Monday, December 31, 2012

Simply becuase.....

many of us desperately need a laugh and to put 2012 in the rear view mirror.

Interesting Reading Elsewhere----Gilbert Curiosities: The Fabulous Glenn Walker

Just found this on my friend, Glenn Walker. Glenn got interviewed by Marie Gilbert. After you read the interview, poke around Marie's blog as there are lots of other interesting things there.

Gilbert Curiosities: The Fabulous Glenn Walker:                                                                        I am honored to have Glenn Walker as a guest on my blog today. Bes...


It is that time of year again for the Preditors And Editors poll. From now until January 14, 2013 you have the opportunity to vote in a number of categories. Again this year, "Kevin's Corner" is in the reviews category.

I hope you will consider voting for this blog at

Thank you.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Yet Again

The Cowboys could not finish the deal. While many will call for Romo to be dumped and Garret to be fired, I don't and won't. Too many injuries on both sides of the ball, an incredible nearly non-stop blitz, and an inability to shut down RGIII or Morris cost the Cowboys tonight. Gotta give the Redskins credit. They got the job done in all phases of the game.

Mavericks don't have the talent to make the playoffs after blowing up the team on hope. Rangers could not get the job done and got bounced out in the elimination game. Now the Cowboys--again.

Going to be another very long off season.


is Karl's birthday and he is 25. Rather boggles the mind. 25 year ago Sandi had an emergency cesarean to save her life as well as his. I remember well sitting in the neonatal ICU unit and watching the monitor as his heart would stop every few minutes until a nurse came over and lightly touched his chest to restart his heart.

Karl has come quite a long way. We all see the gamer face below quite a lot......


Review: "Thorns On Roses" by Randy Rawls

Tom Jefferies has done a lot of things over the years. He used to be a member of Special Forces and still maintains links to his old group. He used to be a Dallas cop. A cop with, according to some, a rather checkered history though nothing was ever proved. These days he is a private investigator in Broward County, Florida.  That means he hands out a lot of business cards with his signature and the slogan--“If I can help, call me.”

The young dead woman in the morgue was found with such a card between her fingers. No doubt a final indignity given by those who raped her and beat her to death.  While the cops have his card, they don’t have her identification or much of anything else. PI Tom Jefferies is in no rush to help them either as he has another way of getting justice.

Mary Lou Smithson was her name and she was in that often difficult time between a young teenager and womanhood. Found in Coral Lakes, the woman was the daughter of old friends Charlie and Lonnie Rogers. Seventeen and sure she knew what she was doing, she was hanging around with a punk boyfriend who sported a certain kind of tattoo. Her parents tried everything to stop her escalating dangerous behavior with no effect. Now, she is in the morgue dead and Tom Jefferies wants answers and justice. That tattoo is going to be a major piece of the puzzle.

What follows is a far more complicated story than your typical vigilante style book. Far different in style and tone from the ACE series, author Randy Rawls has created a much harder character who isn’t bound by what law enforcement would consider permissible. While there are the occasional inside nods to readers familiar with his other series based in Texas, Tom Jefferies has very little in common with ACE.

He also has little time for outsiders no matter their intentions as he is on a mission for Mary Lou Smithson. A mission increasingly jeopardized by solid police work, a romantic entanglement, and other issues including the toll the quest is taking on this heavily conflicted character.

Published by L & L Dreamspell, this is the powerful start no doubt of a new series from Randy Rawls. Dark in tone with occasional flashes of humor and romance, the 264 page read takes readers on much more than a vengeance ride. Thorns On Roses is a good one and well worth your time.

Thorns on Roses
Randy Rawls
L & L Dreamspell
July 2011
ISBN# 978-1-60318-375-8
266 Pages

Material supplied by the author quite some time ago in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tilting at Windmills

or not, as the case may be. I saw this earlier today and thought it was funny......

Review: "Noni Flowers: 40 Exquisite Knitted Flowers – 6 Beautiful Projects" by Nora J. Bellows

Books on knitting sweaters, hats, etc., abound and are everywhere. As the subtitle makes clear 40 Exquisite Knitted Flowers – 6 Beautiful Projects is not one of those kind of books. The intricacy and beauty of these knitted flowers is simply amazing in this book.

The book is broken down into basically three parts and a multipage appendix. The untitled first part contains a preface and introduction regarding knitted flowers and the inspiration behind the work of author Norma J. Bellows. Then the first section moves to practical advice on techniques, materials needed and used, explanation of the difficulty levels of the various flowers as well as projects, techniques used, abbreviations in the pattern instructions, and other information. Plenty of pictures detailing the steps are present along with the text. A text that, while using black ink, is a little light for older eyes.

Next is “The Flowers” starting on pages 34-35. After a picture and accompanying introductory text, this section starts with “Angel’s Tears Daffodil” on pages 36-38. Along with the Latin name, difficulty rating, several pictures both large and small, there are instructions on how to make the various parts of the flower, materials and tools needed, and a tip to finish the item off.  39 flowers follow in color and complexity whether they are the simple “Chicory” (pages 45-46) and “Pom-Pom Chrysanthemum” (pages 110-111) or the difficult “Hollyhock” (pages 78-80) there are plenty of choices to be had.  Each one is a clear work of art that will result in a striking and very realistic flower.

You could arrange the completed flowers in a vase of some type. Or you could attach them to something else.  That is the purpose of the section titled “The Projects” that begins on pages 138-139.  There are six projects here such as “May Violets Fingerless Gloves (pages 140-143), the “Forget-Me-Not Pillow” (pages 143-145) and four others.  The six projects allow you to accessories your outfits when you are out and about so that you can make a colorful and unique fashion statement.

The book closes with a multipage appendix on topics such as “Felting Basics” (pages 160-163) “Yarn Information “(page 168), “Resources” (page 169) and other useful information. A two page index at the end of this section brings the 176 page book to a close.

Colorful and distinctive Noni Flowers: 40 Exquisite Knitted Flowers – 6 Beautiful Projects by Nora J. Bellows has an idea for any level of knitter. If you are looking to do something different than the normal run of the mill hat, sweater, gloves, etc., this book just might be perfect for you.

Noni Flowers: 40 Exquisite Knitted Flowers – 6 Beautiful Projects
Nora J. Bellows
Potter Craft (Random House)
April 2012
ISBN# 978-0-307-58671-1
176 Pages

Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2012

Friday, December 28, 2012


Maybe it is a good thing our cats can't talk.......


FFB Review: "THE MURDER BOOK" (1971) by Tage la Cour & Harald Mogensen

Friday means Friday's Forgotten Books. Barry Ergang is back with the review below to close out the year. For the complete list of books, authors, and reviewers, please surf over to Patti Abbott's excellent blog..........

THE MURDER BOOK (1971) by Tage la Cour & Harald Mogensen

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Despite its title, The Murder Book is not a primer full of methods about how to commit the ultimate crime. Subtitled "An Illustrated History of the Detective Story," the book uses photographs, paintings, movie stills, cartoons, sketches, book and magazine cover art and interior illustrations, along with limited amounts of text, to give the reader a broad overview of the genre's development rather than an in-depth examination of the sort one finds in, for instance, Howard Haycraft's classic Murder for Pleasure: The Life and Times of the Detective Story.  

As the prolific mystery writer and critic Julian Symons says of the authors in his brief forward, "Tage la Cour is a bibliophile with a crime fiction library containing several thousand volumes, most of them in English. He is famous in Denmark as a critic and anthologist of crime fiction. Harald Mogensen, the literary editor of 'Politiken,' has an interest in the crime story which is both emotional and analytical.

"The two of them are in the forefront of an immensely well-informed Scandinavian group of writers and critics who are interested not just in reading the latest books, but in discussing the background and history of the crime story."

As one would expect, the book opens with Poe, "the father of the detective story," and ends with Georges Simenon and his Inspector Maigret. In between, also predictably, are pictorial and textual discussions of such luminaries, among others, as Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Raymond Chandler.

Besides Simenon, other noteworthy French authors such as Emile Gaboriau, Gaston Leroux, Honore de Balzac, Eugène Sue and Maurice LeBlanc are given the attention they deserve. Other countries' contributions are given space as well, so the reader learns something about authors and, sometimes, characters, from Argentina, Austria, Australia, China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, and Sweden. Lesser-known authors from the United States, England and elsewhere also get their share of recognition.

One can argue that the book's subtitle is a misnomer because not every book mentioned is, at its core, a detective story. Various subgenres are given consideration, among them supernatural tales, stories of terror, and spy stories.

There are a few typos here and there throughout the book an editor should have caught, as well as a few spoilers. I was amused by the authors' references to Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels as being set in the "87th District" and "Station 87."

An attractive volume that is fun to browse through, The Murder Book is more suited to, and more likely to be found in the library of, the hardcore aficionado/student of mystery fiction than that of the casual reader.

Barry Ergang ©2012

Barry’s books for sale from his personal collection are at You can find his fiction at

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Beware the Danger!

So innocent and yet so deadly. Clearly this has to be avoided by drinking soda, tea, coffee, etc. Protect yourself!


Senior News--- December 2012 Column

For some time now I have been writing a monthly book review column for the Senior News newspaper. The Senior News is aimed to the 50 and over crowd with news relevant to seniors regarding various issues, humor pieces, and my review column among other things. The newspaper is a giveaway at doctor offices, stores, etc. and can be received by mail via a paid subscription. There are multiple editions across the state of Texas and therefore there is some fluctuation in content in each edition.

My column every month focuses on books of interest to the Texas audience. Therefore books selected for the column, fiction or non-fiction, are written by Texas residents, feature Texans in some way, or would have some other connection to the Texas based readership. At least two books are covered each month in the short space I am given.

Below is/was my December 2012 column with the addition here of the relevant book covers……


Texas author Jan Christensen is back with another mystery novel well worth your time. Set in late 1987 the book features a religious cult preparing for the end of the world, a murder mystery, and a dysfunctional family under tremendous stress. After two long years Kirk is back home though he isn’t ready to talk about why the cult, known as Celestial Village, or why he left, but they don’t care about that right now.  Thanks to a murder and a kidnapping, soon Kirk is back in Texas with the cult and the future looks pretty bad. 

A good story that shows the dark side of religious extremism and mental disorders, Revelations: A Darker-Side Mystery moves at a rapid pace to its climax. The mystery of why Kirk left is what drives the majority of the book before being morphed into what the cult leadership is planning for the remainder of the book. Though the novel is set in twelve days in late 1987, this fiction read could easily happen today, next year, or at any time.

The Devil To Pay: A Bill Travis Mystery
George Wier
Flagstone Books (CreateSpace)
E-Book Only
Estimated print length 141 pages

The fourth book in the “Bill Travis Mysteries” series opens with Walt Cannon needing Bill’s help. Walt is a Texas Ranger with a thirty plus year career in the elite law enforcement agency who just might be arrested for murder any day now. Walt swears he didn’t kill Phil Burnet, though he certainly had a good reason to kill him. Bill Travis knows Walt is telling the truth when he says he didn’t do it. But, something is wrong with Walt and he won’t come clean about it.

All Walt wants is Bill’s help in clearing his name.  One thing that will help Bill is that the guy who found the body of Phil Burnet is Perry Reilly. Bill has known Perry since way back in the day before Bill was married with kids. Before long, Bill and Perry are in a dangerous case that will take them back and forth across Central Texas chasing a killer.

The Devil To Pay is another fast moving read in the series showcasing the obvious talents of the Texas author George Wier. While you could read The Devil To Pay as a stand alone it would be better if you read this series in order starting with The Last Call.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Back Home

We are home and know nothing. No mass in either right chamber of her heart according to the doc today and there was nothing swinging in the current to get. He has no idea what the docs saw last week as none of that is true according to him. He says the thing is totally on the outside of her heart and pressing on the right side. Says he has no opinions on treatment and that we need to get back with the cardiac surgeon when he is back sometime late next week.

So, while the news is good that nothing is internally in her heart, we are no closer to getting that needed sample for pathology.  We are also not sure, based on what this guy today said, whether the whole other surgery plan of stopping her heart, putting her on the heart/lung machine, etc., is now necessary.

The whole deal is weird and very stressful.


Back to the Hospital

Thought we were going to have to go back to the Hospital on Monday when Sandi suddenly developed a fever for the day. Got that under control and we didn't have to. Today, we do.

Assuming we can get down the ice covered stairs without killing ourselves, and we can get a car to start, we are to be at the hospital at 9:30 for her deal later today. Around noon she is scheduled for this deal to go in and snag a piece off the thing in her heart.Hopefully this all works the right way as she does not need any more complications and issues.

I will update when I can. But, with no cellphone or laptop with me it is going to be far later today.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone

from all of us here in North Texas where thunder rolled while rain and hail fell overnight. Poured all morning and it is still pouring rain ow. Supposed to switch to sleet and then snow over the next couple of hours. May the day and the season be special for you and yours.......

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sandi Sunday Update

Earlier this evening Sandi took her first shower since pre--hospital. Her five incisions and chest tube hole all look pretty good all things considered. No signs of infection or any issues different than what we had been warned we would see.

Sandi is still in considerable pain--especially with her right shoulder where they ran an IV line as well as a chest drainage tube. While she had an IV line in her right hand, during surgery they had to put in a second separate line through her right shoulder and into a major artery because of the complications that were happening. Among other things, apparently the chemo has left her blood vessels brittle so they tend to not work right when a needle is inserted into them for an IV.  What will happen to them when she has chemo again, not to mention the radiation, is something that concerns me quite a bit.

While many years we would have loved to have a white Christmas this is one year we really would prefer it did not happen. Normally this sort of thing happens for New Years but apparently it is coming a week early this year. Current forecast seems to be for some sort of light accumulation of snow and ice starting some time on Christmas day and going into the evening. Considering the staircase we have that is always dangerous whenever it gets anything on it as well as the drive to the hospital the next day, we would really prefer that the snow and ice miss here.

On behalf of Sandi, myself, and the boys thank you for your thoughts and prayers expressed in public and in private. We most assuredly appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness. It means a lot as we go through this nightmare yet again.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sandi Surgery Update

First, I am sorry I was not in the shape to update things here the last couple of days. It has been a hard roller coaster experience. That fact and how hard things are for me physically now meant I wasn't in the shape to be coherent and update folks here when I finally got home form the hospital each evening. I am sorry. It was not deliberate. It was sheer exhaustion and pain.

Thursday afternoon the cardiac surgeon operated on Sandi. The procedure itself went fine though it went in an unexpected way. Right after he got through the scar tissue in her lung and into her chest cavity he found a large mass. A large mass that turned out to be some sort of fatty tissue thing. While it was in the right spot according to the PET Scan and the CT Scan, this fatty thing should not have appeared the way it did on the tests. The cardiac surgeon was not convinced this was it.

After he got the fatty thing out of her, he went looking around trying to find the real deal. He didn't find anything besides what looked like a small spot on the surface of her heart. He could not biopsy that as the only way to take a sample from the heart is by stopping the heart and using a heart/lung machine on the patient. They were not geared up to do that, so he backed out and closed her up.

He came out and talked to me and overall things looked fairly good. The mass was out and it wasn't cancer. The spot clearly bothered him, but the cardiac surgeon wasn't sure whether or not it was anything to worry about. The expectation at that point Thursday afternoon was that most likely it, like her thyroid, would be something that would be watched for suspicious activity on some sort of regular basis. About three hours later she made it through recovery and was in her room. I hung around awhile longer and then went home with the understanding that at some point, probably in January, they would do some sort of detailed echocardigram to look at the spot.

Friday morning when I got to the hospital Sandi was sitting up, in tremendous pain, and a very unhappy patient. They had allowed her to order breakfast and then intercepted it at her door. The new plan was to do this deal where they would put her out and then run a camera thingy down her throat. They would run this camera probe thing down into her heart and go looking around. The spot deal had taken on greater significance overnight and it had been decided this was something that absolutely had to be checked out before she could go home.

What was supposed to happen at 1 ended up finally being done at 3:30 after booting me from her room as this was something they had portable equipment to do. I went down the hall to the waiting area and updated the boys before sitting back and watching the clock. This deal was only supposed to take about ten minutes. I knew the way the nurse was looking at me when she came to get me in the waiting room 45 minutes later the news was very bad. She was trying to be upbeat as she escorted me back and chatted with me, but it was obvious. So too was the doctor who was standing outside her room finishing up the paperwork. After he got me to sit down he delivered quite a shock.

Sandi has a large tumor of some type in the two right chambers of her heart. The thing is growing from outside of her heart, through the heart wall, and into both the right chambers. In one chamber there is a free floating piece barely attached to the main mass. That piece is hanging down and swinging back and forth in the her blood stream as her heart pumps.

They are as sure as they can be without a sample that this thing in her heart is her cancer back again.  They believe this is what was causing the heat signature on the PET Scan --also matches the size deal according to the Pet Scan too and the CT Scan---and was partially obscured by the giant fatty thing they took out of her Thursday. Apparently what the spot is on the surface of her heart that her cardiac surgeon saw is just the tip of the iceberg that is inside her heart.

The current plan is that next Wednesday morning she goes back to the hospital and checks in at ten am. Around noon they will move her to the catherization lab to  try and get a sample of the free floating piece. They will do this by running one thing down her throat and through the lung to the heart. The other deal will go up her leg and head for the heart. They think they can get the tools in there from each side. Once they get them in place bracketing the piece as it swings back and forth they will to do some sort of pincer move and snag it. Once they have it snagged and not moving, they will try to remove the swinging piece for a pathology sample.

This assumes that they can get to it and actually snag the thing as it swings back and forth in her blood stream. Once they retrieve it, the piece has to be big enough for pathology sample purposes. At this point, having measured it yesterday, they think while small, it would be enough to get the confirmation they need for treatment.

This deal is risky because trying to do this the way her heart is very tricky. There is also a major risk of perforating her heart. If they accidentally do that--basically put a hole in her heart--they would have to start emergency procedures to save her life by cracking her chest, getting the heart/lung machine going, etc. There is a definite risk to this procedure, but the only other option is much riskier and harder on her long term.

If this cardiac catherization plan for getting the sample does not work, the only option would be be to go in for major cardiac surgery sometime in late January. They would crack the chest wall, stop her heart, and while she was on a lung/heart machine, totally remove the entire mass and rebuild the right side of her heart. That would take roughly six or seven hours to accomplish. Assuming she lived through all that, she would face several months of rehab to get strong enough for the chemo and radiation.

Based on what she was told about six last night, chemo and radiation are both definite once they know for absolute sure if it is another lymphoma. If they have to go the other way, she probably won't be able to do chemo or radiation before May. Obviously, beyond the risks of surgery, removing the thing that way raises the risk of further cancer spread at the time of the operation as well as giving whatever cancer she has elsewhere that is starting a lot more time to grow and try again to kill her.

We are told that at this point she is not at a higher cardiac risk because currently the thing is not blocking the blood flow. They don't think the piece will just break free on its own. Theoretically, if it did--either because it broke free on its own or they lost it during the procedure--it would not do anything from a heart attack or stroke deal. What it would do is shoot through her heart and vanish into her body to lodge somewhere. Of course, that would give the cancer yet another foothold in her body somewhere.

Finally late yesterday evening we made it home. She is home for Christmas and that is good. A Christmas that certainly isn't as bright as we thought it might be Thursday evening. Right now, neither Sandi or I know what to think as we both are flat out stunned. While I had thought that maybe she was growing a spot of cancer on her heart, I never thought that she had a tumor growing through her heart.

Again, I am sorry it has taken me so long to update folks. I am working on e-mails so if you are awaiting a response to something you sent, please be patient while I catchup.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday's Forgotten Books

This is Friday and normally that means Friday's Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbot over at her blog. A normal Friday would mean that there would be a review from Barry Eergang, Patrick Ohl, or myself running in this space. But, unfortunately, this is not a normal Friday.

Sandi is in the hospital with all that entails.

So, please understand why I didn't do anything for today. Please go over to Patti's blog for the list and review links. Thank you.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Surgical Thursday

The day never seemed to get here, but finally it is Thursday. In less than an hour from now we will head over to the hospital to get Sandi checked in. Sandi's cardiac surgery to go in and see what the thing is that is pressing on her heart sac is set for 1 pm.

If it is cancer---as we all expect--the doctor intends to leave the thing in place and back out of there. Removing it would raise the risk of spreading it as may have happened when they had to do so many biopsies last November. At that time several tumors in various places were removed. If it is cancer he will also put another port back into her chest and hook it into the main artery to her heart in preparation for more chemotherapy.

If it is not cancer, I am not sure what he will do. While I do understand why it should not be removed if it is cancerous, it seems to me anything pressing on the heart sac like this is should be taken out of there. Apparently, if it is not cancer, it still might stay in depending on what it is.

If everything went perfectly today, Sandi could be back home tomorrow. The odds for that happening are very low. Not only does Sandi have a history of heart attacks and strokes, there is considerable damage in her right lung still visible on the CT Scan from last November. While the fluid is not present in the lung, the scarring and damage it left behind is still very visible and a surgical obstacle. Not only does the doctor have to work around that, depending on how much he has to do, it may be necessary for a chest drainage tube again. If that happens, she definitely will be in longer.

So, that is where we are this Thursday morning. Hopefully, for once, everything will go smoothly and there won't be any complications. No matter what happens, today is going to be a very long day. I will update everyone when I can.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WTF---Wednesday's Twisted Funny

Normally I try to get a couple of these sorts of things up today because by midweek we all could really use a laugh or two. With Sandi going in the hospital tomorrow morning for her cardiac surgery I wanted to get out a couple reviews today as, at this point, who knows when I will be back writing reviews again. But, I could not let the day escape without posting at least one thing I found funny.......


Novelette Review: "Shifting Is For The Goyim" by Elizabeth Zelvin

It is worth noting that many of the reviews give away most, if not all, of the details behind the story. This review absolutely does not. This review, unlike many others out there at Amazon and elsewhere, is safe to read without ruining this very good novelette.

Far different in style and tone from the Bruce Kohler Series written by author Elizabeth Zelvin is Shifting Is For The Goyim recently released by Untreed Reads. Emerald Love is a singer and a good one. Thanks to Michael, her boyfriend and fellow musician, she has had several number one hits. Immensely popular she is now one of those one name artists such as Cher, Madonna, etc.  She’s come a long way from her home in Pumpkin Falls, New York.

With crowd leaving for their homes she is now on the way to her family home for Passover. She’s missed the last five by way of being on tour, but there is no missing this one. For many reasons she will wish she had in this tale of the paranormal, death, faith, and family relationships.

This is a sometimes dark story of pain and loss for different from the often humorous Bruce Kohler Series. It is also incredibly good and features a complicated character, Emerald Love, who is very worthy of her own novel series. One hopes that such might be in the works based on this very complicated and very short mystery tale.

Shifting Is For The Goyim
Elizabeth Zelvin                                                                                 
Untreed Reads Publishing
July 2012
E-Book Only
Estimated print length 31 pages

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

Kevin R. Tipple ©2012

Novella Review: "Death Will Save Your Life: A Bruce Kohler Mystery " by Elizabeth Zelvin

Bruce didn’t want to go to the Aquarius Institute, but Barbara wasn’t to be denied. She had set things up for her and Jimmy to attend some sort of couple’s workshop with a well-publicized relationship guru named Melvin Markowitz. Barbara was sure that veggies, meditation, and yoga in the morning would help Bruce too. Bruce doesn’t want any part of this new age nonsense that Barbara has involved Jimmy and her, but can’t get out of it either.

The place maybe located in a beautiful setting, but for Bruce there is no getting around the fact that being out in the country somewhere instead of New York City isn’t natural. He is a city boy and needs the sounds of the city as nature is far too quiet. Being a recovering alcoholic means that the no booze requirement is no problem. The no cigarette requirement as well as the no caffeine requirement are major issues. Another issue are his fellow residents. That includes his obnoxious and pretentious roommate JoJo.

While the place many preach peace and light, many are having issues, and somewhere in the gathering of clients and stuff lurks a killer. Finding the body means that Barbara, Jimmy and Bruce are once again involved way more than they want to be in a murder case. A case that Bruce Kohler increasingly feels compelled to solve in this latest read from author Elizabeth Zelvin.

Suspects abound in Death Will Save Your Life: A Bruce Kohler Mystery novella from Books b Nimble. Bruce, Jimmy and Barbara provide sarcasm and occasionally biting commentary while working their way through a long suspect list in this fun and fast read. Unlike the novels in this series that tend to slow the action down for psychology and treatment issues, this novella proceeds at a rapid pace while providing plenty of mystery and the occasional joke.

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

Kevin R. Tipple ©2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: "Fallen From Grace" by J. R. Lindermuth

It is deep in the night October 5, 1897 when Sheriff Sylvester Tilghman is awoken by someone throwing small rocks at his bedroom window. Doctor Mariner has sent a young boy, Simon Hinkle, over to wake the sheriff.  The good doctor sent for the sheriff because he is treating a man that has been stabbed. Local resident Ollie Cramer found the man stabbed out on the road by the new bridge on the south side of town. A man that the doctor and almost no one else in the small town of Arahpot, Pennsylvania seems to know.

Not only does the sheriff know the name the man of the man, he had seen him earlier with Valentine Deibert. Both men seemed to know each other and had words with Valentine Deibert looking absolutely terrified at the end of their meeting. When Sheriff Tilghman asked him about it, Valentine Deibert totally denied everything and claimed to not know the man.

The same thing the man had claimed when Sheriff Tilghman tracked him down at Buchner’s livery. The man told the sheriff he didn’t know Valentine Deibert and was just passing through town.  Sheriff Tilghman didn’t believe him then, but couldn’t really do anything about it.  Now that the man, who called himself Conrad Runkle, is a victim of a criminal assault Sheriff Tilghman can investigate and ask questions. Since Mr. Runkle can’t answer any questions as he lost a lot of a blood and is unconscious, Sheriff Tilghman will start with Valentine Deibert and his family.

While Sheriff Sylvester Tilghman has lots of questions, he receives very few answers in this complex mystery. His situation with the Runkle case is almost as confusing and complicated as is the target of his romantic intentions, Lydia.  A story willed woman who seems to welcome his romantic interest, frequently has him over to meals and clearly enjoys his company, but for unknown reasons of her own continues to turn down his marriage proposals. A mystery of its own that has confounded the good sheriff for some time. One that will have to take a backseat to solving what happened to Conrad Runkle.

This is an engrossing and complex mystery that quickly pulls readers into the world of Sheriff Tilghman. A world populated by fully developed characters in all walks of life that give rise to side stories and details. A world that is slowly changing before readers eyes as these are the warning days of the telegraph, gas lights, etc. A world that is full of history and mystery as well as the occasional funny moment.

Fallen From Grace by R. R. Lindermuth is a complex mystery full of twists and turns.  Authentic to its time, the read from start to finish has a deeply western frontier type feel to it though the setting is Pennsylvania. The result is a very good read and one that works on all levels.

J. R. Lindermuth
Wild Oak Westerns (Oak Tree Press)
March 2011
ISBN# 978-1-61009-011-7
Paperback (also available as e-book)
174 Pages

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

Kevin R. Tipple ©2012

Today in Medicine

Scott's test procedure at a local area hospital is now completed. It took longer than planned, but it is now done. Hopefully the results will confirm the diagnosis on his gastrointestinal issues so that his treatment will become fully successful.

Monday, December 17, 2012


While we still do not know our food stamp status and Texas Medicaid has still not paid the cancer doctor for part of the treatment for Sandi from way earlier this year, I received today the official form to request help from TEXAS HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES with Medicare Part B. As expected, the nineteen page form duplicates information they already have had for us going back over two years. It also duplicates every single thing the Social Security Administration requested and verified. 
Took two hours for me to complete and another hour plus to copy all the records so they could have them again. The postage paid envelope they sent is way too small for the application, let alone the supporting documents, so it took some doing to get everything in there. Finally did it with Karl's help. It now sits on the kitchen table waiting to go out tomorrow on its journey to Midland, Texas in the far western side of the state. With the holiday next week, I doubt if it will make it to anyone's desk until late next week.
Hopefully, once they get it, it will move right through the system and is quickly approved. I need every penny I can have of my disability check so being approved would be a big help.


Review: "The Third Gate" by Lincoln Child

The idea of the “paranormal” or the “woo-woo” element is strikingly popular these days. If such books bother you, or you find them offensive, The Third Gate by Lincoln Child is not for you.  The paranormal as well as the idea of near death experiences play a major role in this novel.

Professor Jeremy Logan bills himself as an “Enigmologist” and is quite successful at it in addition to being a professor of Medieval History at Yale.  What really drives him is explaining the unexplainable---whether it be spiritual or scientific. It is precisely that aspect of his life that, after considerable cloak and dagger, will have him stationed in the legendary “Sudd.”

’Imagine: a region thousands of square miles across, not so much swap as a labyrinth of papyrus reeds and water logged trunks. And mud. Mud everywhere, mud more treacherous than quicksand.  The Sudd isn’t deep, often just thirty or forty feet in places, but in addition to being horribly honeycombed with braided undergrowth, its water is so full of silt, divers can’t see an inch beyond their faces. The water’s full of crocodiles by day, the air full of mosquitoes by night.’” (pages 45­-46)

It is in this wet and foul place treasure hunter Porter Stone has assembled a team of scientists and workers of all types and placed them on a floating multiarmed station with any equipment they need. They are to locate the tomb of King Narmer. The pharaoh that many believe united all of Egypt thousands of years ago long before the birth of those who built the pyramids in Egypt.  Time is of the essence as the Af’ayalah Dam is near completion near where the team is working. When the dam is completed it will not only destroy a legendary ecosystem, its deep waters will flood the area making it impossible to find the tomb.

Not only is time running out to find it there seems to be a curse on the project. Beyond the fact that every tomb has a curse on it of some type to protect it, there are very strange happenings at the isolated station. Scientists and others report hearing voices chanting ancient texts, figures appearing out in the marsh, floating lights, and various other strange occurrences are happening.  As the days progress and some sort of entity makes its presence known more and more survival becomes an issue for Logan and others as they work to discover the tomb and true history of King Narmer.

Despite its heavy use of the paranormal and near death experiences, at its heart this is an adventure story featuring modern day scientific explorers pushing the envelope in their quest for knowledge. In this case it is a legendary King of Egypt, an inhospitable place with difficult and dangerous working conditions, and a group of folks who will start to crack in various ways under the increasing pressure of isolation.  Add in the element of the strange using near death experience – little of which can be revealed without undermining the book and is not mentioned on the jacket copy for good reason- and all the elements are there for quite the thriller.

As the author notes he has taken considerable liberties with Egyptian History to tell this tale.  A tale that borders on the fantastic by the end while still being utterly believable.  The Third Gate, while a little bit more out there than some of his other books, is still a very good one. Not only should it appeal to mainstream readers, it should also appeal to those who deliberately look for a bit of the strange or paranormal in their reads.

The Third Gate
Lincoln Child
Doubleday (Random House)
June 2012
ISBN# 978-0-385-53138-2
320 Pages

Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012