Monday, March 31, 2014

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: Miles to Little Ridge (Cash Laramie & Gideon Miles Series) eBook: Heath Lowrance: Kindle Store : Edward A.Grainger's Gid...

Writer Beware®: The Blog: Pamela Wray and WordWorks Publishing Consultants: The Amazing Case of the Serial Plagiarizer

Writer Beware®: The Blog: Pamela Wray and WordWorks Publishing Consultants: The Amazing Case of the Serial Plagiarizer

Via The Passive Voice--- Is Kindle Countdown the new Free? Keeping books visible in 2014

One of several very interesting pieces today.....

Is Kindle Countdown the new Free? Keeping books visible in 2014

Ed Gorman's blog: Gravetapping - Ben Boulden on covers that caught his eyes

Ed Gorman's blog: Gravetapping - Ben Boulden on covers that caught his eyes

March 2014 Reads and Reviews

Below is the list for the “March 2014 Reads and Reviews.” My thanks again to Barry Ergang and Patrick Ohl for their contributions. All reviews below are mine unless otherwise noted.

Stone Cold: A Joe Pickett Novel by C. J. Box

Outrage at Blanco (Ellie Taine) by Bill Crider

The Girls of Bunker Pines: The Drifter Detective Series by Garnett Elliott

BAR-20 by Clarence E. Mulford (FFB Review by Barry Ergang)

The Death Business: A Noah Milano Novella by Jochem Vandersteen

The Total Outdoorsman Manual: Updated & Expanded (10th Anniversary Edition) by T. Edward Nickens and the Editors of Field & Stream Magazine

Playing with Stencils: Exploring Repetition, Pattern, and Personal Designs by Amy Rice

In The Best Families by Rex Stout (FFB Review by Patrick Ohl)

The Perfect Defective: A Novella by Clark Casey (FFB Review)

The Contractors: A Thriller by Harry Hunsicker

Artie And The Long-Legged Woman by Jan Christensen (FFB Review)

Lion Plays Rough: A Leo Maxwell Mystery by Lachlan Smith

We roll into April and that means increasing pollen counts, more severe weather meaning large hail and tornadoes, and the start of baseball. Well, one out of three ain’t bad, but my Texas Rangers have lots of injuries so things don’t look good.

On behalf of all of us on the blog, thank you again for voting for us in the recent Preditors and Editors Poll. The blog finished fourth overall behind three sites that only review horror and romance books. We finished first in mystery/thriller as well as general reviews. That makes us number one in my book!

Thank you.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Shopping at Amazon?

In addition to the donation widget on the left side, I am an Amazon Associate. What this means is that 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 about four times a year, I can cash out with an Amazon giftcard.

Those funds are used to buy medical supplies for Sandi and the occasional book indulgence for me.

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

Thank you.

Edward A. Grainger's Latest Column at Criminal Element

Edward A. Grainger's Latest Column at Criminal Element covers Sean Connery in various Westerns. You can and should read the piece here.

Author Robert Crais At Work

If you ever wanted to see where author Robert Crais writes his novels go here over at Crimespree Magazine. He shares pictures and details.

Sample Sunday Elsewhere-- Marian Allen

Marian Allen posted a sample from The Fall of Onagros (Book 1 of SAGE) titled "Karol In Hiding." "In it, the kinninger (ruler) of the realm, Karol, escapes from the men her husband has sent to kill her. She takes refuge with Moder Zglaria, on an island in the woods."  You can read more here.

RTE UPDATE--- New Crime Fiction Reviews and Interview on RTE

As posted elsewhere earlier today......

At RTE this week we have

Fifteen new crime fiction reviews:

Simon Wood in the 'Sixty seconds with . . .' interview hot seat:

Reviews this week:

TITLE                    AUTHOR                REVIEWER

FROG MUSIC    Emma Donoghue        Yvonne Klein       
In the sweltering summer of 1876 in San Francisco, a young cross-dressing woman is shot and her friend seeks to find out who did it, changing her own life in the process.

THE CAIRO AFFAIR    Olen Steinhauer    Christine Zibas       
A diplomat's wife finds herself at a crossroads when her husband discovers her affair just before he is gunned down in a Budapest restaurant

BLACK HORIZON    James Grippando    Anne Corey       
Lawyer Jack Swyteck has his Florida Keys honeymoon interrupted when his new bride, an FBI agent, is called away on a secret case at the same time that a multi-national oil rig explodes in the gulf of Florida in Cuban waters, causing an environmental catastrophe and involving him in a legal case that threatens his life.

NAZIS IN THE METRO    Didier Daeninckx    Yvonne Klein       
Freelance private eye Gabriel Lecouvreur looks into the savage beating of a writer whom he admires and uncovers an unsavoury lot of neo-Fascists and their sympathizers.

CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION     Peter Robinson    Christine Zibas           
A dead body sends Alan Banks on a trip to the past to the days of student protest and working-class industrial action.

STOP DEAD    Leigh Russell        Ben Neal       
When DCI Steel is called in to investigate a murder of a successful businessman, suspicion immediately falls onto his widow and her long-time lover

I REMEMBER YOU    Yrsa Sigurdardóttir    Cathy Downs       
In the Westfjords of Iceland, the ghosts of dead children come back to torture the living until the children's bones are given proper burial

THE REVENANT OF THRAXTON HALL Vaughn Entwistle Meredith Frazier   
Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde visit a haunted, cursed country house to try to prevent one murder and solve another.

THE BAKER STREET TRANSLATION    Michael Robertson    Meredith Frazier
Reggie Heath (with a little help from his brother Nigel and girlfriend Laura Rankin) works to discover who kidnapped Lord Robert Buxton and, at the same time, to solve the murder of a man who had sought Sherlock Holmes's help with a translating problem.

JUST ONE EVIL ACT    Elizabeth George    Jim Napier       
The disappearance of a neighbour's daughter sends Barbara Havers on a quest that will take her to Italy, and before it has ended she will uncover a byzantine plot, in the process putting both her and Thomas Lynley's careers in jeopardy.

THE ACCIDENT (Audio)    Chris Pavone,    Karla Jay       
An incriminating manuscript that accuses a media mogul of a murder and cover up is making the rounds of New York's publishing world, but a black op team is trying to collect every copy of the manuscript—at whatever price.

THE RIDDLE OF SPHINX ISLAND    R.T. Raichev    Yvonne Klein       
Antonia and Hugh Payne are invited to celebrate their tenth anniversary on an island off the Devon coast where a murder may (or may not) take place.

A CIRCLE OF WIVES    Alice LaPlante    Caryn St Clair       
A well known doctor is found dead in a hotel room under suspicious circumstances and an anonymous tipster alerts the police that the man actually had three wives.

THE GIRL WITH A CLOCK FOR A HEART  Peter Swanson Sharon Mensing
A manipulative woman emerges from the past and manipulates a clueless ex-boyfriend into a dangerous web of murder and intrigue.

DEATH SPIRAL    Janie Chodosh    Deb Schoss   
DEATH SPIRAL marks the debut of the Faith Flores Science Mysteries series introducing a smart 16-year-old heroine whose aptitude for science, courage and tenacity will appeal to both YA and adult readers

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

The View from the Blue House: Taking the devil for a swim

The View from the Blue House: Taking the devil for a swim: The small boat made its way out towards the centre of the lake, which was as flat, smooth and the same hue as Welsh slate.  At the stern an ...

Little Big Crimes: A Knock On The Door, by Jas. R. Petrin

 Reviewing a mighty good story....

Little Big Crimes: A Knock On The Door, by Jas. R. Petrin: "A Knock On The Door," by Jas. R. Petrin, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, April 2014. I have written before about...

EVENT: DFW Writers' Conference MAy 3-4 Hurst, TX

As posted elsewhere today.....


The DFW Writers’ Conference, sponsored by DFW Writers’ Workshop, has grown to be the premier writers’ conference in the southwest in just seven years. Our goal is to provide writers with an excellent conference at a reasonable price.  The 2014 conference will be held May 3rd and 4th, with pre-conference workshops on Friday, May 2nd, in Hurst, Texas.

MAY 3 – 4

Register now for best available editors and agent pitches!!

Sample Sunday: Excerpt From "RESCUE" by Earl Staggs

We end the month of March with a bang. This week Texas author and good friend Earl Staggs drops by to talk about his novella, Rescue. This ties into his novel Justified Action that he shared back in February here. Both books are good ones well worth your time.

In my novel JUSTIFIED ACTION, I introduced Tall Chambers.  After a twenty-year career in Army Special Forces, Tall joins a secretive agency which tracks terrorist groups and stops them before innocent people are harmed.  Tall puts all that aside, however, when someone close to him is murdered.  After that, he devotes his wits and weapons to finding the killer.
After JUSTIFIED ACTION was published (and received great reviews, I might add) I decided to write a short story featuring Tall and his team.  I called the story RESCUE, and it picks up after the novel with Tall’s team of professionals on a mission in the Middle East.
It turned out to be a long short story, coming in at just under 9,500 words.  That’s why I did something different and called it a “Mini Novel.”
This is the beginning of the first chapter of RESCUE.  

A Mini Novel in Five Chapters
featuring Tall Chambers

by Earl Staggs


Alongside a dirt road twenty miles east of Abu Dhabi, capital city of the United Arab Emirates, Tall Chambers crouched behind a boulder the size of a jeep. On his left, Mountain Brown rested on his knees. For a man who stood six-eight and carried well over three hundred pounds of tight muscle, that was as close to a crouch as he could get.
On Tall’s right, crouching easily six feet away, Airman First Class Kevin Mason shielded his eyes with an open hand and looked up at the blazing sun. “Sure is hot,” he said.
“Shouldn’t be much longer,” Tall said.
“You’re in a desert, boy,” Mountain grumbled. “It’s the middle of August and it’s only ten o’clock in the morning. By noon, it’ll hit a hundred and ten. If you can’t take the heat, get an office job.”
Tall grinned. Mountain liked to push buttons. Anyone’s.
“I can take the heat,” Kevin shot back. “Don’t worry about me, old timer.”
Tall liked it that Kevin stood up to the big man. Kevin was well-built and obviously worked out to stay that way, but was maybe five-eight with boots on and weighed one-sixty at most. Mountain could twist him into a pretzel without breaking a sweat. The kid had spunk.
Mountain leaned toward Tall and spoke in a low voice. “Who is that boy and what’s he doing here?”
“Our usual interpreter wasn’t available. The Air Force loaned him to us.”
“I know we need somebody speaks the language, but Christ! What is he, twelve?”
Tall chuckled. “He’s twenty-five, not as young as he looks.”
“Well, I feel a lot safer knowing I have a baby-faced interpreter watching my back. Does he know how to use that rifle he’s holding?”
“I looked over his records. He’s a qualified marksman, and he’s had some experience in recon ops.”
“Does he have any idea why we’re here?”
“No, I haven’t had time to read him in. I need to do that.”
Mountain raised his M-16 rifle and checked it again to make sure it was ready. “Okay, as long as I don’t have to babysit him.”
“He’ll be fine.” Tall lifted his binoculars and looked back down the road to his left. Thin swirling dust devils rose from the parched sandy soil and dissipated into gassy heat vapors. He felt like it was already a hundred and ten degrees.
He saw nothing coming and turned his attention to the other side of the road. He couldn’t see them, but he knew four more of his operatives were there, hiding behind boulders and squatty bushes dotting the flat desert landscape. Ben Goldman was one of the ops. Ben would set off the small explosive device buried in the road when Tall gave the signal.
Tall scooted over next to the Airman. “Kevin, just so you know what we’re doing here, a bus will be coming down this road any minute. On board is a group of armed Muslim terrorists on their way to a street festival in downtown Abu Dhabi. There’ll be a big crowd, many of them tourists and American service personnel. These people plan to mingle with the crowd, open fire, and kill as many as they can. Our plan is to stop them right here to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
“So we’re going to stop the bus and take them prisoner?”
Tall raised his binoculars again. “That’s up to them. We’ll give them a chance to surrender, and we hope they do. We want to take them in for interrogation. Some local politicians are supporting the group, and we want to find out who they are. But sometimes, these people choose to die for their cause. If that’s what they want, we’ll accommodate them.” He lowered the binoculars. “They’re coming. About a half mile away.”
Tall keyed his headset mic. “Get ready, Ben.”
“I see them,” Ben Goldman responded. “Let’s rock ‘n roll, Tall man.”
Tall turned back to Kevin. “When the bus stops, I want you to tell them in Arabic to put down their weapons and raise their hands in the air. Tell them if they don’t, we’ll open fire. Got it?”
“Got it.”
“Good. Then I want you to level your rifle on the bus driver. If he tries to move the vehicle or shows a weapon, shoot him.”
Kevin stared at him for a moment as if shocked he might be involved in a gunfight. He licked his dry lips and raised his rifle into firing position across the boulder. “Copy that, sir.”
A minute later, the bus, no more than an ancient flatbed truck with bench seats, two slat rails for sides and a ragged canvas roof, drew within thirty yards of where Tall and his team waited. Tall guessed about twenty of them on board, scattered throughout a vehicle large enough for twice as many. They wore Western clothing instead of traditional Arab outfits. To fit in with the festival crowd, he guessed, and he saw four women mixed in with them.
Tall keyed his mic and said, “Do it, Ben.”
No more than a second passed before an explosion ripped the still desert air and a wide geyser of dust and gravel spewed upward from the road in front of the bus. The driver pulled to a shrieking, sliding stop just short of the spot where Tall stood behind the boulder. Mountain Brown stepped sideways down the length of the vehicle with his weapon in firing position and stopped at the rear corner. Ben Goldman and three other operatives took up positions along the other side.
Kevin shouted what Tall had instructed him to say.
One of the women on the bus vaulted over the side rail and landed on the ground. She wore a black tee shirt and black pants and her dark hair frizzled in all directions. Her mouth was pulled into a tight line and her eyes flashed with rage. In her hand, she held a hunting knife with an eight-inch blade.
“Infidels!” she shouted with a thick accent. “I kill all you Yankee pigs!”
Ben Goldman moved to the front of the bus. He said and did nothing, but waited with the others to see what she would do next.
She moved toward Ben and tossed the knife back and forth from one hand to the other. “Come get me, American man. Come see how I slice you like melon. What’s your matter, dog shit bastard? You left your balls home with your momma?”
Tall started to say something to her, but felt the vibration of his cell phone and pulled it from his pocket. When he recognized the caller ID, he decided he should answer it.
“Uh, hello, Tom.”
“Tall, I’m sorry to bother you, but the President asked me to call you. We have a serious situation and need your help. To be honest, I don’t think even you can pull it off. Is this a good time to talk?”
“Actually, I. . .uh. . .”
The woman with the knife turned her attention to Tall and walked toward him, shouting obscenities in Arabic.
“. . .I’m in the middle of something right now,” Tall said into his phone.
The woman raised the knife above her head and ran at Tall.
“Can I call you back in a few minutes?”
Tall let his M16 dangle on a shoulder strap, pulled a Beretta M9 pistol from his shoulder holster and shot the woman in the chest. She staggered backward a few feet, then forward, and fell face down in front of him.
The voice on the phone hesitated, then said, “Uh, sure. Yes. Do that, please.”

* * *

Tall may seem like a cold-blooded monster for shooting the woman, but that’s not really what happened.  He didn’t really shoot her.  It was all part of the plan to take down the bus load of terrorists.
When the story progresses, Tall returns the call to the White House and gets his next assignment.  What the Presidents wants him to do is next to impossible, but Tall and his team have to try.  Innocent lives are at stake, and it all comes down to one shot.
RESCUE is available as an ebook for $.99.  Details are available at
You’ll also find Chapter One of JUSTIFIED ACTION there.

Earl Staggs ©2014

Earl Staggs earned a long list of Five Star reviews for his novels MEMORY OF A MURDER and JUSTIFIED ACTION and has twice received a Derringer Award for Best Short Story of the Year.  He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine, as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, is a contributing blog member of Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery and a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars.   



Saturday, March 29, 2014

KRL This Week-- Carola Dunn, Kay Kendall, Margaret Mendel, Sherlock Holmes, short story, giveaways & more in KRL

As posted elsewhere earlier today.....

Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine a review & giveaway of "Heirs of the Body" by Carola Dunn

The Sherlock Holmes group the Baker Street Irregulars celebrates their 80th anniversary this year! So Kings River Life Magazine is celebrating with a post about them by Kathleen Kaska

Also up this morning a review & giveaway of the debut mystery novel "Fish Kicker" by Margaret Mendel and an interview with Margaret

We also have a review & giveaway of "Desolation Row" by Kay Kendall along with an interview with Kay

And we have a mystery short story by Claire Murray

And for those who enjoy some fantasy with their mystery, this week we a review by Chris Lovato of the new TV show "Believe"

Over on KRL Lite we have a review of  "Deal Killer" by Vicki Doudera
As always, you can also find these and more by going to our home page and scrolling down

KRL is now selling advertising & we have special discounts for
mystery authors & bookstores! Ask me about it!
Mystery section in Kings River Life
Check out my own blog at

I'm A Voracious Reader : Kinksters Unite!

I'm A Voracious Reader : Kinksters Unite!: A Request To Our Faithful Readers... As some of you already know, we have had problems with major retailers banning our books. Pink F...

Ed Gorman's blog: Death’s Sweet Song / Whom Gods Destroy by Clifton Adams now from STARK HOUSE

Ed Gorman's blog: Death’s Sweet Song / Whom Gods Destroy by Clifton Adams now from STARK HOUSE

Writer Beware®: The Blog: The Short Life and Strange Death of Entranced Publishing

 Make sure to read the comments....

Writer Beware®: The Blog: The Short Life and Strange Death of Entranced Publishing

The Chubby Chatterbox: Writer's Blog Hop

The Chubby Chatterbox: Writer's Blog Hop:   Val the Victorian at Unbagging the Cats is one of my favorite bloggers. She is an excellent writer with a penchant for Jerry Sein...

JOAN REEVES aka SlingWords: How To Write a Book Review

 Bad reviews and negative reviews are two very different things though this piece does not make that clear. I also think a short plot summary is important. That being said, the general idea here is a good one so I am passing it on along with the request that you support those reviewers that you find to be good ones.......

JOAN REEVES aka SlingWords: How To Write a Book Review: Writing a book review is a learned skill. That's why I post this how-to article every quarter to help those who are just venturing in...

Review: "Lion Plays Rough: A Leo Maxwell Mystery" by Lachlan Smith

Teddy Maxwell had been the best criminal defense lawyer in town though he certainly wasn’t the most ethical. A gunshot to the head took him down and pretty much stopped his legal career. These days while he does show up at the office, he has a hard time with memory issues and various cognitive problems. It’s been two and a half years since that day and Leo Maxwell still hopes that someday his brother might live on his own.

In the meantime Leo has a major trial coming up with his client Marty Scarsdale. He stands accused of sexually assaulting Erica Lawler, the 13 year old friend of Scarsdale’s daughter, Angela. The crime allegedly happened during a sleepover in the Scarsdale home. The evidence is against Scarsdale and includes the massive amount of detail that Erica has testified to in police interviews and will no doubt repeat in court. The fact that Marty’s wife has kicked him out of their home raises the stress level on the client and does nothing to make him more sympathetic to the jury. Leo figures that if he can win the case he can make a name for himself and strike out on his own. A win would give him his freedom from Teddy’s ex-wife Jeanie who is his boss and has a very different way of looking at cases and life in general than Leo.

Her control of him and how he wants to practice law constantly grates on his nerves. While winning the Scarsdale case would be a good opportunity there may even be a better one. Jamil Robinson is in the Santa Rita Jail and has sent his sister, Lavonia Martin, to meet with Leo. According to her, Oakland Police are about to discover that the gun they recovered from Jamil’s car the night before was used in a murder two weeks ago. Jamil is on parole so a gun in his car is a ticket straight back to prison. That is bad enough but he expects to be accused of murder once the police id the weapon. The murder victim was one of the leaders in the local drug trade. She claims that a crooked police detective named Campbell planted the gun in the car after Jamil had been falsely arrested during a rigged traffic stop. She has ten thousand dollars in cash and a brother she is desperate to help in any way possible.

Before long Leo finds out that nothing is as it seems at home or at work in Lion Plays Rough:  A Leo Maxwell Mystery. Readers soon discover that while nothing is as it seems in either case, plot coincidences will drive the majority of this book where Leo will be saved again and again from a certain and very painful death. In a book that is ploddingly slow, especially from a book labeled a thriller by the publisher, Leo and readers grind though cases that go nowhere fast.

After the incredibly good Bear is Broken this second book of the series goes nowhere fast.  The elements of a really good thriller are present with plenty of angst at home and at work, crooked cops, drug dealers, and more in two very complicated cases. But, there is little to no suspense in the grind to the conclusion of each case as well as a high degree of predictability. The astounding number of coincides rise to such a level by the end of the book that the reader is forgiven the occasional chuckle. One hopes that this book is a temporary setback and the next one in the series proves to be as good as the first.

Lion Plays Rough: A Leo Maxwell Mystery
Lachlan Smith
The Mysterious Press (imprint of Grove/Atlantic)
Hardback (audio and e-book available)
250 Pages

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

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: FFB: Reading for Survival -- John D. MacDonald

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: FFB: Reading for Survival -- John D. MacDonald: This isn't really a book.  It's more like a booklet, just over 30 pages, in which a couple of John D. MacDonald's characters hav...

Back Home---Sandi Update

We are back home and she is now sleeping. Everything seems relatively stable medication wise though they are going back to the original inhaler she was on that insurance denied. That one worked way better than their recommended choice. Her lungs seem about the same though it does seem like she is breathing harder here at home. By leaving her steroid dosage where it is and bringing back the original inhaler the hope is that she will breathe more comfortably. We are too keep a very close eye on the swelling in her lower legs and feet as it seems to be trying to come back.

The plan at this point is to have her see the cancer doctor in three weeks and then assuming everything is okay they will do another IVIG infusion the same day.

Had a very difficult discussion with the financial aid counselor as the amount we owe continues to escalate because of the new deductible this year. They need our monthly payment to go up by at least 35 percent and that is nearly impossible right now. Sandi having her unpaid medical leave terminated and her job along with it at Wal-Mart may or may not allow her to qualify for some things. New paperwork has been filled out and we await another phone call from the MASH program people. The expectation by all is that we don't qualify, but we don't know yet.

Embarrassing as heck not to be able to just take care of your own stuff.

FFB Review: "Artie And The Long-Legged Woman" by Jan Christensen

Around here the fact that it is once again Friday means two things. It is time for our weekly trip down to Texas Oncology for Sandi so they can pull blood and do other things to her. The much more pleasant thing Friday means is that it is once again time for FFB hosted by Patti Abbott at her blog here. Normally I run a novel review, but today just seemed like a good day to bring a short story to your attention again. So, today for FFB I offer Artie And The Long-Legged Woman by Jan Christensen.

If reading crime fiction has taught us anything it should be that a beautiful woman with sexy legs often means trouble. Years ago when Artie and Henry were teens and friends, Artie first noticed that Henry’s mom had great legs.  They were distinctive and he would recognize those great legs anywhere. Nearly twenty years later they still are incredible as is the rest of Mrs. Henderson. The same Mrs. Henderson who just stepped out of a white limo to talk to him in an alley. It has been a long time since he saw her and these days Mr. and Mrs. Henderson own a jewelry store. The same jewelry store Artie just successfully robbed.

Artie is good at his job and usually gets away with no one able to prove he did it. But, this time, Mrs. Henderson has security camera footage of what he just did. Not to mention the fact that she just caught him literally holding the bag with the loot. He can keep the loot he lifted as a down payment and she won’t use the security footage as long as Artie does the job she wants done.

This is a well written and highly entertaining tale by Texas author Jen Christensen much like her novel Sarah’s Search.  A lot of character depth is packed into this fast moving and complicated tale.  Like her tale “Going Where the Wind Blows” in the anthology On Dangerous Ground: Stories of Western Noir there is more than one twist in Artie And the Long-Legged Woman available from Untreed Reads.

Good stuff. Period. 

Artie And The Long-Legged Woman
Jan Christensen
Untreed Reads Publishing
Short Story

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

Kevin R. Tipple © 2011, 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Randy Johnson is Back!

I am very glad to see this evening that Randy Johnson is back online with an FFB review here of  Trail of The Long Riders by Lee Martin. Been too long and please help welcome Randy back.

Gilbert Curiosities: Gilbert Reviews Terminal Point (The Hunter Drune S...

Gilbert Curiosities: Gilbert Reviews Terminal Point (The Hunter Drune S...:                                                                                                                          On John Jaso...

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Arrow S02 E17: "Birds of Prey"

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Arrow S02 E17: "Birds of Prey": In the last episode of "Arrow" we got a peek at a live action version of a comic book phenomenon, the Suicide Squad. This wee...

Update: New issue of Crime Review

 As posted elsewhere yesterday...
In our new edition of Crime Review (*
*) this week we have sixteen new
reviews (*
*), together with Hilary
Bonner in the Countdown interview hot

Crime Review can be followed on Twitter: @CrimeReviewUK

Linda Wilson can be followed on Twitter: @CrimeReviewer

Sharon Wheeler can be followed on Twitter: @lartonmedia

Reviews this week are:

A SONG FOR THE DYING by Stuart MacBride reviewed by Linda Wilson

Former Detective Inspector Ash Henderson is still in prison for the murder
of his brother, a crime he didn't commit, but a killer from his past has
stuck again, and Ash's particular brand of skills are needed on the
outside. But can he stay out of the clutches of the vengeful Mrs Kerrigan?

DEATH ON BLACKHEATH by Anne Perry reviewed by Sylvia Maughan

Some blood and hair is found on the doorstep of an important family in
London. Subsequently a body is found in a gravel pit nearby. Inspector Pitt
as Head of Special Branch gets involved and investigates what has happened.

NIGHT TRAIN TO JAMALPUR by Andrew Martin reviewed by Chris Roberts

Captain Jim Stringer is in India in 1923 to counter railway corruption, but
a death and a series of deadly snake attacks redirect his efforts.

NEVER COMING BANK by Tim Weaver reviewed by Linda Wilson

A family go missing under unusual circumstances, disappearing from their
family home as though they've simply vanished in mid air. Private
investigator David Raker is determined to find out what's happened to them
and why.

THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE by Carin Gerhardsen reviewed by Chris Smart

When a series of brutal murders occur in central Stockholm within a short
time, Detective Inspector Conny Sjöberg and the Hammarby police begin to
suspect that there is a link between the deaths.

A FATAL FAÇADE by Linda M James reviewed by Chris Roberts

Ex-DCI Jack Bradley suspects the death of an art dealer was murder. If he
can prove it he may be able to re-join the police career he abandoned.

THE DEVIL IN THE MARSHALSEA by Antonia Hodgson reviewed by John Cleal

Marshalsea Prison, Southwark. Country parson's son Tom Hawkins, a gambler
and rake, is thrown into a debtors' prison where he must share a cell with
a man inmates call a devil - and solve a murder or lose his own life.

THE OUTCAST DEAD by Elly Griffiths reviewed by Sharon Wheeler

Archaeologist Ruth Galloway has uncovered bones which may belong to a
Victorian murderess. But DCI Harry Nelson has a more modern death to worry

A BURNABLE BOOK by Bruce Holsnger reviewed by John Cleal

John Gower, poet and dealer in information is asked by his confidant
Geoffrey Chaucer, to recover a missing book. The apparently mundane task
leads him into a conspiracy to kill the king of England and destroy the
Plantagenet dynasty.

A PLEASURE AND A CALLING by Phil Hogan reviewed by Sharon Wheeler

William Heming is a thoroughly respectable pillar of the community who runs
an estate agent's. But he finds it so difficult to let go of those houses
he has sold ...

TOUCHSTONE by Laurie R King reviewed y John Cleal

American Bureau of Investigation agent Harris Stuyvesant arrives in 1920s
London on the trail of an anarchist bomber responsible for the death of his

MURDER ON A SUMMER'S DAY by Frances Hogan reviewed by Sylvia Young

It's 1924 and amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton investigates the disappearance
of an Indian Prince who was riding on the Yorkshire moors. But diplomatic
considerations get in the way of the truth until more murders and attempted
murders force the authorities to act.

THIRTEEN by Tom Hoyle reviewed by Linda Wilson

Most boys can expect a present of some sort when they turn 14, but in
Adam's case he'll be lucky to be still alive. The People, and their
sinister leader, Coron, are after Adam, and they're very ruthless indeed.

A UNION NOT BLESSED by James Green reviewed by John Cleal

Boston lawyer Jean Marie McLeod, worried about his marriage and his young
wife, seeks advice from a friend. A chance meeting drags him back into the
world of espionage to foil a plot which could change the whole future of

LAST TO DIE by Tess Gerritsen reviewed by Linda Wilson

The families of children, already no strangers to violence, are being
targeted and killed. Can a remote boarding school in the Maine wilderness
provide a safe haven or will it prove to be just another hunting ground?

FIVE DEAD CANARIES by Edward Marston reviewed by Arnold Taylor

Five young women, working in the manufacture of explosives during the First
World War, are at a birthday party celebration when a bomb goes off,
killing them all. A sixth woman had just left the party before the

Best wishes


Writer Beware®: The Blog: Why Poets Should Not Seek Literary Agents

Writer Beware®: The Blog: Why Poets Should Not Seek Literary Agents

Rough Edges: Now Available from Rough Edges Press: Fast Track -...

Rough Edges: Now Available from Rough Edges Press: Fast Track -...: Dev Mallory has been a Secret Service agent, a detective, and a cowboy...which makes him the perfect man for the job of protecting a Bri...

Review: "The Contractors: A Thriller" by Harry Hunsicker

Anyone who has read the Lee Henry Oswald series by Harry Hunsicker knows that the author does not write the Dallas Chamber of Commerce ad copy type of books. The Dallas streets in his books are not of glitter and not necessarily always mean. Instead, these streets are broken dreams, cracked asphalt and the five dollar whore on the corner who might be turning tricks to feed the child she will soon lose to the state. These are streets where nobody cares because everybody has a sob story. Bad things happen to all on the streets of Dallas in his books and The Contractors: A Thriller raises that bar to all new levels. 

While nearly everyone has heard of the private contractors working in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere overseas, they also are working her at home. Jon Cantrell and Piper are contractors for the DEA and a lot more as well as being romantically involved. As the book opens they are on the trail of Lisa, a missing 14 year old teenager. Hired by a retired crooked cop named Sinclair they need to find the girl and get her back home. Not only will that get them paid, it will allow them to focus on another job.

Under their real job of working for the DEA, they are going to raid a local warehouse and seize the drugs.  Unlike their sideline business with Sinclair where they get paid a small amount, this sanctioned job will pay big and be fully legal as they operate as private contractors for the DEA.  That is their plan for how to handle work, but they have no plan for how to handle their relationship going forward.

They aren’t the only private contractors working for the DEA and other parties in the Dallas Fort Worth area.  They are not the only ones that have a plan for the warehouse or the contents inside.  While others know about the secret cartel witness being held captive in the warehouse, Jon and Piper have no idea nor do they have any idea what they are in for when they find her. As the already fragile relationship between Piper and Jon disintegrates, they will have to battle in a flight across Texas trying to stay ahead of the many people who want them dead for various and often competing reasons.

It is going to be a brutally long week in August and not just because of the Texas sun.

Those who expect a serious mystery in the style of the excellent Lee Henry Oswald series will be disappointed in The Contractors: A Thriller. Instead, think of this more like a summer movie such as The Expendables for example. There will be carnage and mayhem, the body count will climb, lots of weapons will be used mixed in with plenty of explosions, and the heroes will escape certain death again and again. In short, a fun read that one should not take seriously. That is not a disparagement. It is a fact and one that clearly a number of reviewers elsewhere failed to understand as they didn’t get it.

This is a fast paced action orientated novel where nearly everyone has very few redeeming qualities. A thriller in every sense of the word where character development is limited and told in occasional bursts of backstory to give readers a break from the frenetic forward pace. Written in a movie type style of very short chapters and very few reflective moments for the characters, the book nearly constantly is focused on moving the characters forward at a hard pace. Constant explosions, gunfire, and mayhem, drive the book forward where everyone has an agenda and will use anybody and any means necessary to get their way.  The Contractors: A Thriller by Harry Hunsicker takes readers on a violent and bloody rampage from one end of Texas to the other in a read that constantly twists and turns on ways that should keep readers hooked to the very end.

The Contractors: A Thriller
Harry Hunsicker
Thomas & Mercer (Amazon)
February 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1477808726
E-Book (available in paperback and audio)
514 Pages

E-Book ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Personal Therapy

It works for me......

JOAN REEVES aka SlingWords: 6 Good How-to-Write Books

JOAN REEVES aka SlingWords: 6 Good How-to-Write Books: I'm late posting today. Been a bit under the weather plus trying to finish a novella for an anthology. I've had a few emails from...

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: Galya Popoff and the Dead Souls eBook: Julia Odegard, George Kovach: Kindle Store : It's five a.m. in the little California ...

Sandi and Wal-Mart

Sandi is done at Wal-Mart. They notified her via certified mail just now that they will NOT be extending her unpaid medical leave. Not surprised. Her leave ended March 20th and that will probably be her termination date. No idea yet how much COBRA will be.

Via The Passive Voice--- Diesel eBooks is Closing Shop

Diesel eBooks is Closing Shop

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Janet Hutchings, EQMM Editor: Let's Leave These Th...

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Janet Hutchings, EQMM Editor: Let's Leave These Th...: LET’S LEAVE THESE THINGS TO THE FICTION WRITERS | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN

Flash Fiction Challange From Patti Abbott

1000 words or less by April 24. Details here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Poll Results

With everything going on here, I never did check and see what the final tally was at Preditors and Editors on the Reviewer Poll. This blog finished FOURTH with some great and very positive comments here. It is also worth noting that this site finished first for mysteries/thriller, etc., as the top three finishers review horror and romance books.

Big time thanks to all for their support.

MWASW Reminder - Charlaine Harris speaks April 5th

Upcoming Mystery Writers of America Southwest Chapter Meeting

April 5, 2014 - Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris is a New York Times bestselling author who has been writing for over thirty years. She was born and raised in the Mississippi River Delta area. Though her early works consisted largely of poems about ghosts and teenage angst, she began writing plays when she attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. She switched to novels a few years later, and achieved publication in 1981 with Sweet and Deadly.

After publishing two stand-alone mysteries, Harris launched the lighthearted Aurora Teagarden books with Real Murders, a Best Novel 1990 nomination for the Agatha Awards. Harris wrote eight books in her series about a Georgia librarian. In 1996, she released the first in the much darker Shakespeare mysteries, featuring the amateur sleuth Lily Bard, a karate student who makes her living cleaning houses. Shakespeare’s Counselor, the fifth—and final—Lily Bard novel, was printed in fall 2001.

By then, Harris was feeling the call of new territory. Starting with the premise of a young woman with a disability who wants to try inter-species dating, she created The Sookie Stackhouse urban fantasy series before there was a genre called “urban fantasy.” Telepathic barmaid Sookie Stackhouse works in a bar in the fictional northern Louisiana town of Bon Temps. The first book in the series, Dead Until Dark, won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery in 2001. Each subsequent book follows Sookie through adventures involving vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures. The series, which ended in 2013, has been released in over thirty languages. True Blood (the HBO TV series based on the books) premiered in September of 2008.

In October 2005, the first of Harris’s new mystery series about a young woman named Harper Connelly debuted with the release of Grave Sight. Harper has the ability to determine the cause of death of any body. After four novels, this series is on hiatus.

Personally, Harris has been married for many years. She is the mother of three wonderful children and the grandmother of two. She lives in central Texas, and when she is not writing her own books, she reads omnivorously. Her house is full of rescue dogs.


The Dallas MWASW group meets the first Saturday of each month at Texas Land & Cattle, 812 South Central Expressway, Richardson, TX 75080. Meeting time is 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. There is a $5.00 door fee, cash only (correct change greatly appreciated). All who attend are invited to remain for lunch. Contact info:

James E. Gaskin
Writer / Consultant / Speaker
Latest book: Email From a Dead Friend (Kindle)

Senior News Book Review Column--- March 2014

For several years 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 readership 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 March  2014 column ……

A Killing at Cotton Hill: A Samuel Craddock Mystery
Terry Shames
Seventh Street Books (imprint of Prometheus Books)
ISBN# 978--61614-799-0
Paperback (also available as an e-book)
245 Pages

Former Chief of Police Samuel Craddock knows he should have done far more when he hears that Dora Lee has been murdered in her home in Cotton Hill. According to Rodell Skinner, the current Chief of Police for Jarrett Creek, Texas, the grandson Greg did the crime as he wanted her money. While Rodell is sure it is an open and shut case, Craddock has met the kid before and is pretty sure Greg didn’t do it. Relying on Rodell to figure his way out of this case means Greg is on his way to death row. Craddock isn’t about to let that happen as he figures he owes it to Dora Lee to find out what is really going on in this complex tale of murder, greed, and art.

A Killing at Cotton Hill: A Samuel Craddock Mystery by Terry Shames is a very good book.  First in a series that has been followed by the recently released The Last Death Of Jack Harbin one is put in mind of the excellent Sheriff Rhodes series by Bill Crider. Small town Texas where people have known each other all their lives and still don’t know all the secrets until a murder comes along to shake things loose in more ways than one.

Perfect Pies & More: All New Pies, Cookies, Bars, And Cakes From America’s Pie-Baking Champion
Michele Stuart
Ballantine Books (Division of Random House)
ISBN# 978-0-345-54419-3
Hardback (also available for the Kindle)
256 Pages

Perfect Pies & More: All New Pies, Cookies, Bars, And Cakes From America’s Pie-Baking Champion is exactly as promised by the title. Plenty of recipes with few pictures are found in this over 240 page book. Broken into nine chapter sections the recipes run the gamut and feature varying amounts of prep time and difficulty.

Filled with recipes for pie toppings and crusts, cookies, cakes, and more as well as plenty of suggestions to make things come out right, the book is a textual and visual feast. Using her experience winning 27 first place awards in the “National Pie Championship Awards” author Michele Stuart’s cookbook is amazing. Lots of good ideas in Perfect Pies & More: All New Pies, Cookies, Bars, And Cakes From America’s Pie-Baking Champion featuring plenty of variety not only in terms of ingredients but also in terms of skill levels.

Kevin R Tipple ©2014