Saturday, November 30, 2013

Blending Concepts

in ways that make some folks scream......


Amazon Shopping Perhaps?

In addition to the donation widget on the left side, I am an Amazon Associate. What this means is if you click on one of the book links on this blog to buy a particular book or to shop on Amazon and you buy something, I get a few pennies on the sale. It does not affect the price you pay at Amazon or have any impact on you financially at all.

What it does do is generate a small referral fee that is paid into my Amazon Associate account a few pennies at a time. Those pennies add up each quarter. When enough pennies add up to ten dollars, usually once or twice a year, I can cash out with an Amazon giftcard. I use these funds to buy the occasional e-book which ultimately gets reviewed here as well as some household and medical supplies for Sandi not covered by food stamps or donations.

So, if you are going to shop at Amazon anyway, please consider going through me to do your shopping. Every little bit helps and I do appreciate it very much.

Review: "Blade Of Dishonor" by Thomas Pluck

Reeves has come back home to Minnesota and the small town he grew up in to find the town has changed in many ways. The local Ford Plant has closed and the economic pain of that is just one of the things that continue to haunt the town. He has changed as well thanks to growing up and serving in the military
though many folks don’t seem inclined to talk to him. The various ghosts of the past and shattered dreams haunt the town as well as Reeves and there are no easy answers for either.

Taken care of by Grandpa Butch, Reeves spent most of his life in the back of the local Army Navy store. It was there that Reeves developed a love for weapons--especially knives and swords. Butch is still alive and as angry as ever and isn’t about to let Reeves backslide into his old ways. He also isn’t about to let anyone else mess with him. That hardcore attitude towards family and the world will come in handy as Takehiko Yoshiro has come to buy the old store and all of its contents. A buying attempt that will lead to violence as some things, including honor, simply are never for sale in this martial arts thriller. 

Throw in a beautiful babe, a fast car, martial arts, and an enduring love as well as a couple of other elements and Blade Of Dishonor by Thomas Pluck becomes a complicated ride into the past and present. Featuring twin storylines with Grandpa Butch struggling to survive during World War II and Reeves struggling to survive now, the read moves back and forth in time as the storylines merge together. Martial arts and the history of various groups in Japan are major components of this book that blends the past and the present in a way that ultimately results in Reeves fighting for everything he holds dear in a violent final confrontation half a world away in Japan. Officially World War II may be long over, but some of the factors that led into the war are still at work in this very good tale where honor means everything.


Blade Of Dishonor
Thomas Pluck
Goombah Gumbo Press
September 5, 2013
ASIN: B00F0N4G48
E-Book (also available in print)
370 Pages
$3.99

Material supplied by the author for my use in an objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

I Need To Start A Life Of Crime

as there is a lot....


Craving a Movie Fix?

Just discovered that my buddy Steve Fahnestalk who I used to work with on Tangent Online a couple of years ago is doing movie reviews over at Amazing Stories Magazine online. I had no idea. Amazing what you can find out on Facebook once you sift through all the anti this party or anti that one political party  nonsense on there. Nobody seems to have come to my conclusion that the parties are pretty much dead even and both suck.

Anyway, the most recent review is on a science fiction/horror movie called Grabbers and you can read it here. Apparently this is an alien octopus kind of thing with a nasty couple of features.

Plenty to read over there so go check it out.

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: STARK HOUSE HOLIDAY SALE

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: STARK HOUSE HOLIDAY SALE: STARK HOUSE HOLIDAY SALE Here's the skinny: last year, we offered a buy 2, get 1 free sale--this year we're making it better an...

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Here's Your Black Friday Deal -- Only 99 Cents!

 Another good one so go get a copy already....

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Here's Your Black Friday Deal -- Only 99 Cents!: Amazon.com: Too Late to Die - A Dan Rhodes Mystery (Dan Rhodes Mysteries) eBook: Bill Crider: Kindle Store    Everyone knew her. A lot of th...

Do Some Damage: Author Etiquette: To Thank or Not To Thank

Do Some Damage: Author Etiquette: To Thank or Not To Thank: By Steve Weddle Hello, Thanksgiving. First, let me thank everyone who came out to the NYC reading at The Mysterious Bookshop recently. ...

Big Daddy's Place: Saving Paradise - Mike Bond

Randy Johnson had to move his blog over to Blogger, at least for the time being, as he has an ongoing problem at the old place so one goes here....
Big Daddy's Place: Saving Paradise - Mike Bond: Pono Hawkins lived life like he wanted. A native Hawaiian, he surfed, wrote articles in surfing magazines, taught a group of foster kids a...

FFB Review: "The Rising of the Moon" by Gladys Mitchell--Reviewed by Patrick Ohl

Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books with Patti Abbott.  The list will be here later today. In the meantime, set the leftovers aside and put your hands together for the return of Patrick Ohl…

Simon and Keith Innes are two young boys who are supremely excited: the circus is coming to town! It’s true that the festivities will be taking place on a Good Friday, but it only comes once a year and it should be taken advantage of. And in honour of Good Friday, the only reasonable thing to do is to sneak into the circus without paying!

The action begins on Holy Thursday, when the boys sneak out of their house to prepare their route for the following night. But suddenly they see a sinister-looking figure clutching a knife—a knife that looks rather like the knife owned by their elder brother, with whom they live… The next day, a grisly discovery is made—one of the circus people, a tight-rope walker, is found murdered, slashed to death by a Jack-the-Ripper-like murderer… and the bad news is, this is only the beginning.


The circus leaves the town without performing, but soon enough, the villagers cower in fear whenever the full moon is up… for it is then that the ripper strikes, killing women and mutilating their bodies. These events are all seen through the eyes of the two young boys—in particular, the narrator is none other than Simon, and the story is not so much a mystery as a coming-of-age-story. The two boys are thrown into the investigation right alongside the local police inspector and the witch-like Mrs. Bradley, who is sent down to investigate the deaths at the express wishes of Scotland Yard. She takes rather a liking to the boys. They deal not only with the murderer, but must also grapple with their mathematics assignments and they must answer a terribly important question: do Catholics only need to go to church once a year, and if so, should they convert?

It’s a good thing that the other elements in this book are so strong, because the mystery is, to be frank, bloody awful. The murderer instantly became obvious to me on page 9—and my edition of the book doesn’t start with page 1—it doesn’t even start with page 5! But it’s not enough that the killer is obvious—oh, no… we must also endeavour to make the ending as confusing and full of loopholes as possible! For instance, there’s a scene where the boys finally get to see the circus. They are told to keep an eye out for this-and-that while there, but of course they have plenty of fun in the meantime. Then they finally spot this-and-that, and they give the prearranged signal. What relevance does this have to the plot? Absolutely none. It’s never referred to again, and in fact, the ending directly contradicts the idea that this scene ever had any point whatsoever.

As for logical loopholes, if you want to see psychology at its most gloriously subjective, look no further than Mrs. Bradley in this book. The police start with a perfectly reasonable notion of what kind of killer they’re looking for, but Mrs. Bradley gives a completely different psychological profile. Who’s right? Why, Mrs. Bradley of course, for the excellent reason that she’s the detective and therefore can never be wrong. What made the police’s initial assumption so unreasonable? Well, Mrs. Bradley said otherwise. What was the significance of the moon? Well… God alone knows. At least I hope so. I wouldn’t be surprised if God was just as puzzled over this moonshine (pun perfectly intended).

All this sounds as though I hate the book… but nothing could be further from the truth. I have brought up all these problems in the book’s plot because I want to get these over with before I reach the end of the review—I’d hate to finish on such a severely negative note! This book is without doubt a masterpiece of writing, but don’t set the bar high on your mystery expectations.

The book’s best success is the writing from the POV of a child. It’s got that perfect mix of childlike innocence and that manner many kids have of wanting to be treated as grown-up. It all rings perfectly genuine. Simon is a wonderful character, and we see him forced to grow up with this murder investigation. We also see the steps he takes to avoid Sunday school and to protect his elder brother when it seems he might be the murderer. All this is most fascinating, and the relationship Simon has with Mrs. Bradley has a curious note of poignancy and tenderness to it. Mrs. Bradley is just as harsh, witch-like, and cackling as ever, but she teaches Simon a thing or two about life and she’s rather like a mother-figure to him.

The atmosphere meanwhile is brilliant. Just… brilliant. The slowly increasing fear and terror of the villagers… the way the tension is ratcheted up notch by notch… that final chase in the moonlight… everything adds up beautifully, and it’s hard to describe the overall effect. I’m at a loss of words.

So overall, I tend to agree that The Rising of the Moon is a masterpiece from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction… but you have to keep an open mind when the conclusion rolls around, because it is among the most ridiculous, plot-hole-ridden endings in detective fiction. It’s up to you to decide how you will take the ending. Maybe you will decide, as I did, that it doesn’t affect the quality of the book enough to lower it. Maybe you will decide to write your local Member of Parliament to protest. (It's not like they're doing anything important.) But if you’re willing to swallow the ending, you will see that the book is a very worthwhile experience!


Patrick Ohl ©2013
Patrick Ohl is a 20-year old Canadian crime fiction aficionado who enjoys hobbies such as taxidermy and runs a dilapidated motel in the middle of nowhere alongside his crazed mother. He enjoys relaxing in his subterranean evil lair while watching his favourite hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and will occasionally make chicken chow mein to die for. His life is accompanied by a soundtrack composed by John Williams, and James Earl Jones provides occasional voice-overs.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Another Thanksgiving Thought

I hope your Thanksgiving was a good one. 
 
 The pumpkins have it coming. That whole "Great Pumpkin" thing is one crazy cult deal.

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us......


What? You expected something normal and holiday appropriate from me?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Anniversaries and Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I hope it is a wonderful day for you and yours. For us, it is bittersweet as it marks a two year anniversary. One we could have easily done with out.

Tomorrow, at around 1:30 or so in the afternoon, was when a number of doctors came in to Sandi's room at Baylor Plano and broke the news to us that she had cancer. Not just cancer, but two forms of aggressive Non Hodgkins Lympoma. The cancer was everywhere in her body, they believed, except for her brain and her jaw. They were "cautiously optimistic" and  were setting up things with the Plano branch of Texas Oncology to take over her case.

I can't tell you what they said after that or ever who their names were--it is all a blur.  I remember sitting there after they left staring at her and the tubes and bags hanging off of her and thinking how in the hell did this happen? First I had gotten sick, then she had a heart attack and strokes, knee surgery, and then this. Cancer wasn't one of the things we had worried about the last three weeks while she had dealt with a collapsed lung, fluid in both lungs, and a seemingly endless cascade of other issues.

Life wasn't supposed to go this way at all. Not that it ever really had, but right before I got sick in March 2010 it seemed like things were finally going better. That was the lull before the storm and we had no clue.

Last year, we thought she was still in remission at Thanksgiving and had no idea that the cancer was already back in a new and far more dangerous form. Thanksgiving was the last normal holiday last year. Soon after, she had a PET Scan that picked up something strange. Three different attempts were made to get to the thing, which started exploding in growth as the days passed. Finally, by late January, she knew what her new enemy was thanks to the pathology sample and that, without a doubt, she was terminal.

The last two years have been brutal in so many ways. Karl's ongoing situation, my own worsening health, a huge health scare with Scott, and the ongoing nightmare with Sandi and cancer. She is still here and fighting every day despite all the increasing odds against her. She isn't the only one as there are cancer patients all over the country and around the world who make that same fight--often not nearly as public as I have made Sandi's.

I did that because I was asking for your help. I did it because there are scammers out there who have ripped people off. I did it because some accused us of being those kind of folks. We weren't then and we aren't now. It is a brutal nightmare I would not wish on my worst enemy. You don't know what is like until you have lived it first hand.

It seems very appropriate tonight as folks gather to give thanks to again thank each and every one of you who have done so much for us. Many of you are online friends who know us by this blog and other sites and have never met us in person. Despite that, you have opened your heart, your wallets, your lives to share with us and we are truly grateful. We are very grateful for the support, prayers, donations and everything that has come our way the last couple of years from all of you. If it wasn't for you, we would have been out on the streets a long time ago. The fact that we are still here is because of your support in so, so many ways.

On behalf of all of us...Thank You.

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Happy Hanukkah!

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Happy Hanukkah!: Hanukkah - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : Hanukkah (/ˈhɑːnəkə/ hah-nə-kə; Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה, Tiberian: Ḥănukkāh, usually spelled חנוכה, p...

Mark Troy's Latest Giveaway

As posted elsewhere earlier this week....
 
Today I received the cover of The Splintered Paddle form Five Star. It's the first Honolulu Private Eye, Ava Rome novel, coming in June 2014. But you don't have to wait until June to read Ava's exploits. The Rules is a short story available now on Kindle. Now for the giveaway. You can view the cover of The Splintered Paddle on my website, http://www.marktroy.net. If you leave a comment about it, I will send you a Kindle edition of The Rules. It need not be a lengthy comment, just a word or two. Leave an address where I can email The Rules to you.

Mark Troy
http://www.marktroy.net
metroy@mac.com
The Rules, an Ava Rome mystery, now available in the Kindle Store
The Splintered Paddle, coming in June 2014

At the Scene of the Crime: The Keep-Your-Mouth-Shut Files #1: Mickey Spillane...

At the Scene of the Crime: The Keep-Your-Mouth-Shut Files #1: Mickey Spillane...: I’ve been blogging for more than two years now, and I like doing it. I use this blog to record my thoughts, feelings, and opinions on the...

Lesa's Latest Contest

As posted elsewhere yesterday.....

 This week, I'm giving away a copy of Libby Fischer Hellmann's suspense novel Set the Night on Fire. Set in Chicago, now and in the '60s, it's the story of a young woman who is stalked and discovers the roots of the stalking goes back to 1968. Details on my blog at http://www.lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com. Entries from the U.S. only, please.


Lesa Holstine  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bloodwork

Bloodwork done--meds adjusted.

Back home and whipped.

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



The Coyote Tracker: A Josiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger Novel
Larry D. Sweazy
Thorndike Press (Gale, Cengage Learning)
ISBN# 978-1-4104-5400-3
Large Print (also available in paperback and e-book)
451 Pages


May 1875 finds Texas Ranger Josiah Wolfe back in Austin, Texas and very much in career limbo. Wolfe has been told to stay in Austin and await the arrival of Captain Leander McNelly who will decide one more time if Ranger Wolfe is worth it. Both Wolfe and the Rangers have a negative connotation these days and forces are moving to do away with both. Both also seem to get themselves in the middle of things through no fault of their own.

Wolfe’s friend and fellow Ranger Scrap Elliot is soon thrown in jail accused of murder. Not just the murder of one person, but the murder of several and a clamor is building to quickly hang the man. What role Scrap’s worsening situation plays in the recent string of events involving a jail break, a mysterious cypher, a strangely familiar horse, and other recent events is something Wolfe has to figure out in time to save the life of his friend.

Award winning author Larry D. Sweazy has crafted yet another outstanding tale in this long running series. More mystery in a western setting than a western in a western setting, it may not appeal as much to those who want the typical formulaic western fare. There is good reason why the novel received the “Spur Award for Best Mass Market Paperback” is very good.



Safe From Harm: A Sugar Land Mystery
Stephanie Jaye Evans
Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin Group USA)
ISBN# 978-0-425-25346-5
Paperback (also available as an e-book)
360 Pages


After a dinner with friends, Pastor Walker “Bear” Wells and his wife, Annie Laurie, come home to find their 15 year old daughter, Jo, home in her bedroom with the family’s large dog, Baby Bear, at her side. She is with, Phoebe Pickersley, a troubled child who was once Phoebe’s friend and is now dead. The fact she is dead in their house to be found by Jo automatically makes Jo a suspect. A suspect who, like most teenagers, isn’t going to willingly tell all and has her own mind as to how to clear her name.

Once again Texas author Stephanie Jaye Evans has created a very good book in this sequel to Faithful Unto Death Those who read this series in order will appreciate the character growth, complexity of situations, rich storytelling, and very good reading.



Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: "Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects From Crocheters Around The World" Edited by Judith Durant and Edie Eckman

Featuring 101 Projects From Crocheters Around The World variety is very much at work here in this nearly 300 page book. The projects are divided up into seven categories reflecting the weight of the skein. The explanation of those weights can be found in the glossary as are explanations of the techniques needed, abbreviations used, and other helpful information.  Instead of being at the front of the book as usually happens that informative stuff is at the back so that Crochet One-Skein Wonders begins immediately with the projects.

Eight projects are found in the opening section titled “Thread.” It can be something to be used around the house such as the “Blooming Blossom Coaster Set” on pages 8-10 or something to be worn such as the very pretty “Butterfly Necklace” on pages 19-21 among others.  In each case the name of the creator is listed along with the supplies needed, the directions, and at least one picture of the finished project. This same format is used throughout the book.

The “Lace Weight” section follows and features four patterns. Beginning on page 27 there are patterns for three scarves and one for a cowl featured here.

“Super-Fine Weight” comes next with 20 more designs. A number of them involve cowls and scarves, but other items such as “Flower Power Purse” (pages 57-58) and the “Shell Stitch Fingerless Gloves” (pages 65-67) are featured.

“Fine Weight” begins on page 90 and features 9 projects. More scarves and glove projects can be found here as well as the “Pebble Beach Headband” (pages 92-93) and the “Spring Garden Dress” (pages 99-101) and the cute “Eliot-the-Elephant Baby Bib” (pages 102-104) and others.

Starting on page 113 are the twelve projects that make up the “Light Weight” section. More scarves and headband projects can be found here along with others such as the “Sunflower Pillow” (pages 135-138) and “Napkin Rings” (pages 139-140) and the Green Water-Bottle Holder” (pages 141-142).

“Medium Weight” comes next with more than 30 projects.  Hats and a scarfs of various types are present here as well as ones for fun things like “Bernie the Bunny” (pages 226-230) and a Kindle Cover” on page 242.

10 Projects make up the “Bulky Weight” section of the book. A “Button-Flap Cape” (pages 245-246) and a “Handpainted Shoulder Bag” on pages 256-258 among others are included in this final project chapter.

Short bios of the designers/creators in the book, a glossary of techniques, yarn weight, symbols and abbreviations follows the final project chapter. A nine page index and an ad featuring four titles aimed at knitters and an accompanying ad for four other crochet books bring this well done book to a close.

Featuring project diversity and variety in skill levels, the 101 projects in Crochet One-Skein Wonders are sure to work for you as well as your family and friends. The projects selected by editors Judith Durant and Edie Eckman can be made for recipients of all age levels and would be treasured gifts.



Crochet One-Skein Wonders: 101 Projects From Crocheters Around The World
Edited by Judith Durant & Edie Eckman
Storey Publishing
April 2013
ISBN# 978-1-61212-042-3
Paperback (also available in e-book format)
288 Pages
$18.95


Material was obtained at my local library for my use in a future review piece for my column in the Senior News newspaper.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS? (J.D. Rhoades' Blog): It's the End of the World As We Know It. Again.

 Save the date....
WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS? (J.D. Rhoades' Blog): It's the End of the World As We Know It. Again.: The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion Oh, dear. It looks like the world’s ending again. This time, it’s the Vikings who are telling us that the En...

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

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Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Free for Kindle for a Limited Time: Excellent series, highly recommended.  Glad to see that it's being brought back via eBook. Amazon.com: No Human Involved eBook: Barba...

RTE This Week

As posted elsewhere earlier today.....

At RTE this week we have:
15 new crime fiction reviews:

http://www.reviewingtheevidence.com
Theresa Schwegel  in the 'Sixty seconds with . . .' interview hot seat:

http://www.reviewingtheevidence.com/interviews.html?id=171

Reviews this week:

TITLE                    AUTHOR                REVIEWER

CRITICAL MASS    Sara Paretsky    Yvonne Klein       
VI's attempts to trace a missing mother and her adult son, also absent, lead her to the heart of a decades-old crime with its roots in the Holocaust and the Cold War.

POLICE    Jo Nesbø    Barbara Fister       
As an unnamed hospitalized man lingers in a coma, a team of Norwegian detectives tries to discover who is luring police officers to their deaths at the scene of unsolved crimes.

NO MAN'S NIGHTINGALE    Ruth Rendell        Yvonne Klein       
Ex-Chief Inspector Reg Wexford, now retired and missing the job, acts as a consultant on a murder involving the female vicar of the local parish.

THE GOOD BOY    Theresa Schwegel    Caryn St Clair       
An eleven year old boy takes his dad's police dog and follows his sister to a party to "save her" but instead he and his dog end up on the run fearing for his life.

COUNTRY HARDBALL    Steve Weddle    Christine Zibas       
These interrelated short stories form a tale of despair and hopelessness in one small Southern community, whose citizens can't seem to break bonds with the past.

HUMAN REMAINS    Elizabeth Haynes     Sharon Mensing   
A depressed police intelligence officer finds herself on both sides of a crime, both as victim and investigator, as a deranged man targets vulnerable and lonely members of society.

THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS    Julia Spencer-Fleming     Ben Neal   
 Newlyweds Clare and Russ must find a gravely ill kidnapped girl while contending with various personal issues.

NO REGRETS, COYOTE    John Dufresne        Lourdes Venard   
When an entire family is slain, therapist and forensic consultant Wylie "Coyote" Melville is asked by police for his take on it.

DEAD MAN'S TIME    Peter James    Jim Napier       
DS Roy Grace has a lot on his plate.  He's investigating a major antiques robbery in which an elderly woman was killed, a recently-released ex-con is looking for revenge on Grace for having banged him up, and his mentally-disturbed ex-wife who disappeared nine years ago turns out to be very much alive, still nursing an obsessive hatred for the detective – and still keeping a life-changing secret from him

A FATAL LIKENESS    Lynn Shepherd        Christine Zibas       
The poet Percy Shelley and his wife Mary seek Charles Maddox’s aid in discovering whether some private family papers are authentic or merely the work of a hopeful opportunist

THE LIGHT IN THE RUINS    Chris Bohjalian    Anne Corey       
A pair of horrific murders takes place in Florence Italy in 1955 that may have connections to the events of WWII around an estate and the family who owned it, as the book segues between 1943/44 and 1955.

STYX & STONE    James W. Ziskin    Ben Neal   
A woman is determined to find the man who severely injured her father

HER BROTHER'S KEEPER    Sara Hoskinson Frommer    Mary E. Devine   
When Joan Spencer's brother turns up for her daughter's nuptials--after many years of estrangement-- Joan can't decide whether to welcome him or shun him, an issue more complicated when he turns up dead

TWILIGHT IS NOT GOOD FOR MAIDENS Lou Allin       
In a secluded camping site on Vancouver Island BC, a young woman is assaulted. When two other girls are later found raped and killed, Corporal Holly Martin of the RCMP and her small detachment must investigate and prevent other murders.

DEATH OVERDUE    Mary Lou Kirwin       
When Karen Nash's boyfriend's ex-girlfriend is murdered, Karen must do everything she can to clear his name and find the killer.


We post more than 900 new reviews a year -- all of them are archived on the site -- as well as a new interview with a top author every issue.


Yvonne Klein
Editor: ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com 

Looking For A Writer's Conference?

Check the list that runs through September 2014 here on the Crime Fiction Collective blog. Lots of other good stuff on there too.

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: 99 Cent Sale!

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: 99 Cent Sale!: Amazon.com: Too Late to Die - A Dan Rhodes Mystery (Dan Rhodes Mysteries) eBook: Bill Crider: Kindle Store

Glenn Walker reviews "Avengers Assemble S01 E14: Hulk’s Day Out"

My online buddy Glenn Walker reviewed "Avengers Assemble S01 E14: Hulk’s Day Out" over at Biff! Bam! Pop! yesterday. You can read the review here. If you scroll down you can also read, among other things, Glenn's review of the DOCTOR WHO 50th Anniversary Special--DAY OF THE DOCTOR.


EuroCrime-- New Reviews on Euro Crime: Blackmore, Camilleri, George, Huber, Leonard, Rickman, Rowson, Vichi, Wilkinson

As posted elsewhere today....

 As usual this set of reviews, added to Euro Crime today, is a mixture of new reviews and a catch-up of those posted directly on the blog in the last two weeks.

New Reviews:

Amanda Gillies reviews Alex Blackmore's debut, 'Lethal Profit', a thriller set in Paris;

I review Andrea Camilleri's latest Montalbano, translated by Stephen Sartarelli, 'The Treasure Hunt';

Terry Halligan reviews the new Lynley novel from Elizabeth George, 'Just One Evil Act';

Susan White reviews Linda Huber's debut, 'The Paradise Trees', a psychological thriller;

Laura Root reviews Peter Leonard's 'Back from the Dead', the sequel to 'Voices of the Dead';

Lynn Harvey reviews Phil Rickman's 'The Heresy of Dr Dee', now out in paperback;

Terry also reviews 'Death Surge' by Pauline Rowson, the latest in her DI Andy Horton series set around the Solent;

Completing the set of reviews for Marco Vichi's first four Bordelli novels, is Michelle Peckham's review of 'Death and the Olive Grove', tr. Stephen Sartarelli, which is the second in the series

and Amanda also reviews 'Playing with Fire' by Kerry Wilkinson, the fifth in the DS Jessica Daniel series set in Manchester.

http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/review_list.html or via the blog: http://eurocrime.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/new-reviews-blackmore-camilleri-george.html.

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here (http://eurocrime.co.uk/future_releases.html) along with releases by year.

There is also a Euro Crime page on Facebook which you can like and will keep you up to date with what's on the blog (plus occasional extras).
(https://www.facebook.com/eurocrimewebsite)

best wishes,
Karen M
@eurocrime

The Education of a Pulp Writer: Down This Long Road Is A Mailbox

The Education of a Pulp Writer: Down This Long Road Is A Mailbox: At the bottom of this long and winding hill is a mailbox. I enjoy the walk down and even the difficult trudge back up -- gets the blood pum...

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: 15 Forgotten Things Found Inside Books

 I once found a condom in a library book......
Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: 15 Forgotten Things Found Inside Books: 15 Forgotten Things Found Inside Books

Rough Edges: Now Available: Trouble Man - Ed Gorman (and an Ann...

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Sample Sunday-- "Obsession" in "Mind Slices: A Collection of New and Previously Published Stories"

Sometimes you have to be a little obsessed about your writing. This week I thought I would share with you a small sample of one of the more literary type stories from my MIND SLICES: A Collection of New and Previously Published Stories. If you like what you see of this one, there are fifteen more tales in the book ……


Obsession

She crumpled the paper. The bill went into the back pocket of her torn black jeans as she stared angrily at the house. Mr. Wonderful was occasionally visible through the curtains that twitched in the breeze through the open window. Mark was doing his number in there for the millionth time and the bills still didn’t get paid. Now the power company had decided it was time for them to get paid or the lights and everything would go off. 

Midnight to eight at the plant six nights a week, waitressing the seventh and all this too. Lately, all Janet felt was anger toward everyone and everything in sight. Her head pounded. She was so sick of living this way. Her eyes tracked back across the dusty, dead lawn, back toward the paint-peeled house. A piece of broken gutter lay in the half-dead bushes where it had fallen about a month ago.  Loose shingles flapped, threatening to escape as their brethren had.  There was a plan to fix them, but that hadn’t happened either. The city had even been out yesterday, citing them for one thing, then another. Can’t offend the neighbors in the fancy-pantsy suburbs.

Through the open window, the noise of the clacking computer keys drifted across the yard to her. Why he had to have the computer make a noise like an old style typewriter she didn’t know. He had been wonderful in the beginning. What had been so cute way back when was now annoying. There he sat, in all his beer-belly glory, poking along at yet another story. With only one sale in twenty years of trying, and that one was years ago, you would have thought he’d have figured out the situation. Instead, she was left to be sole provider and parent as he sent his dreams out on paper. The years passed, the stories and projects came back quicker than they went out, but he kept trying. If he had spent half that energy and time getting a job that actually paid money, they could have been rich.

Instead, they were waiting for Lottery Liberation Day….. 

  
Containing stories in various genres, the 16 tales are available for $2.99 at the following sites….





With seven five star reviews and two four star reviews on Amazon to date you can be sure the book is a good one. I hope you take a chance on it.


Kevin

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I'm A Voracious Reader : Friday Featured Spotlight ~ Untreed Reads & 3 Revi...

I'm A Voracious Reader : Friday Featured Spotlight ~ Untreed Reads & 3 Revi...: Founded in 2008,  Untreed Reads  is a digital-first publisher and ebook distributor with one of the largest distribution channels in t...

I'm A Voracious Reader : Saturday Shorts

I'm A Voracious Reader : Saturday Shorts: Saturday Shorts Saturday Shorts is a feature where I review 3-4 short stories that are 100 pages or less. Enjoy! * Books source ~ Ma...

KRL This Week--- RP Dahlke, Beth Groundwater, Marilyn Meredith, Thanksgiving short stories, giveaways & more in KRL

As posted earlier today....

Kings River Life has a mystery packed issue this week!

We have a Thanksgiving mystery short story by Sally Carpenter. The first of several Thanksgiving mysteries coming between now and Thanksgiving http://kingsriverlife.com/11/23/pie-eyed-spy-a-thanksgiving-mystery-short-story/

Also up this morning we have a review & giveaway of "A Basket of Trouble" by Beth Groundwater http://kingsriverlife.com/11/23/a-basket-of-trouble-a-claire-hanover-mystery-by-beth-groundwater/

Also,  a review & giveaway of RP Dahlke's new mystery novel "Hurricane Hole" http://kingsriverlife.com/11/23/hurricane-hole-by-r-p-dahlke/

We also have reviews & giveaways of 2 new mystery novels by Marilyn Meredith and Cora Ramos http://kingsriverlife.com/11/23/the-latest-books-from-two-local-authors-marilyn-meredith-cora-ramos/

Deborah Harter Williams writes about scriptwriter and mystery author Elizabeth Cosin and her mystery series featuring Private Investigator Zenobia Moses in the new issue. Elizabeth has written for "24" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." http://kingsriverlife.com/11/23/zen-and-now-zen-moses-is-back-in-town/

Mystery writer Elaine Faber shares a Thanksgiving short story in the new issue as well. While not a mystery, it is a fun Thanksgiving story http://kingsriverlife.com/11/23/moms-holiday-silverware-a-thanksgiving-short-story/

And over on KRL Lite we have a review & giveaway of "Peak Season For Murder" by Gail Lusasik http://kingsriverlife.blogspot.com/2013/11/peak-season-for-murder-leigh-girard.html

Lastly, for those who also enjoy fantasy a review & giveaway of the new fantasy novel "Darkness Splintered" by Keri Arthur http://kingsriverlife.com/11/23/darkness-splintered-by-keri-arthur/

While over at KRL this week check out Untreed Reads Thanksgiving mystery short story collection! A great buy this Thanksgiving season--it helps Untreed, the authors and KRL!

As always, for those dealing with yahoo groups broken links, just head to our home page and scroll down to find all this and more http://KingsRiverLife.com

Happy reading & Thanksgiving!


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 http://KingsRiverLife.com
Check out my own blog at http://mysteryratscloset.blogspot.com/

At the Scene of the Crime: Blackbeard's Revenge

At the Scene of the Crime: Blackbeard's Revenge: …And unmoor’d souls may drift on stranger tides Than those men know of, and be overthrown By winds that would not even stir a hair… —...

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons -- Lawrence Blo...

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons -- Lawrence Blo...: I've been reading the novels of Lawrence Block since, well, I can tell you almost exactly how long.  One evening in 1966, Judy and I wer...

Author Lois Winston Interviewed

I am a fan of her work and way behind on the series. As posted yesterday......

If you’re not tired of hearing from me today, I received a lovely surprise this afternoon. Awhile back Terry Ambrose interviewed me for an article at Examiner.com. The article is live today and can be found at: http://www.examiner.com/article/behind-the-story-with-lois-winston
as well as at Terry’s blog:
http://terryambrose.com/2013/11/lois-winston-and-the-anastasia-pollack-mystery-series/

One of the things I talk about is how events in our own lives often impact how and what we write. 
Lois

Lois Winston
Decoupage Can Be Deadly, the newest Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery now available in print and ebook
http://www.loiswinston.com - http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com
follow me on Twitter @Anasleuth

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: How To Write Your First Book

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: How To Write Your First Book: How To Write Your First Book : Twenty-one successful authors — including Junot Diaz, Charlaine Harris, Dean Koontz, and George Saunders — te...

Lesa's Latest Contest-- Ends Tuesday

As posted elsewhere yesterday....

A short contest this week. Enter by Tuesday evening to win copies of Anne Hillerman's Spider Woman's Daughter or Aimee & David Thurlo's Ghost Medicine. Details available on my blog, http://www.lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com. Entries from the U.S. only, please.


Lesa Holstine  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Medical Updates

Just got home with Sandi as sleet mixes in with light rain here. We have metal stair roalinings and already the stuff is starting stick to the metal even though we are supposedly above freezing here. In the 70s yesterday and today we are in the low 30s with high winds.

We did blood work this morning on Sandi down at Texas Oncology and as happens every week, some things went up, other things went down, and so dosage leevls of several drugs were adjusted. The surgical site seems to be healing nicely.

On the negative side of things---Sandi's lungs are not improving at all so she is going back on the main oral steroid in addition to the inhaled steroids. She is now going to be back at the same dosage level of the oral medication as she was when first released from the hospital. Her lungs are not quite as bad as they were when she first came home a couple months back, but very close to it. Clearly, she has has had a major setback. The current plan is to keep her at this dosage level for 60 days and then see where she is at that point.

Needless to say, Sandi is very frustrated with all of this. 

We go back next Tuesday for an INR check and then a week later, again on Tuesday, for the full deal of blood work and doctor visit.  Assuming she does not get any worse in the next few days she should be home here for Thanksgiving.

In other news....yesterday I had a visit with my doctor. Some test results were a little flaky so that will be pursued. He is also lining up new imaging for me--most likely another set of MRI's looking at my spine and brain. He also will be setting up an appointment with a neurosurgeon for me. Since I am the only one that can drive here and things have to be coordinated with Sandi's stuff, this may turn out to be a bit difficult to pull off, but if something can be done to at least slow down what is happening to me that would be a good thing.

Yesterday took a lot out of me as has today so it most likely will be this weekend before I can start playing catchup on the e-mail again.

FFB Review: "On Dangerous Ground: Stories Of Western Noir" Edited by Ed Gorman, Dave Zeltserman, and Martin H. Greenberg

Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott.

I’m partial to westerns--always have been. Sadly I don’t get that many submitted to me for review purposes. Don’t know why that is any more than why so many horror authors love my blog and want to send me their books when I don’t do horror.  On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir combines a little bit of the Old West in most of the stories with a heavy heaping of noir. The result is a very good book and one well worth your time.

 
“Tomorrow.

The world is filled with tomorrows and none are worth a damn, at least for me.  Tomorrow has some bit of hope attached. Things will be better tomorrow. I’ll have a decent job and a good solid wife.  Tomorrow I’ll have my health back or a brand new baby boy or a string of ponies.   (“Desert Reckoning”, Trey R. Barker, page 81)


The anthology On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir is filled with 21 stories by 21 very talented authors. The book is almost evenly split between tales previously published online at Editor Dave Zeltserman’s “Hardluck Stories” website (still missed by many readers including this reviewer) and new original fiction. While the story setting is occasionally not out West somewhere, the women are almost always trouble and the men are almost always, at least somewhat, fatally flawed in these often complex tales.  Death of the soul can and often does happen long before the characters die of stretched necks or lead poisoning. The phrase “dead man walking” frequently comes to mind throughout this very well done 294 page book.

After a two page introduction to the book by James Sallis, Bentley Little’s story “Hell” kicks off the book setting the tone for what is to follow. Perris is a ranger and on the trail of Tim Curtis whom he has been chasing on and off for the last six years. He plans on finally catching him and bringing him back to Texas so that he can answer for what he done. If taking him alive does not work, he can always mete out justice once he finally catches up to the outlaw.

Of course, the pursuit of justice and obtaining is the theme of any Western on some level. It certainly is true here in nearly every story in the anthology. It certainly is true without question in “All Good Men” by Terry Tanner. Even behind bars in Yuma Penitentiary, scores have to be settled. It will just take time. But, time and his plans is all the narrator has anyway as he is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Lucas Harte can’t demy who he is when confronted in “Burl Lockhart’s In Town” by Steve Hockensmith. Gunther Tietzmann knows Lucas way too well to be fooled by Harte’s denials even if it has been more than fifteen years since they last saw each other. The Pinkerton man, Burl Lockhart, is in town and Tietzmann thinks he is on Harte’s trail. Bad news indeed.

God works in mysterious ways in “Canticle” by Desmond Barry. Being a Mormon with several wives and numerous children, Caleb Dunne is not wanted around by the good people of the state of Colorado.  That is until they need him to hunt down a murderer. Not that a murderer is his real priority as Caleb Dunne has other things on his mind.

“Colt” by Ken Bruen creates a problem from the first line of this story as the narrator’s gun jammed when he needed it most. If he had just gone on by the town of Watersprings things would have been different. But, he didn’t. Now the damn gun has jammed for the first time ever.

Bill Crider comes next with his tale of loss and survival in 1880 near Fort Laramie. No matter what Bill Crider writes, one knows the story will be good. That certainly is the case here. Nobody pays any attention to the “Piano Man” in The Bad Dog Saloon. When they do, he will really wish they hadn’t.

A West Texas graveyard is very important in “Desert Reckoning” by Trey R. Barker.  Familial obligations, especially between brothers, mean so much in this tale of loss and family justice.

Harry Shannon weaves a tale of deceit and suspense in “Lucky.” You know Joe Case is in trouble from the first line of the story. You just have no idea how bad.

It is always a pleasure to read something from Jan Christensen. Such is the case here with her intriguing story, “Going Where the Wind Blows” featuring a woman down on her luck and doing what she has to do to survive in San Francisco. Bill Reynolds and Rita Mae Wilson had a plan when they got there. But, Bill got killed and Rita Mae is trying to survive in a world where others know much more about her and her checkered past than she does about them. Secrets abound aplenty in this complex tale.

Secrets are also quite plentiful in “The Old Ways” by the very prolific and talented Ed Gorman.  In this case, a gambler accepts an offer of employment at Madam Dupree’s in San Francisco, but that does not solve his problems. 1903 is not a very good year in so many ways for these folks.

Woody Granger is a sixteen year old orphan working and living where he can while he drifts across Tennessee “In Some Countries” by Terry Raine. These days find him bunking and working for Harold Cutter and his family. It is a sheep ranch and Harold does not tolerate mistakes or stupidity well. Teenagers come with both in this story that features one heck of a twist at the end.

The power of cartoons for good or evil is at the heart of “The Cartoonist (A Western Melodrama in Five Scenes)” by Jon L. Breen. Terrence Webb is a cartoonist and a good one. He is especially good with pointed satirical cartoons that comment about various area residents. If the cartoons run in the local paper, there could be major repercussions.

Durston isn’t sure whether the dead man that haunts him is real or not in “Durston” by Norman Partridge. At one time Pitch Dunnigan was his partner in crime. Neither in the reader in this guilt ridden tale. There has to be a solution and Durston is going to find it.

If you have read much of Dave Zeltserman’s work, you know the temptations of a woman play a frequent role in his stories regardless of genre. That idea, along with another frequent theme of his, that the hero is subject to the whim of a predetermined fate, is both present in his story “Emma Sue.” Emma Sue and Bo Wilson got married a few years ago and recent years have not been kind. But, Emma Sue has a plan for how to make some real money.

Lucian Danvers is on the back trails of the New Mexico Territory in a brutal July when he stops to try and find his horse some water. He didn’t see anybody but that does not men somebody wasn’t watching HIM in “Hell Hath No Fury” by T. L. Wolf. The loud cocking of the gun means he isn’t alone and things are about to go downhill in a hurry.

Vanity, Arizona with a population of 159 souls does not look like much to Kel McKyer when he rides into town. He isn’t the only person looking for a bed and maybe something more in “Vanity” by Jeremiah Healy.

Robert J. Randisi contributes his own very good story, “Cowards Die Many Times.”  Val O’Farrell used to be a homicide cop. These days he gambles. He is also a survivor since he was called away from a poker game where everybody else was killed minutes after O’Farrel left.  Now O’Farrel wants to know why he was spared. He isn’t the only one who wants to know in this story set in New York in 1921 featuring historical figures.

It was supposed to be a simple bank robbery in “Lead Poisoning” by Gary Lovisi. Two dead in the bank and now Johnny Blood is caught waiting outside nearby with the horses. Johnny knows here are no other options but to surrender. Too bad Sheriff Hardison won’t accept a simple surrender.

A frequent theme in the book is what is happening to or with the Indian population in the time period of a given story. Such is the case here with “The Conversion of Carne Muerto” by James Reasoner. Acts, good and bad, can have very grave consequence. Somebody really should have listened to Captain John S. “Rip” Ford. Experienced Texas Rangers knew a thing or two about dealing with the Comanches and folks new to Fort McIntosh, near Laredo, Texas should have listened.

Their father wasn’t the same when he came home from serving in the Union Army. Having gone west from Philadelphia, things were supposed to get better in the “Last Song of Antietam” by Patrick J. Lambe when they found a new place to make a homestead. Music and religion is what keeps the family together during unspeakable hardship. That may not be enough.

As noted earlier, a violent and crime riddled San Francisco is the setting for several of the stories in this book. That is the situation here in “Through The Golden Gate”  by Terence Butler. Having not gotten much by way of his latest mugging, Dirty Tommy is receptive to Lilyanne’s latest get rich scheme. She maybe a whore and a drunkard, but she did have her benefits outside the bedroom. 

A multipage author biography and a two page copyright notice page covering the works bring this 294 page book of enjoyable stories to a close.

While the language is only occasionally coarse, the stories themselves are always hard hitting and cover the spectrum. The tales deal with diverse topics such as the spread of civilization westward, the plight of the Indian population, the changing society, the aftermath of the civil war and its impact, among other themes, but all boil down to universal basic situations. The women are almost always trouble and the men who try to save them are almost always fatally flawed in some way.  In many cases, the living men are dead in spirit. Consciously or subconsciously, the men are looking for that one final act where they can die trying to redeem themselves or confirm their own internal assumptions. Occasionally, they succeed.

That same spirit is present today in so many ways. The West may be conquered in a sense because the wild spaces are few, but the general spirit of desperation for a better life that drove people across the West lives on. It may be brought on more by the present economic climate, but it is always there in some form or another. As Bat Masterson put it long ago right before he died at his typewriter: 

There are those who argue that everything breaks even in this old dump of a world of ours. I suppose those ginks who argue that way hold that because the rich man gets ice in the summer and the poor man gets it in the winter things are breaking even for both.  Maybe so, but I’ll swear I can’t see it that way.”  (Authors note, “Cowards Die Many Times,” Robert J. Randisi, page 240)


On Dangerous Ground: Stories Of Western Noir
Edited by Ed Gorman, Dave Zeltserman, and Martin H. Greenberg
Cemetery Dance Publications
2011
ISBN# 978-1-58767-192-0
Hardback
294 Pages
$30.00


Material supplied by editor Dave Zeltserman for my objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple © 2011, 2013