Thursday, September 24, 2020

Unlawful Acts for 9/24: Small Crimes

 Unlawful Acts for 9/24: Small Crimes

Jeanne Reviews: Murder on Cape Cod by Maddie Day

Mackenzie  Almeida runs Mac’s Bikes  in the small seaside village of Westham, MA where she is kept busy with bicycle repairs and rentals.  She usually has help from her half-brother Derrick and a couple of other people, but they are suddenly proving unreliable.  Things only get worse when the local handyman meets with an accident, if once can call being stabbed to death with a fishing knife an accident.  The local police certainly don’t, and they find Mac a suspicious character because she argued with Jake not long before.  Mac doesn’t really have any fears they’ll try to pin the murder on her. . .  but that fishing knife looks very much like one owned by her brother Derrick.

 And Derrick has disappeared.

This is the first in the Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery series.  As with a lot of “first in series” books, a lot of ink is spent introducing characters, the layout of the town, Mac’s pet parrot, her baker boyfriend, etc.  Also as is the case with many cozy mysteries, a colorful cast is required so Mac’s father is a minister from Cape Verde, her mother is an astrologer, and the police detective is half Wampanoag. Brother Derrick is a recovering alcoholic with a young daughter and Mac’s beau is a hunky baker.  As the subtitle suggests, Mac is a member of a book group and they decide they will solve the mystery.

Day writes well and her characters are enjoyable. The plot—well, while the murder investigation goes on, the plot is more concerned with introducing characters and their problems.  The solution is interesting but comes via info drops tucked in at the end rather that sprinkled throughout the story.  As my tastes run more to the “fair play” mysteries where the reader has enough clues to solve it, I was disappointed.  Those looking primarily for a nice visit with likeable characters will find this book to be a treat. 

The second book in the series, Murder at the Taffy Shop is due out in March 2021.  Day also writes the “Country Store Mystery Series” set in Indiana. (The last piece of information is relevant because I have a friend from Indiana who was interested to see there was a cozy mystery set there.)


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Lesa's Book Critiques: Next to Last Stand by Craig Johnson

 Lesa's Book Critiques: Next to Last Stand by Craig Johnson

Beneath the Stains of Time: A Wreath for the Bride (1957) by Maria Lang

Beneath the Stains of Time: A Wreath for the Bride (1957) by Maria Lang: Earlier this year, Kate and Laurie reviewed two of the three available translated detective novels by one "Maria Lang," a nom...

Unlawful Acts for 9/23/2020: Small Crimes

 Unlawful Acts for 9/23/2020: Small Crimes 

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Kendi, Thibodeau, Troost, Murakami, Han...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Kendi, Thibodeau, Troost, Murakami, Han...: Reported by Kristin Nevermore began with a highly recommended narrative, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History o...

Review: Badge Heavy: A Charlie 316 Novel by Frank Zafiro and Colin Conway


Badge Heavy is the third book in the Charlie 316 series and picks up shortly after Never The Crime ended. The Anti-Crime Team is up and running and working the streets of Spokane hard. Officer Gary Stone is on ACT along with Tyler Garrett as well as well with rookie Jun Yang and veteran officer Ray Zielinski. While the four officers are on the team and, in theory, working together, they are fragmented and have settled into a Stone/Garett and Yang/Zielinski pairing. Despite their internal issues, they are generating results in their pursuit of HPOs--High Profile Offenders.


It has been nearly two years since Garrett got away with murder and more. Captain Tom Farrell knows Garrett is dirty.  Farrell just can’t prove it. The Anti-Crime Team was supposed to be a trap for Garrett, but it isn’t working out that way at all. If anything, it has allowed Garrett to further entrench himself in the Department and improve his status. Trying to catch Garrett and prove his criminal activities is slowly becoming an insurmountable problem. Farrell does have a couple of ideas though they could just as easily backfire. As readers familiar with the series already know, Farrell is not the only police officer on the hunt sure Garrett is dirty.


Badge Heavy by Frank Zafiro and Colin Conway is another rock-solid installment in this highly entertaining police procedural series. Politics and police work are heavily intertwined in real life and they certainly are in the series. The authors have managed to keep ratcheting the tension in each installment and then they rally blow the doors off with the end of Badge Heavy. This is a series that concludes with the November release of Code Four.


While it is always important to read any series in order, that absolutely is a must here. Relationships evolve and change over time and there are many changes, personally and professionally, for these characters as time passes. The crime problem and the pollical landscape play major character roles in this series and those issues change as a reaction to events and other factors. That ongoing aspect is a key part of this complicated series.


Badge Heavy: A Charlie 316 Novel is highly recommended. 




Badge Heavy: A Charlie 316 Novel

Frank Zafiro

Colin Conway

Down & Out Books

September 2020


eBook (available in print format)

385 Pages


I received a digital ARC of this read from author Frank Zafiro weeks ago with no expectation of a review.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2020 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Crime Review Update

We feature new 20 reviews in each issue of Crime Review (, together with a top industry interview. This time it’s author DA Mishani in the Countdown hot seat:


We’re on Twitter at:

Crime Review: @CrimeReviewUK

Linda Wilson: @CrimeReviewer

Sharon Wheeler: @lartonmedia



This week’s reviews are:


STORMBREAKER by Anthony Horowitz, reviewed by Linda Wilson


Reluctant 14-year-old spy Alex Rider is sent to Cornwall to investigate rich philanthropist Herod Sayle and his plan to install a new generation of computer in every school in the UK. Alex soon realises that there’s a lot more to the Stormbreakers than Sayle is letting on, and with that knowledge comes extreme danger.


MAIGRET AND MONSIEUR CHARLES by Georges Simenon, reviewed by Chris Roberts


In his last appearance, Maigret investigates the disappearance of Monsieur Charles, a wealthy lawyer well-known in Paris nightclubs.



POINT BLANC by Anthony Horowitz, reviewed by Linda Wilson


Reluctant teenage spy Alex Rider is sent undercover in an exclusive school for the rebellious offspring of some of the world’s richest people to find out what links two unexplained deaths to Point Blanc academy in the Alps.



THE MAN IN THE WOODS by Ilaria Tuti, reviewed by Viv Beeby


There is a creepy man in the woods; a bad man with the face of a skull. And if you don't watch out he's coming to get you …



THE CABIN by Jørn Lier Horst, reviewed by Ewa Sherman


Chief Inspector William Wisting is assigned to lead a top-secret investigation into the life of a recently deceased controversial politician. When he finds boxes full of foreign currency in his cabin, he also manages to unearth possible links to two 15-year-old cold cases, one of them of a missing young man.



HITLER’S PEACE by Philip Kerr, reviewer by Chris Roberts


In autumn 1943 the tide of war has turned and Germany is putting out peace feelers. But the response of the allies will be settled in Tehran.



THE STRANGER by Simon Conway, review by John Cleal


MI6 agent Jude Lyon must deal with past events which threaten the credibility of his agency – and a terrifying new threat to the whole of the British establishment.



FORGET ME by Andrew Ewart, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor


Hannah wants to know the secret her husband can’t remember, whatever the cost.


THE NIGHT OF SHOOTING STARS by Ben Pastor, reviewed by Chris Roberts


Lieutenant-Colonel Martin von Bora is in Berlin in July 1944, directed to investigate the murder of a prominent clairvoyant, but the rumours of political conspiracy suggest that Bora himself is at risk.



KISS THE GIRLS AND MAKE THEM CRY by Mary Higgins Clark, reviewed by John



Investigative journalist Gina Kane receives an email describing the abuse of a woman by a well-known figure at a television news network that’s on the verge of a multi-billion dollar stock market flotation.



FAIR WARNING by Michael Connelly reviewed by Linda Wilson


When journalist Jack McEvoy finds himself a person of interest in the murder of a woman he dated once, he’s determined to clear his own name, as the police don’t seem to be making any moves in that direction.



WILD DOG by Serge Joncour, reviewed by John Cleal


Retired actress Lise persuades her producer husband to holiday in the wild hills of the Causse de Limogne. He must come to terms with his fear of nature and rediscover the basic instincts common to both man and animal.



THE STRANGER GAME by Peter Gadol, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor


Rebecca’s boyfriend is missing. But she is unsure if he is licking his wounds, or if has he become another victim of an increasingly dangerous game sweeping Los Angeles and beyond.



HAMMER TO FALL by John Lawton, reviewed by Chris Roberts


Joe Wilderness spies for Britain in 1960s Finland and Prague and runs into several people with whom he shares a history.



BONE CHINA by Laura Purcell, reviewed by John Cleal


Nurse-companion Hester Why flees London for a position at the lonely Morvoren House on a desolate Cornish clifftop where she finds herself faced with a dark and dangerous situation linked to events of 40 years before.



THE LAST WIFE by Karen Hamilton, reviewed by Linda Wilson


After Nina’s death, her best friend Marie steps in to help her grieving husband with two children and a large house, gradually taking over more and more of her friend’s former life. But not everyone thinks that’s a good thing.



THE AOSAWA MURDERS by Riku Onda, reviewed by Chris Roberts


The poisoning of celebrants at a Japanese family birthday party is a mystery, even when the culprit admits responsibility. The true story takes years to emerge.



HAVEN’T THEY GROWN by Sophie Hannah, reviewed by Sylvia Maughan


Beth Leeson sees an old friend whom she has not seen for 12 years. Her friend has aged appropriately, but her children appear not to have aged at all. Is Beth mistaken about what she saw?



LAKE CHILD by Isabel Ashdown, reviewed by John Barnbrook


Eva Olsen cannot remember much about the last year of her life and is horrified that her parents are keeping her locked in an attic room with no contact with her old friends. And her parents are behaving oddly.



CORRUPT BODIES by Peter Everett, reviewed by John Cleal


When the author becomes superintendent of Southwark mortuary, he walks into a corrupt world of sales of body parts, theft, bribery and kickbacks.



Best wishes



Sharon and Linda

Unlawful Acts: Tuesday Small Crimes for 9/22/2020

 Unlawful Acts: Tuesday Small Crimes for 9/22/2020

Monday, September 21, 2020

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Outsider: A Novel of Suspense by Linda Castillo

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Outsider: A Novel of Suspense by Linda Castillo:   Once again we are delighted to have Kevin Tipple back with a review.  Please check out his own blog, Kevin's Corner ,  for more review...

Unlawful Acts for 9/21/2020: Incident Report No. 91

 Unlawful Acts for 9/21/2020: Incident Report No. 91

Lesa's Book Critiques: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

 Lesa's Book Critiques: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 9/21/2020

 In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 9/21/2020

Markets and Jobs for Writers for 9/21/2020

 Markets and Jobs for Writers for 9/21/2020

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Vulnerable by Mary Burton


Vulnerable by Mary Burton (Pinnacle, 2016) is the fourth book in her series about the Morgans of Nashville, Tennessee. Georgia Morgan is the youngest of the family with three older brothers, all working in law enforcement agencies. She is a forensic technician in the Nashville Police Department, freshly assigned to a cold case. Five years ago, three teenagers went into a local park that covers 2600 acres and didn’t come home. Two days later one of them was found unconscious with a head injury and broken bones. She had no recall of the day, consistent with the severity of the concussion, and the other two teenagers were never located. Police thought the two had perhaps run away together but the wealthy father of one missing teen denied the possibility. He recently renewed his pressure on the police department to find his son, hence the assignment of the case to Georgia and homicide detective Jake Bishop. 


The discovery of a murdered college student leads to a hidden cave in the park where the remains of the two missing teenagers were found. The likelihood that more than one murderer knew about the remote cave seems unlikely to the police, so they begin searching for links between the high school seniors and the college student and ways to identify someone they fear is a serial killer. They revisit the people who were around the missing teenagers in the last months before their disappearance and find that the passing of time has jarred some secrets loose.


On one level this story is a good police procedural with a lot of forensics. On another, it’s a predictable romance, which ordinarily would be enough for me to put a book down. In this case the investigation and the mystery kept me reading. Georgia’s side gig of singing in a bar adds a nice Nashville touch. The author is described on Amazon as specializing in romantic suspense, which doesn’t really apply to a story so heavy on law enforcement process and forensics. This seems to be another of those books that does not clearly fall into any one category. Recommended for readers who enjoy a romance along with their mystery. 


·         File Size: 430 KB

·         Publication Date: March 29, 2016

·         Print Length: 305 pages

·         Publisher: Pinnacle Books (March 29, 2016)

·         Language:  English

·         ASIN: B010ZZXWRW



Aubrey Hamilton ©2020 

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

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Lesa's Book Critiques: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, RIP

 Lesa's Book Critiques: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, RIP

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Woman in the Wardrobe (1951) by Peter Shaffer

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Woman in the Wardrobe (1951) by Peter Shaffer: Anthony and Peter Shaffer were twin brothers, celebrated playwrights, screenwriters and novelists with three revered, frustratingly rare ...

KRL This Week Update for 9/19/2020

Up in KRL this morning a review and ebook giveaway of "Kickbacks, Kayaks, & Kidnapping" by Tonya Kappes 


And a review and ebook giveaway of "Poison in Paradise" by Melissa Baldwin along with an interesting interview with Melissa


We also have a review and giveaway of "The Fixer's Daughter" by Hy Conrad along with an interesting guest post by Hy about moving into self publishing


And reviews of the latest seasons of "Endeavour" and "Father Brown"


Up during the week mystery author Victoria Hamilton shared her Top 5 Mysteries Read During the Pandemic


And we had a special midweek guest post by mystery author Randy Overbeck


Up in KRL News and Reviews this week a review and giveaway of "The Solace of the Bay Leaves" by Leslie Budewitz


And a review and giveaway of "The Quiet Girl" by S.F. Kosa


And a review of "A Body on the Hill" by Brad Shreve along with a giveaway of a $25 Amazon gift card



Happy reading,



Unlawful Acts for 9/19/2020: Hap & Leonard, Andrew Davie, and Will Carver

 Unlawful Acts for 9/19/2020: Hap & Leonard, Andrew Davie, and Will Carver

Writer Beware®: The Blog: Dissecting a Scam: Fact & Fiction Entertainment an...

Writer Beware®: The Blog: Dissecting a Scam: Fact & Fiction Entertainment an...: Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware® In the past week, I've gotten two questions about solicitations from a literary agency c...

Scott's Take: A Chain Across The Dawn (The Universe After Book 1) by Drew Williams

A Chain Across The Dawn by Drew Williams is the sequel to The Stars Are Now Unclaimed. While the first book focused more on Jane, this book focuses more on Esa and is set three years later when she is Jane’s partner. Together they work as a team to rescue gifted children.

Their latest rescue involves a Wulf (think wolf alien) boy named Sho who is being hunted by an unstoppable monster with advanced technology and no regard for humor or alien life. The creature may have the answers to how to undo the pulse, but there are two major problems with trying to find out. He is absolutely insane and incredibly powerful. He is killing everything in his path and won’t stop until he kills them and Sho.

This book is just as amazing as the first book, but instead of a space military war type story this is a chase thriller book. This book is full of humor, action, character development, deep discussions about life, and two awesome new characters that quickly grow on the reader. The new characters are just as interesting as the returning characters and just as different. The villain in this book is just as nuanced as The Pax. This book and the series is complicated and very engrossing as the pages fly by.

This book ends with a bang that sets up the third book called The Firmament of Flame which I am on hold for at the library. I eagerly await the third book in this amazing series. One should definitely read this series in order as the first book is a huge influence on the sequel.

A Chain Across The Dawn (The Universe After Book 2)
Drew Williams
Tom Doherty Associates (Tor)
May 2019
ISBN# 978-1-250-18614-0
Hardback (also available in audio, eBook, and paperback formats)
320 Pages

My reading copy came from the Mountain Creek Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.

Scott Tipple ©2020

Friday, September 18, 2020


Today I finally had the long delayed echocardiogram that was originally scheduled for late March. 

According to the tech, she saw a little worsening, but nothing significant. Which means that I am holding my own heart enlargement wise. She saw no reason to delay the scoping on October 9th which is an all clear I needed for that. 

Doc will review all the results from today and make the final call, but things seem to be as good as possible heart wise. 

Lesa's Book Critiques: Winners & An Italian Mystery Giveaway

 Lesa's Book Critiques: Winners & An Italian Mystery Giveaway

Unlawful Acts for 9/18/2020: Vaporwave, NYPD Blue, and Jason Parent

 Unlawful Acts for 9/18/2020: Vaporwave, NYPD Blue, and Jason Parent

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett: Reviewed by Jeanne Nine year old Tiffany is the granddaughter of a shepherd who may or may not have been a witch.  She sees the wo...

FFB Review: Carnosaur Weekend by Garnett Elliott

Last week Barry and I reminded you of  The Drifter Detective, the first gook in a great series that has a new installment coming soon. For something completely different and seriously cool, I remind you of this one also by Garnett Elliott. It will blow your mind. 

After you read the reviews, make sure you head over to Patti Abbott’s blog as well as Aubrey Nye Hamilton’s Happiness Is A Warm Book blog and see what they suggest today. Todd Mason is back collecting links so you will have even more suggestions om his Sweet Freedom blog later. 

Have a good weekend! 

Imagine, if you will, a world where it is possible to go back in time to play golf in relative safety while dinosaurs move around you. That idea is just a small part of the three highly entertaining tales in Carnosaur Weekend. The three tales in the book are all good ones and highly entertaining.

“Carnosaur Weekend” opens the book where pterodactyls fly above the golf course and an allosaurus and a carnosaur are on the fairways. A RPG is a most helpful weapon in times like this where the super-rich are being courted by real estate developers selling time shares in the late cretaceous period. Those running this deal somehow got their hands on a “Zygma Projector” making their very questionable venture in the timeline possible. Damon Cole is already working the case in the far distant past and is under deep cover. Kyler Knightly is being sent in to assist because the deal has to be shut down before they screw up the past and cause irreversible changes in the present. 

“The Zygma Gambit” comes next and was also published in the very good The Lizard’s Ardent Uniform and Other Stories. Set a bit before the preceding story, Kyler Knightly is one of those very special people known as “dreamers” and is employed by Continuity Inc. Through their dreams the dreamers have the ability to foresee the future. Kyler has been awakened by a dream in his own bed in the early morning hours of April 14, 2223. For this to happen outside of the Precog bays where he normally works means that this dream was very powerful and definitely coming true. Kyler has to get to his Uncle Damon Cole and tell him about the dream before Cole goes on his mission.

The final story title “The Worms of Terpsichore” is very good and highly reminiscent of the classic type of science fiction many of us grew up on. The spaceship Sallust sent off a one word message via their orbital beacon and then went radio silent. No further transmission has come from where they landed on the surface. The one word message also does not make sense. Clearly, something has happened.  Raj and Thea will go down to the site by way of a lander from their spaceship known as the Astarte. This type of search and rescue mission is just part of what they do as members of “Frontier Swift Response.” While this isn’t at time travel story and Damon Cole and Kyler Knightly are not involved at all, it is still a very good tale. After all, any story that uses a flame-gun is automatically pretty good.

Author Garnett Elliot’s bio and ads for other books from Beat To A Pulp including installments of the excellent Jack LaramieDrifter Detective series finish out the book.

The three science fiction tales in Carnosaur Weekend quickly yank readers to a very different time and place. The multiple characters involved have considerable depth that never gets in the way of the science fiction adventure. These are adventures when anything is possible as the dangers are many and one has to stay alive by one’s wits. The tales of Carnosaur Weekend are all very good ones very much worth your time.

Carnosaur Weekend (Kyler Knightly and Damon Cole Book 1)
Garnett Elliot
Beat To A Pulp Press
October 2014
E-Book (also available in print)
65 Pages

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

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014, 2020