Friday, December 09, 2016

I'm A Voracious Reader : Deadpool: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1

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FFB Double Take Review: The Drifter Detective by Garnett Elliot

Back in March and April of 2013, Barry and I in separate reviews gave our thoughts on The Drifter Detective. It seemed fitting more than three years later and with seven books more in the series at this point that for FFB today I run those reviews again. Therefore, as an FFB Double Take Review, Barry and then I offer thoughts on the first book of the series. Please note that when we reviewed the earlier edition of the book it did not contain the additional short story “Fighting Chance.” It also had a far different cover design that I very much liked and briefly referred to in my review.

For other reading suggestions today, head over to Patti Abbott’s blog. And, yes, you should read her books too. I have told you that before as well.

"The Drifter Detective" (2013) by Garnett Elliott

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

In Texas just after World War II, investigative jobs in cities like Dallas and Houston are hard to come by for one-man operations because big firms like the Pinkertons and others tend to get them, so ex-G.I.-turned-P.I. Jack Laramie tools around rural areas in search of business, hoping to eventually amass enough money to open an office in San Antonio or Austin. Towing a horse trailer, which he sleeps in, behind his DeSoto coupe, he's on his way to Abilene where there is a "hint of a job" when the car begins to act up. He manages to get it to the small town of Clyde and to a service garage. The proprietor assures him that because it's late afternoon, the car's problem won't be diagnosed until the next day at the earliest.

The man gives Laramie directions to the local saloon, and tells him the widow Talbot runs a boarding house where he might get a room for the night. (Laramie figures it wouldn't be a good idea to sneak back to the garage to sleep in the horse trailer.) Soon after he meets Sheriff Gideon Hawes, who says he can throw some work Laramie's way. The job, he learns the next morning, entails keeping an eye on the estate of a prominent local citizen, Thomas McFaull, who might be engaged in some illicit activities. Laramie agrees to do it, and quickly finds himself entangled with McFaull's promiscuous wife, a surly sheriff's deputy, a railroad worker, and the flirtatious widow Talbot. It isn't long before matters turn dangerous, and Laramie finds himself wondering if things are really as they seem and whether he'll survive so he can get back on the road to Abilene again. 

A neatly-paced, action-packed long short story, "The Drifter Detective" is written in a colorful but not overwrought style and populated with characters the author imparts life to. For fans of hardboiled fiction with pulpy flavor and texture, this one is well worth Amazon's 99¢ asking price. 

Barry Ergang ©2013, 2016

Former Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine and First Senior Editor of Mysterical-E, Derringer winner Barry Ergang's work has appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. His website is

For my take on the book…

The Drifter Detective: A Jack Laramie Beat by Garnett Elliott is the latest release from Beat To A Pulp and is a very good one. The striking and well done cover only hints at the powerful tale inside as the read takes readers to West Texas and the world of private investigator Jack Laramie. After a clash with a local ranch hand as he closes a case, Jack is happy to get back in his Desoto and head out of Cross Plains, Texas. He doesn’t make it very far down the road before mechanical issues cause him to have to find a garage. His quest for a place to drink and a bed for the night in Clyde, Texas will create new problems in unexpected ways.

Grandson of the legendary US Marshall, Cash Laramie, Jack is a tough WWII vet who has seen the worst the world has to offer. These days he lives out of an empty horse trailer attached to his old Desoto and does the best he can to survive. This novelette of approximately 9k words is a hard hitting read that is excellent and very much well worth your time.

The Drifter Detective
Garnett Elliott
Beat To A Pulp
March 2013
Kindle E-Book
106 Pages

Material supplied by David Cranmer in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R Tipple ©2013, 2016

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Smart Girls Read Romance: REVIEW OF RED HAWK CHRISTMAS by Rain Trueax

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In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange (12/7/2016)

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Review: Leviathan by Chuck Regan

In an alternative world where Germany won the war and used a V-2 rocket or missile to destroy New York City with a nuclear weapon, Leviathan tells the tale of a few individuals in occupied America. In April of 1945, Norm Cromwell was in the sixth grade and on a field trip a little ways outside NYC when it was destroyed. He did not realize that he was seeing the rocket trail as the weapon came over the horizon and hit the city. His parents were back home in Pittsburg so they were not on the bus with him or the others in his group.

By October of 1962, Norm is an adult working and living in Philadelphia. One of the many adults crammed into a row house they live and work in an environment totally under German control. They are classified as “citizen workers” and have every second of their lives monitored. The Bundespolizei (BP) are the Gestapo of the Occupied America Branch of the Third Reich and they use informants and technology to control everyone and everything. Drone minizeps, shaped like small pigs and carrying cameras and other surveillance gear, monitor from the air while ground troops everywhere monitor things. Then there are the informants who may be friends and might be capable of lying just to get socks, extra rations, and other benefits.

There are resistance groups far beyond Philadelphia, according to rumor, but Norm has no plans to be a part of that. He tries to not think about his parents back home in Pittsburgh and has no idea if they are alive or dead. In a world where a smile can get you gunned down by the BP, Norm keeps his head down and does what he is told.

That is until at the end of the workday on this one particular day when all heck breaks loose. In the resulting melee Norm, Alan, and Floyd do something that is unforgivable. Forced to flee, they have no choice, but to go on the run to survive.

Author Chuck Ragan has created a very atmospheric and intense alternative history tale with Leviathan. As Mr. Regan makes clear in the introduction, the tale is designed off of several key changes to events during what we know as WW2. It isn’t meant to be a scholarly treatise on might have been. Instead, Leviathan is simply a pulp read of dystopian fiction set in an alternative history timeline. It is also very good.

Chuck Regan
Beat To A Pulp
August 2016
eBook (Paperback available)
208 Pages

Material supplied by the publisher in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME!

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My Review at Plano Reads: An Obvious Fact: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson

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A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: HYWELA LYN'S DESTINY TRILOGY!

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Monday, December 05, 2016

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 12/5/16

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 12/5/16

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 12/5/2016 (The Practicing Writer)

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TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 12/5-11!: Bookish events in Texas for the week of December 5-11, 2016:  Ongoing Exhibits: The Alchemy of Mind and Spirit: Intersections of Scie...

Guest Post: Judy Penz Sheluk on "What’s in a Name?"

Please welcome Judy back today. Her mystery, SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC, is on sale for less than a buck and is scheduled to be that way until the 15th. So, hit the link for Amazon below and pick up your copy after you read her thoughts on book titles….

Judy Penz Sheluk: What’s in a Name?

If you read mysteries and find a book with the title F is for Fugitive, you’re likely to make an instant connection: this is one of Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. Ditto for Gathering Prey: has to be John’s Sandford’s Lucas Davenport series. Find a book with a pun-ny title, like Pillow Stalk, from Diane Vallere’s Doris Day-inspired Madison Night series, or Butter Off Dead by Leslie Budewitz, and even without reading the back cover, you know you’re looking at a cozy.

Of course, not all authors play by any particular rules. Consider Louise Penny. Her titles include Still Life, The Long Way Home and A Beautiful Mystery. No correlation there. Yet every author knows that a good title is important. Think In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, and you know this is going to be a dark tale of grisly murder.

When I started writing The Hanged Man’s Noose, the first book in my Glass Dolphin mystery series, the working title was The Blue Dolphin, the original name of the antiques shop that features prominently in the book. I changed the store’s name to the Glass Dolphin when a Google search led me to an actual antiques shop called The Blue Dolphin. But I also knew that a book called The Glass Dolphin (or The Blue Dolphin) wasn’t about to stand out in the crowd.

A few chapters into the book, Arabella Carpenter, owner of the Glass Dolphin, goes into The Hanged Man’s Noose for a drink and a sympathetic ear. Named for the town’s namesake, Samuel Lount, a real life nineteenth century politician who was hanged for treason, as soon as I came up with the name of the bar, I knew I had the name of my book.

My latest mystery, Skeletons in the Attic, started life as Calamity Barnstable, the name of my protagonist. Once again, I knew that was never going to work in the long term. And once again, inspiration came from the story itself. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 6:

“The attic was every bit as creepy as I expected, a windowless, claustrophobic space, the walls and ceiling filled with pink fiberglass insulation, the air smelling faintly of mothballs. Given the padlock, I had expected it to be stockpiled with valuables. It wasn’t. There was a large leather steamer trunk that looked like it might be vintage, a newer trunk, bright blue with brass trim, and what appeared to be a picture triple wrapped in bubble wrap.

There was also a coffin, full-sized from what I could gather. I took a deep breath, resisted the urge to bolt out the cubbyhole entry, and inched my way over.

Unlike the attic, there was no lock on the coffin. I almost wished there had been, if only to delay the inevitable. I took another deep breath, put on the yellow rubber kitchen gloves I’d brought with me—I’d watched enough episodes of CSI to know the importance of not leaving fingerprints—bent down, and gingerly lifted the lid. It was lighter than I expected, but that didn’t stop me from dropping it abruptly. The thump echoed in the room, scaring me more than I could have thought possible.

Because what I saw lying against the cream-colored satin wasn’t a dead, decaying body, but a skeleton. One that looked decidedly human.

I had been ready to uncover some skeletons in the closet. A skeleton in the attic was another matter entirely.”

A skeleton in the attic. As soon as I wrote the words, I knew that would be the title. Because I wanted to differentiate this work from my Glass Dolphin mysteries, I decided to go with “A Marketville Mystery,” Marketville being the name of the town where the story takes place.

So, what do you think? How important is a title in your decision to read a book?

Synopsis for Skeletons in the Attic

What goes on behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there…

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.

Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?

Judy Penz Sheluk ©2016

Amazon International bestselling author Judy Penz Sheluk’s crime fiction includes The Hanged Man’s Noose, Skeletons in the Attic, and several short stories. Find her at  and on Facebook:

Find Skeletons in the Attic in print at all the usual suspects, and on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited on Amazon:

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Beneath the Stains of Time: Crash Dive

Beneath the Stains of Time: Crash Dive: " Yes... it's a puzzle to know just where to begin ." - Major Williams (Lynton Blow's The "Moth" Murder , 193...

December 2016 issue of Gumshoe Review is now online

Gumshoe Review December 2016 now Online at:

Editorial License:
Just the Facts - December 2016 by Gayle Surrette

Original Fiction:
If it’s a Stiff, it Ships! (Trace Walker) by David Boop

US Books

Nonfiction Reviews:
Sherlock: Chronicles by Steve Tribe

Short Fiction Reviews:
Resume Speed by Lawrence Block

US Book Reviews:
Ash Island (Belltree) by Barry Maitland
Echoes of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes
    Canon edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger
Hell Bay (Barker & Llewelyn) by Will Thomas
In Hot Water (Triple-D Ranch, Vol. 1) by Terry Odell
The Inheritance by Jacqueline Seewald
Living Spectres (Chesterton Holte, Gentleman Haunt) by
    Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Lone Wolf (F.B.I. K-9l) by Sara Driscoll
No Pity For the Dead (Old San Francisco) by Nancy Herriman
Pushing Up Daisies (Agatha Raisin) by M.C. Beaton
The Reek of Red Herrings (Dandy Gilver) by Catriona McPherson
Time of Departure by Douglas Schofield

-- Gayle Surrette
Brandywine, MD 20613

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Shotgun Honey Flash Fiction: Chemo Demo by Patricia Abbott

Shotgun Honey Flash Fiction: Chemo Demo by Patricia Abbott

KRL This Week Update for December 3, 2016

Up in KRL this morning a review & giveaway of "We Wish You a Murderous Christmas" by Vicki Delany

And a review & giveaway "Champagne Conspiracy" by Ellen Crosby along with an interesting interview with Ellen

Also a review & giveaway of "British Manor Murder" by Leslie Meier

And a review & giveaway of another Christmas mystery, "Better Off Thread" by Amanda M. Lee

We also have a review & giveaway of "Trigger Yappy" by Diana Orgain

And this week mystery fan Carolyn Tellers shares about a snowy white Christmas from her childhood & some wonderful Christmas recipes

And we have a fun mystery short story by Earl Staggs

And a review & giveaway of "Burned to a Crisp" by Catherine Bruns, along with reviews of the other books in this series & an interesting interview with Catherine

And over on KRL Lite a review & giveaway of a Christmas mystery novella by Terry Ambrose, "A Damsel For Santa"

Happy reading, Lorie

KRL is now selling advertising & we have special discounts for
mystery authors & bookstores! Ask me about it!
Mystery section in Kings River Life
Check out my own blog at

Crafty Lady Sandi: Crafty Lady Sandi Christmas Angel

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