Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I'm not a prolific writer by any stretch of the imagination. So, unlike some folks, my first submission of the new year just went out by e-mail an hour ago. Cross your fingers for me!


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Truly a weekend well spent

When I was a kid, one of the things my parents did was take my brother and I down to Big Bend National Park. I was too young to have very many memories of the place now but I do remember standing inside Santa Elena canyon and thinking how narrow and deep it was and that it was too bad the trail stopped at the water's edge. I wanted to go exploring something Keith Bowden wanted to do when as a young runaway he first saw the river at age sixteen.

I've spent the weekend sitting outside on my porch above the small creek that cuts through the property and reading a fascinating book titled "The Tecate Journals" written by Keith Bowden. Mr. Bowden traveled the Rio Grande from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico, a stretch of over 1300 miles primarily by canoe. In his book, which I will be reviewing in detail for an upcoming issue of Senior News, he describes life and culture on both sides of the river as well as the history and modern day problems such as the fear of terrorism, the real issue of smuggling, and the seen and unseen environmental damage.

The book chronicles every step of the way with a small part of the nearly 300 page book covering his journey through Big Bend National Park and of course, Santa Elena canyon. Despite the obstacles, during his journey which took nearly three months, this man found the people on both sides of the river had much more in common than many outsiders would admit or consider.

I had to get this book via interlibrary loan and as a result had to stop everything else to read this. It was well worth it and provides a fascinating look at life and history on both sides of the border. This read truly made the weekend one well spent.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Edgars Are Coming! The Edgars Are Coming!

It is that time of year again. With a wife that shares her birthday with Edgar Allan Poe, is there any wonder as to my interest? Below is a short list of the nominations and more information, including the rest of the nominees, can be found at the homepage of the Mystery Writers of America located at

Best Novel Nominees

Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (Henry Holt and Company)
Priest by Ken Bruen (St. Martin's Minotaur)
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (HarperCollins)
Soul Patch by Reed Farrel Coleman (Bleak House Books)
Down River by John Hart (St. Martin's Minotaur

Best First Novel By An American Author

Missing Witness by Gordon Campbell (HarperCollins - William Morrow)
In the Woods by Tana French (Penguin Group - Viking)
Snitch Jacket by Christopher Goffard (The Rookery Press)
Head Games by Craig McDonald (Bleak House Books)
Pyres by Derek Nikitas (St. Martin's Minotaur)

Best Paperback Original

Queenpin by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster)
Blood of Paradise by David Corbett (Random House - Mortalis)
Cruel Poetry by Vicki Hendricks (Serpent's Tail)
Robbie's Wife by Russell Hill (Hard Case Crime)
Who is Conrad Hirst? by Kevin Wignall (Simon & Schuster)

Best Short Story

"The Catch" - Still Waters by Mark Ammons (Level Best Books)
"Blue Note" - Chicago Blues by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Bleak House Books)
"Hardly Knew Her" - Dead Man's Hand by Laura Lippman (Harcourt Trade Publishers)
"The Golden Gopher" - Los Angeles Noir by Susan Straight (Akashic Books
"Uncle" - A Hell of a Woman by Daniel Woodrell (Busted Flush Press)

Best Young Adult

Rat Life by Tedd Arnold (Penguin - Dial Books for Young Readers)
Diamonds in the Shadow by Caroline B. Cooney (Random House Children's Books - Delacorte Press)
Touching Snow by M. Sindy Felin (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing - Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
Blood Brothers by S.A. Harazin (Random House Children's Books - Delacorte Press)
Fragments by Jeffry W. Johnston (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing - Simon Pulse)

Best Juvenile
The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Shadows on Society Hill by Evelyn Coleman (American Girl Publications)
Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn (Clarion Books)
The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh (Hyperion Books for Young Readers)
Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things by Wendelin Van Draanen (Random House Children's Books - Alfred A. Knopf)

An impressive list and almost all of them I have not heard of and therefore have not read. Considering the fact that I have over two hundred books now in my TBR pile and they keep coming whether I ask or not, it is going to be awhile before I get to these. If you have read them, please let me know what you read and how you felt about it. I'm toying with an idea about this so stay tuned.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Moving---But, Not Yet Grooving

Well, it has been a couple of days and the back at this point is a bit better. Very happy about that! No ice arrived so I managed to stay upright which is always a good thing.

Supposed to be in the sixties this weekend in the afternoon and though there is quite a lot to do inside, I plan to hit the porch with a book or two and enjoy the sun. Been too cold and cloudy lately and I have a serious case of back porch withdrawal.

Kevin R. Tipple (c) 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Couple Of Things

as I sit in my recliner with my feet up and a heating pad on my back watching Texas Tech and Mizzou play while doing my e-mail on the laptop. I made a spectacular crash landing today during kickball in a gym class and was once again reminded that at age 46 and 300 plus pounds I do need to slow down just a bit. But, I digress.

The Edgars have been announced. Well, the nominations have and I have the post saved upstairs on the PC so I will post it here soon. But, at the first reading, I was surprised at how many I hadn't read and even worse had never heard of. Something that I will have to remedy. I did see Reed Farrell Coleman was listed for "Soul Patch" which I thought was a good one. I would suggest reading his books in order and by the way, he has another out in April. And, yes, thanks to the good folks at Bleak House that book is here. I'm thrilled to have it and can't wait to get to it. As well as a bunch of other titles from them as well.

And I still have to finish "The Sex Club" by L. J Sellers for a review that will be an exclusive in the next edition of the Crime and Suspense zine done by Tony Burton.

I also saw where Texan and author Sylvia Dickey Smith finally signed up with PJ Nunn (another Texan) for publicity purposes. PJ and her hubby, whose name escapes me at the moment, are classy folks and good people. Sylvia and her hubby (whose name I also can't think of at the moment) are as well and hopefully we will all be able to hang out together again at HHCC in Dallas in June. Tony Hillerman is slated to be the keynote speaker. Should be a grand time again.

Well, that is about it. We have a Winter Storm Watch here for tomorrow evening through Friday morning. Considering how I went flying when the base slid in gym class today, I am really not looking forward to ice on the sidewalks or the stairs from my second floor apartment.

Kevin R. Tipple (c) 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Barry's Reviews: "Killers Are My Meat" by Stephen Marlowe

KILLERS ARE MY MEAT (1957) by Stephen Marlowe
reviewed by Barry Ergang

One of the more literate of the hardboiled writers to emerge during the Fifties, the prolific but undervalued Stephen Marlowe created Washington, D.C.-based private detective Chester Drum, most of whose cases take him out of the country.

Killers Are My Meat starts when Drum is asked by the wife of his mentor, a P.I. named Gil Sprayregan, to find her husband. Drum soon learns Sprayregan has plans to blackmail Sumitra Mojindar, the round-heeled wife of a highly placed East Indian official, not realizing that everyone in D.C. knows of her promiscuity and that she herself doesn't care who knows it. Sprayregan is killed in a deliberate hit-and-run, and soon after his wife is shot to death by a smoothly vicious associate of Mrs. Mojindar who cannot be prosecuted because of his diplomatic immunity.

During the course of these events, Priscilla Varley tries to hire Drum to accompany her husband Stewart to Benares, India, where Varley will attend as a Western Observer an Afro-Asian Conference at which Mrs. Mojindar's husband is to be a key speaker. Varley is a man looking "to find himself" in the exotic, "mystical" East. Initially Drum declines the job, but after the Sprayregans are murdered, he agrees.

The plot develops further in Benares when Varley seeks out a sadhu, a holy man, and then goes missing; and Drum encounters an old friend and former lover, reporter Marianne Wilder, who is covering the conference. When Marianne is kidnapped by the same people who want Drum to deliver Varley to them, the action picks up and seldom flags. As things progress, Drum learns what Mrs. Mojindar and company feared Sprayregan had on them, and has to bring things to a satisfactory conclusion without causing an international incident--if he can survive the beatings he sustains along the way.

Imagine Philip Marlowe gone international and you have a sense of Chet Drum--though Drum's a lot more physical, less inclined to wisecracks, and a touch less cynical.

Born Milton Lesser (he legally changed his name), Stephen Marlowe writes in a crisp, literate style that shows definite flashes of Raymond Chandler, including the occasional Chandleresque simile. He has a good sense of character and an excellent sense of place and pace. If you enjoy quick, exciting reads, you owe it to yourself to seek out the Chester Drum novels by an author who was popular in his day but who, regrettably, is all but unknown nowadays except by collectors and nostalgia buffs.

For more on this book as well as the Golden Age of Detection follow the link at:

Barry Ergang © 2008

2007 Derringer Winner Barry Ergang is Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine and First Senior Editor for Mysterical-E. You can find information about and links to his work Barry’s webpages.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Predators and Editors Polling

On behalf of Barry, Earl and myself, I just wanted to take a moment to thank each and everyone of of you for voting for this blog in the recent poll. It was and is a honor to ben nominated and I think, based on early results, we did really well. I thank you for your support and I do hope you will keep reading us here, there and across the internet and print media.

Thank You!


Friday, January 18, 2008

Barry's Reviews: "Lover Man" by Dallas Murphy

LOVER MAN (1987) by Dallas Murphy
reviewed by Barry Ergang

Life is good for Artie Deemer. His favorite pastime is to play jazz through his stereo system, settle back in his Morris chair with his feet propped on the window sill, smoke some pot, and listen while he watches from his window the activity in Riverside Park and on the Hudson River twelve stories below. He doesn’t have to work. He lives off Jellyroll.

Jellyroll is the spokesdog featured in the R-r-ruff Dog Food print and television ads. He sometimes gets acting gigs in movies and TV programs, supplementing his already substantial income.

Both Artie’s idyllic lifestyle and mental state are shattered when a pair of NYPD detectives show up at his door to inform him that his ex-lover Billie Burke, a photographer and Jellyroll’s original owner, has been murdered—drowned in her bathtub, her hands and feet bound. The cops need Artie to formally identify her body, and they have questions for him about his relationship with her, what he knows about her family, her other relationships, etc.

When he is feeling reclusive, Artie will ignore phone calls and messages for days at a time. Thus, when he returns to his apartment from the morgue, he’s startled to find an urgent message on his answering machine from Billie. Recorded the night of her murder, it asks him to meet her at her studio so she can give him something.

His pursuit of the something leads him into an adventure he could happily do without, but he’s determined to find out who killed Billie. His quest leads to encounters with a corpse in a refrigerator, the corpse’s very live and vengeful brother, a World War II flying ace now working for the mob, the ace’s henchmen, a pair of doctors of dubious character, federal investigators, and more visits from the police. The more he digs, the more Artie realizes that Billie wasn’t entirely who she seemed to be, and that the past she claimed wasn’t entirely real.

Although the story has its grim moments, Murphy seamlessly blends levity with gravity in a neatly-paced narrative brimming with colorful characters and wild action that should appeal to fans of semi-hardboiled mysteries. One caveat: the language is occasionally on the raw side, so readers who find that sort of thing offensive may want to avoid this one.

Barry Ergang © 2008
2007 Derringer winner Barry Ergang is Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine and First Senior Editor for Mysterical-E. You can find information about and links to his work Barry’s webpages.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

That Time Of Year

If you are on a lot of lists like I am (yet another way to avoid writing my own stuff) you have noticed that a lot of folks are talking about their favorite books of the past year. On one list, some posters are collecting the information to develop some sort of master ten best list that is supposed to be reflective of the readership.

Well, whatever.

See, I don't put much stock in these sorts of deals like I don't follow with baited breath the latest political polling numbers. I don't believe them. If you are into them then by all means go for it. It just isn't for me. Because I have to admit something.

Reading and reviewing is not a totally objective deal for me and I bet it isn't for anyone else either. What is happening in my life and the mood I am in has some influence on my reading and ultimately the review. It can't be helped. It is what it is and as such, what I could really like at one point in the year may not strike such a responsive cord at another.

So, for me, they are pretty much worthless. But, that is just me. If you like such things then by all means enjoy and have fun.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Working Again

and not just at my dayjob. For the first time in months, I wrote some fiction tonight. I'm working on a piece for a deadline at the end of the month. My writers group meets next week so if I can get it out to them by Saturday, my story as well as I, will benefit.

Kevin R. Tipple (c) 2008

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Reviewing: "Rebel Island" by Rick Riordan

Rebel Island
By Rick Riordan
Bantam Books
September 2007
ISBN# 978-0-553-80423-2
339 Pages

Tres Navarre returns in this latest novel of the series and this book can easily be summed up as both a coming to grips with the painful past book as well as an opening to a possible future. Roughly six months ago, Tres decided he wasn’t going to be a private investigator anymore. There was a host of factors involved including the fact that Maia was pregnant.

Now, having just married her, Tres takes the eight and a half month pregnant Maia to Rebel Island for their honeymoon. Of course, his brother Garrett, who set it all up for him after learning that Tres hadn’t planned anything, had to come along. Of course, Garret would choose Rebel Island located twenty minutes away from Aransas Pass and a place that Tres had sworn he would never go back to after that fateful summer when he was a child. The old hotel and accompanying lighthouse are owned by, depending on which brother you ask, a childhood friend or a bully. They both still stand and so does the pain of this place deep in Tres’ mind.

Tres ignores his strong and pointed suggestion to take his wife and brother and get back on the ferry and leave while they can. While Tres is there on his honeymoon which will soon be wet as lightening crackles across the Gulf, Langoria believes Tres is there on detective business. Tres has hated the man with a cold rage for over two years now and isn’t about to stop now or heed the fact that the weather is worsening by the minute as it did just recently at his wedding. Langoria gave him good advice and before long Tres will regret not listening to him despite the animosity.

At only a mile long and not very tall, Rebel Island has little on it but a few palmetto trees, the aging hotel and old lighthouse as well as plenty of painful memories. The site was the last land battle of the Civil War and the place is under siege again. Tropical Storm Aidan, which had been falling apart according to forecasters, is actually building back to hurricane status and heading straight north right at them and the surrounding Texas coast. Tres, Maia and Garrett are far from home in San Antonio with nowhere to hide on the island and no way to get off of it. Their only hope is that whatever happens the old hotel can handle the storm. Then they hear a gunshot.

As Tres, a few other guests and small staff discover there has been a murder with one of their number dead by gunshot would to the chest. The murder means that either one of their number is a murderer or there is a killer lurking outside somewhere on the storm sieged island. As the hurricane mounts a full fledged assault on the island, Tres, Maia and Garrett struggle to find out who did it among a cast of characters carrying their own horrific baggage and problems.

Like in any classic clichéd setup of this type, the killing doesn’t stop with one murder despite Tres repeatedly assembling all suspects in one location for safety and interrogation purposes. There are constant reminders of Maia’s high risk pregnancy and pending birth which is pushed so hard that she actually briefly goes into labor at one point due to all of the stress. All the character stereotypes are used in a novel that makes heavy uses of time breaks, pov shifts for everything except the viewpoint of the hurricane, very short chapters and pushed in margins to pad the page count of the book.

Clichéd on every level in terms of story, character development is limited to back story that explains Tres’ childhood pain as well as his anguish over recent events which helps to tie up several loose ends left hanging over the six previous novels of the series. Clearly the weakest of the series by far, this book seems to either be written to satisfy contractual obligations or end what had been to this point a very good series by this Texas author. If this is the end, it is a soggy one and not the pulse pounding ride that readers of the series have long experienced.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

Reviewing: "Dump Your Trainer" by Ashley Marriott and Marc L. Paulsen

Those of us who are overweight are constantly told by well meaning doctors and others that we have to burn off more than we take in everyday. We know that! We may be overweight but we aren’t stupid. That advice is repeated here but the authors take things quite a bit further.

Dump Your Trainer
By Ashley Marriott, Certified Personal Trainer and Doctor Marc L. Paulsen
BookSurge Publishing
ISBN# 1-4196-8023-4
227 Pages

The book opens with an introduction that argues you don’t need a personal trainer because he or she will do nothing to improve your cardiovascular health which is the key to weight loss. All they will do besides looking good while taking your money is giving you a “one size fits all” type of exercise program that will make you hungrier than normal and not burn much of anything off. Because their programs are often built around weight training and other muscle building regimens that they can closely supervise and bill you for as opposed to running on a treadmill (as one example) their plans may actually cause you to gain weight. They point out that celebrity trainers are meaningless for the average person because their exorbitant rates are being paid for by the big studios.

The next chapter is primarily from the perspective of Ashley Marriot and tells readers boldly, despite her professional status, not to hire a trainer. She goes into great detail about the various myths regarding personal trainers. Not only do you not need one, they aren’t worth the money, the certifications may not mean much and neither do the various titles used, etc. Because they use the same program for everyone they won’t really work with you on setting up a program that meets your needs emotionally or physically and the last thing they want you to do is to figure out you don’t need their help or program.

The next chapter is devoted to the current various fad diets pushed by celebrities. If you didn’t already know that stars do some really bizarre things, this chapter will certainly educate you as well as illustrating just how silly and potentially dangerous some of these diets are.

Self reliance is a theme throughout the book and it really takes hold in the next chapter. The chapter kicks off a sequence of chapters on how to lose weight, heart rate charts, height and weight tables for men and women, meal plan suggestions for dieting, exercises, and specific tests one can do to gauge personal fitness among other items of interest. After reading this material and performing the tests, you now know where you are and where your goals are. It is time to choose the main way you are going to develop your cardiovascular health.

This is where one gets down to work with the doctor advocating the treadmill for ease of use and proven track record in weight loss and improvements in cardiovascular health. The trainer prefers her own fitness DVD series titled “Burn ‘N Firm.” The doctor further advocates that seventy to eighty percent of your exercise time should be in the form of aerobic/cardiovascular stuff with the remaining time in strength or weight training. He also advocates a primary exercise period in the morning with a secondary shorter period in the evening. Both argue strongly for stretching and cooling down periods and suggest various activities to accomplish those objectives.

After specific exercise regimen suggestions depending on how much you are overweight as well as the usual standard caution to check with your doctor, they illustrate through small black and white pictures with limited contrast or detail the various exercises the authors suggest. Like other photographs in the book, the pictures are of the authors practicing what they preach. In this case, they depict how to use and perform such exercises as the overhead press, biceps curls, deltoid lifts, pectoral flies, etc. They also illustrate in the same way for those who don’t have access to gyms and equipment. How one can do a lot of the same work with resistance bands, stabilizing balls, as well as exercises without any equipment so that one can lose weight no matter the situation.

This is followed starting on page 106 with a section devoted to the twenty-one day program to change how you look and feel. Through diet suggestions, meal plans, and motivational tips, the authors take the readers through the twenty-one days which should create measurable results that will also be visible to yourself and others.

The next chapter which is a brief one is designed to help readers self asses the progress they have made after twenty-one days. This leads into detailed suggestions on how to keep the momentum going. These are more of a lifestyle change suggestions with various ideas on how to capitalize on the weight loss momentum in a culture driven primarily by fast food. More food and exercise solutions are offered before a brief conclusion, a list of resources and an index are provided.

At 227 pages, this book is a wealth of upbeat information aimed to get the reader up and moving on the way to better health. Despite the poor quality of many of the small black and white photographs of the authors working out, the ideas depicted are discernable. The weakness of the pictures is more than made up for by the large illustrations which are often humorous, detailed charts and figures, and a clear text that is written in everyday language and not with a load of jargon. The text is easy to understand and supportive as are the reasons to get to work. The rest is up to you.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

Barry's Reviews: "MISSION FOR VENGEANCE" by Peter Rabe

MISSION FOR VENGEANCE (1958) by Peter Rabe
reviewed by Barry Ergang

Peter Rabe is one of many writers who began or extended their careers by turning out paperback originals for Fawcett’s line of Gold Medal books. Many of these—including Rabe’s—have become collectibles, and many of the writers—including Rabe—have become cult favorites among fans of hardboiled fiction.

The title Mission For Vengeance perfectly sums up the basic premise of this novel. Eight years prior to the time of the story, five people were involved in a lucrative gun-running operation: Miner, Getterman, Metz, Farret, and a woman named Lena. Each had a specific role in the operation. Eventually they were caught, but they managed to get away—except for Farret.

Miner now owns a ranch and plans to marry Getterman’s daughter Jane. When the novel begins, he’s eagerly waiting for Jane to arrive. He’s been careful to avoid contact with any of his former associates, and so isn’t happy when Getterman shows up with Jane. His future father-in-law tells Miner that Farret is back, seeking revenge because he thinks he was set up by the others to take the fall.

The novel alternates between Miner’s first-person narrative and third-person chapters from Farret’s point of view. As events unfold, Miner knows he must track down Farret before Farret finds him and the others. Farret, whose paranoia increases as the novel steams along, is a step ahead of him, and Miner grows progressively more frantic because he knows the truth of the past and because he knows he has to stop Farret before he wreaks disasters on his former partners and Miner himself.

Gold Medal writers—at least those I’ve read, which have been a fair number—were with a few exceptions more concerned with plot than with characterization. This is not to say that all their characters were one-dimensional, but rather that they were by and large differentiated rather superficially. Rabe is one of the exceptions, and in Mission For Vengeance each of the major players is fleshed out with greater dimensionality than usual, especially Farret, whose consuming madness intensifies with every leg of his journey.

If you’re a fan of hardboiled noir, you won’t be disappointed if you can locate a copy of this suspenseful page-turner.

Barry Ergang © 2007
Currently the Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine and First Senior Editor of Mysterical-E, winner of the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2007 Derringer Award in the Flash Fiction category, Barry Ergang’s written work has appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. His hardboiled Hanukkah story was recently published in the latest Apollo's Lyre at For links to material available online, see Barry’s webpages.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Reviewing: "Bloody Halls" by Carl Brookins

Having read all of Carl Brookins’ novels and some of his short story work, I was thrilled to learn that he had a new book coming out. True, it wasn’t the personally eagerly awaited sequel to “The Case of the Greedy Lawyers” but still it was a Carl Brookins book which meant it would be good. Releasing this month from Echelon Press this is a book you have to get your hands on.

Bloody Halls
By Carl Brookins
Echelon Press
Large Trade Paperback
ISBN# 1-59080-570-4
260 Pages

As Director of the Office of Student Life at City College of Minneapolis located in a number of buildings scattered across downtown Minneapolis, Jack Marston knows dealing with older adult students is going to be different and a challenge. This isn’t the normal college experience just because it is a campus-less college. The student population demographic is of older students juggling busy lives and careers, family responsibilities, and other issues with a college schedule. Then too there have been serious problems in the recent past with the Office of Student Life and it is Jack Marston’s job to lead the office forward and through his staff provide strong support services.

Along the way he has found time to begin building a relationship with Lori, a young lady in another department. There are issues their as well and they are trying to keep things as quiet as possible. Not because they are doing anything wrong but because people will talk and gossip can kill your career in a heartbeat in the world of academia.

Jack Marston has also found the time to indulge in his desire to act on stage. The College will be presenting Ibsen’s play, “Enemy of the People” and as Ibsen is a personal favorite, Marston is hoping for some minor role after he auditions. Instead, the young bitter director from the University across town selects him for the major role as Dr. Stockman, the enemy of the people. Marston knows he is overmatched and he also knows he has absolutely no way of getting out of it.

The same is true when the President of the College, Arthur Trammel assigns him the role of police liaison after a student is found murdered and dumped in the lobby of the theater. While Jack Marston would have had some contact possibly with the media once the story gets out, President Arthur Trammel expects him to do far more. Tapped for being discreet and with a mandate to assist the police with their investigation any way possible so that they quickly close the case as there is a fund drive and other issues at stake, Marston has no choice and must accept his new role for however long it takes. When not working on his role in the play, Marston plays his other role of investigator and starts with the troubling fact that the entire record of the deceased student has vanished from the computer system. If he can figure out who did it and why that might point him in the direction of who committed the murder as opposed to the Police who seem to going in other directions. As the days turn into weeks and another death rocks the campus, Marston is led down a trail of lies, office politics, perversion and murder, until a violent confrontation in a snowstorm just outside his office puts everything he has worked for at risk.

Featuring some cutting humor about the joys of working at intuitions of higher learning, this cozy style mystery steadily ratchets up the suspense factor. Jack Marston has more than a cynical thought or two about higher education and his role in it and readers familiar with the subject area will find themselves often nodding in agreement.

Couple that with an engaging writing style that quickly pulls readers into a world populated with interesting real life characters, a constantly changing mystery full of expected and unexpected twists, and plenty of action as Jack Marston gets out and gets his hands dirty investigating, this read is a real treat to start off the year. As in his other books and short stories, Author Carl Brookins, a member of the Minnesota Crime Wave, shows a real talent for story telling.

Kevin R. Tipple (c) 2007

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

This New Year has already brought a surprise as I was nominated in the reviews category at Predators and Editors. So, if you like what you have read here and elsewhere with my name on it, here is your chance if you would like to show your support and it won't cost you a thing. Just surf over to the Predators and Editors site at

Scroll way part of the way down until you see Kevin's Corner and hit the voting button. Remember, only one vote for e-mail address in a category so vote wisely.

And as always, thank you for your support.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2007