Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 2013 Reads and Reviews

Among many other things and most importantly, June saw Sandi safely return from Florida
having thankfully survived her stem cell transplant that will hopefully prevent yet another
unwelcome return of her non hodgkins lymphoma. With so much going on the last month 
reading took a backseat to life. In addition to interviews, news, market calls, free book alerts, 
and lots of other things on the blog, this is the complete list of the “June 2013 Reads and 
Reviews.” All reviews are mine unless otherwise noted.

Every Broken Trust: A Mystery by Linda Rodriguez

Pilikia is My Business by Mark Troy--FFB Review

THE VANISHERS by Donald Hamilton --FFB Review (Barry Ergang)

Organized To Death: A Lighter-Side Mystery Story by Jan Christensen

Keller’s Therapy by Lawrence Block

If You Can’t Stand The Heat (The Kit Tolliver Stories) by Lawrence Block

Singularity by Kathryn Casey--FFB Review
The Mojito Coast by Richard Helms

Three-Ten to Yuma by Elmore Leonard---FFB Review (Barry Ergang)

Not a bad one in the bunch and lots of variety for your reading consideration. My thanks again to Barry Ergang who helped me keep things going.


The Latest From Kings River Life....

as posted elsewhere yesterday morning.....

Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine a July 4th mystery short story by Gary R. Hoffman

Also this morning a review of the brand new legal mystery "Flinch Factor" from Michael A Kahn along with an interview and a chance to win a copy of the book

Enjoy a brand new mystery short story by Wayne Zurl in the new issue of Kings River Life Magazine

And for your summer reading fun, check out reviews & giveaways from 7 Penguin mystery authors! "The Sleeping Salesman Enquiry" by Ann Purser, "Murder on Fifth Avenue" by Victoria Thompson, "The Begonia Bribe" by Alyse Carlson, "Cast On, Kill Off " By Maggie Sefton, "Lethal Outlook" by Victoria Laurie, "Looming for Murder" by Carol Ann Martin, and "Monument to the Dead" by Sheila Connolly

And lastly over on KRL Lite, for those who enjoy vampires with their mystery, check out our review & giveaway of "Shadow Born" by Dianne Sylvan

Happy reading,
Lorie Ham
-- KRL is now selling advertising & we have special discounts for mystery authors & bookstores! Ask me about it! 
Mystery section in Kings River Life 
Mysteryrat's Closet

Interesting Reading Elsewhere---At the Scene of the Crime: Death Goes for a Swim

Nice to see occasional guest reviewer Patrick Ohl back to work on his blog.....
At the Scene of the Crime: Death Goes for a Swim: It was really a most exciting day for Miss Hildegarde Withers, schoolteacher extraordinaire. Taking her class to the New York Aquarium, s...

Friday, June 28, 2013

End of the Month

Which means rent is coming due on Monday and we are in a real bind. Please consider helping IF you can by hitting the donation widget thing to the left. Anything is a huge help and gratefully appreciated.

Interesting Reading Elsewhere--Benjamin Leroy

Ben has yet another excellent piece over at the "Hey, There's A Dead Guy In the Living Room" blog. Titled "That Was Me, I Did That (that's a lie)" he covers the most recent case of plagiarism that broke loose the last couple of days. You can read it here and you should.

FREE Book Alert---What We Found by Kris Bock

As posted elsewhere....

What We Found is FREE for Kindle today:
Suspense and romance in New Mexico: When Audra stumbles on a murdered woman in the woods, more than one person isn't happy about her bringing the crime to light. She’ll have to stand up for herself in order to stand up for the murder victim. It’s a risk, and so is reaching out to the mysterious young man who works with deadly birds of prey. But with danger all around, some risks are worth taking.


First seen mentioned on linkedin this morning. Amazon synopsis .....

"The Russian president wants Lucky and the professor’s secrets. The Arabs want them too. Vladimir Putin is determined to secure the secret recipe that will forever eliminate the need for oil for any type of transportation, ever . . . again. Putin has assigned this task to his Head of Security, Oleg Karpov. It is up to Lucky to protect the brilliant, mad scientist and his “magnetic propulsion system”, but can he outwit legions of Russian agents? From the KGB headquarters in Moscow to the ghost town of Rhyolite, Lucky, utilizes his time travel ability and races to eradicate assassins, yet increase his wealth at the same time.
Can he do it this time? Will Lucky be “lucky?” One never knows what can happen when you enter . . . the time portal."

Amazon link is:

FFB Review: "Three-Ten to Yuma" (1953) by Elmore Leonard--- Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. This week Patti declared today a celebration of Elmore Leonard. Make sure you check out the other reading possibilities here after you read the review below……

"Three-Ten to Yuma" (1953) by Elmore Leonard

Reviewed by Barry Ergang
Originally published in the pulp magazine Dime Western, Elmore Leonard's short story concerns Deputy Marshal Paul Scallen's efforts to get convicted Wells Fargo robber Jim Kidd onto a train that will take them to the penitentiary in Yuma. The story opens in the early morning hours, with Scallen
and Kidd riding into the aptly-named town of Contention. Here they meet Timpey, a Wells Fargo agent who has made hotel accommodations for them. The plan is to hole up in the hotel until they can get on the train later in the afternoon.

Complicating matters are friends of Kidd who are in town with the intention of liberating him from his guardian, and a man named Bob Moons who is certain Kidd killed his brother during the robbery and who is out for blood. Playing some head games, Kidd tries to convince Scallen to let him go, that he won't succeed in getting him as far as the railway station, let alone to Yuma.

Revealing any more would spoil a subtly tense tale that runs 4,500 words, according to the author in an interview on YouTube (, and which is the only story Leonard wrote for the pulps for which an editor requested revisions.

I read the story in an anthology titled Hard-Boiled (1995), edited by Bill Pronzini and Jack Adrian. I haven't read everything in it, but I'm pretty sure nearly all of the stories — maybe all except "Three-Ten to Yuma"—are detective and crime tales. Pronzini's introduction to "Yuma" calls it "a distinguished noir story, with all the elements of character, plot, incident, and suspense of the best contemporary thriller."  

Until a few years ago, though I've enjoyed western films since childhood, the only western story I'd ever read was the one that served as the basis for "High Noon." Three or four years ago I started reading some pulp western short stories I found on the Internet and a few novels by writers including Clarence M. Mulford, William Colt MacDonald, Max Brand, William MacLeod Raine, and Louis L'Amour, all of whom have what I'd characterize as a "pulp sensibility" in their approach to story-crafting.

What differentiates Elmore Leonard, for me at least, is his more literary approach. The story has plenty of the tension and action in a cinematic style one would want and anticipate from a western that originated in a pulp magazine. But its characters aren't entirely stereotypes and are well-defined by their actions and words. Scallen is determined to see his job through, but not without some fear. Kidd is cocky at times, but he's not the one-dimensional gloating outlaw we've frequently encountered in print and on film. His relationship with Scallen, as it develops, is not entirely what one would expect. The dialogue conveys as much by what is left unsaid as by what is spoken.    

 "Three-Ten to Yuma" most definitely deserves its status as a classic.

Barry Ergang © 2013
A Derringer Award winner, some of Barry's written work is available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Simply Because...

it was funny to me.....

FREE Book Alert-- Broken Strings by Nancy Wright

As posted elsewhere....

Broken Strings is set in rural Vermont with a puppeteer sleuth. Free for 5 days, that is, on Smashwords, between today (Thursday) and this Monday, July 1.  It's a kind of sequel to my
SMP Vermont mystery series.

Thanks for considering!

Nancy Wright

Summer Sale--- CrimeFictionWriter: Untreed Reads short story sale

CrimeFictionWriter: Untreed Reads short story sale: From now until July 4, Untreed Reads is running a special where readers can purchase any four short stories for $1.00. Just add four short s...

Senior News-- June 2013 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 the 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 June 2013 column with the addition here of the relevant book covers……

The Texas Capital Murders
Bill Crider

The Texas Capitol Murders features romance, murder, a Texas Ranger, a governor afraid of his own shadow, strident anti-abortionists, at least one pervert (depending on your personal definition of “pervert” there could be a couple more), and other unique human beings. Originally published in 1992 by St. Martin’s Press, the book has recently been released again in an e-book version with a much better cover than the original. The setting of the late eighties may be twenty plus years old, but the story itself is not dated and could easily be happening right now considering how things work at the state capitol.

Nearly everyone involved in this story is trying to use their job at the state capitol to move up to better things.  That is, except for the first murder victim. Far different than his Sheriff Rhodes series where Sheriff Dan Rhodes is the main focus while investigating the latest murder, here author Bill Crider puts a number of characters into motion and unleashes chaos as those involved randomly collide and ricochet off each other while going through their day to day activities.

Occasionally a little raunchy, sometimes sarcastic, The Texas Capitol Murders is an entertaining tale that is quirky and funny while delivering a top flight mystery to its fitting dangerous end at the top of the capitol dome. Like the floor below, nearly everyone is cracked in this story that is well worth your time.

Charred & Scruffed: Bold new techniques for explosive flavor on and off the grill
Adam Perry Lang
Artisan (division of Workman Publishing Company, Inc.)
ISBN#  978-1-57965-465-8
280 Pages

It quickly becomes clear Charred & Scruffed: Bold new techniques for explosive flavor on and off the grill is not a normal cookbook. This is as 280 page cookbook with serious attitude.  Adam Perry Lang does barbequing and grilling quite a bit differently than the way most of us gave been taught through family traditions as he constantly moves the meat and pokes it during the cooking process.

The reasoning for that is explained in great detail as are sections on his preferred seasonings, scuffing the meat, basting, layering flavor, working the heat correctly and other topics.  Along with plenty of recipes covering every meal and more, there are numerous pictures and plenty of informative text to make this book perfect for both the novice and experienced cook.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Interesting Reading Elsewhere--- "The Decline and Fall of the English Major"

Not only is it interesting reading, it is also rather sad. You can read the editorial "The Decline and Fall of the English Major" here.

Interesting Reading Elsewhere--- Carstairs Considers....: Video Game Review: Asteroids for Atari 2600

 This is somebody you should already be reading for book reviews and other information. This post in particular strikes a deep chord in me. I still have an Atari 2600 that I got way back in High School is 78 or so. Mine still works. So does my cartridge for this game. So come with me to my youth.......

Carstairs Considers....: Video Game Review: Asteroids for Atari 2600: Stars : 5 out of 5 Pros : Simple but highly addictive game play Cons : Graphics dated, but it's a very minor issues The Bottom...


and worth your time if you are into mystery books

SALE ALERT--- Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Top Suspense Sale!

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Top Suspense Sale!: CLICK HERE FOR THE BOOK S!  BUY OFTEN!  ESPECIALLY MINE!

Free Book Alert---- Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Free for Kindle for a Limited Time: It's a Dog's Life, Snoopy! eBook: Charles M. Schulz: Kindle Store : FRIENDS FOREVER!Charlie Brown and his friends . . . ...

FREE Book Alert -- PRIVATE SPIES by PJ Nunn

As posted elsewhere.....
Private Spies is free on Amazon today and tomorrow.  
PJ Nunn 
Author of Angel Killer
, coming June 25, 2013

Doctor Day Completed

Just got home as of noon from Medical City Dallas. Sandi passed all the blood work tests and evaluation and they are thrilled with her progress. No change in medications. She was again warned to take lots of precautions from the Texas sun as her skin cancer risk is now much, much higher post stem cell transplant than it was. Treatment plan is to be back next week for blood work only assuming nothing turns up in the meantime. In two weeks she will have blood work and a doctor visit.

My leg and back are causing a lot of agony today so I need to lie down for awhile. Falling twice yesterday evening certainly did me no favors. Have to make us all food too. So, don't expect anything further from me today for quite awhile.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Doctor Day Tomorrow--Sandi

It is back to the hospital tomorrow morning to see the cancer doctor and do yet more blood work. Hopefully all will be pronounced good and by noon we will be on our way home. Everything seems the same as it has been near as we can tell. Fingers crossed and all that.

Please think of Sandi in thought and/or prayer tomorrow.

We could also use some real help with winning the lottery. Things are grim.

Another Free Book ALERT---Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Free for Kindle for a Limited Time: Yellow Medicine (Billy Lafitte #1) eBook: Anthony Neil Smith, Craig Johnson: Books : Deputy Billy Lafitte is not unfamiliar wi...

Free Book Alert--- DEAR KILLER

As posted elsewhere.....
DEAR KILLER, the first book in my Marley Clark Mystery Series, is free on
Amazon 6/25-28. This is my first time to try a free Kindle offer, and I'd
appreciate any promo help you can provide. The book is a fast-paced mystery
set on an island in the SC Lowcountry. The heroine is a retired Army
officer. She's 52, fit, smart and sexy with a good sense of humor. Here's
the link:  
Linda Lovely

Review: "The Mojito Coast" by Richard Helms

Miami private investigator Cormac Loame isn't at all thrilled with the idea of going to Cuba on a case. He has been there before, done that, and was rather lucky to get back home to Miami alive and in one piece. But, when Cecil “Madman” Hacker walked into his office just before the Christmas holidays while Cormac pushed paperwork and fantasized about buying a brand new 1958 Buick Roadmaster, he didn't have any really good way out. Hacker's fourteen year old daughter Lila has been taken by Danny McCarl. Danny was an employee of Madman and served as a sort of bodyguard. Hacker, who is a retired boxer with mounting troubles of his own, can’t very well go to Cuba right now and bring his daughter home. He wants Cormac to do it and does not care if McCarl does not make it back stateside alive. Cormac isn’t going to kill McCarl unless he absolutely has to and makes that clear before he takes the job and the money. After all, with Madman’s connections, he gets what he wants and you don’t tell the man no.

The last time Cormac was in Cuba it was in 1952 and he was lucky to do his business and get out of the country. Back then Batista was firmly in control and thanking his buddies in organized crime for their help by opening the island to anything they wanted to do. Now in late 57 the crime syndicate connected hotels have been built, organized crime is getting their share across all aspects of entertainment and vice, but Castro and the rebels are coming with a vengeance. State controlled radio says the government is winning the battle, but everyone knows reality is that now it is matter of time, maybe just a few days, before the rebels capture the capital city and the corrupt Batista government collapses. Against that backdrop, Cormac has to find the girl in a land that has never been that friendly to him where old alliances are dead or crumbled and powerful enemies are facing desperate times. The clock is ticking on the Batista government as well as on the case itself and survival goes to the luckiest.

Scheduled to be released next month The Mojito Coast quickly pulls the reader deep into the heavily conflicted world of Cormac Loame. A world where he can safely trust no one and where the past five years that he has been gone has changed many and hardened others. A world when he wants to get the girl and get out and is constantly dealing with new obstacles in his quest. A world where the fires of revolution fill the reader's senses while Cormac struggles to stay alive in this excellent thriller that blends together a special mix of mystery and adventure. Award winning author Richard Helms has crafted quite the book with The Mojito Coast and it is very much worth your time.

The Mojito Coast
Richard Helms
Five Star Publishing (Gale, Cengage Learning)
ISBN# 978-1-4328-2715-1
236 Pages

An ARC of this title was provided by the author in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sandi's Blog--Walker Caddys

If you go here  you will see the walker caddy Sandi made for my walker. She has a lot of pictures on her blog that take you through the whole process of making one.

She is now selling them at her store on iOffer for $12.00 each. Special orders are accepted. So, go buy one and keep her occupied...okay? :)))

Larry Block Interview

On Crimespace Earl Merkel posted the below comment on my review of Keller's Therapy .....

For fans of Larry Block, we've put up the archive of his interview with us on "The Book, With Earl Merkel" --in which he is (as always) insightful, funny, and an obvious genius. Link to it is:
Now live at:

Mental Health Break

Wishing I could still walk and was there.....

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: New Poem at The 5-2

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: New Poem at The 5-2: The 5-2 | Crime Poetry Weekly : Stephen D. Rogers PUBLIC ACCESS

Interesting Reading Elsewhere----The Crime Writers' Chronicle: Hey, I've Got This Great Idea!

 The piece also includes information about one of my favorite authors.....

The Crime Writers' Chronicle: Hey, I've Got This Great Idea!: Janet Reid is a literary agent who drinks scotch and stalks Jack Reacher. Her progress on both counts can be followed on her blog JetReidLit...

News--- Mystery Fanfare: SHAMUS AWARD FINALISTS

 More books to consider if you have not already read them.....

Mystery Fanfare: SHAMUS AWARD FINALISTS: PRIVATE EYE WRITERS OF AMERICA SHAMUS AWARD FINALISTS 2013 for works published in 2012 : The winner will be announced at the PWA Banquet a...

Monday Humor

A little humor, albeit very warped, to brighten your Monday.....

Sunday, June 23, 2013

FREE BOOK ALERT---- Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

Picked up my copy earlier today......

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Free for Kindle for a Limited Time: Headaches and Bad Dreams (A Story From the Dark Side) eBook: Lawrence Block: Kindle Store : All I can remember about the origin ...

Sample Sunday-- Carpathian Shadows Volume 2

Before there was Mind Slices there was Carpathian Shadows Volume 2. The anthology, published several years ago by, contains a number of stories, including mine. 

The gist of the setting is that deep in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains, in Transylvania, lies a castle. This castle was once home to a nobleman who, it is claimed, warred with the church, bound his servants with a curse of silence, and ruled his lands with a grip of iron. Fortunately for modern-day visitors, Lord John Erdely has been dead for centuries and his castle now a haven for tourists. Or so, at least, is the claim.

Each visitor to a local hotel receives a fancy invitation--they're invited on a free tour and paranormal investigation. When a freak storm hits, forcing the visitors to overnight in Lord Erdely's castle, the tourists learn that Erdely's power is not limited merely to ancient fairy tales.

My story, "By The Light Of The Moon", explains what happens to those who learn too much of the Carpathian castle's secrets. If you are intrigued by the sample below ordering is easy. Available in print and e-book forms at the publisher, Amazon, and elsewhere, while supplies last you can order an autographed print copy of Carpathian Shadows Volume 2 direct from me for the low price of ten dollars. That includes the media rate postage.

“By The Light Of The Moon”
"Is he here?"
"Yes, Commander."
"How is he?"
What he was asking was whether or not the suspect had made it alive into his station. He should have but sometimes accidents happened in the field. The young officer stepped a little ways into the room. New to his job, he was working hard to impress, which is why the Commander had chosen him. Things had to be contained, and he knew he could keep the man, more like a boy at twenty, in line.
"Typical American." The young officer couldn't keep the scorn out of his voice, "Very emotional. Fits of screaming and crying when we placed the cuffs on him. He's sitting quietly in Interrogation 4 now."
"Good. That will be all."
The young man saluted, swiveled in his black spit-polished boots, and strode confidently out of the office. The Commander sat back and smiled to himself while he listened to the pleasurable sound of the boots striking the floor fade away down the long hall. To be young again and so sure of righteousness, of purpose. Not that it really mattered, as fate ordained everything.  His die was cast long ago, as was my own, he thought, and the idea depressed him as it had the last few months.
He stood and stretched, feeling his spine pop before he walked down the same hall. Unlike the young man before him who had turned right so that he could pass the front desk and go back out on patrol, the Commander turned left and, with a few steps, began to feel like the walls were closing in on him. The truth was, they were as he journeyed deeper into the old section of the garrison. This part had been built into the mountain long ago, and the Commander secretly suspected that there had to be a tunnel from here up to the castle far above. He suspected it but had never tried to find out because he knew that in such matters, a lack of knowledge was safer than knowing the truth….

Just Because It Is Cool....

and the super moon is overhead....

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Market News----Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Black Orchid Novella Contest

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Black Orchid Novella Contest: Wolfe Pack -- Black Orchid Novella Award Guidelines, Procedures, and FAQs

Sandi's Latest Project

Please buy something and keep her busy......

Check out my new listings: or

Psst....You wanna buy a book?

No....not mine. These guys over here got something to sell if you got the green......

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Top Suspense Group: Sizzling Summer Sale: Top Suspense Group: Sizzling Summer Sale

The Brutal Side of Publishing

One hears about spectacular success. One does not hear very much about how traditional publishing can really screw up. I found this piece by way of The Passive Voice who always has links to really good stuff. You can and very much should, whether you are a writer or a reader, read "The Business Rusch: Murder Most Foul" here.

KRL This Week

As Lori Ham has posted elsewhere....

Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine a review & giveaway of Carolyn Hart's latest Death On Demand Mystery "Dead, White and Blue" and a fun interview with Carolyn about the series

Also this morning a review and giveaway of "Gray Dawn", the latest mystery from Clea Simon

For more summer reading fun- we have reviews & giveaways of 4 fun Oak Tree Press mysteries- "Pope’s Last Case…and other stories" by Michael A. Black, "The V V Agency" by Mike Befeler, "The Dead Don’t Forget" by Robert Weibezahl, and
"Sooner Than Gold: The Perils of Beauty" by  J.R. Lindermuth

Also we have a never before published mystery short story by Lois Hendricks

And a review of the new mystery TV series "Motive"

And for our fantasy/sci-fi twist this week we have a review & giveaway of "Gameboard of the Gods" by Richelle Mead

Happy reading,
Lorie Ham

Friday, June 21, 2013

FFB: "Singularity" by Kathryn Casey

Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. Make sure you check out the other reading possibilities here after you read the review below……

For Texas Ranger Lieutenant Sarah Armstrong the summons to Galveston to investigate the death of some big shot didn't seem that important at first. The only criminal profiler in the Texas Rangers, she works out of Ranger Company A, based in Houston. It took her an hour to get from her Houston office to the multimillion dollar beach homes that signify a far different lifestyle than her own of a single mother raising a young daughter.

Almost from the start, the investigation is problematic as she has a history with the lead detective of the Galveston P. D. The fact that the two dead bodies are posed on the bed in the master bedroom under a bloody cross means only one thing to Detective O. L. Nelson. He is convinced that the wife of Edward Travis Lucas the Third, Priscilla Lucas, arranged to have him and his mistress, Annmarie Knowles, killed. Nelson's theory is that Priscilla got mad he was cheating, maybe he wanted a divorce, maybe there is a prenup, and so she hires herself a killer. The cross on the ceiling, the posing of the bodies using fishing line to orchestrate the tableau, and other details are camouflage to throw Law Enforcement off track.

Detective Nelson has been horrendously wrong before and as he makes the case for his theory, she is absolutely convinced he is very wrong again. She is convinced that a pro killer didn't do this for money. Instead, she believes it to be the work of a serial killer who targeted the lovers for some other reason. She believes from the details at the scene that he took his time to clean up after himself because he has done this many times before and enjoys doing what he does.

Unfortunately, Sarah Armstrong's opinion is a minority point of view with the case quickly becoming a media circus and Priscilla Lucas the target. Despite being able to possibly link other cases to the serial killer, Sara Armstrong's career becomes threatened by political pressures due to the prominence of the families involved and media hysteria forcing consequences on every one involved.

Known for her published work in non fiction true crime books, this is author Kathryn Casey's first fiction novel and it frequently shows for readers familiar with the mystery genre. Somewhat clichéd in terms of character development (Sarah Armstrong is a recent widow raising an eleven-year-old daughter with the help of her own strong willed Mom), the novel soon turns into the classic deal of the taunting killer and Sarah engaged in a battle of wits. One expects the mailed notes quoting scripture and isn't surprised that they show up. What is surprising is how long it takes for them to arrive.

Long on legend and lore regarding to Texas Rangers, readers never get the sense Sarah Armstrong really is one. Despite the fact that she works on facial reconstructions with clay in the dark of night when she can't sleep, there is no depth to the character in the law enforcement arena or any real specific unique details that make the Texas Ranger angle of the novel come across as real to readers. Instead, this material comes across as generic and the same basic character type stuff seen in many books in the genre despite the acknowledgements page. It also isn't surprising and rather clichéd when two FBI agents become involved in the case with one being a negative influence and siding with Detective Nelson and the other siding with Sarah Armstrong and becoming a romantic interest. Such conflict is a classic stereotype within the mystery genre.

Yet, such classic stereotypes exist because when the human element is added well the resulting novel can and usually does work. Such is the case here as the novel builds at a steady pace while adding in the human factor making the main character and her family come alive for readers. While Sarah as a Texas Ranger is never totally believable, Sarah as a parent dealing with the tragic loss of her husband, Bill a year earlier comes across extremely well to readers. Not only the impact on her but the impact on her young daughter Maggie rings all too true to readers who are parents. The relationship between Sarah and her own mother also comes across well to readers making the family dynamic one of the strongest plot points in the novel. The human element is what drives this novel forward and when Author Kathryn Casey concentrates on that the book is at its best.

While readers expect the showdown between crimminal and avenging Sarah Armstrong at the end of the novel, the setup to get there and the resulting outcome contains a few surprises. That fact, along with a strong character that frequently pushes at the boundaries of stereotype, plenty of action and depth to the mystery, make this a good novel that will keep readers entertained and turning pages.

This title is followed by Blood Lines (2009) reviewed here and The Killing Storm (2010) reviewed here.

Kathryn Casey
Thorndike Press
ISBN# 1-4104-1064-1
Large Print Version (also available as e-book, paperback, bargain hardback and audio)
459 Pages

This book was provided by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2009, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

FREE BOOK---Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

Free at time of posting.....
Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Free for Kindle for a Limited Time: Strange Bedfellows (Jacob Burns mysteries) eBook: Matt Witten: Kindle Store : Jacob Burns is a loving husband, devoted father,...

Interesting Reading Elsewhere---Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Janet Hutchings Talks about Being an Editor

and well worth your time.....
Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Janet Hutchings Talks about Being an Editor: FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN

Review: "If You Can't Stand The Heat" by Lawrence Block

The woman in the bar knew somebody was watching her as she sat sipping her Rob Roy. She didn’t have to turn around to see the look in his eyes--she knew it intimately. From an early age men have
always watched her with a hungry look. Whether it was back home in Hawley, Minnesota, or other places on a long trail to a bar in New York City near the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, she knows first-hand what men want of her. Exactly what the innocent conversation and flirtation will ultimately lead to is a final twist that packs a punch.

If You Can’t Stand The Heat is a fast moving short story full of twists and backstory that leaves a mark in your mind long after the read is finished. This is an exceptionally good short story very much worthy of your time.

If You Can’t Stand The Heat (The Kit Tolliver Stories)
Lawrence Block
April 2013
15 Pages

Material was picked up during the author’s recent free book promotion.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Doctor Day--Completed

Finally back home and the overall news was good. Everything that is happening with Sandi is perfectly normal at this stage post stem cell transplant. Blood work looks good and they are very pleased.  Long term prognosis and treatment was not discussed as they were really focused on what we need to do the next couple of weeks. The long term stuff has to be coordinated with Mayo staff who uses a different treatment protocol than what her people here do for a stem cell transplant procedure.

The firm belief here is that she still has the blood clot in her neck though it probably shrunk just enough that the neck swelling went down. They believe strongly that, despite what she was told, Sandi was put on a plane and sent home with the clot in there. Needless to say, I am not pleased about that.This also backs up what Sandi has been saying all along regarding the fact that her neck still does not feel right and she has occasional pain in there. For now they are leaving it alone and will not ultrasound the area.

Basically, leave everything alone and just watch her is the mantra for anything and everything right now.

At this point Sandi moves to a once a week blood work deal. Her next time for blood work and a doctor visit is next Wednesday morning.  In between she is supposed to keep eating right, being careful not to overdo things, try to walk a little bit around the complex each day, get plenty of rest, take her 18 daily drugs, and to just be careful "not to rock the boat."

All in all, things seem to be on track in the right way and now we just have to wait and see...

Review: "Keller's Therapy" by Lawrence Block

Don’t let the strange cover of this turn you away from a good read. Unlike the covers of the other short story e-books by Lawrence Block that I have read, this cover featuring two dogs with one on the couch and the other one standing makes absolutely no sense to this reader. Of course, when you are Lawrence Block, covers probably don’t matter at all.

Keller is in therapy as this one opens relating a dream he says he had to Dr. Jerrold Breen. The dream may mean nothing or it could be very symbolic according to the doctor. As he discusses the dream further with Keller, he finds the dream very symbolic as he does the name Keller is going by – Peter Stone.

Why Keller/Peter Stone is going to therapy is just one of the many questions gradually answered in this complicated tale set in New York City. The answer will take some time as the therapy continues with a couple of interruptions for Keller’s work as a murder for hire gunman. Keller is a complicated character as is this good story originally published in 1993.

Keller’s Therapy
Lawrence Block
February 2013
32 Pages

Material was picked up during the author’s recent free book promotion.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Doctor Day Tomorrow

Sandi's first appointment since she returned from her stem cell transplant is early tomorrow afternoon. It has been awhile since we made our way down to the offices of the cancer doctor at Medical City Dallas for blood work and an office visit, but, that is the plan for tomorrow afternoon. With her car dead in the parking lot, hopefully nothing will go wrong with my car and we can safely get there and back. We also hope the blood work news is good and she won't need any transfusions or infusions.

She continues to tire easily and have the chills and hard shakes after every meal. But, she has started getting a little color back and does not look anywhere as pale as she did when she came home a week ago  Monday. She looks a lot better than she did.

One of the things the folks at Mayo really wanted her to do was walk a little bit each day. Not only does it do something to help strengthen her immune system, walking a little each day will hopefully start to strength her endurance. That should eventually help with future medical treatments assuming she can get back some strength and endurance. Weakness is a huge issue for her and probably plays a role in the post meal chills and shakes.

Today was the first day she felt strong enough to walk a little bit. With Scott at her side she went out for a little while this afternoon for a short walk within  the complex. They were gone a little over a half an hour and kept it close and slow. It wore her down quite a bit, but she said it felt good and that she was glad she had tried to walk.

Her appointment is in the early afternoon tomorrow so with travel time and all that, I have no idea what time late tomorrow afternoon or evening we will be back. I will update sometime late tomorrow when I can.

Life Lessons

can be hard......
 ...and whatever you do, don't pull his finger!

Interesting Reading Elsewhere--- At the Scene of the Crime: Who Ruined Roger Rabbit?

 I never thought much of the Roger Rabbit movie deal. Just didn't really hold my interest or work for me. I never bothered to try and read the book the movie was based on.  Patrick Ohl did read the book and has some thoughts....

At the Scene of the Crime: Who Ruined Roger Rabbit?: I’m a very big fan of the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit . It’s one of the greatest movies of all time in my book – the visual effects are as...

Free Book-- TROUBLED SEA by Jinx Schwartz

The e-book version is free again and happens to be in my electronic TBR pile. Just have not gotten to it as well as many others yet. The synopisis posted at Amazon is:

Hetta and Jenks Jenkins live a life many only dream of aboard their 42-foot boat in Mexico's hauntingly beautiful Sea of Cortez. But their chosen sea has a serpent: Mexico's out-of-control drug trade.

After witnessing a drug-deal gone wrong, they set off a deadly chain of events that lands them in a sea of intrigue involving a best friend, the Mexican Federal Police, the DEA, US Coast Guard, the INS, and a nasty drug cartel.

This fast-paced adventure is a must-read for anyone who has ever dreamed of cutting the lines and shoving off to adventure.

You can find it here. 

Thank you to Jinx Schwartz for the direct message alert.

Review: "Organized To Death: A Lighter-Side Mystery Story" by Jan Christensen

Life was supposed to be less stressful and a bit simpler in the fall of 2007 when Tina Shaw came back home to Newport, Rhode Island. Having given up her psychology practice at age 29 in favor of a new profession as a professional organizer, life should be less stressful with her new career as her clients should not die. Her first job should also be easy, all things considered, as she will be working with a
client, Rachel, whom she has known since they both were kids. Rachel obviously needs her help as her house is packed. Clutter has filled every nook and cranny except for the perfect baby nursery that is in pristine condition.

That is except for the dead body sprawled across the floor in a pool of blood with several bullet holes in the back.

Crystal is very much dead and for Rachel the loss is tremendous. Crystal could be over bearing and judgmental, but they were sisters and Rachel loved her dearly. If Rachel already needs mental health help, as Tina suspected considering the stat of the house, she certainly does now.

She might not be the only one who needs someone to talk to in Tina's circle of friends and acquaintances. Not only does a killer walk among them, but nearly everyone has a major secret. Some of those secrets unite the characters in various ways, while other secrets will ultimately destroy relationships and cost lives.

Organized To Death: A Lighter-Side Mystery Story by prolific short story and novelist Jan Christensen is a suspenseful page turning read. First in a new series, it features Tina Shaw a complicated young lady with secrets of her own. She also can't get a decent home cooked meal to save her life, has three potential romantic partners who annoy and intrigue her, and the serious unwanted interest of the police who see clear evidence linking her to at least one murder. A rich dynamic character who has yet to find herself, this first novel of a planned series is a tale of personal exploration weaved into a suspenseful cozy style mystery.  Rich in detail and populated with complicated multi-dimensional characters in every role, this latest book from author Jan Christensen is another good one.

Organized To Death: A Lighter-Side Mystery Story
Jan Christensen
CreateSpace (Self Published)
December 2012
ISBN# 978-1481139779
Paperback (also available as eBook)
234 Pages

Material supplied by publicist PJ Nunn owner of BreakThrough Promotions.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

Interesting Reading Elsewhere--- Anne R. Allen's Blog: 7 Ways Authors Waste Time "Building Platform" on S...

I'm very sick of the huge emphaisis on platform building that many of the small publishers epecially seem to put before what really should matter--quality books. Do you really mean to tell me you, as a publisher, would pass on a great book simply because the author did not have, in your opinion, a big enough social media presence?

Folks, you truly have to read this very informative piece that says it so much better than I would.....

Anne R. Allen's Blog: 7 Ways Authors Waste Time "Building Platform" on S...: Authors are getting hammered with more and more demands on our time. We get escalating pressure to blog more! tweet more!! send more newsl...

Another Free Book---Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Free for Kindle for a Limited Time: Hallowed Ground: David Niall Wilson, Steven Savile, Robert Sammelin: Kindle Store : When a man known only as The Deacon set up c...

Lesa's Latest Contest

 as posted elsewhere.....

This week, I'm giving away a copy of Carolyn Haines' latest Sarah Booth Delaney series, Smarty Bones, and Kathryn O'Sullivan's debut, Foal Play. Details on my blog,

Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine

Free Flash Crime Stories Book from Author R. J. Spears

I picked up a copy of this recently and have not had a chance to read it yet. The link below takes you to the listing on Amazon....

Well, it's time for some BSP.  I have my collection of 7  flash crime
stories, Flash Flash, Bang Bang, available for FREE on Amazon today for
anyone that wants it.  It contain 5 previously published stories and 2
original flash pieces.
You can find it at:Flash Flash, Bang Bang 

Thanks,R.J. Spears

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Interesting Reading Elsewhere---Ed Gorman's blog: Steven Spielberg's Nightmare Scenario For Hollywood Is Already Coming True

 If you are not already reading Ed Gorman's blog you should be. You also have to read this as what they are doing is just nuts!  Ed Gorman's blog: Steven Spielberg's Nightmare Scenario For Hollywood Is Already Coming True

Fathers Day 2013

Happy Fathers Day to my fellow fathers---whether you had to go to the Maury Povich show or not. Keep your shirt on so you stay off of COPS.

And remember, don't scratch in public. Makes some folks upset and they will complain. Unless you are a professional athlete. Then it is fine to publicly scratch, but, remember to thank God for the win.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

28 Years and Counting....

On a very warm afternoon of June 15, 1985 I married a certain young lady by the name of Sandi in a small church in a suburb of Boston. We were married in the same church her parents were married in years before. I wore a rented tux that was way too big in the waist. A highlight of the ceremony was that every time I moved, especially to kneel, a pin would fly free.

There were times when you literally could hear a pin hit something.

Soon, people in the first couple of rows learned to duck every time I knelt. As the ceremony wound down and I tried to not sound like a quivering idiot every time I spoke, little did we know that we were minutes away from taking a ride in a limo with  no air conditioning driven by a man who would run at least three red lights and nearly sideswipe a half a dozen cars in his attempt to get us to the reception hall. We had no idea it was really possible to make a limo go sideways through an intersection when one was not on a movie set.

It is. The driver did it twice. The second time he did it, he pulled off the hat trick by sending us both off the seat and to the floor.

We also didn't know that the next morning we would wake up to 28 degrees and snow and sleet falling on the city of Boston, Massachusetts. If we had, we might have had more clothing packed than lightweight shorts and shirts and a couple of pairs of jeans.

When we said our vows 28 years ago we had no idea that it was going to be, for the most part, a lot of whole lot of poorer and way too much sickness. We had no idea. What we thought our lives together would be like was very far from the reality that our lives have become. Especially since March of 2010 when I got sick with whatever this is I have and then Sandi's cardiac issues, strokes, and cancer battles. This was not the reality we had planned for and expected on any level.

But, life is what it is and while I would change a lot of things in my past, I would not change marrying Sandi. And I am very thankful and grateful that she is still here with me 28 years and counting later.

Happy Anniversary, Sandi.

Interesting Reading Elsewhere--- Not The Baseball Pitcher Blog

From time to time you no doubt have seen comments on this blog from a guy named Randy Johnson. If you are old enough you may remember a baseball pitcher by that name. This is not the same guy. This is a guy with far ranging tastes in humor, books and film, and stuff in general. Every Friday you can count on Randy to have a solidly good post for Friday's Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott.

Today he is taking a look, as he has in recent weeks, at another Spaghetti Western. You can read his review of May God Forgive You...I Won't here.

Spend some time on Randy's blog--it is well worth it.

Once a Cougar....

....always a Cougar. Bryan Adams High School, Dallas, Texas. Class of 80.....Go Cougars!


Interesting Reading Elsewhere--- Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: 2013 Nero Award Finalists

 Yet more award worthy books I have not read....

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: 2013 Nero Award Finalists: Mystery Fanfare: 2013 Nero Award Finalists


Monday, 17 June 2013
7-8:30 p.m.
Topic: Annual WGT Read-In
Speakers: Featuring the Work of Members
Richardson Public Library
900 Civic Center Dr.
Richardson TX 75080
Basement Room
Read your work to an appreciative audience of your peers. Three ways to sign up and read:
·       Sign up at the May 20 meeting — signup sheet will be available.
·       Send an email to Virginia Boylan,
·       Sign up at the June 17 meeting, if we still have room to add readers (those who sign up in advance get first dibs on reading slots).
Ø  Please note: Readings are limited to a maximum of 5 minutes, with a brief “set-up” of no more than 1 minute allowed
Ø  We estimate that approximately 10 people will be able to read.
Ø  Remember, this is a public library so material must be “PG” or “G-rated” — suitable for all ages.
The Writers' Guild of Texas WGT Critique Sessions: Third Wednesday of each month.
Registration: 6:45-7:00 p.m.
Reading/critiquing: 7:00-8:45 p.m.
Basement Room of the Richardson Public Library, 900 Civic Center Dr., Richardson TX 75080.
18 June: Coordinator Liz Klein leads these sessions. Participants present their original work and receive feedback.
For more information about The Writers’ Guild of Texas, contact Membership Coordinator John Vance at or WGT Critique Group Coordinator Liz Klein at
Annual 2013 WGT dues of $25.00 may be paid at meetings or by mail to Writers' Guild of Texas, 6009 W. Parker Road, Suite 149-175, Plano TX 75093.
All WGT events located at the Richardson Public Library are free and open to the public.
Monday, 15 July 2013: Randy Rawls, a North Carolina author with Texas ties, Randy is the author of several books. His most recent novel is Hot Rocks. Read more about Randy at his website,
Monday, 19 August 2013: LaRee Bryant. The Business of Writing. The importance of approaching writing as a profession, dealing with agents and editors, and basic "don'ts" and "dos" regarding contracts. LaRee is the author of 7 historical novels and 2 non-fiction books, has recently finished the second book in a new cozy mystery series, and is now working on a new stand-alone mystery.
Monday, 16 September 2013: Jill Allison Bryan. Writing Past Procrastination, Perfectionism and Perfectly Good Excuses-5 Fun Ways to Jump Start Your Creativity. Jill will jumpstart your creativity with interactive exercises to stimulate your writing. Jill is a certified Master Kaizen-Muse® Creativity Coach, read more at
Monday, 21 October 2013: TBA.
Saturday, 2 November 2013: Workshop. Rachel Simeone. Book marketing expert Rachel Simeone uses her 20+ years of experience in Internet and consumer marketing to help authors accelerate their sales and achieve their dreams. Implementing proven marketing strategies, Rachel develops customized marketing programs that attract readers and deliver sales. She is known for her innovative ideas that exploit hidden opportunities to give authors a marketing advantage. In addition to her work with authors, Rachel also developed a book marketing training program for the online publisher Blurb.
Monday, 18 November 2013: TBA.
Monday, 16 December 2013: WGT Holiday Meeting.
All Writers' Guild of Texas events held at the Richardson Public Library are free and open to the public.
For more information about The Writers’ Guild of Texas, contact Membership Coordinator John Vance at or WGT Critique Group Coordinator Liz Klein at
Writers' Events Calendar (contact to have your conferences, meetings, or other writing-related event listed here—no individual book signings, please):
Saturday, 22 June 2013: Writing Workshop with Robyn Conley, Book Doctor. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Brady Housing Authority Community Room. 405 East Main, Brady TX 76825. Fiction writers: character building, plot development, marketing tools, revision tools; non-fiction writers: cornerstones of theme and sensory details used by journalists, poets, and those who want to leave a written legacy for their children. $15.00.
Friday-Sunday, 12-13 July 2013: Lexicon 2013. Sessions, pitch panels, awards, drawings, giveaways. One on ones with agents, publishing executives, writers. Pitch panel on Sunday. Bookstore for published authors. Contact: Mitch Haynes, LexiCon President – 940-206-0262 – Hilton Garden Inn, Denton, Texas (940-891-4700).
Friday-Sunday, 19-21 July 2013: Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. Friday keynote: Susan Orlean, Saturday keynote: Rick Atkinson, Sunday keynote: Skip Hollandsworth. Workshops, agents, dozens of speakers, contest. $295.00 until 30 June 2013m then $370.00. Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center, 1800 Highway 26 East Grapevine, Texas 76051-9641. 817-481-8444.
Thursday, 15 August 2013: The Writer's Block presents the second of two FREE! The Craft of Fiction Writing Series 2013. “Beginnings, First Chapters, and Endings" led by writer Ann Fields. The Center for Community Cooperation, 2900 Live Oak in Dallas, Texas, 75204, (214) 821-0911. Register online at
Thursday-Sunday 24-32 October 2013: Austin Film Festival 2013 Conference. Film competition now open. Screenplay competition now open. Austin TX
First Saturday each month (except January): Dallas MWASW (Mystery Writers of America, Southwest). Texas Land & Cattle, 812 South Central Expressway, Richardson, TX 75080, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. $5.00 door fee, cash only. All who attend are invited to remain for lunch. Contact info: LaRee Bryant, Permission to forward.
First Saturday each month: Pens and Pancakes Writers Workshop. 10:30 a.m.-noon. The Dock Bookshop. 6637 Meadowbrook Dr. in Fort Worth, TX 76112. Guest facilitator Shewanda Riley. Dock Bookshop ( 817.457.5700. FREE.
The Dallas Area Writers Group (DAWG) put together a summer reading list—including a reading list for writers. Check it out! The more readers in the world—the more opportunities for writers!
Second Saturday each month: North Texas Speculative Fiction Workshop. Meets every 2nd Saturday at the Hurst Barnes & Noble Bookstore, 6pm.
Frisco Writers Meet-Up Groups: Day group meets every 3rd Thursday and night group every 2nd Tuesday. See website for more details.
Visit for up-to-date information on Writer's League of Texas workshops held in Austin TX.
Visit for guidelines to participate in the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.
The Writers' Guild of Texas is a nonprofit professional organization whose primary purpose is to provide a forum for information, support, and sharing among writers; to help members improve and market their writing skills; and to promote the interests of writers and the writing community.
If you don't wish to receive these announcements, please let me know.
Permission to forward this email is not only granted, but encouraged. Let's get the word out to as many in the writing community as possible.
Carol Woods, Communications
Writers' Guild of Texas