Wednesday, January 24, 2007

An MFOB Update

You may have seen the post below written by BJ Bourg, but the information is worth repeating. MFOB is rocking and rolling and time is rapidly running out to be considered for publication during year one.

As January comes to a close, we're fast at work getting the March 2007 Issue of Mouth Full of Bullets finalized. Jack has edited all of the stories to perfection, Kevin is steadily reading books for the review section, and I'm getting set to send out the interview questions, while formatting the story and poem pages. We have another great lineup and I'm grateful to all the writers whosubmitted their work. For a peek at who will appear in the third issue of MouthFull of Bullets, check out the list that follows this message.

To read thecurrent issue, go to and click on "CurrentIssue" in the left-hand column. For the first issue, click on "Archives" in theleft-hand column and then click on the cover.Thanks for reading and submitting!

Here's the AWESOME lineup (alphabetical by title):


AN HONEST PROPOSAL by Jason G. Summers
BLAZE OF GLORY by Anita Page
DEAD EYE DICK by Sandra Seamans
FATAL FRIENDSHIP by Guy Belleranti
JIMMY CRICK by SF Johnston
THE FALL by Kaye George
VEE BEE by Jonette Stabbert


A BRUSH WITH DEATH by Nancy Sweetland
A DEBT OF HONOR by Sam Douglas
CLOSING TIME AT THE RED BALL CAFÉ by Christine A. Verstraete
FADE AWAY by J.E. Seymour
FISH by Stephen Johnston
FLOSSIE LOCKS UP by Sara Hoskinson Frommer
IT'S A JOB by Albert Tucher
ON THE HOUSE by Herschel Cozine
PACKAGE OF PAIN by Kevin R. Tipple
PLAY TO WIN by Kevin R. Einarson
SEER SUCKERS by Barry Baldwin
THE MISSION by Herschel Cozine
MYSTERY REVIEW by Stephen D. Rogers
NEVER TOO LATE by John M. Floyd
PURPA TRAITOR by John M. Floyd
UP IN SMOKE by Guy Belleranti


FISH by Stephen Johnston - installment one of three

REVIEWS(all reviews by Kevin R. Tipple)

A REAL BASKET CASE by Beth Groundwater
DEAD HEAD by Allen Wyler
THE SILENCE OF THE LOONS by The Minnesota Crime Wave
(more to come)

INTERVIEWS(all interviews by BJ Bourg)
Sandra Ruttan - Featured Author
Beth Groundwater
Libby Hellmann
Martha Powers

And that is just the start--we aren't telling you everything just yet!

Kevin R. Tipple (c) 2007

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Edgars

The 2007 Edgar Award Nominees list is out and I have to admit that I have read very little of the list or have seen the television/movie candidates. Movies, I wait for them to be out on video so I don’t see them at the theater. I do like the ability to pause the movie when I need to and at home I don’t have to worry about some moron talking behind me. Then there is the fact that I am on extended basic on my cable so I don’t have access to HBO, Showtime, etc and get those via Netflix when they finally come out.

Shorts stories come in anthologies and since I don’t buy books and instead, rely on my local library, I don’t read that many anthologies. Though, I have been seeing more lately as some have been sent to me for review. I do recognize several names and wish I had seen the books they are in.

That leaves novels.

In the novel category, I have read only one and couldn’t even finish that one. I thought the book was hideous and had liked other stuff the author had done. So, maybe it was me.

Though, I think not.

So, if you have read any of the nominees and think I am missing something, please let me know. Either here or at Tell me why I should move the book to the top of my list of reading material.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

Reviewing: "A Real Basket Case" by Beth Groundwater

Claire Hanover is not very happy these days. Her husband Roger spends way too much time at work, the kids are grown and out of the house and her gift basket business isn’t much consolation. Rather bored and lonely, this wasn’t the way her life was supposed to go at all. Then, there is the fact that her close friends are divorced and generally bitter towards men in general. Men aren’t the good guys they may have been years ago and Roger is one of them.

Her good friend Ellen seems to believe that what Claire really needs is a good fling and suggests that Enrique is just the one to show her a good time. It won’t be serious and there won’t be strings and of course, it won’t hurt anyone. Beyond that, Enrique teaches a couple of exercise classes which is how Claire met him and gives a great massage. Even if it doesn’t lead to anything else, Ellen is convinced that a really good massage will help adjust Claire’s outlook on life. Backed into a corner by Ellen, Claire finally allows Enrique to come over to give her a massage.

Whether it could have led to something more, Claire will never know because Enrique is gunned down in her bedroom while giving her the massage. As it happens, Roger is home and there to hold the gun and for Claire and the police it initially appears that Roger did the deed.

Claire, slowly realizing what Roger must think she has done and what they stand to lose, begins to try to figure out the case. The police consider it an open and shut case since Roger was there holding the gun that fired the fatal bullet and she no doubt was committing adultery. They see it as nothing more than the husband gunning down his wife’s lover in a fit of rage. The fact that Roger also believes she committed adultery makes her finally realize how close she has come to losing him. She soon becomes determined not only to save her marriage but to save her husband. Unlike her basket making business, her blundering could get her killed and yet she soldiers on in her efforts to gift wrap the real killer for police.

This cozy style mystery is a real treat to read. Claire quickly becomes a character the reader cares about and one alive in every sense of the word. As her character development continues to grow throughout the novel it becomes clear that Claire is relying on inner resources she never knew she had. At the same time, several of the secondary characters also grow and change and none are given short shrift in terms of plot or development. While the focus is primarily on Claire, the other characters play major roles and contribute to the overall read.

Full of twists and turns along with plenty of suspects, the book currently scheduled to be released on March 21, 2007, is sure to keep readers entertained all the way to the end. Clearly the start of a series and a good one at that, this is a book that is sure to please a lot of readers.

A Real Basket Case
By Beth Groundwater
Five Star
ISBN #1-59414-547-4

Kevin R. Tipple © 2007

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Anthology Reviewing: "Map Of Murder"

With an anticipated publication day of February 15, this anthology show cases murder at various locations across the country. Edited by Susan Budavari and Suzanne Flaig, each story is complex and interesting as the involved authors took the mission concept in different ways. Of course, it really isn’t possible to go into any depth about any of the stories without ruining the story for the reader. Suffice it to say, there isn’t a bad one in the bunch and each weaves its own spell upon the reader. With 20 stories involved, hopefully the ones I have chosen below will reflect accurately the scope and breadth of this engrossing anthology.

In Robert L. Iles’ story “Fast Eddie”, Eddie has a plan. Help the young female traveler store her luggage at the Vegas bus terminal and then lift it from the storage locker later. He’s a small hustler and thief who get far more than he thought when he grabbed the suitcase.

We have all had those days where one bad thing happens after another so has a Vegas show girl named “Stella” in “An Off Day” by S. J. Smith. You will get a kick out of this one.

Frank Zafiro brings the border country near El Paso a live “In the Shadow of El Paso.” A beautiful bartender causes problems and pulls a lawman along a journey of love, hate, desperation and despair. This is a powerful story and one that packs quite a punch.

Another favorite, and not just because it is set on the Texas Gulf Coast, is Carole Kilgore’s “Bunuelos for the Beach.” Pete is dead, Gina is heartbroken at the death of her friend and Detective Cantu is on the case.

Heading east and north and a few stories later, readers find themselves deep in the Smoky Mountains in Deborah J. Ledford’s “Smoky Mountain Inquest”. The middle of the night makes for the best time to detect and it is a salvation for Edgar Marconi working a case in the Swain County Sheriff’s Department substation. Heavily atmospheric with a complex character I would like to see more of, this is an excellent inclusion.

No one really wants to find a body. Especially, early in the morning, which is what happens to Sarah in “Death at the Dumpster” by Suzanne Flaig. Good thing a cop is close to help her as the cop is married to her best friend, Marie. Too bad she quickly becomes a suspect.

Beth Groundwater weaves a twisting tale up into the Colorado Mountains in her tale “The Murder Cache.” When you are a good parent, there isn’t anything you won’t do for your child.

Having read and enjoyed Simon Wood’s work before, I was pleased to note his inclusion in this anthology. His story “Prove It” is well worth it and involves a con having to prove what he did on the outside to stay alive in San Quentin.

This anthology also includes stories by Kris Neri, R. L. Coffield, Alan M. Petrillo, Larry D. Sweazy, Dean Wagner and Debi McKay, Judy Starbuck, Robin Merrill, Susan Budavari, Nancy Nielson Redd, Connie Flynn, Rachelle N. Yeaman and Sybil Yeaman and last but not least John Randall Williams. While each story occurs in a different location, each story features complex characters involved in complex cases that lead the reader through a delightful tale. The result is an excellent criss cross trail across America full of murder, deceit, and betrayal.
Map Of Murder: Original Stories of Mystery and Suspense
Editors: Susan Budavari and Suzanne Flaig
Red Coyote Press
ISBN# 0-9766733-3-9

Kevin R. Tipple © 2007

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Reviewing: "Dead Head" by Dr. Allen Wyler

Following up on his novel “Deadly Errors” the author has crafted yet another superb and at times very disturbing medical thriller. For neurosurgeon Russell Lawton, the conference where he has presented his paper on connecting a robotic hand to the neurons in a monkey’s brain by way of on interface between the two has been routine though the material isn’t. If it works, some day paralyzed humans might be able to move their limbs by way of thinking it to happen. What has been a concept deep in the realm of science fiction is gradually becoming modern reality.

Stopped after his speech by a beautiful woman masquerading as a reporter, he agrees to be interviewed and follows her willingly outside of the Moscone Convention Center. That will be the last willing thing he does as he is soon grabbed and removed from the street by Islamic terrorists. Before long, he is in the air in a private jet on his way back to his laboratory at the National Institutes of Health.

With his young daughter a hostage and faced with death, Dr. Russell Lawton has no choice but to cooperate. The terrorists are demanding his help and they are proposing something so unthinkable at every level that Dr. Russell Lawton is revolted to the very core of his being. Beyond the incredible medical challenges, the very idea they insist will be done raises huge moral and ethical challenges. And yet, Dr. Lawton has no choice if he wishes to save his life, his daughter’s as well as other potential victims.

What follows is an incredible read that propels the reader on an emotional roller coaster. Dr. Allen Wyler again uses his extensive medical background to bring forth insight into a complex medical problem. Those very detailed bits of medical information are skillfully woven into the story and do nothing to slow it down.

At the same time, unlike most thrillers, the main characters in this book soon to be released are rich and detailed. Dr. Lawton’s emotional agony both in terms of his daughter as well as what he has been asked to do come alive for the reader. This is also true of other characters unwittingly drawn in such as FBI Special Agent Sandra Phillips who is part of the secondary and independent storyline of the kidnapping of Lawton’s daughter.

The result is an excellent fast paced read full of medical information and surgical procedures, action, and deep moral questions. This thriller with a currently scheduled release date of February 6, 2007 written by Dr. Allen Wyler is not easy to put down once finished and sure to leaven the reader with a lot of imagery and questions about the possible medical break through and its meaning.

By Allen Wyler
ISBN #0-765-35596-5

Kevin R. Tipple © 2006

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Reviewing: "The Silence Of The Loons" by The Minnesota Crime Wave

While writers of the southwest in particular write of the broiling heat of summer, writers of a Minnesota background seem to write about the brutal cold of the winter. That brutal cold of the winter is certainly a factor in a number of stories here but not in all of them. The stories do share a number of clues that had to be encompassed in each story. I’m not going to ruin the clue list by explaining it here but it’s a good one. So too are the stories in this anthology.

Carl Brookins who, among other things, wrote the excellent comedic mystery novel The Case Of The Greedy Lawyers which I have reviewed here and elsewhere contributes “A Winter’s Tale.” For the recluse, the snowstorm is bad enough but he really doesn’t need to find the lost traveler nearly dead in his barn.

For Kaye Brock, her past is known by all in “Take Me Out” by Lori L. Lake. Being an ex-con has its burdens as does living up to expectations of others.

Then, there is David Housewright’s tale “A Domestic Matter”. Jack is convinced his wife wants him dead. Reporter Dan Thorn doesn’t believe his old friend at first and then follows the reporter’s credo to take lots of notes as it’s going to be important later.

This anthology also features stories by M.D. Lake, Mary Logue, William Kent Krueger, Judith Guest, Monica Ferris, K. J. Erickson, Ellen Hart, Deborah Woodworth, Kerri Miller, and Pat Dennis. In each of the thirteen stories, some of the clues are the same and yet each author goes in very different directions. While the stories share clues, they also share the fact that almost all of them are highly atmospheric noir style reads. Maybe it’s the cold. Maybe it’s the short daylight hours. But this is a dark read that should be savored in front of a roaring fireplace. Just make sure you can keep an eye on your surroundings while you are reading.

The Silence Of The Loons
By The Minnesota Crime Wave
Nodin Press
ISBN# 1-932472-36-3
Large Trade Paperback
225 Pages

Kevin R. Tipple © 2006

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Happy New Year 2007

And a belated Happy New Year to one and all! I’m just a few days late so hopefully you will forgive my recent long absence. Bacterial Bronchitis is an evil, evil thing. Yes, I know there are worse things but it was pretty rough and very gross for awhile there. I’m glad it is over. So is the family as well.

Been reading a lot the last few weeks and have to write a number of reviews. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions per se, but one of the things I am working on is getting my review pile cut down a bit. So, if you have sent a book and you know who you are, trust that I am working on it or will be very soon. And of course, if you have a question about your book’s status, drop me a line at and I will try to explain where I am in relation to your book.

In the meantime, below is my December column for SENIOR NEWS edited by Michael Bracken. I’m lucky that I have a several great bosses to work for and he is most definitely one of them. The newspaper is available across newsstands in Texas, many Whole Foods stores, as well as in doctor’s offices and the like. It’s also available by mail for those so inclined.


By Rick Riordan
Hyperion Books For Children
ISBN# 0-7868-5686-6

San Antonio Author Rick Riordan has penned another enjoyable entry in this series based on Greek mythology. Seventh grade has been a pretty good year for Percy Jackson. That is until the last day of school when the resulting chaos leads him back to Camp Half-Blood. The camp is not a sanctuary this time around as the camp is under serious attack and the magical defenses are failing. Another quest is needed and this one should be as difficult as the first. This young adult novel follows “The Lightening Thief” which should be read first before this exciting sequel. Both books are guaranteed to appeal to young and old readers alike.

By L. A Starks
Brown Books Publishing Group
ISBN # 1-933285-45-1

Executive Vice President Lynn Dayton convinced her bosses to buy Centennial Refinery right before it landed in bankruptcy court. They did and Lynn Dayton and her company is somewhat resented by the employees. That isn’t her concern though as she has just four short weeks left to finish the refit and prove to the board that her argument to buy the plant was worth it to the bottom line of the parent company.

Then people start dying. Not just employees at her refinery but at other ones up and down the Houston Ship Channel as a series of what appears to be freak accidents begins. The casualties in terms of the dead and injured and losses in production steadily mount while all involved are unable to stop it. As hurricane season brings a storm of steadily increasing strength on a deadly course towards Centennial, Lynn Davis is forced to not only save her employees and her refinery, she is also forced into a life or death struggle to save her family in this enjoyable, though at times excessively technical, thriller.


The January issue, now available, has my reviews of “Cooking With Texas Highways” and “Delayed Legacy.” Both books are good and they were a pleasure to read and review. And speaking of reviews, I guess I better get back to work as I just don’t type that fast.

Watch this space as more reviews start to come in and don’t forget to head over to Mouth Full Of Bullets at for more reviews and make sure you check out the new review area---Small Caliber Reviews.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2006