Monday, June 30, 2014

June 2014 Reads and Reviews

June…..while not bad weather wise considering what could have happened with the old thermometer it was pretty rough around here in other ways. Those who follow the blog and stay updated through the day know what I am talking about so there is no need to rehash things.

Along with the sample Sundays, free book alerts, market news, and various other whatnot that makes up the blog, there are always the book reviews. I’m slower these days with the reviews, but I am trying to keep the blog going. Below is the list of reads and reviews for June 2014. Unless otherwise noted, the blame is assigned to me…. 

Wide Spot In The Road (Drifter Detective #4) by Wayne D. Dundee
The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino (FFB Review by Patrick Ohl)
Robert B. Parker’s Cheap Shot by Ace Atkins
Knife Fight by Joel Goldman
The Last Call: A Bill Travis Mystery” by George Wier (FFB Review)
The Eternal- A Short Story by George Wier
Memoirs of A Bad Dog by Curtis Moser (reviewed by Barry Ergang)
Night Squad by David Goodis (FFB Review by Barry Ergang)
The Interloper by Dave Zeltserman
Dangerous Women and Desperate Men by Rick Mofina
Cop Hater by Ed McBain (FFB Review by Patrick Ohl)
Remains of Innocence: A Brady Novel Of Suspense by J.A. Jance

We roll into July daring to hope that just maybe the 100 degree days will hold off a little longer and the rains will keep coming. Considering the state of the Texas Rangers we more eagerly than normal anticipate the coming football season. 

And, if you have ever wondered what the kitchen table sees when I work here….

Via Tapir and Friends Animal Store (Realistic Stuffed Animals and Plastic Animals): World-class Animal Replicas Back in Stock

 The latest on the Tapir blog....

Tapir and Friends Animal Store (Realistic Stuffed Animals and Plastic Animals): World-class Animal Replicas Back in Stock

Scott's Feet--Again

The last couple of weeks Scott has had increasing pain in his right foot--especially on the outside of the foot from the little toe to the heel--- so he saw the podiatrist today. He has a stress fracture in the middle bone of his right foot and the foot is pivoting to the outside causing pain. At least that is the belief because there is such massive swelling and inflammation inside the foot they can't get a totally clear x-ray view. He is to wear  the boot, stay off the foot, and come back in three weeks.

He is most unhappy. 

At The Scene Of the Crime Update--- Why I've Been So Silent Lately...

Patrick Ohl explains "Why I've Been So Silent Lately..."  and I sincerely wish him all the best as he embarks on a major turning point in his life.  It has been an honor and a pleasure to run his reviews here for Friday's Forgotten Books (still have a few more which is good) as well for his long distance friendship.

In the wake of what has happened to both Sandi and myself my advice is to do what feels right at the time and not count on the future. I am not the first to say the future is by no means guaranteed. I am not saying stop saving for retirement or not to do some planning. I am saying to make sure you tell folks you love them and make sure they know it. We never saw the twin freight trains coming that have barreled into our lives forever ending our plans to someday buy a home on some land so that we could have horses and travel the country. Do what you can now when every day isn't a struggle on so many fronts.

Trust will be glad you did.

EuroCrime Update-- New Reviews on Euro Crime: Ceder, Dunn, Frank, Johnston, Kasasian, Kelly, Kernick, Mogford, Radmann

As posted elsewhere over the weekend....

Here are nine reviews which -- have been added to the Euro Crime website today, two have appeared on the blog over the last three weeks and seven are completely new.

The competition closes tonight at 11.59pm: win an iBook of Invisible by Christine Poulson (no geographical restrictions).

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

New Reviews:

Lynn Harvey reviews Camilla Ceder's 'Babylon' tr. Marlaine Delargy, the sequel to Frozen Moment, set in Gothenburg;

Amanda Gillies reviews 'Slingshot' by Matthew Dunn, the third in his "Spycatcher" series;

Geoff Jones reviews Matthew Frank's debut novel, 'If I Should Die', which introduces ex-Army turned trainee police officer Joe Stark;

Terry Halligan reviews Paul Johnston's 'The White Sea', the seventh in the Greece-based Alex Mavros series;

I review 'The Curse of the House of Foskett' by M R C Kasasian, the sequel to the excellent 'The Mangle Street Murders';

Michelle Peckham reviews Erin Kelly's 'The Ties That Bind';

Terry also reviews Simon Kernick's 'Stay Alive' which is now out in paperback;

Rich Westwood reviews Thomas Mogford's 'Hollow Mountain', the latest in the Spike Sanguinetti series based on and around Gibraltar

and Lynn also reviews 'The Crack' by Christopher Radmann set in 1970s South Africa. or via the blog:

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

best wishes,
Karen M

Via Erika Dreifus (The Practicing Writer) -- Monday Markets for Writers

Monday Markets for Writers

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Meeting: MWA Dallas Reminder - Taylor Stevens, New York Times bestselling author, on July 5th

 As seen elsewhere.....

TAYLOR STEVENS is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author with books published in over twenty languages. The Informationist, first in the Vanessa Michael Munroe series, has received critical acclaim and the has been optioned for film by James Cameron's production company, Lightstorm Entertainment.

 Born in New York State, and into the Children of God, raised in communes across the globe and denied an education beyond sixth grade, Stevens was in her twenties when she broke free to follow hope and a vague idea of what possibilities lay beyond.

She now lives in Texas, and is at work on the next Munroe novel.


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)

Sample Sunday: Excerpt from "BLACKOUT" by Jan Christensen

This week Texas author Jan Christensen shares an excerpt from her new mystery BLACKOUT. The synopsis below is followed by an excerpt from the book:

Who is she? Battered and bruised, she first becomes aware of her total loss of memory while walking on a dark, lonely road. Before she arrives in an unfamiliar town called Valleyview, she makes up a name–Alice Strong--and claims she’s eighteen. Her injuries heal and she accepts a job at the local nursing home. During her first day of work, a patient passes away, posed as if ready for burial. Alice can’t understand why the death of an old woman she doesn’t know hits her so hard. When a second resident dies in the same position, the director of nurses, Betty Cranston, is positive residents are being murdered. She fears for her paralyzed mother. And she suspects Alice.

Alice must remember her past to help prove her innocence. When she remembers this wasn’t her first blackout, dread holds her back because what she does recall might all disappear a third time. Can she piece her puzzle together before the killer strikes again? Should she even try?

Spring, 1988

            Head throbbing, the young girl squinted so she could see better out of her swollen left eye as she trudged along the side of the dark, lonely road. A vehicle rumbled behind her. She turned around but didn't have the energy to even lift her arm to wave. The small car barely slowed down, so she started walking once more.
            Up ahead, the car backed up. Both hope and fear welled up inside her. When the car stopped, the driver rolled down the passenger-side window and turned on the dome light. Classical music floated toward her. Inside, she saw a young man with blond hair and blue eyes staring at her. If she hadn't been so weary, she would have thought him cute. Instead, she only felt indifference.
            “Need a lift?”
            She nodded. She moved like an old woman, slowly, carefully placing herself on the seat, gently closing the door.
            “You all right?” he asked, concern in his voice. “You’re a little banged up.”
            “I’m okay,” she mumbled.
            “You’re sure?” When she nodded, he asked, “Where you headed?” He ejected a tape from the deck and turned off the radio.
            “Anywhere,” she answered. He seemed nice enough, but she shivered slightly and hugged herself.
            “Anywhere?” When she didn't answer, he said, “What’s your name? Mine’s Donald Harris. I’m on my way home to Valleyview.”
            He waited. She glanced at him, looked away.
            “I’m… I’m Alice. Alice… Strong.” The name came to her with difficulty. She wasn't quite sure it was right. Staring out the side window, she touched her head gingerly where the blood had clotted. She winced. Why couldn't she remember what had happened to her?
            “Sure you don’t need a doctor? Want to call anyone?”
            “Oh, no! No, I’m all right. Need a bath.” She wished her head would stop throbbing. And what was the matter with her eye? 

Jan Christensen ©2013, 2014
BLACKOUT is Jan Christensen's fifth published mystery and is available both in print and e-book formats by going here. She also writes short stories and articles, many of which can be found round and about on the internet. For more info, check out her website: or the author's page:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lesa's Latest Contest-- Kate White's new book/Giveaway

As posted elsewhere......

This week, I have 2 copies of Kate White's brand new suspense novel, Eyes on You, to give away. There's also a Q&A with her on my blog, Entries only from the U.S. and Canada, please. Details on my blog.

-- Lesa Holstine 

Crime Review Update-- New issue of Crime Review

 As seen elsewhere earlier today.....
In our new edition of Crime Review ( this week we
have sixteen reviews (http://, together with Julia
Crouch 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:

WANT YOU DEAD by Peter James, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler.

Supt Roy Grace is about to get married – but there's a maniac with a score
to settle and a love of lighting fires on the loose in Brighton.

THURSDAY’S CHILDREN by Nicci French, reviewed by Judith Evans.

A new client for psychotherapist Frieda Klein forces her to return to
events of the past that she would rather forget*.*

THE KILLER NEXT DOOR by Alex Marwood, reviewed by John Cleal.

As London swelters in a stifling heatwave, the tenants of a bedsit and its
landlord each try to hide their own secrets, but one, an obsessed serial
killer, must try more than most.

THE KILL by Jane Casey, reviewed by Linda Wilson.

A killer is at large in London and police officers are being targeted. DC
Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent need to find the link between the cases
before the body count mounts even higher.

THE WOLF IN WINTER by John Connolly, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler

PI Charlie Parker does a favour for an old contact and investigates the
disappearance of a young woman – and it takes him to a town that isn’t all
it seems.

NANO by Robin Cook, reviewed by Sylvia Wilson.

When medical researcher Pia Gradzani stumbles upon a collapsed jogger and
performs CPR, she is drawn into the dangerous secrets of her high-security
employer, Nano LLC.

EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE by Peter May, reviewed by Linda Wilson.

Former forensics expert Enzo Macleod is determined to get to the bottom of
a series of unsolved murders. First up is the disappearance – and presumed
death – of a man who went missing in Paris 20 years ago.

WHITE BONES by Graham Masterton, reviewed by John Cleal.

The dismembered bones of 11 women whose skeletons bear the marks of a
careful butcher are found on a Cork farm. A young American hitch-hiker goes
missing, and Ireland’s first senior female detective, Superintendent Katie
Maguire, must solve the ancient murders to find a link to a terrifying
modern killer.

DRY BONES by Peter Quinn, reviewed by Arnold Taylor.

Fintan Dunne is part of a wartime OSS operation in Slovakia that never had
any chance of success. During his escape from the country he comes across
survivors from Auschwitz, an encounter that is to return to haunt him years

DEAD GONE by Luca Veste, reviewed by Madeleine Marsh.

A young girl is found murdered in Liverpool, prompting an investigation
which turns into a hunt for a serial killer when a second body is
discovered, and a note that talks about experiments suggests there are more
deaths to follow


San Francisco PI Claire DeWitt seeks the killer of ex-boyfriend Paul, and
re-examines the beginning of her professional life in Brooklyn.

BROKEN FAITH by James Green, reviewed by John Cleal.

Jimmy Costello, a corrupt ex-Met detective, and now a ‘fixer’ for the
Vatican, is sent to Spain to check a story that a senior cleric is involved
with the Basque terrorist movement. The man he must talk to is killed and
Jimmy has to solve the mystery – and also deal with some unwelcome
reminders of his violent past.

BODY COUNT by Barbara Nadel, reviewed by Chris Roberts.

Istanbul police inspectors Ikman and Suleyman struggle to discover the
connection between a series of gruesome murders.

APPETITE by Philip Kazan, reviewed by John Cleal.

Nino Latini has a unique gift, a massively heightened sense of taste and a
desire to create the perfect feast that will make his name as a chef in
some of the most magnificent houses of Renaissance Italy. But his gift
leads him into trouble and physical danger.

A CONSPIRACY OF TALL MEN by Noah Hawley, reviewed by Chris Roberts.

Linus Owen is a professor of conspiracy theory whose life is thrown into
disarray when his wife is killed in a terrorist attack on an aircraft. He
uses all his resources to seek answers.

YOUNG, GIFTED AND DEAD by Lucy Carver, reviewed by Linda Wilson.

When a teenager at an exclusive boarding school, St Jude’s Academy, is
found dead in a lake in the grounds, the school is keen for her death to be
judged a suicide. But one of the dead girl’s roommates isn’t so sure. Is
there more to Alyssa’s death than meets the eye?

Best wishes


Via The South Jersey Writers' Group Blog: A Contract with the Reader

The South Jersey Writers' Group Blog: A Contract with the Reader: (This post was featured as "Freshly Pressed" by WordPress in March, 2013) When I took a graduate class called “Writing the Novel” ...

KRL This Week Update

As posted elsewhere earlier today.....

Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine a review & giveaway of "Independence Slay," a 4th of July mystery by Shelley Freydont, along with a fun guest post by Shelley about pets and cozy mysteries

Also up, a review & giveaway of "Deadly Forecast" by Victoria Laurie

We also have an historical mystery short story by Larry Chavis

The latest Coming Attractions column from Sunny Frazier is also up, along with giveaways from Laura Benedict and Rebecca Dahlke

Our latest web series review in up as well--this one of the mystery suspense show Chosen on Crackle. The first season stars Milo Ventimiglia of "Heroes" fame

We also have a review and giveaway of "Face Value" by Michael A. Kahn

And a review and giveaway of "Night Owls" by Lauren M. Roy-a fantasy/vampire novel with a touch of mystery
As always, you can also find all of these and much more by 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

Review: "Remains Of Innocence: A Brady Novel Of Suspense" by J. A. Jance

It begins far from Bisbee,Arizona in Great Barrington, Massachusetts where the daughter of a reclusive hoarder is forced to return to the home she hated. Selma Machett's life is ending and it is up to Liza, as the only living relative around, to deal with the latest installment of a dysfunctional and tragic family. Amidst the filth in the debris filled house she finds a small fortune. A small fortune, primarily in one hundred dollar bills, that belongs to folks determined to get it back regardless of the body count.

That fortune soon puts Liza on the run to Bisbee Arizona where Sheriff Joanna Brady has a complicated and tragic case to solve. Junior Dowdle went missing from his parent's house after several weeks of increasingly worrisome behavior. Developmentally disabled and in his early sixties, he had recently been diagnosed with some form of dementia that resulted in erratic moods and some violence. Found dead in old mining hole along with a number of dead pets and a clearly tortured but alive kitten, Sheriff Brady believes somebody shoved him into the shaft to fall to the limestone floor twenty feet below. She also believes that same person is responsible for what happened to the pets and will do it all again.

Gradually the two story lines weave together to form a compelling tale of family dysfunction and murder in Remains Of Innocence: A Brady Novel Of Suspense. Scheduled to be released late next month, this latest one in the series by J. A. Jance is another good one. Strong and evolving characters that have become old friends as well as multiple plot lines involving primary and secondary situations that blend action with psychological analysis result in a complicated read that also moves forward at a rapid pace.

The only issue this reader has with the book is the often stated premise that people don't stare at scarf wearing cancer patients. Shaved bald and wearing a scarf to hide the baldness as cancer patients do, Liza is sent across the country in the custody of various adults so that she can reach her brother in Bisbee. It is stated again and again that no one stares at cancer patients dressed this way and therefore Liz will escape the notice of anyone as she gets rides from various strangers driving 18 wheelers.

As the spouse of a terminal cancer patient who has fought cancer since her initial diagnosis in November 2011 and experienced a horrendous amount of chemotherapy in the months since, the idea that nobody stares at scarf wearing cancer patients could not be further from the truth.  The idea is simply ludicrous. Wearing a scarf draws massive amounts of attention these days and, in our experience, is the equivalent of hanging a flashing neon sign around the patient's neck. Not only is the scarf a massive attention getter, the scarf also creates an invisible force field that often repels all but medical staff and fellow cancer patients. People will actually step back and shield the faces of their children as you pass by as if you are highly contagious all the while staring at you. Some will actually go so far as to get back off the elevator they just got on in front of you because they don’t want to ride up a floor or two with you. Fellow cancer patients will walk up and out of the blue embrace you and talk for a moment before letting you go on your way while other folks cross the sidewalk to be as far away as possible.

This is a very well-known issue for cancer patients and is a frequent topic of discussion during chemotherapy and other multi hour infusion procedures. The reaction of those in public to the appearance of a cancer patient is one that takes considerable time to get used to both for the patient and the family. An otherwise good story was marred by this error which threw this reader out of the story each time it came up.

Other than that issue which was a large stumbling block for this reader, Remains of Innocence: A Brady Novel Of Suspense is a good one.

Remains Of Innocence: A Brady Novel Of Suspense
J. A. Jance
William Morrow (Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers)
July 22, 2014
ISBN# 978-0-06-213470-7
400 Pages

ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

Via The Dark Pages--- The Villain by John Sandford

FFB Review: "Cop Hater" by Ed McBain --- Reviewed by Patrick Ohl

Patrick Ohl is back today for FFB with his review of Cop Hater by Ed McBain. After you read his review, go check out the other possibilities here.

Someone has a grudge against the police department… more specifically, the cops at the 87th Precinct. Cops are being gunned down left and right, apparently at random by a “cop hater”. It is up to the cops of the 87th, already overworked and understaffed, to avenge their fallen colleagues and bring their murderer—or is it murderers?—to justice.

This plot device has been used many times in mystery fiction—whether in X Vs. Rex by Phillip Macdonald, or, more recently, Cop to Corpse by Peter Lovesey. But this time it is being used by Ed McBain in one of his 87th Precinct police procedurals. Sergio over at Tipping My Fedora is on a quest to review the entire series, and his reviews are always extremely intelligent and for the most part enthusiastic. So I decided to give McBain a chance despite my historical dislike of the police procedural… so could McBain rise to the challenge?

Well, yes and no. McBain is a gifted writer and the way he describes something such as lab techniques in detail is fascinating. In particular, I was fascinated to see how a police lab in the 1950s worked, since many of these techniques are long out of date and in some cases scientifically worthless! In the hands of a lesser writer, these segments would come out dry and that would kill the novel’s chance of success…

Ironically, I have no problem whatsoever with the detailed portrait of the investigation—I liked, for instance, the way the cops have to follow the most unlikely leads through—but I just didn’t like many of the other elements. Basically, I wasn’t fond of the way irrelevant passages kept cropping up. Cop Hater is a short book as is, but all these elements come across as excessive padding nonetheless. We get long and useless descriptions of the heat at this time of year… one of the cops fantasizes uncomfortably about the woman he is interviewing… and so on. These segments don’t add to character, don’t contribute much to atmosphere or story or anything really… they’re just… there.

Enough of my whining— this book does have some things working to its advantage. We get to know some of the cops in detail and this helps us sympathise with all involved—although the opening slab of dead meat is onstage so briefly that the attempt to characterize him via his desire for an air conditioner comes across as a very poor bit of writing. But putting that aside, since this is the first book in a series, everyone is a potential casualty (unless you know who the main detective is going to be in later entries). This helps to ramp things up a notch since you’re not given a clear-cut detective to look towards.

But also, the climax is just brilliant. It is everything a climax should be: it keeps you turning the pages in suspense, holding your breath as you wonder how everything will turn out. It’s a thrilling confrontation that seems like it can only end in tragedy… and I will say no more about that.

There’s one more thing I admire a lot about this book—although it is a police procedural, there is also an element of genuine fair-play mystery that is so good I didn’t even realize it was there (although I did instinctively guess at the answer). This takes pure skill— it’s no mean feat to write a police procedural that also fulfills the requirements of a fair-play mystery. It’s not a particularly challenging mystery—as I said, I guessed the answer instinctively—but when you look back at the clues that were there, it still leaves you appreciating the feat very much.

So overall, despite some excessive padding, Cop Hater turned out to be a wonderful and most entertaining read. I would recommend it to fellow aficionados as a solid starting point for this series. It takes a classic plot device and does a really nice job with it… and I will say no more out of fear of those darned Spoiler Rapids!

Patrick Ohl ©2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Senior News Newspaper Book Review Column---June 2014

For my monthly newspaper book review column in the Senior News Newspaper, I try to make sure to choose one fiction and one nonfiction book in the hopes of interesting more readers. Cookbooks are very popular so I included one as well as the latest mystery in a very good series. Included below are the relevant book covers for my June 2014 column…

Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Book-- Taking Your Favorite Foods And Stuffing Them To Make New, Different And Delicious Meals
Dan Whalen
ISBN# 978-1-62414-011-2
208 Pages

Have you ever thought about combining two different foods into one super food? Like putting a cheeseburger inside a ravioli? “Cheeseburger Ravioli Burger” looks really good and the recipe is here on pages 84-85. Or, maybe you have a craving for something like “Lobster Stuffed Fried Mac and Cheese Balls” (pages 94-95) or a “Mac and Cheese Stuffed Burger” (pages 100-101). The culinary possibilities are intriguing and quite varied in Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Book by Dan Whalen.

After a brief and interesting introduction the book is broken into six chapters featuring lots of possibilities. Each recipe has an ingredient list and directions, the number of portions it makes, a heat scale as to flavor, and a “Pig-Out” scale as how gluttonous you feel. There are not any specifics regarding fats, salts, etc., as the ratings are more of an unspecified personal scale. Some recipes have pictures, but most do not. This same format continues throughout the book and features recipes that are designed for those who do not have dietary restrictions and are open to experimentation.

Tricia Fields
Minotaur Books (Thomas Dunne Book)
ISBN# 978-1-250-02137-3
Hardback (also available in e-book and audio)
320 Pages

The series that began with the award winning, The Territory, and continued in Scratchgravel Road, continues in the recently released Wrecked. While this novel could be read as a standalone, because of the numerous and often spoiler references to the two prior books scattered throughout this novel, readers who have not read this series would be prudent to start at the beginning.

Deep in southwest Texas in the Big Bend region sits the small town of Artemis, Texas. A small border town where folks struggle to survive despite the economy of the region as well as the violence that occasionally spills across the border into Texas. Chief of Police Josie Gray knows firsthand about the violence that comes across the border and is about to again as her boyfriend, Dillon Reese, will be taken.

While the previous books were more police procedural oriented, this one is considerably more psychological suspense as it shifts through the various character viewpoints. The primary focus is on what Dillon’s disappearance does to Chief Gray and others as well as what being kidnapped does to Dillon. Despite the occasionally travelogue feel to the series, the reads are complex and feature realistic characters and multiple interesting storylines. As noted, this is one of those series best read in order from the beginning.

Kevin R Tipple ©2014
Join Amazon Prime - Watch Over 40,000 Movies & TV Shows Anytime - Start Free Trial Now

Tuesday, June 24, 2014



Via Mystery Fanfare: Macavity Award Nominations 2014

Mystery Fanfare: Macavity Award Nominations 2014: MACAVITY AWARD NOMINATIONS The Macavity Awards are nominated and voted on by members and friends of Mystery Readers International and...

Via the Houston Chronicle-- DMV prepares for sticker shock of losing inspection tag

This is going to make driving interesting.....

Personally, I still believe the inspection deal is a waste of time and money and should be completely done away with immediately. It won't ever be stopped because it is a money deal for the state. 

When the zombies attack and those "lucky" enough to be alive are trying to survive and using horses to get around the horses will be inspected though the emissions test might change a bit.

Review: "Dangerous Women and Desperate Men: Four Short Stories Of People On The Brink" by Rick Mofina

After an introduction by the author Dangerous Women and Desperate Men: Four Short Stories Of People On The Brink opens with “Blood Red Rings.” Officer Frank Harper is running solo this night and things have been quiet in the zone. That is good as he has lot to think about at home and work. Then, as you knew it would, the night erupts into violence.

The award winning “Lightning Rider” comes next where Jessie Scout drives an armored vehicle. The crew of Gask and Perez as well as her always have to be on alert because they are a tempting target. They also have to listen to 22 year veteran Elmer Gask expound on his often racist views of the world and their job as they make the rounds in Vegas with the cash. He's a week away from retirement and plans to do so spotless. Always good to have a plan.

It is off to California in “Three Bullets to Queensland.” Ike Decker dreams of going to Queensland in Australia and has the travel brochures. He also has a gun and a job to do first. He is on the trail of one Paco Sanchez who may have gotten away with 1.2 million from an armored truck hit in Los Angeles. It’s time to nab Paco and get paid.

A transcript is the focus of the next short story titled “As Long As We Both Shall Live.” Elizabeth Dalton is being questioned regarding Spenser Dalton and his apparent death. It is believed he fell off in his fishing boat and presumably drowned. Having been married 35 years to the Spenser the prosecutor has more than a few questions for her about Spenser, the state of their marriage, and other issues.

The remaining half of the book in the PDF form I received are excerpts from Six Seconds, Vengeance Road, The Panic Zone and “In Desperation,” with author notes and explanations of the background on same, an author bio, and author praise quotations.

The stories of Dangerous Women and Desperate Men: Four Short Stories Of People On The Brink were all good ones filled with plenty of characters and multiple agendas. Action was present in three of the four reads as the last one “As Long As We Both Shall Live” is isolated to a court room and a court hearing. While plenty of action is implied regarding previous events during the courtroom testimony it is the only story where folks are not out and about doing things during present time. That story was also my personal favorite of the four works. All four good stories are also available at Amazon as solo stories if one would prefer to go that route.

Dangerous Women and Desperate Men: Four Short Stories Of People On The Brink
Rick Mofina
Carrick Publishing
September 2011
69 pages

PDF version supplied by the author a very long time ago in exchange for my objective review.

UPDATE---- Barry Ergang has alerted me to the fact that he also reviewed this book here on the blog back in October 2011. That means if I had caught that fact this review would have been part of our famed "double take" feature today. I didn't, so it isn't, but you should still go read Barry's review. If you don't, he will know and you won't like the response. Trust me on this.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Finally Home From The Endocrinologist......Updated

And the news was not good. They are putting her on insulin effective immediately and adjusting some of her diabetic meds. They will be running lots of blood tests.

7 pm update----We just heard from the oncology folks and she has significant bone loss in both hips and is at high risk for a break. Not that much a surprise as she has been on steroids as well as everything else.  New drug will be started for that.

Via David Gaughran-- Writer’s Digest Dumps Author Solutions

They have made a start at least....
Writer’s Digest Dumps Author Solutions 

Review: "The Interloper" by Dave Zeltserman

Dan Willis is a well paid and well trained assassin for the United States government. At least that part seems to be true as this complex thriller starts. He believes he is working for a super secret part of the United States government, Homeland Protection, on missions to take out insurgents living in this country. Sleeper style agents working for the enemy and plotting horrendous acts against targets inside the United States. Having done three tours with the army including being part of things in the first Gulf War killing the enemy abroad as well as at home isn't an issue.

Homeland Protection built upon his skill set making sure that he could accomplish a variety of tasks as well as making a hit look like a naturally caused death or suicide. Dan Willis is very good at his job and his latest target, Brian Schoefield, is to be his twenty-fourth kill.

Dan's only flaw, especially from a supervisor stand point, is that he thinks too much. As he tracks his latest target Dan slowly realizes that the target is not an insurgent in any way, shape, or form. Not only does he not seem to be any threat at all he fits a pattern of recent targets who seem to share the same profile in that they were not really threats either.  They seem to be average fellow citizens who are not doing anything but going about their innocent daily lives. That leads to questions and asking questions is not part of the job description. A job that one does not walk away from and live to tell about it.

Broken into three distinct sections reflecting its previous publication status, The Interloper by Dave Zeltserman is a thriller for the modern era when everyone at home and abroad is a possible threat to national security as well as peace and stability. Using an all too plausible premise where certain individuals within our government have decided to have some of their fellow citizens eliminated, the author spins a complex and fast moving tale of intrigue and deceit. Unlike many thrillers published today, the characters involved here are fleshed out in detail. The primary characters especially are fully formed human beings and not card board cutouts.

The tale itself is complicated and multifaceted in both the primary and secondary story lines. A mix of psychological nuance and guns blazing action, The Interloper is a very good read that also makes you think as well while Dan Willis tries to stay alive thanks to a job you can't just walk away from and live.

The Interloper
Dave Zeltserman
Top Suspense Group
April 2014
E-book (Print version available)
334 Pages

Published e-book supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Thanks to Mark Troy who came by and picked me up I made it to the first meeting of the Sisters In Crime North Dallas Chapter deal at the Frisco Public Library this afternoon. Had a very good time and plan on making this a regular deal if at all possible.

Their website is here for more information.  

Sample Sunday: Excerpt from "STUFFED SHIRT" by Barry Ergang

Barry Ergang is back this week with an excerpt from his short story e-book STUFFED SHIRT.

by Barry Ergang

Label it instinct, intuition, or clairvoyance—when I met Theron Claymore, I immediately sensed a predator in our midst.
When he strode into the department alongside Haskell, art director at Danforth Advertising, I thought Claymore was a model. Tall and blond, with appraising slate-blue eyes, he carried himself with the erect confidence one associates with a California surfer. He lacked only the deep suntan. Sensing his superficiality, I was astonished when Haskell announced him as the newest member of our ranks.
Claymore gave the room and the occupants of its glassed cubicles a conquistadorial scrutiny. Haskell then individually introduced him to us.
“This is Eric Dennison,” Haskell said, smiling benevolently beneath his heavy mustache, “our senior artist.”
Despite my repulsion, I shook his hand and murmured, “Nice to meet you.”
Within a short time my initial assessments were confirmed. Claymore’s work had a draftsmanlike competence but lacked the passion, if such a term may be used with regard to advertising, necessary to our type of illustration. Haskell, however, apparently took to it. Perhaps Claymore’s greatest artistry was his ability to sell himself despite the charming sophistry of the product.
Indeed, charm was his biggest commodity and he used it like a chameleon, adapting himself to suit the various agency personalities with whom he had to contend. His good looks and forceful manner endeared him to many of the women, but he was equally adept at bantering with the men. He had none of the newcomer’s reserve and quickly became the focal figure in the art department, magnet for the irreverent remark or salacious joke. Tales of the women he purportedly bedded were incessant.
Most of it I was able to ignore. In my five years at Danforth, I had for self-protective reasons kept distant from my colleagues, which allowed me to work with a relative freedom from interruption. What I could not ignore was Claymore’s camaraderie with Haskell, my immediate superior. Their time together was not spent exclusively on matters of agency business. They lingered in the corridors exchanging jokes and stories, they went out for drinks after hours, they lunched together—often with other department heads. During my tenure I had never socialized with the upper echelons; Claymore exerted a disproportionate amount of time insinuating himself into their circles.
My mother would have been appalled. When she returned to the workplace after my father died, she performed her duties diligently and reliably but shunned the intra-office politicking common among her colleagues and thus never received the promotions she deserved. “I don’t understand them,” she would say of the other women in her office, “fawning and bootlicking and backstabbing to be noticed. No woman—nor man either—should have to stoop that low.”
Up until her own death, she did not possess the pragmatism necessary to deal with Theron Claymore’s sort. She never knew her child did—never knew, for instance, that the  disfiguring “accident” in high school chemistry which befell one of my classmates avenged an affront; never knew that during my first year at Danforth, the occupant of an apartment in the building next to mine died to prevent disclosure of what he saw when, upon arriving home from work one evening, I carelessly left the bedroom curtains open.

Barry Ergang ©2013
Stuffed Shirt is one of a number of Barry Ergang's books available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Via Sarah J Schmitt: A Debut Author's Worst Nightmare

Sarah J Schmitt: A Debut Author's Worst Nightmare: Imagine a world where everything around you shimmers with excitement. Where you have lined up speaking engagements that both exhilarate and ...

Via The Rap Sheet-- Bullet Points: Obsessive Tube-Head Edition

Bullet Points: Obsessive Tube-Head Edition

Via Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Mr. Mercedes -- Stephen King

 I really liked Joyland. I am on the hold list for this in large print though I am not sure I should be after reading Bill's review.....

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Mr. Mercedes -- Stephen King: There was a time when I looked forward to reading Stephen King's books, and I got them as soon after publication as I could.  Eventually...

KRL This Week Update-- Mystery short story by Guy Belleranti & much more in KRL

As posted elsewhere earlier today.....

Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine a review & giveaway of the latest mystery by Dan Andriacco & Kiernan McMullen, "The Poisoned Penman", along with a great guest post by Dan about Sherlock Holmes

Also up, reviews & giveaways of 5 more Penguin mysteries these involve food, event planning and crafts-"Tempest in a Teapot" by Amanda Cooper, "Razing the Dead" by Sheila Connolly, "Murder Simply Stitched" by Isabella Alan, author, "Hot Fudge Frame-Up": A Fudge Shop Mystery by Christine DeSmet, "The Diva Wraps It Up": A Domestic a Diva Mystery by Krista Davis

We also have a review & giveaway by Sunny Frazier of "Strange Gods" by Annamaria Alfieri along with an interesting interview with Annamaria

And we have a western style mystery short story by Guy Belleranti

We also have a review & giveaway of "Death in Perspective" by Larissa Reinhart

Mystery author Peggy Hanson talks about her travels and how she has used that in her mystery writing

Lastly, for our fantasy twist, we have a review & giveaway of the latest fantasy novel by Simon R. Green

And over on KRL Lite we have a review of "Fleur de Lies" by Maddy Hunter

 And as always you can find all but the KRL Lite one and much more by also going to our homepage 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 Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Author Work-Spaces: Crider, Benedict, Jance

 Please notice how Bill Crider is typing while looking at his screen saver. I knew the man was talented but that is beyond impressive.....

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Author Work-Spaces: Crider, Benedict, Jance: Author Work-Spaces: Crider, Benedict, Jance | Crimespree Magazine

Event: FIRST Meeting of Sisters In Crime North Dallas Chapter-- Sunday June 22, 2014 from 2 to 4 PM

I just got an e-mail about this late yesterday and it was the first I had heard that this was happening tomorrow. The homepage of the Frisco Library is here.

June 22 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The first meeting of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas chapter is Sunday! We'll start with a meet & greet, then talk about the national Sisters in Crime organization, upcoming programming, benefits of membership, and of course, have snacks and answer questions. 

Immediately Following 1st Meeting.

If you're interested in volunteering for a leadership position or helping the chapter in some capacity, please stay after the general meeting. We'll have a short discussion on available positions and other ways to get involved with SinC North Dallas.

Meetings are held at the Frisco Library in the McCallum Room on the 4th Floor. If you have questions, just reach out.

We hope to see you on Sunday!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Back Home

Did the IVIG infusion for Sandi and we are back home. She is not feeling well and has gone to bed where she is already back asleep after sleeping the entire car ride home.

Next up is an endocrinologist on Monday afternoon.

FFB Review: "Night Squad" by David Goodis-- Reviewed by Barry Ergang

This week for Friday’sForgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott Barry Ergang is back with his review of NIGHT SQUAD by David Goodis.

NIGHT SQUAD (1961) by David Goodis

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Corey Bradford used to be a cop until he was thrown off the force when “they caught him accepting a handout from a houseman. It wasn’t carelessness on Corey’s part; he was always very smooth and he timed every move….He was on friendly terms with all the neighborhood hustlers and scufflers, the numbers writers and unlicensed hooch sellers, the professional females and dice-table bankers. When he was nabbed, it was due solely to the persistence and drive of certain investigators from city hall. There was a campaign going on, and aimed specifically at badge-wearing shakedown artists, and Corey was one of many who got busted.”

Divorced, beset by a conscience he tries futilely to suppress, searching for the flimsiest kind of redemption even if he doesn't always consciously realize it, he now lives in a cheap rooming house in the neighborhood in which he grew up, a section of the city known as the Swamp that is “on the outskirts of the big city and on three sides it was bordered by swamplands.” Something of a pariah to the so-called Swampcats, as the area's denizens are called, he spends most of his time drinking at a bar called the Hangout and, when he has the money for it, gambling. There's always a poker game going on in the back room of the Hangout, and on the night the novel opens, Bradford has three dollars and forty cents to his name. He decides to try to parlay it into a few bucks more.

Among those in the game is Walter Grogan, a man who lives in and owns nearly all of the Swamp, including the Hangout: “All his business activities were centered in the Swamp and the same applied to his social life...Although he had considerable cash—estimates of his wealth ranging anywhere from one hundred thousand to more than a quarter of a million—it seemed that everything he wanted or needed was in this neighborhood of wooden shacks, tarpaper hovels and narrow alleys.” He also has at least one police captain in his pocket, as Bradford learns after a couple of masked hoods burst in with the intention of killing Grogan and he, Bradford, prevents it. This results in Grogan putting him on his payroll, with a huge reward if he's successful in finding out who hired the hoods. But when Detective-Sergeant Henry McDermott, head of the Night Squad, a dangerous and dreaded police division, reinstates him and assigns him to investigate Walter Grogan, Bradford's life becomes not only more complicated but also far more at risk—from both sides, as well as from some other parties.  

That's the core of the storyline, but Night Squad is not a plot-driven detective story. It has all the requisite action, tension and suspense one expects from noir fiction, but its real emphasis is on character interaction and setting. Author David Goodis is a dregmeister, to coin a word, more interested in portraying the lowlifes, luckless and losers, and the squalid milieu they inhabit, than in presenting a tightly plotted, by-the-numbers tale.  

The novel had a relentless pull, at least for this reader, which made it very hard to put down. Populated with more than a few complex characters, it's written in a spare, gritty prose style. I read the Kindle edition, which had a few—and really only a few, not enough to drive sticklers crazy—punctuation errors and one or two typos. The most frequent punctuation error concerned multiple paragraphs of speech by a single person. Properly, there should be quotation marks at the beginning of each paragraph but only at the end of the final paragraph. Whoever created the Kindle edition put quotation marks at the end of every paragraph. Nevertheless, it's not really confusing because the author does a good job of delineating characters via their speech patterns. Thus, the reader knows what individual is making the multi-paragraph speech.

Night Squad is the fifth novel by David Goodis I've read, and I look forward to reading many more. Strongly recommended to fans of classic noir

Barry Ergang ©2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Update on Things

This has been a hard week for both Sandi and I both physically and mentally. The bills keep piling up, the calls about them keep coming, and we both feel pretty bad. Sandi's ongoing feet issue has been really bugging her and the warmer weather certainly is not helping her ongoing breathing problems. Next month marks a year since she went on oxygen equipment 24/7. What little hope we had that it would be temporary seems to have been nothing more than wishful thinking.

You have not seen much from me these last few days and what little you have seen has been accomplished by my lying stretched out on the floor on my stomach trying to type and click to do whatever. The ongoing back and leg deal has been insane this week. Tomorrow Sandi has a long day infusion deal and how I am going to make it through sitting in their institutional chairs I have no idea.

Despite how bad the week has been and more, one thing happened that is simply wonderful. The good folks of Tapir and Friends Animal Store for whom I do a little freelance writing for as I can have created a page  devoted to some of Sandi's creatures. Through the site they have offered them for sale with the monies made going to help Sandi pay for cancer treatment. They have Sandi's stuff in their warehouse and can ship quickly as well as market her items which takes a burden off of us that is increasingly difficult to accomplish.

Sandi's page is here and I hope you will check it out as well as the other things on the site.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Update on the Freelance Writing Gig

Have not written about this in a few days, but I am still having a blast writing stuff for Tapir and Friends Animal Store. Along with the fact I can sometimes work in my sense of humor, one of the fun things abut the gig is learning new stuff such as the fact that the famous "dead parrot" of the legendary Monty Python sketch may have actually existed. You can read about that here.

While the longer pieces do have my byline on them, the shorter category intros such as the one here on "Sea Plants" do not. Had no idea that the "Sea Cucumber" was not a plant either. It's ALIVE!!

Among lots of other pieces on there that I have done, if you feel like getting ready for the ape takeover of the world, you can check out my short pieces here on New World Monkeys, Gorillas here and the Primates here.

And, if you have a kid into the creepy crawly things I have a piece here on Insects and Beetles here though these beetles are not involved.

Via The Rap Sheet-- Bullet Points: Post-Father’s Day Edition

Bullet Points: Post-Father’s Day Edition

Via KRL-- A Man in a Hurry: A Father’s Day Mystery Short Story by J. R. Lindermuth

Mighty good read ....
 A Man in a Hurry: A Father’s Day Mystery Short Story by J.R. Lindermuth

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Cartoon of the Day

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Cartoon of the Day

The Laborers of Work-for-Hire Crime Fiction Writing

The Laborers of Work-for-Hire Crime Fiction Writing

ViaThe Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: Members' Publication News

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: Members' Publication News: The following members sent in publication news this month: M.G. Allen, Things , Kraken Press (July 6, 2014) Larry Chavis, "Consider I...

Review: "MEMOIRS OF A BAD DOG" (2012) by Curtis Moser --- Reviewed by Barry Ergang

MEMOIRS OF A BAD DOG (2012) by Curtis Moser

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

This is not an easy book to review because it contains so many surprises and unforeseeable turns, and I don’t want to reveal them and spoil the reader’s enjoyment. Suffice it to say, then, that for Bogart the basset hound, who narrates the story, what starts out as a lark results in a tragedy, leaving him with a corrosive sense of guilt and a desperate need to redeem himself. 

Certain that his human, whom he calls Swifty, knows what he did and is deeply upset  about it, Bogart sets out with his border collie girlfriend Ginger to retrieve an important item, the return of which he hopes will somewhat mollify Swifty. When things go awry, Ginger herself is thrust into mortal danger, and Bogart knows that only he has a chance of saving her. Teaming up with a cat named Snowball, he sets out to do just that. Things do not go smoothly. In fact, Bogart’s dual quests get him into still deeper trouble, both physical and emotional, intensifying his guilt.

Written in a breezy style, with plenty of moments that will have readers smiling and even chuckling aloud, Memoirs of a Bad Dog, though obviously very much an adventurous  fantasy, touches on some serious actualities, often prompting Bogart to sober reflections—e.g., “Great cosmic scales. They’re somewhere balancing everything out; I just know it. Everything has an opposite—black and white, good and evil, happiness and sorrow. Even you can see that. It’s because everything has to be balanced. That’s the greatest secret I know.”

Two caveats. First, I read the novel in the Kindle edition and found more than a few grammatical errors I don’t believe are meant to be intentional aspects of characterization. For instance: “I wonder if I would have been a good enough dog to broadside the German shepherd as my father did, or if I would have went for the chicken.” (Italics mine.) Second, one of the issues the story deals with is dog fighting, and to do so it depicts some examples and their aftermaths. These are fairly brief, but they are rather graphic. I never had the feeling they were included for the sake of cheesy sensationalism, but I suspect many readers will probably find them hard to take if they‘re dog lovers like I am—and I doubt that readers who don‘t love or at least like dogs will bother to pick up this book.

Caveats notwithstanding, Memoirs of a Bad Dog is a very entertaining, thoughtful, and moving novel. 

(c) 2014 by Barry Ergang

The Play of Light and Shadow is available at Amazon and Smashwords, along with some of Barry Ergang's other work, for a mere ninety-nine cents. Formerly the Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine and First Senior Editor of Mysterical-E, winner of the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s Derringer Award for the best flash fiction story of 2006, his written work has appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic.