Sunday, August 31, 2014

Euro Crime Update-- New Reviews on Euro Crime: Carol, Chambers, Dicker, Francis, Hodgson, McGrath, Ridpath, Runcie, McCall Smith

As posted elsewhere earlier today.....

Here are nine reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today, three have appeared on the blog since last time, and six are completely new.

NB. You can keep up to date with 'Euro Crime' by following the blog and/or liking the Euro Crime Facebook page (

New Reviews:

Michelle Peckham reviews 'Watch Me' by James Carol, the second in his Jefferson Winter series set in the US;

Amanda Gillies reviews Kimberley Chambers' 'Payback', set in London'd East End;

Laura Root reviews Joel Dicker's much talked about 'The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair' tr. Sam Taylor;

Susan White reviews Felix Francis's 'Refusal' which sees the return of Sid Halley;

Terry Halligan reviews the CWA Historical Dagger winning 'The Devil in the Marshalsea' by Antonia Hodgson;

Michelle also reviews 'The Bone Seeker', the third in M J McGrath's Edie Kiglatuk series set in the Arctic;

Lynn Harvey reviews Michael Ridpath's 'Sea of Stone', the fourth and latest in his Icelandic series featuring Magnus Jonson;

Terry also reviews James Runcie's 'Sidney Chambers and the Problem of Evil' the third in the series (and soon to be an ITV series)

and I review the audio book of Alexander McCall Smith's 'The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection' read by Adjoa Andoh. or via the blog:

Previous reviews can be found in the review archive (

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here ( along with releases by year.

best wishes,
Karen M

Via Lesa's Book Critiques-- The Drop by Dennis Lehane

The Drop by Dennis Lehane

Via Claude Nougat's Blog: Today's Publishing Nightmare: Drowning in Indie e-...

Claude Nougat's Blog : Today's Publishing Nightmare: Drowning in Indie e-...: Nightmare film (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) An article published on Forbes by David Vinjamuri with the arresting title "Publish...

Via Randy Rawls--- SleuthFest 2015

Randy Rawls passes on the following:

SleuthFest 2015 will be held Feb 26 - March 1 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Keynote: JAMES PATTERSON. Florida Guest of Honor: JAMES W. HALL. Sunday Guest of Honor: DAVE BARRY. Forensic Guest of Honor: RIC GILLESPIE. Visit for full information.

The Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America (FMWA) is proud to announce its first Freddie Award for Writing Excellence. Designed to recognize outstanding unpublished mystery writers and novels, Freddies will be awarded to winning contestants in two categories, HARD-BOILED and TRADITIONAL. 
Submissions will consist of the first 20 pages of an unpublished mystery manuscript. Judges are published authors, and the top five entries in each category will be read by an acquiring editor or agent. Freddie winners will be announced at
Entries may be submitted electronically. Deadline is November 15, 2014. The entry fee is $20 for FMWA members, $25 for Mystery Writers of America (MWA) members, and $30 for non-members.
For further information, or to volunteer as a judge if you are a published mystery author, contact Diane A.S. Stuckart at
Randy Rawls
BEST DEFENSE featuring Beth Bowman, S FL PI
Publishers Weekly says, "...a satisfying, lighthearted adventure."
HOT ROCKS featuring Beth Bowman, South Florida PI
THORNS ON ROSES featuring Tom Jeffries, South Florida PI
Ace Edwards, Dallas PI Mysteries

Via Dru's Book Musings--- A Day in the Life of Tina Shaw by Jan Christensen

A Day in the Life of Tina Shaw by Jan Christensen

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Via Righting Crime Fiction: Purpose of Righting Crime Fiction

 This is BJ Bourg's new blog and most excellent news.....

Righting Crime Fiction: Purpose of Righting Crime Fiction: There is not much that turns a reader of crime fiction off more than when the writer gets it wrong. Readers might forgive a writer whose ch...

The Great Sphinx of Giza and Tapir and Friends Animal Store

Anyone that knows me at all knows I have a very deep and often seriously warped sense of humor. What I think is funny tends to get me in trouble from time to time with those who are so clearly humor challenged. An accompanying problem is some folks take what I come up with very seriously and then get outraged when they are shown to be a little misguided in their belief. Clearly, I need a satire tag like Facebook had to do with The Onion. Both of those deals were often issues at the jobs I worked at over the years and can be a problem with my freelance work.

Sheryl Todd owner and grand poobah of Tapir and Friends Animal Store allows me a little leeway, but she is also aware of the problem of those who don't get the humor or believe everything. When I wrote the piece for the Great Sphinx of Giza she thought a small part of it was a bit problematic. My idea that I could state that scientists have never determined one way or another whether the nose of the sphinx was actually lost in a great battle between an alien robotic creature of huge proportions reminiscent of a Mr. Potatohead and the Sphinx given powers by the alien race of Illumanti in an attempt to save mankind and keep the stargates open might not be as funny as I thought it was.

So, it was lost to the editing room floor. In wake of another recent piece, this time on pufferfish that should be up soon, Sheryl (aka @tapirgal on twitter) suggested that maybe I should start sharing such tidbits here under the moniker "Tapir Outtakes."  Seems like a heck of an idea......

KRL This Week Update-- Carole Nelson Douglas, Penny Warner, Coming Attractions, short story, giveaways & much more in KRL

As posted elsewhere earlier today....

Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine a review & giveaway of "Cat in a Yellow Spotlight", the latest Midnight Louie mystery from Carole Nelson Douglas

Also up, a review and giveaway of "Death of a Crabby Cook", the first book in a brand new food mystery series by Penny Pike aka Penny Warner along with an interview about the series, and info about Penny's upcoming event at the Fresno chapter of Sisters in Crime

We also have the latest mystery Coming Attractions article by Sunny Frazier. Check out some of the new mysteries coming out in September

And we have reviews & giveaways of 4 more fun mysteries by Penguin authors-"Shear Trouble" by Elizabeth Craig, "Taken In" by Elizabeth Lynn Casey, "Well Read, Then Dead" by Terrie Farley Moran, and "If Catfish Had Nine Lives" by Paige Shelton

Also in this issue a mystery short story by Carole Nelson Douglas

For those who enjoy vampires with their mystery, a review and giveaway of the latest Chicagoland vampires novel by Chloe Neill, "Blood Games"

While not mystery, this one is written by a mystery author,  Carola Dunn shares the heartwarming story of her rescue dog Trillian

And lastly this week, a review of a fun new web series called "Axis of Action" which has touches of mystery with some of it's comedy

 Happy reading,
Lorie Ham

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

Via Lesa's Book Critiques--- Some Favorite Blogs

I am stunned and very honored to be included in this...

Some Favorite Blogs






Via Writer Beware®: The Blog: Haters Gonna Hate: The Smear Campaign Against Absolute Write

Writer Beware®: The Blog: Haters Gonna Hate: The Smear Campaign Against Absolute Write

Friday, August 29, 2014

Lesa Latest Contest-- Casey & Kuhns giveaway

As posted elsewhere earlier today....

This week, I'm giving away copies of Donis Casey's The Wrong Hill to Die On and Eleanor Kuhns' Cradle to Grave. Details on my blog at Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine 

Via Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Forgotten Books: My Gun, Her Body (Dinah for Dange...

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Forgotten Books: My Gun, Her Body (Dinah for Dange...: This is one of the books I bought at Kayo Books when I was in San Francisco.  I bought it because I liked the title and the cover, and I sho...

Via Sweet Freedom-- FFB: Notable achievements in western fiction (and a notable bit of eastern): Joe R. Lansdale, Lee Hoffman, Marcia Muller, Bill Pronzini, Theodore Sturgeon, Don Ward, Manly Wade Wellman et al.: A redux assembly

Also includes a rather cool mention of our man Barry Ergang....

FFB: Notable achievements in western fiction (and a notable bit of eastern): Joe R. Lansdale, Lee Hoffman, Marcia Muller, Bill Pronzini, Theodore Sturgeon, Don Ward, Manly Wade Wellman et al.: A redux assembly

Free Book ALERT-- MIND PRISON: A SHORT STORY by Dave Zeltserman

The short story MIND PRISON is currently available for free at Amazon and you should get it as it is good. My review from last November is here if you need more details on why you should get it.

FFB Review: "The Zebra-Striped Hearse" by Ross Macdonald--Reviewed by Patrick Ohl

Patrick Ohl is back this week for Friday Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. If things are still running as scheduled, this week Evan Lewis will be doing the links later today on his Davey Crockett’s Almanack of Mystery, Adventure, and The Wild West. A blog you should already be reading and enjoying so if you don’t know about it, get with the program. Today Patrick reviews The Zebra-Striped Hearse by Ross Macdonald.

Raymond Chandler is known for creating mean streets on which his detective, Phillip Marlowe, would walk. Ross Macdonald, however, took the hardboiled genre in a new direction by creating Lew Archer, a private detective who was sensitive. The Zebra-Striped Hearse was published in 1962, three years after 1959’s The Galton Case, which was the first book by Ross Macdonald that I read.

Macdonald’s The Zebra-Striped Hearse is an intricately plotted book that keeps twisting and turning long after you think it’s finished. The story revolves around Colonel Blackwell, who consults Lew Archer about his daughter, Harriet. A month ago, she met a man named Burke Damis in Mexico, and now she wants to marry him. But the Colonel, overly protective of his daughter, senses that the young man is as phony as a three-dollar bill, and he hires Archer to look into Damis’ past life in order to uncover just what he is up to and expose him to Harriet.

The resulting plot is a complex one, and Macdonald uses it to tell a powerful story. These aren’t the mean, gangster-infested streets of Raymond Chandler. Rather, Macdonald takes crime and puts it into the neighbourhood, where even that nice old lady who lived down the street might have some connection with the murder in the newspaper headlines. In a way, the story is similar to that of The Galton Case; both novels evoke the loss of a child and the loss of a parent, both of which Ross Macdonald experienced. In both, Lew Archer sometimes seems more like a family therapist than a traditional private eye. Some use this to criticise Macdonald, saying that he wrote the same book over and over again. I can see the point, but from what I’ve seen, Macdonald uses a somewhat similar formula but produces something brilliant both times. The result is highly readable, literate, and there’s a note of genuine passion underscoring the book. That kind of combination is just outstanding.

Incidentally, I was expecting the titular “zebra-striped hearse” to be some crazy metaphor about life and death and stuff, because that’s kind of what I got to expect from the hardboiled, with titles like The Big Sleep or The Long Goodbye… but it’s an actual hearse, and it has actual zebra stripes. It pops up every once in a while as Lew Archer investigates. This alone makes the book worth a read.

Lew Archer is a decent sort in a tragic world, trying to help the victims of violent crime while bringing the guilty party to justice. In The Zebra-Striped Hearse, Macondald’s mystery is fairly clued, with complexity that could match wits with a Golden Ag author any day. But most intriguing of all is the way Macdonald uses the mystery to create a small piece of art that wouldn’t disgrace the pages of a “serious” literary author. The theme of loss and the family struggling to stay together have poignant notes to it that I like very much. I can’t think of something the book does wrong… and that’s always a good sign. Ross Macdonald apparently considered it one of his best books, and it was nominated for “Best Novel” at the 1963 Edgar Awards. It was beaten by Ellis Peters’ Death and the Joyful Woman, which I have yet to read…

To read The Zebra-Striped Hearse, I relied largely on an audio recording I’ve taken a great fancy to. It is complete and unabridged, but read by a full cast, with Harris Yulin as Lew Archer. The musical scores are well-placed, and the sound effects (like someone knocking at the door or the ocean being heard in the distance) really enhanced the reading experience for me. If you get a chance to listen to this recording, I highly recommend it.

Patrick Ohl ©2014
Make sure to read more of Patrick’s excellent work here on the blog as well as his website At The Scene Of The Crime.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Via In Reference To Murder --- Mystery Melange

Mystery Melange

Via Ed Gorman's blog: HALF IN LOVE WITH ARTFUL DEATH by Bill Crider

Ed Gorman's blog: HALF IN LOVE WITH ARTFUL DEATH by Bill Crider


Via Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: Forgotten Books: CRY AT DUSK by Lester Dent (1952)...

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: Forgotten Books: CRY AT DUSK by Lester Dent (1952)...: When Bill Crider reviewed this book back in 2009, he was amazed how weird and perverse it was. I believed him, of course, because Bill kn...

Foot Saga Continues

Later this morning I go back for an already scheduled appointment regarding the left foot. This is the same foot that I dropped one of Sandi's oxygen cylinders on a couple of weeks ago causing pain, swelling, bruising, etc. This is the left foot which has had burning and pain in it for going on four years plus now as part of the pain in the left leg and hip, etc.  This is also the leg that will buckle on me and cause me to fall and all the rest of it.

So, I knew going in this could take awhile. But, this is starting to worry me quite a bit. It is only slightly better. Up until Monday or so if anything it was worse. The bruising and swelling finally seem to have gone away for the most part, but the new pain is still in there pretty good. Overall the pain level is pretty close to what it was when it happened and that worries me.

Anyway, we shall see what the doc says. I expect another two weeks in the surgical shoe at least. That certainly won't help my mobility issues at all.

UPDATE---Back home and the doc says it is healing. He manipulated my foot a bit and prodded it and while it hurt it was not to the level it was a couple of weeks ago. I'm a slow healer and I know it. At least two more weeks with the shoe as I am to keep doing what I have been doing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Crime Review Update-- New issue of Crime Review

As posted elsewhere....

In our new edition of Crime Review ( this week we
have sixteen reviews (http://), together with David Marks in the Countdown
interview hot seat:

Crime Review can be followed on Twitter: @CrimeReviewUK
Linda Wilson can be followed on Twitter: @CrimeReviewer
Sharon Wheeler can be followed on Twitter: @lartonmedia

This week’s reviews are:

GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
It is the fifth wedding anniversary of Nick and Amy Dunne but they are not
to spend it together because Amy disappears. The police believe that her
husband is responsible, though he denies it and they can’t prove it.

TOP SECRET TWENTY ONE by Janet Evanovich, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler
Stephanie Plum falls foul of Russian gangsters as she helps the enigmatic
Ranger track down whoever is targeting him

YOU WILL NEVER FIND ME by Robert Wilson, reviewed by John Cleal
The headstrong teenage daughter of freelance kidnap expert Charlie Boxer
and his DI former wife disappears only hours after running away to Madrid.
At the same time the young son of a Russian businessman is kidnapped in
London. Is there a link between the two events?

SPRING TIDE by Cilla and Rolf Borjlind, reviewed by Tracy Johnson
On Nordkoster beach in 1987, a young boy, hidden in the dunes, is sole
witness as three men bury a heavily pregnant woman up to her neck in sand
as the tide rolls in. Twenty four years later, a young police student is
investigating cold cases and selects the still-unsolved beach crime for her
final assignment.

SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME by Yrsa Sigurdardottir, reviewed by John Cleal
Reykjavik lawyer Thora Gudmundsdottir is hired by a deeply unpleasant and
manipulative child sex offender with a view to overturning the conviction
of a fellow inmate in his secure unit. Her investigations are hampered by
lies, half-truths and cover-ups.

SHREDDER by Niall Leonard, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Finn McGuire is caught in the middle of a gang war that’s getting nastier
by the minute and is in danger from both sides.

ARTEFACTS OF THE DEAD by Tony Black, reviewed by John Cleal
Critically injured DI Bob Valentine is recalled from convalescence to
investigate two horrifying murders. His investigations are hampered by an
anxious by-the-book divisional commander and a series of ‘visions’ that
leave him doubting his own sanity.

THE INTERCEPT by Dick Wolf, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Six people foil the hijacking of a plane and become instant celebrities,
but New York police investigator Jeremy Fisk is convinced that there is
more to the attempted hijacking than meets the eye.

THE DOG KILLER OF UTICA by Frank Lentriccia, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Eliot Conte’s dubious PI past comes back to haunt him after a series of
violent assaults on close personal friends, and their dogs.

THE CASE OF THE DEADLY BUTTER CHICKEN by Tarquin Hall, reviewed by Sylvia
When the father of a top Pakistani cricketer is poisoned at a post-match
dinner in Delhi, the clues appear to point Most Private Investigator Vish
Puri towards an international illegal betting syndicate, but is there a
more personal motive behind the killing?

THE VALHALLA PROPHECY by Andy McDermott, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Archaeologist Nina Wilde and ex-SAS husband Eddie Chase are in a race
against time with the bad guys to find Valhalla, the legendary Hall of the

CON LAW by Mark Gimenez, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Law professor John Bookman visits an old student who is alarmed that his
client’s fracking operations are causing serious environmental damage.

BLACK CHALK by Christopher J Yates, reviewed by John Cleal
Six new Oxford students form an instant friendship. At the Freshers’ Fair
they sign up with the mysterious Games Society and The Game – an elaborate
mixture of luck and consequences emerges. Early penalties are trivial but
become more humiliating as they are played out against a background of
changing relationships which inevitably lead to tragedy.

THE CINDERELLA KILLER by Simon Brett, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler
Struggling actor Charles Paris finds himself investigating a dead body
under a pier and the disappearance of a dancer amidst shambolic rehearsals
for a panto

THE BROKEN PLACES by Ace Atkins, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Sheriff Colson is unhappy with his sister’s liaison with an ex-convict, but
things snowball when prison escapees come his way looking for money they
think is owing.

SHELTER (audiobook) by Harlan Coben, reviewed by Linda Wilson
When a girl at Mickey Bolitar’s school goes missing, he teams up with an
unlikely group of friends to track her down.

Best wishes


Jenny Milchman's Next Book--Summer 2015


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: Bullets and Fire - Kindle edition by Joe R. Lansdale. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ : "Dad told me once, that ...

Via WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: BoJack Horseman

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: BoJack Horseman: Most Netflix TV series get a lot of publicity like "House of Cards," "Orange Is the New Black," or the recent tragic ...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Via Not The Baseball Pitcher--- The Destroyer News

The Destroyer News

Via FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Goodbye to Another Old Friend (Hardboiled Magazine...

 Very sad news .....

FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Goodbye to Another Old Friend (Hardboiled Magazine...: Over the weekend, I received a copy of the latest Hardboiled (#47) from editor/publisher Gary Lovisi. In the envelope, Gary includ...

Senior News Newspaper Book Review Column--August 2014

For my monthly newspaper book review column in the Senior News Newspaper, I usually make sure to choose one fiction and one nonfiction book in the hopes of interesting more readers. This month I went with The Splintered Paddle by Texas resident Mark Troy (highly recommend this book and anything else has done) and When Your life Is Touched By Cancer: Practical Advice and Insights for Patients, Professionals and Those Who Care by Bob Riter. As anyone who has read the blog knows, cancer continues to dominate our lives over everything else. Longer reviews of both books are available here on the blog. Included below are the relevant book covers for my August 2014 column…  

The Splintered Paddle
Mark Troy
Five Star Publishing (division of Cengage)
ISBN# 978-1-4328-2859-2
304 Pages

Private Investigator Ava Rome has no idea in the beginning that she is being hunted. She has no idea at all a man from her distant past is in the islands watching her every move. Fantasizing over and over again what he is going to do to her once he finally gets her alone. His name is Norman Traxler and he is coming for her--- after he eliminates whatever she cares about a chess piece at a time.

That situation is just a small part of what is going on in this complicated mystery featuring multiple story lines. Written by Texas author Mark Troy who spent a number of years in Hawaii before moving to Texas, this complex read features four separate and distinct story lines that gradually interweave as readers are slowly filled in on Ava's often difficult past.  A Second place winner at the 2012 Claymore Awards at Killer Nashville, The Splintered Paddle: An Ava Rome Mystery is one of those rare books that pulls you deep inside a world far from home right from the beginning. It isn't all sundrenched beaches, cool waters, and happy days in paradise. Ava, also seen in the very good novella The Rules, knows something about the dark undercurrents at work in the 50th state in the union and is more than ready to protect the defenseless.

When Your life Is Touched By Cancer: Practical Advice and Insights for Patients, Professionals and Those Who Care
Bob Riter
Hunter House Publishing
ISBN# 978-0-89793-679-8
145 Pages

Around here we know something about cancer and its impact. More than we ever wanted to know. So does Bob Riter, cancer survivor. He is also the executive director of Cancer Resource center of the Finger Lakes in Ithaca, New York. The nine chapters of this book are made up of various columns he wrote for the Ithaca Journal newspaper about his cancer as well as cancer in general. He wrote about, not only his experience, but the various cancer questions he has heard from patients or their loved ones over the years. The short chapters are designed to be read here and there as the mood or need strikes.

All I can say is When Your life Is Touched By Cancer: Practical Advice and Insights for Patients, Professionals and Those Who Care by Bob Riter is an incredible book. I hope and pray you will never need it, but if you ever do, it’s good to know it is out there and can help ease everything just a little bit.

Kevin R Tipple ©2014
Author of Mind Slices and contributor to the Carpathian Shadows, Volume II Anthology

Monday, August 25, 2014

Via Mystery Fanfare: Map Back Monday!

Mystery Fanfare: Map Back Monday!: Today,  I'm starting a new feature on Mystery Fanfare: Map Back Monday ! I've been collecting the iconic Dell Map Backs for years, a...

Via Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

Review: "The Bone Orchard (Mike Bowditch Mysteries) by Paul Doiron

It is late May and Mike Bowditch has recently done what some in the Maine Warden Service have long wanted---he quit. These days he is working as a fishing guide. That decision had many consequences some of which were obvious and some that were not. One of the not so obvious ones, at least to Mike, was the fact that he wasn’t available when his friend and mentor Sargent Kathy Frost needed him the most. Instead, she was with a rookie officer when dealing with the call about a troubled veteran who might be suicidal.

Unfortunately, things escalated quickly when Sargent Frost and Danielle “Dani” Tate arrived on scene. Fearing for their safety they were forced to shoot Jimmy Gammon. The same Jimmy Gammon Mike had known before he was deployed to Afghanistan where he would suffer severe wounds thanks to an IED.  Jimmy died in his parent’s barn and the officers are on suspension and being investigated.

The family is outraged as are many other people and both officers are receiving threats. Somebody may have decided not to wait for the investigation into the shooting to conclude. Who fired the shots at her home that killed her dog, Pluto, and gravely wounded Kathy Frost is one of the many questions Mike Bowditch intends to answer. He faces an uphill battle because of his status as a civilian and numerous complications via various secondary storylines. Sticking in his nose in things and being his normal obstinate self is going to cost--- the real question is just how much.

Fifth in a great series that started with The Poacher’s Son author Paul Doiron continues to bring the beauty of the Maine woods alive for readers in ways that few authors can achieve. He also mixes in plenty of mystery, adventure, and humanity making all the characters-- major and minor-- fully fleshed out people and not caricatures. Award winning Paul Doiron has crafted another very good book in an excellent series that shows no sign of stopping. Like all really good ones, this is a series that is best read in order.

The Bone Orchard
Paul Doiron
Minotaur Books
ISBN# 978-1-250-03488-5
Hardback (also available in e-book
306 Pages

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

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

KRL This Week Update-- Jenny Milchman, Rhys Bowen, Ellery Adams, Kylie Logan, True Detective, Scandal, giveaways & much more in KRL

As posted elsewhere yesterday....

Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine a review and giveaway of "Ruin Falls" by Jenny Milchman

Also up, a review & giveaway of "Queen of Hearts" by Rhys Bowen

We also have 3 more Penguin reviews & giveaways-"Murder in the Mystery Suite": A Book Retreat Mystery by Ellery Adams, "Extra Sensory Deception": A Raven’s Nest Bookstore Mystery by Allison Kingsley and "Death by Devils Breath" by Kylie Logan

And we have a couple more Emmy nominee reviews--this one of "True Detective"

Also this week, we have a review of a noir/magic/mystery, "Broken Souls" by Stephen Blackmoore

And for even more fantasy, we have a review and giveaway of "Happy Hour in Hell" by Tad Williams
As always, you can find all of these and more by also going to our home page and scrolling down

Happy reading,

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

Via Mystery Fanfare: Cartoon of the Day: Police Artist

Mystery Fanfare: Cartoon of the Day: Police Artist: This one's for Robin Burcell !

Friday, August 22, 2014

Back Home from Texas Oncology

We are back home from Texas Oncology down at Medical City Dallas Hospital. Sandi's IVIG infusion seems to have gone okay. The bloodwork that they do before they do anything came back a little wonky today so meds have been adjusted.

They plan on us being back down there Tuesday morning to do things again and make sure everything is okay. Assuming the numbers are better the plan is to just watch her and have another IVIG infusion on September 19.

FFB Review: "The Singing Bone" by R. Austin Freeman--Reviewed by Patrick Ohl

Patrick Ohl is back this week for Friday Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. This week he is reviewing The Singing Bone by R. Austin Freeman.

The inanimate things around us have each of them a song to sing to us if we are but ready with attentive ears.
— Dr. John Thorndyke, “The Echo of a Mutiny” (collected in The Signing Bone)

And thus we have come to R. Austin Freeman. At one point in time, he was a highly respected author, even earning praise from Raymond Chandler (no mean feat, that – Chandler’s praise seems to have been very difficult to earn!). Flash forward to the publication of Bloody Murder in 1972, and what does Julian Symons write about Freeman? “Reading a Freeman story is very much like chewing on dry straw.” And he hasn’t fared much better today, which just puzzles me. My confusion increased after reading The Singing Bone, a collection of short stories originally published in 1911, in which Freeman invented what is known as the “inverted detective story”—a technique that the television show Columbo excelled at. I was expecting an interesting experiment but not much more. But once again, Freeman surprised me and smashed the ball out of the park.

As I’ve mentioned, this is a short story collection, consisting of five tales. The first four are inverted detective stories—the final one is a more conventional one. Freeman felt the need to comment on this in his preface: “The peculiar construction of the first four stories … will probably strike both reader and critic and seem to call for some explanation, which I accordingly proceed to supply.” Each of these stories, as it turns out, is very entertaining and interesting, and I will proceed to comment on each below.

The Case of Oscar Brodski
Oscar Brodski, a Polish man who was born in Warsaw, makes the mistake of travelling alone with a stash of rough diamonds he intends to have cut in Amsterdam. He makes an even bigger mistake when he get lost and comes to the house of Silas Hickler for help. Hickler is a criminal, and as it turns out, the temptation of the diamonds is too much for him—he kills Brodski and proceeds to cover up his crime. But, he didn’t count on the presence of Dr. John Thorndyke. Several circumstances add up to point out the murderer’s guilt, but you’re on the detective’s side. Hickler is a man of no perceivable conscience—he only hesitates with the murder because he knows that few can get away with it and the prospect of hanging is great. He doesn’t struggle with his conscience, just with the last bit of reason he possesses—and once he leaves that behind, he becomes a marked man. This is one case where you feel justice has to be carried out. However, it is precisely for this reason that this is my least favourite story. Hickler is a monster, and the interest lies not in whether or not he will escape justice, but in seeing how Dr. Thorndyke brilliantly tracks him down. Once again, Thorndyke’s logic is impeccable. He deals with every reasonable theory and proves his case step by step—and even when the amount of evidence is high enough to make little room for doubt, he allows for the possibility that he could be wrong.

A Case of Premeditation
Mr. Pratt was at one time a warder in a prison, and he uses this knowledge to his advantage. Mr. Rufus Pembury is now a respectable citizen, but at one time in his life, he found himself in jail, the same one Mr. Pratt worked in. He broke free and never again reverted to crime… until Mr. Pratt decides to turn blackmailer. It immediately becomes obvious to Pembury that Pratt must be eliminated, and he sets about doing so ingeniously.

I found this story a major improvement on The Case of Oscar Brodski. The murderer’s character is far more interesting and sympathetic—a blackmailer, after all, is a very unpleasant person to deal with. If you removed the first half of the story, it would make a fine mystery. The killer’s plot is a good one, and Dr. Thorndyke lays to rest the old superstition about bloodhounds being able to sniff out the guilty party in a crime. Yet the first half only adds to the story’s interest.

The Echo of a Mutiny
This is my very favourite story in this collection, because there is a far bigger element of suspense involved. Though this is an inverted murder mystery, you have no idea who will be the victim and who will be the murderer. You can only watch helplessly as events unfold— a sailor named Brown commandeers a sailboat to a lighthouse, ready to relieve one of the men there. Unfortunately, the same fellow, who has broken his leg, takes a ride in another boat that will pass by his home town. This leaves a sailor named Jeffreys, who awaits the arrival of the man who will be confined to the island on which the lighthouse is built for a month with him. When Brown finally arrives, the eyes of the two sailors meet and they recognize each other as accomplices in a mutiny years ago. Since then, they have both adopted the aliases I use for them. Brown betrayed Jeffreys to the law to save himself, and Jeffrey has been on the run since then. The atmosphere in the lighthouse is strained, and soon, one of the men is killed by the other. The survivor then goes about trying to ensure that he will not be blamed.

This story is marvellous. Both murderer and victim are interesting, and their confrontation is just brilliant. The emotional storm that goes through the lighthouse is genuinely suspenseful and the ultimate outcome is an unfortunate one which could’ve been prevented if not for a series of idiotic miscommunications that led to their meeting each other.

And the way Dr. Thorndyke finds the truth is brilliant. Every little fact turns out to be important, right down to a small and seemingly irrelevant one that is initially mocked by a stander-by, Captain Grumpass. I have only one minor complaint—Jeffreys is left alone for a considerable time, which is when he reflects on his past and we learn of the mutiny he took part in. It’s nicely done, but how much more effective would it have been to have those thoughts race through his head when he lays his eyes on the newcomer for the first time?

A Wastrel’s Romance
This is another fine inverted detective story, in which the murderer is a sneak thief who commits his crime on an impulse and immediately regrets it, panicking and fleeing the crime scene, believing to have killed a woman he loved. But the woman is not dead, though the distraught man failed to notice, and she wants to find out who attacked her so that the man may be punished. As the net closes in and Thorndyke gets closer to the truth, you anticipate the scene where the victim will meet her attacker—the irony is present throughout, but the final scene where they meet is just priceless, and the concluding statement of the story is one of the most perfect endings to a mystery I’ve ever read. This may have been my favourite story, but the problem I noticed in The Echo of a Mutiny is more ingrained and pronounced in here. I think it would’ve been so much more effective for the murderer to not realize who he was attacking until the struggle was over, and then have the backstory flash through his mind. But we are given a few scenes with these reflections prior to the attack, which makes it seem quite out of character, although it loses none of its ironic tragedy.

The Old Lag
The final story in this collection is unfortunately not as interesting as the inverted murder tales that came before. First, Freeman gives an extremely condensed version of his book The Red Thumb Mark which is well worth reading. The book itself, I’ve been told, feels like a padded out short story. So it’s interesting to read a short story version, where Dr. Thorndyke proves the fallacy of fingerprint evidence, at a time when people thought them to be infallible. (This method won’t work anymore, though—I won’t spoil what it is!) The second half of the story is a fairly run-of-the-mill murder case which doesn’t quite match the level of the inverted mysteries. While it’s still interesting and the logic is perfect as usual, it lacks a certain… je ne sais quoi.


And that’s The Singing Bone. How does it hold up? Extremely well! The stories are all interesting and the characters are rather well-done. Each story, including the final one, is split into first halves. The first half is told from the murderer’s point of view and the second half is told by Dr. Jervis, Thorndyke’s assistant. (The last story has the same two-half structure but the contents of those halves are different.) The murderers are usually interesting characters, and the stories are written really well, with just a dash of humour at precisely the right spots. Dry straw, you say, Mr. Symons? I can only quote the wisdom of Nero Wolfe: “Pfui!”

Dr. Thorndyke is a marvellous creation. Freeman doesn’t concern himself with giving his detective as many eccentricities as possible. Thorndyke’s hobbies don’t include knitting and he doesn’t have a fixation for his moustache. He is simply an intelligent and observant man who knows how to use his remarkable mind to make a solid deduction. His logic is simply perfect, and he always allows for the possibility that he may have miscalculated somewhere. And the way he goes about solving his crimes is just fascinating to watch. Indeed, Thorndyke (and through him, Freeman) made some pretty shrewd observations on forensic science and its future possibilities. The Eye of Osiris featured X-ray photography, for instance! Here, Dr. Thorndyke disproves the myth that bloodhounds will track a killer with the same ease as proving fingerprint evidence fallible. It makes me wish R. Austin Freeman were still around—just think of what havoc he could wreak with DNA evidence!

So why has time been so unkind to R. Austin Freeman? He possessed creativity, ingenuity, a genuine gift for writing, and the logic of his tales is solid. In short, he possessed all the ingredients necessary for a timeless mystery author, yet he was omitted from P. D. James’ “Talking About Detective Fiction”. A serious injustice is being done to this man’s work!

Patrick Ohl ©2014
Make sure to read more of Patrick’s excellent work here on the blog as well as his website At The Scene Of The Crime.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Health Updates

Sandi is doing okay. Tomorrow is an IVIG infusion Friday for her so we shall be spending most of the day down at Medical City Dallas Hospital.

My foot is not any better at all after a week of the shoe and lots of ice. Swelling has gone down and the bruising looks better, but the foot itself is still just as painful as it was the first day.

Tomorrow is not going to be any fun for us at all and I am not looking forward to trying to move around there in the shape I am in right now.

FFB is set up for tomorrow courtesy of a piece by Patrick Ohl.

Via Slate-- Here’s Why We Need to Protect Public Libraries By Jordan G. Teicher

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Via Tapir and Friends Animal Store (Realistic Stuffed Animals and Plastic Animals): Plastic Monkeys

Tapir and Friends Animal Store (Realistic Stuffed Animals and Plastic Animals): Plastic Monkeys

Via FDA-- Peanut Butter/Almond Butter Recall

nSPIRED Natural Foods, Inc. Voluntarily Recalls Certain Retail Lots Of Arrowhead Mills® Peanut Butters, Maranatha® Almond Butters And Peanut Butters And Specific Private Label Nut Butters Because Of Possible Health Risk

Before You Ask For A Review.....

Have some idea of what I review in the first place. It is not that hard to figure it out and should only take you a few minutes if you just read the review titles here and elsewhere. I don't make it complicated. I don't, for example, review vampire books. That should be obvious!

Also, it is a good idea not to start the query with a general salutation about how good it is to see things going so well in my life and because they are that you--- the self published author who must is so proud to be an "indie"---  knows I can give the book a wonderful review as it clearly deserves it.

Look, love your book all you want. I love mine and get that. But, you lose me from the start when you tell me how good it is to see things going so well. 

Things here are pretty bad. I just don't talk about it as much as I used too because it is depressing and seems to trigger some hate e-mail. From what little I have shared in recent months it should be clear that things are not good. You would have known that if you ever bothered to read anything beyond whatever  my ranking is on some reviewer list somewhere. In addition, no matter what is happening here, the reading and review should only be about the book. Linking that with what I had for dinner or the fact that at this point after five frigging days my foot is not any better and may actually be worse is not a good idea.

So, yes, I am annoyed this morning with some amazingly misguided queries. This time I changed the details so as not to point out anyone by name. Next time I may just copy and paste the query in here and use it a a teaching moment how not to ask for a read and review.

And for the love of god and all that is holy--quit writing novels featuring romantic vampires or zombies! If you must write about them then, for the last time, send them elsewhere.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Going to the Birds

Been doing a number of pieces on birds lately for Tapir and Friends Animal Store. Such as the Ring-Necked Doves, Crested Pigeons, Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers, Pileated Woodpeckers, Hornbills, and Kingfishers.

Have not had to write on Ravens yet and  really not looking forward to them after what they are doing to my Cowboys tonight.

Via Suspense Writer Russell Blake: Three Years Come and Gone

Three Years Come and Gone

Via Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Book Signing

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Book Signing: I'll be signing copies of the new book this afternoon in Houston at Murder by the Book .  Drop by if you're in the vicinity.  If you...

Via Lesa's Book Critiques: Half in Love with Artful Death by Bill Crider

Half in Love with Artful Death by Bill Crider

Friday, August 15, 2014

Via Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Jeremiah Healy, R. I. P.

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Jeremiah Healy, R. I. P.: Those of you on Facebook have already heard this terrible news.  Jerry Healy took his own life yesterday, depression exacerbated by alcohol ...

Via Erika Dreifus-- Friday Finds for Writers

Friday Finds for Writers

FFB Review: "Drum Beat-Madrid" by Stephen Marlowe --Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Barry is back this week for Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. This week he reviews Drum Beat-Madrid by Stephen Marlowe. After you read the review and check out Barry’s work make sure you check out the complete list over at Patti’s blog. One could easily spend several lifetimes reading all the selections listed each week in the various genres…..

DRUM BEAT--MADRID (1966) by Stephen Marlowe

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

His primary office is in Washington, D.C., but private detective Chester Drum has also opened one in Geneva, Switzerland because his cases so frequently take him out of the United States. One of his most prominent clients, and a recurrent character in several books in this series, is Axel Spade. As Drum explains, “Axel Spade gives professional advice to black marketeers and smugglers. His going rates for an interview are a hundred bucks a half hour, and if you need the kind of advice Spade gives, a half hour of his time is the best investment you can make.” Spade has homes in New York City and Geneva, but must be careful about traveling elsewhere. He’s wanted in more than twenty countries.

When Drum Beat--Madrid opens, Spade and Drum are driving to Navarre, Spain, specifically to the ranch of Captain General Don Santiago Sotomayor, retired commander of the Guardia Civil. The purpose of the trip? Spade is going to marry Sotomayor’s niece, Luz Robles. Drum is to be his best man and, because he has a fair number of enemies, his bodyguard.

The Sotomayor family, the reader soon learns, is as dysfunctional as any outside of a Ross Macdonald novel. Don Santiago’s brother Hernando was a Loyalist during the Spanish Civil War. Don Santiago turned him in, and Hernando was executed. His son José was raised by Don Santiago. His wife and daughter went to Caracas, Venezuela. The wife died there, and Luz was raised by the Robles family. Son Ramón was adopted and raised in Baltimore, Maryland by Hernando’s closest friend. He’s now in the American Army, stationed in Spain, and calls himself Ray Moyers. He clearly has more than a platonic interest in his sister.

The schedule calls for José, who hasn’t seen his sister since they were children, to fly Luz from Madrid to Don Santiago’s ranch. When he lands and Luz is not with him, he explains: “We met in Madrid in the Ritz bar at noon. She had some shopping to do, she said. We were to meet later at the airport. I waited. She did not come. Still I waited. And then, at last, she sent a note saying she was afraid to fly with her señorito of a brother and had decided to take the train to Pamplona instead.”

A ransom note arrives at the ranch the next morning demanding fifty thousand dollars for Luz‘s return, leaving Drum and Spade to wonder why the ransom amount is so low, since Don Santiago can afford a great deal more. Drum spent two years with the FBI before going private, and has more experience handling kidnappings than the Guardia Civil. But Spade is initially unable to persuade Don Santiago to keep the two of them in the loop, let alone to permit Drum to investigate. It’s only after the kidnappers fail to appear at the designated ransom site they send Don Santiago to that the old man grudgingly agrees to let Drum take over. Take over he does, heading immediately to Madrid to try to retrace Luz’s steps and get a line on her current whereabouts--and those of her kidnappers. In doing so he encounters his share of colorful and well-delineated characters; surprises and revelations, not the least of which is the secret of the Sotomayor family treasure; some moral and ethical issues; and plenty of action, especially in Pamplona during the running of the bulls.   

According to Marlowe’s obituaries in The New York Times and The Boston Globe, he was well-traveled and lived in France, Spain and Switzerland. To anyone who has read any of the Chester Drum novels, this will come as no surprise: Marlowe’s sense of place and its culture was always meticulously and vividly rendered. Drum Beat--Madrid is no exception.

©2014 by Barry Ergang
Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang’s website is You can find some of his written work at Amazon, Smashwords, and Scribd.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

X-Rays Are In

Back home from the doctor. X-rays indicate no fracture. Belief is I have a severe bone bruise with accompanying fluid. While I need the boot that can't be done because of the back/leg issues so I am in a surgical shoe.

Review: "The Night Searchers: A Sharon McCone Mystery" by Marcia Muller

It’s March when the husband and wife first meet private detective Sharon McCone in her San Francisco office. Young and seemingly doing okay financially speaking the young couple owns a condo in one of the better local areas known as Russian Hill. While Jay Givens is sure his wife Camilla thinks she saw something he is also sure that it is all in her head. Camilla insists that it happened and while Sharon may agree with the husband’s assessment she does not like his attitude or his behavior.

Camilla says that she was walking the neighborhood one evening just after seven pm and as she passed a vacant lot she witnessed some people clustered under a large and no doubt expensive patio type umbrella. They had a portable fireplace which was lit and going in great gusto. She heard the cry of a baby and believes they were about to sacrifice an infant as she thinks they were devil worshippers.

Sharon McCone is reluctant to take the case as she believes the woman is far more in need of a good psychiatrist than a private detective. But, they were returned to her by her lawyer friend Ben Solomon who is aware of other incidents in recent months. Ben thinks there is something to what Camilla claims though he has no real reason to believe that other than a feeling. Before long Sharon gets the same sense.  As she starts investigating further she learns of a shadowy group known as “The Night Searchers” who are playing a very specialized game of geocaching. The husband, Jay Givens, is involved with them and what that means, if anything, regarding Camilla and another case being worked by Hy Rapinsky, Sharon’s husband, is unclear. But, something is going on and before long Sharon is in a world of trouble with no much to go on.

The latest in the series that began with Edwin of the Iron Shoes is another good one. While character development is very limited and primarily focused on Sharon moving on after recent events in the series, one does not expect radical change for no reason for the long established character. Fortunately these days Sharon has a lot of resources in various areas to call on when she needs help and that allows various secondary characters long familiar to series readers to be more involved in this one than normal. The book flows well and moves forward rapidly making The Night Searchers: A Sharon McCone Mystery another good read from award winning author Marcia Muller.

The Night Searchers: A Sharon McCone Mystery 
Marcia Muller
Grand Central Publishing (division of Hachette Book Group)
July 2014
ISBN# 978-1-4555-2793-9
Hardback (also available in e-book and audio forms)
295 Pages

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

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014