Thursday, November 30, 2006

Been Awhile....

Yes, it has been awhile since I have been around much sharing reviews and stuff with you. Frequent readers know that I usually get sick every year for my birthday which is just a few days before Thanksgiving. The same was true this year and this time it resulted in that plague known as bacterial bronchitis. I will spare you the details as it was disgusting and is only slightly less so now. Is five days of antibiotic good enough? I kind of doubt it but one hopes that past history is proven wrong.

So, I haven’t been able to work my day job for three weeks now nor have I been able to do much reading for review. For the most part, what little I could get done went straight into stuff for “Mouth Full Of Bullets.” Issue two hits the World Wide Web on December 5 and yours truly will have another “Target Shooting” Column, a number of book reviews and a couple of other items of interest. BJ allowed me to bring in a couple of new features so I hope you will take a look at it when the issue goes live by clicking on I remain extremely proud to be a small part of BJ’s fantastic endeavor and amazed at the support that has been generated in the mystery community.

In the meantime, its back to the recliner with the remote in hand, a box of tissue and the vaporizer running nearby while sleet and snow bounce off my Plano apartment windows. Take care whether you are and feel free to drop me a note here or to my e-mail at

Kevin R. Tipple © 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Reviewing: "Death Is Not An Option" by Gary R. Hoffman

Prescott “Rawhide” Hunters works and lives in Mexico Beach, Florida. His boss, who owns an RV park there is Jimmy Rangus. Fleeing a messy divorce five years ago, Prescott had ended up parking his small trailer at the rear of the lot where it has pretty much sat ever since. In exchange for rent for his spot and a small paycheck, Prescott washes and preps RV’s as well as minor repairs and runs errands for parts and drives them as needed. In short, his job is a gofer which allows him plenty of time to think as well as pursue his other occupation.

He also works part time as a Bounty Hunter. As it happens, two former RV customers are wanted for bank robbery and there is a 20k reward for their capture and conviction. Before long, in a borrowed RV, Prescott Hunter is on the trail looking for the wanted pair. By doing so, he ultimately puts not only himself but also his girlfriend into the target sights of a former arrestee who is plotting his own form of revenge.

The result is an interesting read that moves slowly forward as readers follow a multi layered character through his daily life. Actual bounty hunting makes up a small part of the 213 page novel released through PublishAmerica. Instead, most of the story involves Prescott’s various experiences as a worker at the RV park and the occasional occurrence that seems to possibly indicate someone is stalking him. Those readers expecting more of a TV style bounty hunting experience may be solely disappointed by a novel that features very little bounty hunting and is more focused on relationships and one man’s persistent endurance each day.

By Gary R. Hoffman
ISBN 1-4241-0956-6
Large Trade Paperback

Kevin R. Tipple © 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Reviewing: "Fools Rush In" by Sunny Frazier

The heat is on in the San Joaquin Valley which includes the area around the small town of Kearny and its local law enforcement is feeling it. Not just in the terms of the summer weather but in terms of crime and the reports that are generated each time an incident occurs. For Office Assistant III Christy Bristol of the Sheriff’s Department, it means more and more paperwork to process. The last thing she really needs is for her old boyfriend James “Wolfman” Wolfe showing up at work to see her.

Wolfman has recently been reassigned to the undercover narcotics unit and isn’t paying her a social call. His snitch, Johnny Blue, is missing and most likely dead. Wolfman is trying to build a case against a major Methamphetamine dealer named Lloyd Parr. Without his snitch the case is in deep trouble and Wolfman is desperately trying a different angle. He wants Christy to do Parr’s astrological chart. Astrology is important to Christy as she has the gift and appreciates its power. Astrology became a huge issue when Wolfman and Christy were dating and in large part, his lack of respect for it and ultimately her caused their relationship to collapse. Now six months after their breakup, Wolfman focused on his needs only, has waltzed back into her life and expects her to grant him a favor of doing Parr’s horoscope. Not only does he want her to do it, he wants her to make up some stuff to go along with what she really sees to scare Parr.

Offended and disgusted, Christy refuses initially but eventually creates one and assists in the delivery to Parr. Her eight years of working in the Sherriff’s Department as an office assistant never prepared her for being kidnapped by Parr’s crew as he acts on her message from the stars.

This is an enjoyable lightweight cozy mystery that is far as it possibly could be from the Hollywood style image of wealthy drug dealers or the dark world of noir mystery. Flashy images, strings of vulgarities and obscenities, or detailed brutal murders are not the focus here and rarely will one encounter in fiction such well spoken drug dealers. This can not be considered a graphic read on any level and instead focuses on interpersonal relationships of characters and how lives are wasted in false pursuit of drugs and money.

As in her other works, author Sunny Frazier focuses more on the lives of the characters involved and as such, the novel turns on character development, or lack of same, as she illustrates that some characters, just like some people in real life, never had a chance to do anything different with their lives. While some characters never had a chance, her main character, Christy Bristol, finds out far more about herself after her week in captivity than she ever thought possible.

This enjoyable cozy style mystery doesn’t follow the Hollywood or noir formats and as such is a read that works for readers of almost any age. The characters are complicated, the heroine is genuine and interesting as are the sections involving Astrology, and the story moves forward at a stead pace. The result is a good read for the start of a planned series and worthy of your consideration.

By Sunny Frazier
Wolfmont Publishing
November 2006
ISBN # 0-9778402-5-5
Uncorrected Proof

Kevin R. Tipple © 2006

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Reviewing: "Tin Soldiers" by Mark Leonard

Seventeen year old Captain Richard Arthur attends the Maxwell Military Academy in New York state. Vietnam is percolating right along and those attending the academy know that before too much longer they will be over there. It’s a closed warped world, as any military academy is, and they handle everything internally and remain for all intents and purposes, closed off from the public. Even when a cadet falls to his brutal death from the roof off one of the barracks.

Ted Sheridan took a short and very quick fatal dive off the roof. Before long, the often wittily sarcastic Captain Arthur, known by the obvious nickname of “King” to one and all, is placed in charge of the investigation by the brass. An investigation that is rigged from the start and King is very well aware that, like the last time, he is supposed to arrive at the preconceived conclusion acceptable to those in charge. While he knows what the mission is, he doesn’t agree and besides that he really does have his hands full with some of his fellow students who are cracking under the pressure. And what does Ted’s incredibly hot sister want with him and why does she keep showing up in the strangest of places?

What follows is a very twisted novel, part mystery, part humor and completely engrossing. There are parts that are just laugh out loud funny and are guaranteed to definitely offend some folks as this author has absolutely no concerns about the concept of political correctness. That fact along with his repeated use of obscenities both in dialogue and in narration will surely annoy some readers.

However, if you like your reads a little different than the normal run of the mill and don’t mind embarrassing yourself by laughing out loud in public, then this mystery is sure to work for you. Not only is this book certainly not politically correct, it contains a twisting case that is sure to appeal to anyone interested in crime and solving the case. Arthur may be a foul mouthed Sherlock in a military uniform at times, but it is well worth it to tag along for this very good read.

By Mark Leonard
Zumaya Publications
ISBN # 1-55410-268-5
Large Trade Paperback
265 Pages

Kevin R. Tipple © 2006