Monday, April 06, 2020

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Corpse Who Had Too Many Friends (1953) by Hamp...

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Corpse Who Had Too Many Friends (1953) by Hamp...: Aaron Marc Stein was an American journalist with a degree in archaeology from Princeton University, New Jersey, who became " a full...

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 4/6/020

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 4/6/020

Markets and Jobs for Writers for 4/6/2020

Markets and Jobs for Writers for 4/6/2020

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar April 6-12...

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar April 6-12...: Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of April 6-12, 2020, compiled exclusively for  Lone Star Literary Life  by Texas Book Lover.   ...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda


The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda (Simon & Schuster, 2019) is a deceptively strong mystery. Like its protagonist, it has hidden depths. It’s billed as a thriller but it isn’t. It is a mystery with an amateur sleuth who is pulled into investigating a supposed suicide to save herself. It started slowly but by a third of the way through, I became engaged.

The small coastal town of Littleport, Maine, relies heavily on the summer tourist trade for its economic viability. Many of the restaurants and small businesses operate for the four-month vacation season and close or reduce their operations for the rest of the year. Avery Greer grew up in Littleport and was fully familiar with the summer cycle of vacationers who appeared at the beginning of the season and disappeared at the end. Generally the locals and the temporary residents did not form friendships but in her late teens, she met Sadie Loman, the only daughter of the real estate Lomans, who had been buying up rental properties, diverting what had been a local source of cash flow to an out-of-state corporation. They developed a bond that aroused suspicion in the locals and in Sadie’s family because the line between the tourists and the locals had always been set. Through Sadie, Avery was given a job managing the Loman’s Littleport property.

At the end of one summer, the weekend after Labor Day, Sadie drowned. The police assumed that she had jumped from a cliff into the ocean below. Avery and the Lomans are shattered. A year later they are still coming to terms with their loss when Avery is stunned to find Sadie’s cell phone, which was assumed to have gone into the ocean with her, in a blanket chest in one of the rental units. As the implications of this discovery sink in, she begins to search for more clues that might show Sadie was murdered. Unfortunately, every clue she finds can be directed back at her.

The story moves back and forth between the time of Sadie’s death to a year later. This lack of linear timeframe is always irritating to me but it supports the slowly building suspense that is subtly woven into the storytelling. Layer after layer is smoothly revealed until the last two pages, which drop a bombshell. A satisfying mystery along with an interesting character study.

Starred review from Publishers Weekly.


·         Hardcover: 352 pages
·         Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 18, 2019)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1501165372
·         ISBN-13: 978-1501165375


Aubrey Hamilton ©2020

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

Saturday, April 04, 2020

KRL Update: Kings River Life Magazine for 4/4/2020

Up in KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "Here Comes the Body" by Maria DiRico aka Ellen Byron along with an interesting interview with Maria/Ellen

And reviews and giveaways of some food and drink mysteries for your Easter Reading Feast-"Death of a Blueberry Tart": A Hayley Powell Mystery by Lee Hollis, "On the Lamb": A Kitchen Kebab Mystery by Tina Kashian, "Revenge Is Sweet": A Vintage Sweets Mystery by Kaye George, and "Lavender Blue Murder": A Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs

We also have a review and ebook giveaway of "Easter Hair Hunt" by Nancy J. Cohen and fun recipe perfect for your Easter dinner

And a review and giveaway of a signed copy of "Turn to Stone" by James Ziskin

For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast directly on KRL, you can find the player here for our latest one featuring the mystery short story "Two Hundred Miles" written by Margaret Lucke and read by local actor Teya Juarez

Mystery author Joan Leotta shares some food safety tips for your Easter

We also have a review of the mystery TV show "Death in Paradise" currently

Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and ebook giveaway of
"The Secret of Logan Pond" by Kathi Daley

And a review and giveaway of "My Fair Latte" by Vickie Fee

And a review and giveaway of "Black Pearl" by Donnell Ann Bell


Happy reading,
Lorie

Scott's Take: Sins of Empire: Gods of Blood and Powder Book One by Brian McClellan


Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan is the first book of the Gods of Blood and Powder Series. This is a sequel series to the Powder Mage Series with several characters returning from the original series. There are also quite few surprises in the book that takes place several years after the previous series and is set in a different land, Fatrasta. As before, there are three main characters with converging storylines that become tied together in another epic war story. As it was in the previous series, it is a time of magic where the musket ball is the most common form of violence.

General Flint and Olem have retired from the army. Bored and looking for something to do because they are weird like that and can’t just put up their feet at the house, they get the bright idea to create a mercenary army. They soon have a paying client in the form of the Dictator of Fatrasta to help crush a rebellion in her country. However, they soon learn this job will not be as simple as they were led to believe.

The second main character is Ben Styke. Known as “Mad Ben Styke” he was a Colonel in a calvary company known as the “Mad Lancers.” These days he is imprisoned in a labor camp for annoying the wrong people in charge. A lawyer, Tampo, comes to him and explains he can get out if he agrees to former cavalry officer who is imprisoned in a labor camp is offered a simple job of getting close to General Flint, joining her mercenary army, and keeping her safe.

Then there is Michael Bravis who is working for the secret police tasked with enforcing the rule of the dictator of Fatrasta. His assigned mission is to keep an eye on General Flint as well as determine who is responsible for the publication of the anti-government propaganda advocating the overthrow of the dictatorship.

The explanation above is a massive simplification of the start of this very complicated novel. Readers familiar with this author will understand that things often start out one-way plot wise and then go off into a totally different plot outline by the ends of the book. One of the things the author likes to do is to take the character and then fundamentally change the character to such a point that by the end of book the character is in a radically different place emotionally by the end of the book.

Sins of Empire: Gods of Blood and Powder Book One by Brian McClellan is just as deep as the original series. The same epic style action, world building, incredibly complicated characters and relationships, as well as the flashes of humor are present in this book. The fantasy novel has lots of interesting social issues that apply to our world now. This book has some great plot twists and does a good job of creating something new with connections to the previous series.

The book has strong ties to the original series, so it is very helpful if one has read the original series of novels. That series in order are, Promise of Blood, The Crimson Campaign, and The Autumn Republic. I highly recommended Sins of Empire: Gods of Blood and Powder Book One by Brian McClellan for fans of the original series. 



My review came in hardback from my Dad’s childhood library stomping grounds of the Audelia Road Branch of the Dallas Public Library system.

Scott A. Tipple ©2020

Friday, April 03, 2020

The Thrilling Detective: Murder in the Library: The Best Anthologies of Original P.I. Stories

The Thrilling Detective: Murder in the Library: The Best Anthologies of Original P.I. Stories

MWA: New Books and Short Stories by MWA Members – April 2020

MWA: New Books and Short Stories by MWA Members – April 2020

Happiness Is A Warm Book: Friday’s Forgotten Book: The Case of Alan Copeland by Moray Dalton

Happiness Is A Warm Book: Friday’s Forgotten Book: The Case of Alan Copeland by Moray Dalton

Lesa's Book Critiques: Suzanne Chazin, Guest Author

Lesa's Book Critiques: Suzanne Chazin, Guest Author

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Coconut Layer Cake Murder By Joanne Fluke

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Coconut Layer Cake Murder By Joanne Fluke:   Reviewed by Laura     I look forward to each Joanne Fluke book because even if they are predictable, the characters feel like famil...

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Art School Murders (1943) by Moray Dalton

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Art School Murders (1943) by Moray Dalton: Last year, Dean Street Press reissued five novels by the then forgotten mystery novelist Katherine M. Renoir, who wrote twenty-nine dete...

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 4/1/2020

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 4/1/2020

Review: Among the Shadows: A Detective Bryon Mystery by Bruce Robert Coffin


Among the Shadows: A Detective Bryon Mystery by Bruce Robert Coffin is the first book in a police procedural series. Set in Portland, Maine, and the surrounding area, it features Detective Sergeant John Bryon and his team of detectives. Internal politics and rivalries play a role in this complicated police procedural where former officers are dying a variety of ways.

Detective Sergeant John Byron is your classic hard-working detective who drinks a lot, has a failing marriage, can’t get along with the bosses, and has a slowly building attraction to his female partner. He is also a very good detective and does not know how to back off in his search for the truth.

He is called out in this far too warm September morning to the house of Mr. James O’Halloran. At least he is missing the weekly time wasting CompStat meeting that does nothing to suppress crime, but does give the bosses an illusion that they are doing something and practicing effective leadership while chewing out those under them. Mr. James O’Halloran was under hospice care thanks to terminal bone and lung cancer, so his death is not a surprise. However, as the body is examined in place in the home, it quickly becomes clear that this was no suicide or natural caused death. Somebody decided to speed up the process by forcefully applying a pillow over his face and suffocating him. His current nurse is on the short list of possible suspects, but nobody seems to be likely including her and she found the body.

Then a second retired former officer is also killed, and Detective Sergeant John Bryon realizes that something far more sinister is going on. Something that may also link back to his own father’s time on the job decades ago and sudden death.

This is a classic police procedural that uses many of the tropes familiar to readers and yet manages to twist them in ways that create a highly entertaining read. Politics and rivalries serve as the backdrop to an increasingly violent murder investigation that puts Bryon as well as many members of his detective team at substantial risk. A solidly good read well worth your time Among the Shadows: A Detective Bryon Mystery by Bruce Robert Coffin is recommended. 



My reading copy came by way of the Skillman Southwestern Branch of the Dallas Public Library System. The second book in the series, Beneath the Depths, is now on my hold list. It is only available in print and the library system is closed tight until at least April 30th if not way longer.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2020

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 3/31/20

Very much honored that my review of The Evil Men Do by John McMahon was included in this roundup of reviews selected by J. Kingston Pierce for his The Rap Sheet. 

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 3/31/20

Writer Beware®: The Blog: Copyright Violation Redux: THE INTERNET ARCHIVE'S NATIONAL EMERGENCY LIBRARY

Writer Beware®: The Blog: Copyright Violation Redux: The Internet Archive's ...: Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware® The enormous digital archive that is the  Internet Archive  encompasses many different...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Confucius, Berg, Dumpty, Hensen, Hurs...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Confucius, Berg, Dumpty, Hensen, Hurs...: Reported by Laura             Our first reviewer read a Hallmark Book of Best-Loved Poems. Some were good and some not so much.   Ho...

Mystery Fanfare: APRIL FOOL'S DAY CRIME FICTION // APRIL FOOL'S DAY...

Mystery Fanfare: APRIL FOOL'S DAY CRIME FICTION // APRIL FOOL'S DAY...: April Fool's Day Mysteries: I love holidays--any chance to celebrate--and that's not an April Fool's joke . Here's...

Review: Mystery Weekly Magazine: November 2019


Mystery Weekly Magazine: November 2019 is a six-course smorgasbord of mystery dishes along with a couple of detectable appetizers. As always, this is a magazine that embraces a wide range of mystery readers and this issue is no exception.

The issue opens with “Giving Up The Ghost” by Shea E. Butler. Belle Lopez was a hooker at one time. These days she is a private investigator. The recently departed, Conrad Charles, was her client. The problem is that he was really the client of her mentor and boss, Leo Gillepski, who was also recently murdered. She knew nothing about the case before his death and Conrad Charles did not tell her much when she took it over beyond why he had hired Leo. She is sure the cases are linked and starts poking around and things get really weird.

Heidi is going to marry Greg as “Cold Feet” by Nils Gilbertson begins and her brother is less than impressed. But Mitch knows how his sister is and Greg seems to understand her as well. He seems to have had a good influence on her so Mitch is reserving judgement and hoping for the best. That is until she starts expressing misgivings about who Greg really is or what he might be in this technologically crazy world.

Clearly the driver was shot in the head before he crashed the car in “Midnight In A Sea Of Marble” by Dev Bennett. He wasn’t the only one shot and killed. Dead guys in a stolen Cadillac SRX are eventually identified as guys with links to organized crime. A neighborhood canvas is going to be done for an area the dead guys had a keen interest in acquiring. This is an intense and complicated story and was my personal favorite in this issue.

The need for a shovel should have clued Nathan Shields into thinking that things were going to go wrong in a bad way. The fact that the property was posted should have warned him off as well. Neither did and soon he was under the glare of police lights and guns in “Digging Up Bones” by Brandon Abbott.

Things have gone decidedly wrong and now a certain food critic is very much dead in the historical mystery “Murder On The First Night’s Feast” by Robert Mangeot. The murder charge is against Vicomete Montvaste and he is in custody. Now, Madam Feubert and others must put up with an investigation led by Duplanche who, not only is beneath her in stature and dress, may also be poor at his job.

If you are going to complain, you need to do it in writing and do so in a certain way as explained in “To Whom It May Concern” by Kathleen Gerard. Listen to the expert who parlayed her talent in written complaints into a quite well-paying gig that improved her quality of life dramatically.

The “You-Solve-It” puzzle this month is “Disappearing Diamonds” by Peter DiChellis. Ms. Olivia Hadlowe is quite upset and for very good reason. Her best diamond earrings are gone. She wants them found and can’t have the police involved. She wants the narrator, a private detective, to find them and to do so quickly.

The solution to the October “You-Solve-It” puzzle “Cater-Wail” by Laird Long brings the issue to a close.

The eight in total tales here on all good ones. Like any good mystery, each one is far more complicated than the brief synopsis here would suggest. Variety is the spice with this publication, and such is the case here with Mystery Weekly Magazine: Nov 2019. It is well with your time and money.


For quite some time now I have been gifted a subscription by the publisher with no expectation at all of a review. I read and review each issue as I can. To date, I have never submitted anything to this market and will not do so as long as I review the publication.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2020

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Lesa's Book Critiques: Connie Berry, Guest Author, English Country House Mysteries

Lesa's Book Critiques: Connie Berry, Guest Author, English Country House Mysteries

TerribleMinds: My Statement To NPR On The Internet Archive’s Emergency Library

TerribleMinds: My Statement To NPR On The Internet Archive’s Emergency Library

Do Some Damage: Virtual Noir at the Bar

Do Some Damage: Virtual Noir at the Bar: One of the great things about Noir at the Bar is how it continually develops new wrinkles and variations.  This week, it will be taking on a...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Testament of Loki by Joanne M. Harris

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Testament of Loki by Joanne M. Harris: Reviewed by Jeanne I have always had a fondness for Norse mythology dating back to my elementary school days which was nevermind...

Review: Less Than a Moment: A Posadas County Mystery by Steven F. Havill


Less Than a Moment: A Posadas County Mystery by Steven F. Havill is the latest installment in a series that began long ago with Heartshot. This is a series where characters age, relationships evolve over time, and always present is the stark beauty of Posadas County, New Mexico. That aspect, a distinct and deep appreciation of setting, is always raised to a level that is its own constant presence in the series. The setting is a character in its own right. Sometimes the desert country is front and center in the tales and other times it is more of a backdrop to the mystery and the crimes that are happening.

In this case, the desert country is very much in the forefront of the read as is the legendary “NightZone” development. Designed to bring tourists as well as scientists to an astronomy based scientific installation in the New Mexico desert, it is home to various telescopes aimed at the wonders of the heavens above. There are frequent detailed references to the events in Come Dark: The Posadas County Mysteries published in 2016. Readers are encouraged to, at the very least, read that book before embarking on this read.

Undersheriff Estelle Reyes-Guzman has a lot going on this Friday morning in late May. That includes a meeting out at Night Zone with Miles Waddell, owner and financial backer of NightZone. That meeting will also include Frank Dayan, publisher of the local paper, and Kyle Thompson. Kyle Thompson, through a development company, has purchased a massive amount of acreage that abuts the NightZone project and rumors are swirling as to what will be built on the property. Thompson is not a local and no one knows what his intentions are which is causing stress among the locals. That includes the many folks who now rely on the NightZone project for good jobs.

What will be built is very important to Waddell as he has spent millions and millions of dollars on the project. His entire development is designed to avoid all outdoor lighting of any type on the mesa it sits on or on the surrounding land. Everything has been meticulously designed to preserve the dark night skies. If the rumors of a planned housing development are true, this would be devastating to NightZone which is now fully embraced by all in the area.

That meeting is the launching pad for the main mystery of the book that soon features a murder, several suspects, and a complicated case with several interesting angles. While family certainly takes a role in the primary storyline, family is a far more major player in the two secondary storylines. One of which is the fact the kids are back in town and Undersheriff Estelle Reyes-Guzman is again having a hard time finding time to spend with them as various local events and the schedule of the kids work against her. One does not want to be an obtrusive grandmother, but one does not want to miss out on everything either and crime stops for no one.

The second of the two secondary storylines involves the no nonsense Sheriff, Robert Torrez, and his nephew, Quentin Torrez. As anyone who has read the latest edition of the local newspaper, Posadas Register, already knows, the young Quentin Torrez was arrested in recent hours for his third DUI. If that was not bad enough, he soon finds himself the target of an angry Sheriff who also suspects he might have been the culprit behind some vandalism. Then a murder happens and soon he is one of several potential suspects as law enforcement works hard to identify and apprehend a killer.

As always in this series, things are complicated, and they certainly are in Less Than A Moment: A Posadas County Mystery. Billed as the 24th in the series, this latest one has all the elements that have made this entire series so very entertaining. Less Than A Moment: A Posadas County Mystery by Steven F. Havill is another great read and is strongly recommended.


Big time thanks go to Lesa Holstine who mentioned late last week this book was out. Big time thanks go to my son, Scott, who able to figure out what to do to get the eBook through our closed Dallas Public Library System and make it all work so that I could happily read the tale on my iPad and escape reality for a few hours.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2020