to do; they can be unreliable and create another item to be managed.

Eddie Oberin, a middleman in the underworld who passes information on for a fee, approaches Wyatt about the potential of a jewelry heist Eddie’s ex-wife Lydia told him about. A French courier visits a Melbourne jewelry designer periodically, bringing gems and watches he’s pinched in Europe. The Melbourne jeweler spreads the stolen goods among his many retail clients, who in turn market them as estate wares. The geographic distance between the theft site and the place the valuables re-appear almost guarantees they won’t be traced.

Wyatt is reluctant to work with Eddie and Lydia but really has no choice, it’s her score to begin with. They’ve included him because they need his experience and planning ability. He and Eddie smoothly steal the van the Melbourne jeweler uses to transport the stolen loot. They make their way to the park where they are supposed to remove the gems, leave the van, and meet Lydia, but the gig goes sideways at that point and Wyatt has to improvise madly.

The story is like a semi-tractor truck with failed brakes going downhill from there on. Wyatt struggles to escape capture, contain the fallout, and determine what went wrong. The plot is complicated, and Wyatt is a great character, smart, quick-witted, and decisive. The repeated references to how technology has changed the life of the ordinary thief are thought-provoking. I am adding the earlier books in the series to my TBR list.

2010 Ned Kelly Award for Crime Writing, Best Novel. Starred reviews from BooklistLibrary Journal, and Publishers Weekly.

·         Hardcover: 288 pages
·         Publisher: Soho Crime; 1 edition (August 9, 2011)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1569479623
·         ISBN-13: 978-1569479629


Aubrey Hamilton ©2019
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Thoughts of Bouchercon 2019


I don’t know that the world needs another recap of Bouchercon 2019. But, I had a blast and do have some pictures to share thanks to Scott. This was my only Boucheron so it was a once in a lifetime experience. It was also something I never would have done if not for the fact that, for some insane reason, Carol Puckett arranged things so I was comped for everything outside of meals and drinks.

Why she did it I have no idea. I also have no idea why so many folks came up to me and thanked me for what I do. Not just on behalf of the SMFS, but what I do here with this blog and in general regarding mysteries, books, and such. Quite honestly, I don’t see it as I feel that no one would notice if I quietly folded the blog bay doors and called it a day.  To have so many tell me that I make an impact was stunning and overwhelming.

Which was my feeling most of the five days. To meet Reed Farrel Coleman, Joe Landsdale, Lawrence Block, and many others who actually knew who the heck I was, was just incredible. Most of the time I was able to avoid mental vapor lock and actually string a few words together in a sentence or two that made sense. To finally meet Lesa Holstine and Angela Crider Neary in person was an incredible treat. To present the Derringer Awards on behalf of the SMFS, which is as close as I will ever get to that award, was a nerve wracking and incredible experience.

In short, it was all awesome.

Below are a few pictures of me and others at Bouchercon.

Lesa Holstine 

Legendary Dallas QB Roger Staubach 

Hanging out with Johnny Wesner



Do Some Damage: A Rock Drummer Amateur PI, by Jonathan Brown

Do Some Damage: A Rock Drummer Amateur PI, by Jonathan Brown: One of the best things about a crime fiction convention is all the people you meet. This happens in the hallways and book signing lines ...

Lesa's Book Critiques: The Little Book of Bob by James Bowen

Lesa's Book Critiques: The Little Book of Bob by James Bowen

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: Derringer Award Presentation 2019

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: Derringer Award Presentation 2019: During Bouchercon 2019 held at the Hyatt Hotel in Dallas, SMFS President Kevin R. Tipple presented the Derringer Medals to the winners prese...

The Rap Sheet: Bullet Points: Pre-Veterans Day Edition

The Rap Sheet: Bullet Points: Pre-Veterans Day Edition

Saturday, November 09, 2019

SleuthSayers: My Rules of Mystery by Stephen Ross

SleuthSayers: My Rules of Mystery: Many writers have drafted up a set of "rules" for how to write and, specifically, how to write mysteries. I thought now would be a...

KRL Update: KRL This Week for 11/9/19

Up in KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "Silent Night, Deadly Night" by Vicki Delany


And a review and giveaway of "Murder Double or Nothing" by Lida Sideris


We also have a review and giveaway of "Stain on the Soul" by Michele Drier along with an interesting interview with Michele


And a review and ebook giveaway of "Make Believe Murder" by Leslie Langtry, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing


And a review of the "Father Brown" TV shows on BritBoxTV, including a look at the latest season, season 7


We also have a profile on The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Arizona


For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast directly on KRL, you can find the player here for the latest episode, "Fig Newtons and Heavy Bags" written by Earl Staggs and read by local actor Donna Beavers


Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "A Curio Killing" by Mary Ellen Hughes


And a review and giveaway of "Skin in the Game" by DP Lyle


And a review and ebook giveaway of "Thanksgiving in Paradise" by Kathi Daley


Happy reading,

Lorie

Scott's Take: Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire: Illustrated Edition by J. K. Rowling Illustrator Jim Kay


Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire: Illustrated Edition by J. K. Rowling with illustrations by Jim Kay. This is the 4th book of Harry Potter series and the fourth to come out with illustrated edition by Jim Kay. The same team is supposed to be adapting the fifth book which should be coming out in a few years. Most people who are interested in this series have probably read the original books and the plot remains the same. What is different here is the text is accompanied by large illustrations that change the pace of the book.

The original book is longer than earlier books in the series and that changed how the illustrations are handled here. There are fewer illustrations in this book and they are not placed in such a way on the sides of a page to wrap around to the next as was done before in the previous illustrated volumes.  As in the earlier books in the series, the illustrations here are great and really add to the story. One of the cooler parts of the book is that the illustrations are based on how the book depicts characters and scenes rather than how the movies did it. That makes the illustrations true to the text as opposed to the Hollywood version we were given.

The book illustrations are more stylized and more fantasy orientated than the more realist oriented movie version. There are major changes such as with Victor Krum who is back to being more emo and somewhat ugly as opposed to the Russian style pretty boy jock of the movie. The camp preceding the Quidditch World Cup is illustrated as a whimsical and fun place that clearly showcases how different the Wizarding World Muggle World. Then there are the more subtle illustrative changes such as Harry Potter’s eyes are again green and Voldemort is again red eyed. Both of which were very different for the movie.  


These illustrated editions are a lot of fun and really are cool as they depict things as author J. K. Rowling originally intended. I highly recommend this book as well as the other editions in the illustrated series for fellow Harry Potter type fans. 



Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire: Illustrated Edition
J. K. Rowling
Illustrator Jim Kay
Arthur E. Levine Books Scholastic Inc.
October 2019
ISBN #978-0-545-79142-7
Coffee Table Hardback
464 Pages


Material supplied by the Grauwyler Park Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.


Scott A. Tipple ©2019