Sunday, October 31, 2010
The Cowboys have the same issue.
This train wreck of a season is over for all intents and purposes. It is time to play the rookies and others with limited experience. It is time to evaluate talent and plan for the draft.
Friday, October 29, 2010
For schoolteacher Rob Carus the future appears to be great. Beth Lawter has accepted his proposal of marriage and the couple is extremely happy. Rob has finally found the one woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. That future is shattered when Rob and Beth on separate bicycles are hit by an SUV that flees the scene.
As the vehicle with Illinois tags leaves their broken bodies and mangled bicycles behind, Rob manages to tell a good samaritan the license plate before losing consciousness. While paramedics are able to help Rob, as is the hospital he is soon transported to, nothing can be done for Beth who died at the scene. Rob is devastated and his recovery, both physically and mentally, certainly isn’t helped by the fact that the negligent driver is allowed to get away with it by the courts.
Rob becomes obsessed with making the driver pay one way or the other. Something the man who identifies himself as Trey Wright plays upon when he comes to Rob with a plan. There is a secret organization known to its members as “The Circle.” Each member is a survivor looking to make the person who killed a loved one pay the ultimate price of death. Trey pulls Rob into a scheme for vengeance that backfires in ways Rob never saw coming.
Like in his enjoyable novel “Abducted” justice is a theme in this work. In this case, the justice theme takes the form of vigilante justice something that has been explored in countless movies and books over the years. However, instead of the often cartoonish violence surrounding the concept frequently used in other works, here the author explores the emotional angles to the concept. Not only the motivations for the act, but the guilt as well as joy after justice is served is explored through several characters besides Rob. In interesting secondary storylines, obsession in the form of a young student’s attentions upon an older teacher is also explored as well as the idea that the mistakes of the past are never really over for anyone.
The result is a fast and fun read that features interesting characters, a few twists and plenty of action to keep the reader tuning the page. In so doing, the author puts his own spin on the age old question as to how far one would go to right a wrong. Something that seems to become increasingly relevant these days.
By Brian Pinkerton
Mass Market Paperback
Kevin R. Tipple © 2005, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Today, I just took down another submission, this time to an adult market, to the apartment mailbox. It is a market that I have had some limited success with over the years. I am never sure whether or not any given piece will work there.
But, at least three submissions are now into the wind.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
As we waited, she pulled out her cell phone and called somebody to ask----"I can't remember. Do we vote straight down the deal for Republicans or Democrats?"
I wish I was kidding.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
and click on the editor column.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
After a brief forward by editor and publisher, Tony Burton, the anthology begins with “Meet Me by the Priest” by Terrie Farley Moran. The allies are on the outskirts of Berlin, Germany and Corporal Billy is back home in New York for a month leave. The habits of an old friend are going to get Corporal Billy into real trouble if he isn't very careful.
World War Two is also relevant in “Dart Champ” written by Dorothy B. Francis. In a departure from her very good ‘Key West Mystery’ series (“Killer In Control” comes out next June) Agnes Brown is on a mission to recover her very important ring. The ring, made to replicate her hard earned bronze star, is a family heirloom she wants back and Agnes is not about to wait for the local police to solve the case.
Lt. Rongo Layton should have died one way or another during the Korean War for the sins he committed. He didn't. Instead, he came home in one piece and continued to sin. Clooney plans to rectify that in “Tripwire” written by Big Jim Williams.
Elizabeth Zelvin is making quite a name for herself in crime/mystery fiction with her novels “Death Will Get You Sober” and “Death Will Help You Leave Him” along with numerous short story credits in anthologies and magazines. Her story “Choices” is proof that sometimes it is a good thing when the woman walks into your particular gin mill.
The only story to use the current war in Afghanistan as a backdrop is the “The Gift of Life” by Lina Zeldovich. A very moving story that is as much about the clash of cultures as it is about the core of humanity which links us all together.
It is back to World War Two with the next story, “Justice at Sea” by Charles Schaeffer. Aboard the USS Flagstaff there is a killer on board. While many don’t care, Johnny Shepherd intends to find out who murdered the Japanese prisoner of war.
It wasn't a murder but a rape that drives events forward in “Tourada A Corda” written by Howard B. Carron. Set in Terceira, Azores, the story features a case where a local girl has been assaulted. Since she is a friend of the family, the narrator intends to find out who did it and provide some justice.
Brendan Dubois comes next with the tale “One More Mission.” Back in the day, McIntosh Air Force Base was part of the Strategic Air Command and provided security for the nation and its people. Now days, the place is now McIntosh International Tradeport and nearly everything John Regan remembers is long gone. But, there is still a debt and it has to be repaid.
An airport is also part of the next story. When the airport is closed, the murder suspects are few in “Danger From Within” by Janis Patterson. Fans of the “locked room” type of mysteries will surely enjoy this very good tale where the suspects are few and motivated.
Pranks are a part of most annual games between strong rivals. Occasionally they go wrong. Not usually as wrong as it did here before the Army/Navy game in 1972. “An Officer and a Gentleman's Agreement” written by Barb Goffman shows the wait to right a wrong can be very long indeed.
They may be retired sitting on park benches but senior citizens Joe and Benny know something is off in “Warriors Know Their Duty” written by S. M. Harding. Will anyone listen and take them seriously?
Iraq finally makes an appearance at the end of the anthology with “Salome’s Gift” by Dianna Catt. Salome's big brother is fighting in Iraq and, while the news about his status is not good, his package home to her is very special. If only she can find the courage to open it.
The anthology closes with six pages of detailed author bios that include numerous titles of short stories and novels for yet more reading pleasure from these talented authors.
Unlike previous holiday anthologies from Wolfmont Press, these stories are not humorous and there is hardly a humorous line around in any of these very good tales. Instead, the tone of the anthology as a whole is somber. Respect for those who served honorably is present as is disdain for those who did not. Often the point of the story is to serve justice out to those who would be served in an effort to finally address events that happened long before. As such, flashbacks are present in most stories along with brief history lessons.
Murder To Mil-Spec is a good read featuring a lot of strong stories supporting a good cause. Thanks to medical advances military personnel are now surviving catastrophic injuries and come home to discover their homes need major modifications. Proceeds from the sales of this anthology will be donated to “Homes For Our Troops” charity found at http://www.homesforourtroops.org to assist returning military personnel with their needs.
Not only can you enjoy a really good book, but you can also help the men and women who need our help to fully come home.
Murder to Mil-Spec: A Crime Fiction Anthology to Benefit Homes For Our Troops
Tony Burton, Editor
Material provide by editor/publisher Tony Burton in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Barry has not posted here in awhile so it seemed a good time to repost one of his. So, for Friday's Forgotten Books I am rerunning Barry's informative review on Small Game by John Blades. Enjoy!
SMALL GAME (1992)
By John Blades
Reviewed by Barry Ergang
Scott Ryan is a man besieged. His opponents include coworkers, fellow commuters, neighbors, and—above all—his house. Oh yes, and squirrels. Living in an area the police sometimes treat as if it’s under martial law, having to duck below window level when his commuter train passes through a Red Zone to avoid being shot, his urban dream has become an urban nightmare.
He and his wife Kathy have purchased a fixer-upper in a becoming-gentrified section of their unnamed city. With three small children and the burdens their new home has imposed, and despite Scott’s ascendancy in the market research company he works for, they’re in over their heads. Working on the house consumes the bulk of Scott’s time when he isn’t working. He still manages to fit in some tennis now and then, but reluctantly because the house has become his Circe, luring him inexorably back to it and demanding that he cater to its every need and want.
When he isn’t cheating on Kathy with several different partners, that is.
Scott’s first-person recounting of events seems at first reasonable, if sometimes edged with desperation. But the reader soon realizes that something is wrong, that he’s an utterly unreliable narrator, that he may or may not be seeing things that aren’t there, claiming to do things he really doesn’t.
Some of the neighborhood squirrels have invaded the house and taken up residence in the walls and attic crawl space. They become Scott’s obsession, and his attempts to eradicate them become steadily more frantic—and sometimes dangerous.
John Blades’ short serio-comic novel might well be described as Kafkaesque in its depiction of a man driven to fulfill but overwhelmed by the popular notion of the “American dream.” Crisply written, and peppered with evocative turns of phrase, its episodic structure builds to a memorable finish.
Barry Ergang © 2009
Formerly 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. For links to material available online, see Barry’s webpages.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Dominga Saavedra, known to her readers as Sandy Saavedra, had a serious journalism career at “LatinoNow” located in Austin, Texas. She did investigative pieces and was good at it. While it was online journalism and as such frowned upon by some, her work could and did stand right up there with what was produced in the daily papers. Her overbearing mother drives her nuts, as does her absentee father, so she occasionally vents on a private and very personal blog that hardly anyone knows about. She also makes a comment now and then about her ultra-serious boyfriend, Daniel, a grad student that seems to have it all going for him as he is handsome, smart, and a published author.
Despite the hard work of all “LatinoNow” has failed and the new owners, Levy Media, have a far different agenda. The focus is on short blog posts, edgy in content that focus on entertaining readers with zingers instead of educating readers in a thoughtful way. Out are investigative pieces on issues and in is tabloid style reporting featuring snarky commentary. “Macho Papi” is the new face for her work online and her editor is the hard charging Angelica Villanueva O’Sullivan.
Dominga/Sandy could learn a lot about the business from Angelica. Angelica takes her under her wing and begins to remake her in every way possible. Her writing is the first thing to change but not the last as the job takes over her life. At the same time, the site finds an audience and begins to become a part of Levy Media’s reach into other formats. Success has a heavy price and one is not aware how much it will cost until the bills start coming due in Lone Star Legend.
Against the backdrop of the clash between old media and new media (a frequent theme of many novels these days) this very good novel is the tale is of relationships and remaining true to your inner beliefs despite the peer pressure of others and the twin seducers of money and fame. Written by the author of “Houston, We Have A Problema” among others the book features memorable real to life characters, plenty of angst and glitter, and an entertaining tale of survival despite everything. An enjoyable and thought provoking read on many levels, this is one Texas writer to keep an eye on.
Lone Star Legend: A Novel
Grand Central Publishing
340 Pages (includes reading group guide in English and Spanish and two page author bio)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
It is award season again so here are the latest award winners.
Shamus Award Winners -
Best Hardcover P.I. Novel: *Locked In*, by Marcia Muller
Best First P.I. Novel: *Faces of the Gone*, by Brad Parks
Best Paperback Original P.I. Novel: *Sinner’s Ball*, by Ira Berkowitz
Three Rivers Press)
Best P.I. Short Story: “Julius Katz,” by Dave Zeltserman
*Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine,* September/October 2009)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Robert Crais.
Personal note---read “Locked In” and was not impressed though from a writer
standpoint it is an interesting technique. I very much liked “Faces of the Gone”
and would highly recommend it along with the short story “Julius Katz”by Dave
Macavity Award Winners -
Best Mystery Novel: Ken Bruen & Reed Farrel Coleman: *Tower*
(Busted Flush Press)
Best First Mystery Novel: Alan Bradley: *The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie*
Best Mystery Nonfiction: P.D. James: *Talking about Detective Fiction*
(Alfred A. Knopf)
Best Mystery Short Story: Hank Phillippi Ryan: "On the House"
(*Quarry: Crime Stories* by New England Writers, Level Best Books)
Sue Feder Historical Mystery: Rebecca Cantrell: *A Trace of Smoke*
(Personal note----I have to confess I have not read any of these so I have no
advice on these books.)
Barry Award Winners-
Best Novel: John Hart: *The Last Child* (Minotaur)
Best First Novel: Alan Bradley: *The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie*
Best British Novel: Philip Kerr: *If the Dead Not Rise*
Best Paperback Original: Bryan Gruley: *Starvation Lake*
Best Thriller: Jamie Freveletti: *Running From the Devil*
Best Mystery/Crime Novel of the Decade: Stieg Larsson: *The Girl with the Dragon
Best Short Story: Brendan DuBois, "The High House Writer" (*AHMM*July-August 2009)
(Personal Note---of these I have read “Starvation Lake” and highly recommend
it along with the sequel “The Hanging Tree”.)
So there you have it. Looks like lots of good reading from a lot of talented folks.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Lily Marsden is very good at what she does. She has managed to kill and kill again and her signature style is to leave no clues or trace of her presence. Her clients pay well for her work but she is starting to get tired of the hunt and killing. Her latest target, Max Vernon, gave her no problems and she was happy to leave him dead in his room at the Tropical Bay in Las Vegas.
But Max had two brothers, Hi and Norm. Two brothers with anger and resources who aren’t going to wait for the clueless cops to figure it out. They have a very good idea why Max was taken out and plan to start rolling up Vegas for the name of the shooter. They aren’t waiting and neither is Ken Staley, the owner of the Tropical Bay, who already had enough problems to deal with. He doesn’t think the cops can find the killer either and he knows he can’t have the publicity of a trial if the cops do find her. Lily made a mistake this time and both the brothers and Staley quickly know who she is and begin hunting her.
While the brothers and Ken want her dead, former officer Joe Wiley knows the execution of Max Vernon to be her work and needs her alive. The Vegas cops aren’t interested in his help so his long running solo chase of her continues. She is the key to his clearing his severely damaged reputation in Chicago. He has no intention of backing off and his efforts are constantly interfered with by two crazy gamblers who don’t take losing well and don’t know when to quit in anything.
This novel quickly becomes a fast fun read as the point of view constantly shifts through a large ensemble cast of characters. Many of the characters are off the wall funny, while others manage to get off an occasionally funny line or two to break up the serious sections of the book. There is a certain inevitability to the read as it becomes clear that everything and everyone will collide in such a way at the end to border on the absurd.
Despite all the humor, the core mystery is complicated and rather intense. The book fully engages the reader and keeps one steadily turning the pages. While occasionally bordering on the madcap, the tone overall is relatively serious and a novel well worth reading and enjoying.
By Steve Brewer
ISBN # 0-9725776-7-X
Large Trade Paperback
Kevin R. Tipple © 2005, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Minnesota based private detective Sean NMI (No Middle Initial) Sean returns in The Case of the Great Train Robbery. Featuring far less comedic moments than the earlier books in the series this latest read provides both an interesting mystery and a history lesson on crime in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area.
It began as a simple home repair project according to Mr. Kent Kava. The garage was a mess and cleaning it out of the accumulated junk took awhile. Getting all the junk out exposed some structural issues with the garage that had to be addressed. Like a home renovation project gone bad, every point Mr. Kava looked at, he uncovered bigger and bigger issues with the garage. Once word spread among the locals in White Bear, Minnesota that he was going to have to tear down the structure, more and more folks took an inordinate interest. Not just because his house and detached garage were located in the local historic district. The interest is intense from neighbors as well as two strangers in the neighborhood who passed themselves off as amateur historians.
Who the mysterious two guys that came poking around Mr. Kava swears he has no idea. He didn't report that visit to the police or the other visit by someone else around two a.m. All of that happened the previous week before Mr. Kava's young son, Alex, and his puppy found the old gun in a box buried in a hole next to the garage. Mr. Kava wants Sean NMI Sean to find out about the gun, what else might be buried nearby, and why so many folks seem to have an interest in his garage project. Why Mr. Kent didn't just go to the police with the gun along with several other questions come to mind for the detective, but the case is interesting so he takes it.
An interesting and difficult case that will feature the occasional act of violence along with plenty of history and family legacy. The past is often a theme of many books and such is the case here where (as noted in the title) an old train robbery plays a major role. Yet, despite the fact that a major segment of the book is given away by the title as well as the Amazon Kindle product description, the many details of the case are what drive this increasingly complex novel forward. While humor once again plays a backseat role as it did in the preceding novel, The Case of the Deceiving Don, this latest cozy style installment is another good book in the series featuring main characters that are old friends, plenty of history and romance, and plenty of bad guys along the way.
Those unfamiliar with earlier novels in the series, while encouraged to read them starting with The Case of the Greedy Lawyers, can safely read his book as a stand alone mystery. Those familiar with the series will enjoy this latest adventure featuring Sean Sean and his red keds.
Currently this novel is only available through Amazon’s Kindle device. The author provided me a print copy of the book for my objective review as I do not have a Kindle, iPad, etc. As such, I am unable to address the format or other aspects of the experience reading on an e-book device.
The Case of the Great Train Robbery: A Sean Sean Detective Story
Kevin R. Tipple © 2010
Friday, October 08, 2010
This week I have selected Closing Time by Jim Fusilli. I came to this series in the fourth book having been asked to read that one for Jeff Cohen when he was running The Mystery Morgue (a great review site still on hiatus but still online). I enjoyed the book so much, I had to make sure to go back and read them from the beginning. Below is the original review in all its glory written when I was a little thinner and a bit younger.
The series opens with Closing Time and it is in this book we meet many of the principal characters. Terry Orr is mourning the violent passing of his wife Marina and their baby boy as well as dealing with thoughts of vengeance and retaliation against the man he believes is responsible. Since the police have been unable to help, Terry has put his successful writing career on the backburner and is aggressively learning how to be a private investigator. He believes by doing so he can achieve his goal of apprehending the man responsible for the virtual destruction of his family. Some would say he also put on the backburner his beautiful 12-year-old daughter, Gabriella (affectionately nicknamed “Bella”), but he would strongly disagree.
He would argue that he is dealing with things as best as he can. That is all he can do, day-to-day, as he adjusts but he sees Marina and the baby symbolically in everything around him. He certainly does when he sees Judith Henley Harper and their chance meeting on a New York City street is another dig into his soul. Harper used to be his wife’s agent as Marina painted beautiful pictures that sold and sold very well. Thanks to her paintings and Terry’s own book sales, money still isn’t an issue in their home. The last thing he wants to do is to go to the old art gallery as he will be forced to confront memories of happier times and the sadness of today. But that is exactly what Harper wants Terry and Bella to do, as there will be a showing of a new artist in a few days. Bella who has been after her father to write again, to get out and live again, thinks it is a wonderful idea. Before long, commitments are made and they go to the showing.
Which almost proves fatal as a bomb explodes during the show seriously injuring Harper who is saved only by Terry’s quick thinking in the aftermath. Harper unknowingly becomes a client for Terry as he launches a personal investigation into who did it and why. He also takes on another client, this time in the form of an elderly dead man, when he launches an investigation into the murder of Cabdriver Aubrey Brown. Like the Harper case, it became personal for entirely different reasons after finding the man dead in his livery cab. As he works two very divergent and difficult cases, he begins to see commonalities in both as well as links to himself while dealing with the challenges of moving on and being a good father.
This first novel lays an extensive foundation of the series with the introduction of so many of the continuing secondary characters. Told exclusively through Terry’s viewpoint, the reader sees his world as he sees it and through judicious use of dialogue how others see him. Unlike so many novels today that shift through various points of view, a reader of this novel is immersed deeply into Terry’s world and never once jarred out of it over the course of the 275-page book.
While the psychological component of the past and those issues as well as his resulting emotions are a major theme of the work, the author does not let that interfere with the twin case storylines. Instead, the thematic elements are balanced with the cases and current day life issues in such away to not only further round out the characters but to move the story forward. Not an easy task but one the author does seamlessly in page after page.
After you have had your fill of the summer beach books, take a look at this one for some mystery meat. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
By Jim Fusilli
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN # 0-399-14793-4
Kevin R. Tipple © 2005
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Mary Anna Evans
Gerrie Ferris Finger
Marion Moore Hill
Jaden E. Terrell
Are the authors attending A DEADLY DINNER from 6:00 to 9:00 PM on October, 23 at
the Harris Arts Center in Calhoun Georgia. Cost is $25.00 and you get a sit
down dinner, time to talk with the authors and door prizes of autographed books.
Sounds like a fun event!
Monday, October 04, 2010
Sunday, October 03, 2010
And the link for my review is at:
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Gus Carpenter is not the only one who left Starvation Lake for bigger pastures in Detroit only to return home like a whipped dog. His second cousin, Gracie McBride, did the same thing. Gus never did get along well with Gracie despite the fact she was at his house when they were growing up almost as much as he was. Maybe it was because she was there so much and his own Mom seemed more interested in her at times as she was the daughter she never had. Or, maybe it was something else that had them at odds as kids and had kept them that way as adults. As this novel opens in February 1999, Gus will never know and won't ever be able to fix anything.
Gracie is dead.
“They found her hanging in the shoe tree at the edge of town” (page 7)
Despite the outward appearances of a classic suicide, Gus and a couple of others don't buy the easy answer of suicide. Proving that it wasn't a suicide isn't going to be easy for a variety of reasons beyond the fact that Gracie wasn't the easiest to get to know. Too many people are way too close to the situation which adds a difficulty to the investigation. That is part of the peril of life in a small town such as Starvation Lake where everyone knows everything you ever did and has an opinion on all of it.
Gus has numerous other problems beyond the death of Gracie and the impact it has had on his elderly mother. A media conglomerate has taken over his newspaper, making him and his small paper a microscopic cog in a much larger media machine. Both he and his work are being babysat by the nephew of the chief Executive of the new ownership known as Media North.
Penny pinching, not news gathering, is now the rule of the day as well as not annoying those that matter a bit more than regular folks. Pointing out issues regarding a proposed new hockey ink in town certainly have not endeared Gus to the new ownership crowd or the locals who can't get dollar signs out of their eyes long enough to look at the facts.
Gracie's death has also hit his girlfriend, Darlene pretty hard. Darlene does not believe it was a suicide either but in her position as Pine County Sheriff's Deputy can't do much about it. Her boss, Sheriff Dingus, does not seem interested in really digging into the matter and has no love for Gus. Further complicating matters is the fact that Darlene's estranged husband is back and intends to get her back one way or another.
The result is a worthy sequel to the very good debut novel “Starvation Lake.”
Nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel, it will be no surprise when this novel is also nominated for an Edgar Award. Filled with tension and descriptive nuance, the novel provides complex story lines operating on multiple levels along with a powerfully good mystery.
Those who have a writerly bent will also be interested ion how often and seamlessly the author uses flashbacks to enhance the story going forward. All too often flashbacks serve as story stoppers but not in this case where they are used to provide backstory and considerable depth to the characters as well as advancing current story elements forward.
If you have not read Mr. Bryan Gruley before, now is an excellent time to start.
The Hanging Tree: A Starvation Lake Mystery
Touchstone (Simon & Schuster)
Large Trade Paperback
325 Pages (includes reading group guide and interview)
Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2010
Friday, October 01, 2010
As to me---nothing at all has changed. I await test results that were supposed to be in the first party of the week and apparently never made it. The fact that the office was closed today certainly did not help matters. What started at around 3am on March 15, 2010 continues unabated with no end in sight.
So, I wait, hurt, and wonder some more as to what the heck is wrong while trying to find ways to distract myself from the pain, leg swelling and all the rest of it. Texas/OU is part of that distraction plan tomorrow. Also rather interested to see the Eagles/Redskins game Sunday afternoon.
I will also try to work on the reading pile, write a review or two, and maybe even work on my own fiction a bit. That is, if I can sit up any time at all in order to do anything meaningful. If not, it will be a lot of floor time with fresh batteries in the remote.