The man known to others as Bryce
Scott isn’t thrilled about taking the “Lovely Lane Sliver Shadows” bus trip to
New Orleans. The possibility of a hurricane that is currently in the West
Indies arriving at New Orleans isn’t what concerns him. Not only is he doing to
be forced to spend time with other people from a local area church and talk to them, he is going to be forced
into dealing with the very real possibility his cover has been blown.
While it is October 1999 and years
since he testified, the mob never forgets. The mob in this case is the Vicario
crime family. Their capo, Boots Minelli, is in town. The only reason Bryce
Scott has a chance to do anything is Boots Minelli has had a very public heart
attack and is incapacitated. What he told the others is secondary to the very
real major question Bryce faces---what does he do now to stay alive?
As a hurricane gains strength and
leads towards New Orleans, Bryce Scott takes the bus trip and makes plans to
deal with ending the chase once for all. It has been a long time since he faced
the Germans in World War II, but he isn’t going down without a fight. How to do
it without involving innocent passengers is just one of a growing list of
problems he faces as the miles pass.
This is an interesting mystery
thriller style read that contains a few surprises. While it has less humor in
it than the Greg McKenzie Mysteries do, there are the occasional small bits
of humor. All and all, Hellbound by Chester Campbell is a
good read that keeps the reader turning the pages to see how Bryce will deal
with the killers after him as well as some of his fellow bus passengers. Some
of them just might be as bad as the killers.
As noted in the subtitle of 13
Shots of Noir the e-book contains 13 short, sharp stories of booze, bullets
and bodies. The read fully delivers on those aspects and plenty more. This
collection of dark tales by Paul D. Brazill opens with “The Tut.” While
comparisons to Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart are obvious, Oliver
Robinson has his own particular version of the nightmare in his west London
home. So much so he killed his wife, Gloria, just making things worse.
If you need “Anger Management” you
could see a therapist. Or, you could channel it by joining up with “The Squad”
which featured guys by the name of “Tubeway, Slammer” and Col. They go
the idea of football hooliganism by adding mugging to the mix. The four
guys are so good at it they begin to get paid by Mr. Bettis who assigns them a specific
job each month to accomplish.
Charlotte lives in East London in “The
Friend Catcher.” The title of the story is also her name for a rather creepy
neighbor who has tale of the past and a job for her.
When you are a serial killer
sometimes you need an assistant. Even better if the assistant has a dog as made
clear in “The Ballad Of The Kid.”
Though she came to the idea early,
it took a long time for Carole Parker to actually plan to kill her husband in
“The Man Behind The Curtain.” At least, that was her initial plan.
There are scores to settle at the
party after the screening in “The Final Cut.” The public drama on film only
hints at private situations.
Freddy in obsessed with a celebrity
known as “M.” In the story by the same name Freddy is finally going to meet his
“Mr. Kiss and Tell: A Peter Ord Investigation”
is one of the longer tales in the book. Told in five short parts, it follows
the case of Billy Kirby, who wants to find his missing wife and son. They had
good reason to flee all those years ago. Not that this private detective can’t
be too choosy as he doesn’t have that many cases as it is.
Father Tim thought he was done
hearing confessions at the end of one hot August day until Mad Mack showed up. Mad
Mack has bloody feet, a busted lip, and other issues as well as quite the tale
to tell. He wants to confess in “Sins of The Father.”
When you wake up after a night of
heavy drinking with torn and bloody clothes and your bedroom is trashed you
know things are not good. The fact that this sort of thing and more happens to
one guy on a fairly regular basis is the point of the tale “Drunk on The Moon.”
Brendan Burke was well known for his
regularity of a lifetime of habits. In “Everyday People” his regular schedule
isn’t easy to maintain after being run down by a scooter. He is going to need
some help once he gets home from the hospital.
Alison Day kept to herself and
stayed out of things. That is until a stranger in the street collapsed at her
feet in “Stamp Of A Vamp.”
“Thump” might mean somebody is in
the pub in the ground floor. It might be her as she has not been around in a
while. Or it might be something or someone else.
The 13 tales presented in 13
Shots Of Noir first appeared in 2009 and 2010 on a variety of websites.
Some are mystery related, some are more super natural type tales, but all are
good flash fiction or a little bit longer stories that are highly entertaining.
At 63 pages this is a fast read and a good introduction to the work of Paul D.
Brazill author of A
Case Of Noir,
Of Brixton among other works. Published by Untreed Reads this is a quality
read well worth your time.
Round six of chemo was cancelled today and rescheduled for next week. Sandi's blood numbers are way too low, almost at mandatory transfusion level, so they want to wait a week and see if her body will be able to respond on its own.
Sandi is supposed to start her sixth round of chemo today after she has her blood drawn for testing and she sees the doctor. She has had a very hard time of things the last several days and is having a hard time of it. If you have a spare minute or two please think of her today. Thank you.
The young lady in security
specialist Noah Milano’s office is very thin with blonde hair. In her early
twenties and very pretty, Noah considers the fact that she could be an acrobat. The alabaster skinned beauty’s name is
Wendy Schultz and she has a big problem that is far more down to earth.
Recently while in Mexico her car
broke down. After it was fixed, which took some time, she headed back to the border
to go home. Right before she got to the border she had a flat tire. She stopped
and checked the tire and discovered to her horror that it was full of cocaine.
In a panic she called a male friend who came down to help her. The two of them
discovered cocaine everywhere in the car and in all of the tires. Her and her friend
destroyed all of the drugs by flushing them down the toilet at a nearby truck
Eventually they got back across the
border without any problems. Since they were now back in the United States they
thought everything was over. Instead, some very scary guys have showed up at
her apartment looking for their drugs. When she didn’t have them they trashed
the place, put a gun to her head, and threatened her while they groped her.
Wendy is clearly terrified and Noah is sure he can help.
After arranging protection for
Wendy, Noah goes to work by contacting the garage where she had the work done. He
wants to scare the guys off of Wendy and end the problem before it gets any
worse. Maybe he should have body guarded the beautiful woman and sent the other
guy to talk to the garage guys.
Another good read in the Noah Milano series of books, this mystery
has plenty of action and quite a few twists and turns. Published in 2011 making
it one of the earlier reads in the series, The Alabaster Skinned Mule: A Noah Milano Novelette
is a good one.
The Alabaster Skinned Mule: A Noah
It is thriller time (way
“Hammer Time”) as Kaye George
reviews The Last Trade by James
Conway. Make sure you check out her other “Monday With Kaye” segments while you
are here as it is quite the reading list.
The Last Trade by James Conway
Strange as it may sound, this is a financial thriller. One might
think finance couldn’t be all that thrilling, but one would have to think
again. In Conway’s hands, it is.
The action starts in March of 2008 when a series of short trades
starts an evil ball rolling. I’m not sure I understand what a short trade is,
but that’s not necessary to appreciate what happens. If you do know what it is,
I imagine your enjoyment will escalate as you read this account of what happens
when a few greedy people manipulate a whole lot of rich investors. The mortgage
crisis of 2008 wasn’t bad for everyone. A hedge fund called Rising Fund made a
killing, thanks to Drew Havens.
Havens works as a “quant” for Rising Fund. That means he
quantifies market numbers, but more than that, he predicts with startling
accuracy what the market will do. He’s a different sort of person, low on
interpersonal skills, and one who sees the world in black and white. He’s the
Spock of the financial world, concentrating only on his job, which has cost
him, to his deep regret, his marriage. Havens took on a young protégé named
Danny Weiss, who wants to know what makes the world go round: love or money.
Weiss and Havens may be the only two honest employees at Rising Fund. That gets
them into a lot of trouble. Danny uncovers a horrific plot and, paranoid about
what he’s found, starts texting cryptic messages to Havens who, at first,
ignores them. Later, he finds he shouldn’t have.
The plot goes global as traders start ending up dead. In six
action-packed days, Havens must decipher what’s going on—and stop it. There are
other interesting characters from around the world who work to help Havens stop
the growing menace to the world economy, and more.
For a book about money and trading, this was, I must say, a thriller
of a page-turner!
Reviewed by Kaye George, Author
of Smoke for Suspense Magazine
GATHERING PREY John Sanford Reviewed by Barbara Fister
When Lucas Davenport's adopted daughter Letty befriends a traveler, she
discovers that a killer is finding victims among the rootless community.
MEMORY MAN David Baldacci Reviewed by Anne Corey
Former police detective Amos Decker has total recall of his life because
of a football injury and now must use all of his powers to figure out
who killed his family and who now may be targeting him and those around him.
DOUBLE VISION Colby Marshall Reviewed by Sharon Mensing
Dr. Jenna Ramey must determine who the Triple Shooter is, who is killing
women with connections to the number three, as well as the identity of
the manipulative psychopath who is pulling the killer's strings, before
a young witness is killed
MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD Charlaine Harris Reviewed by PJ Coldren
Psychic Manfred Bernardo settles in Midnight, Texas and finds out he's
among friends; the question becomes, "What became of Aubrey?"
FALLOUT Paul Thomas Reviewed by Karen Chisholm
Maori police sergeant Tito Ihaka must investigate the unsolved killing
of a seventeen-year-old girl at an election night party while
preoccupied with mysteries surrounding the death of his own father.
PLEASANTVILLE Attica Locke Reviewed by Christine Zibas
The murder of a young girl in Houston can have political overtones when
it disrupts the mayoral race in Houston.
TRUE BELIEVERS Michael Blair Reviewed by Meredith Frazier
Private Investigator Hack Loomis and his assistant Connie Noble
investigate the disappearance of Connie's friend Belle Ryerson who goes
missing after attending a meeting of UFO believers and soon find
themselves in the middle of a mystery involving murder, kidnapping, and
TATTERED LEGACY Shannon Baker Reviewed by Sharon Mensing
Nora Abbot’s friend is killed in a suspicious fall in Moab, Utah, and
Nora lands in the midst of a Mormon polygamist cult as she investigates.
FIREBREAK Tricia Fields Reviewed by Cathy Downs
Josie Gray, the Artemis, Texas chief of police, is directing an
evacuation during a wildfire when she finds a body in the home of the
town's well-known country singer.
JIGSAW MAN Elena Forbes Reviewed by Yvonne Klein
Two baffling mysteries confront Mark Tartaglia in the fourth in this
series. One concerns the murder of a woman he knows, the second the
presence of the body parts of four different people that have been
stitched together to make up one corpse.
THE RESISTANCE MAN Martin Walker Reviewed by Jim Napier
The chef de police of the small town of St. Denis, France is confronted
by a series of burglaries and an intriguing secret of a
recently-deceased member of the French Resistance dating back to the
Second World War.
A DANGEROUS PLACE Jacqueline Winspear Reviewed by Ann Pearson
Psychologically unready to return to England from her sojourn in India,
Maisie leaves the ship in Gibralter and quickly becomes involved in a
murder investigation that ultimately leads her to Spain during the Civil
DARK CITY LIGHTS:New York Stories Lawrence Block, ed. Reviewed by
Twenty-three short stories in a collection edited by Lawrence Block make
up this fourth in the HAVE A NYC series
BUZZ KILL Beth Fantaskey Reviewed by Ben Neal 0547393105 12
High School outcast Millie Ostermeyer tries to clear her father’s name
when the high school football coach is found murdered.
We post more than 900 new reviews a year -- all of them are archived on
the site -- as well as a new interview with a top author every issue.
Also up, reviews & giveaways of 3 more April Penguin
mysteries-"Shadow of a Spout" by Amanda Cooper, "The Readaholics
and the Falcon Fiasco": A Book Club Mystery by Laura DiSilverio, and "A
Fright to the Death": A Family Fortune Mystery by Dawn Eastman http://kingsriverlife.com/04/25/more-april-penguins/
This week, I'm giving away cozy mysteries set in shops, Jenn McKinlay's At
the Drop of a Hat and Fran Stewart's A Wee Murder in My Shop. Details on my
blog, http://www.lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com. Entries from the U.S.
this tale that takes the man known as “The Lawyer” on a new adventure.
As the work opens, the man known as
“The Lawyer” aka J. D. Miller is in pursuit of Lou Crenshaw. Unlike what he
used to do in the courtroom before a tragedy was unleased upon him and his
family, these days the man known as “The Lawyer” dispenses justice as he
sees fit based on his own interpretation and definition of law. Often that is “justice
by the gun.” Crenshaw may be one of the men that were involved in the slaughter
of Miller’s family. Whether or not the nearby shots at the non-descript broken
down farm were fired by Crenshaw is a question that has to be addressed.
What isn’t questionable is that,
thanks to the lawyer’s spyglass, he is able to spot three dead horses in the
coral at the farm below him. The horses have not been dead that long. More
importantly, one of the now dead horses is the same one that Lou Crenshaw had
been riding the last few days. The horses aren’t the only things that have been
shot. A man and a woman are both down just outside the barn.
As he watches he realizes the woman
is alive and very pregnant. She is also clearly trying to help her husband. If
Lou Crenshaw was trying to slow down his pursuer he has succeeded wonderfully
as the chase will have to wait because these folks urgently need help.
What follows is a typical Wayne D.
Dundee western filled with interesting multi-dimensional characters, plenty of
action and suspense, and a clear morality at work. This mighty good western is
followed by the original short tale “The Lawyer” making the reading experience
complete. Hopefully, this is the start of another great series much like the Cash
Laramie/Gideon Miles series.
week for Friday’s Forgotten Books I selected LAKE CHARLES by Ed Lynskey. This
mighty good book was also subject to one of our “Double
Take Book Reviews” a couple of years ago where Barry and I both reviewed
the same book. Patti has a lot going on these days, but I think she will have
the list later today. If she is
not doing it, she will have the information on the designated link gatherer
It is 1979 and Brendan Fishback
isn’t doing too well in the game called life. Waking up next to a dead woman
can cause huge problems. The fact that she, Ashleigh Sizemore, was the daughter
of the wealthy and powerfully connected, Ralph Sizemore is a huge problem. Word
is old Ralph is going to be a Senator. The fact that drugs were planted in the
room is a huge issue. The fact that Brendan keeps having strange dreams and
visions where the dead teenage girl talks to him about her murder is a huge
Despite the odds and the nice frame
job against him, Brendan Fishback gets out on bail. Besides avoiding the
shyster slime ball lawyer his mother, Mama Jo, hired for him Brendan plans to
go fishing with his brother in law and good friend, Cobb Kuzawa. A quiet couple
of days at Lake Charles, a local man-made lake created by the Tennessee Valley
Authority, will be as good a break as he can get these days.
Like Brandan, the best days seem to
have gone by the lake as it and the surrounding area is in bad shape. If trying
to detox from all the pot he has done isn’t enough, the area flat out reeks and
is depressing to look at. Back in the day, it used to be a happening place. Not
only is nobody apparently around, but there is the stench of rot and decay at
the marina area and large sections of the lake are fouled by algae scum. Not
only do they have to get the bass boats through that, Brendon has to listen to
his sister Edna and Cobb bicker.
Edna invited herself along and that
had not been the plan. What been initially planned as a guy trip has mutated
into a cranky family outing. Edna and Cobb fight constantly and both of them
are driving him nuts. Clearly, Edna should have never married Cobb and
certainly she should never have come on the trip. They are driving each other
nuts too and before long Edna rockets away on her jet ski towards the dam area
leaving the other two behind on the lake in their boats.
And she never comes back.
The search is soon on and leads
Brendan and Cobb into a violent confrontation. The first of many confrontations
proving that the lake area is not at all deserted like they thought. Brendan
wants his sister back, alive and in one piece, and knows too well they can’t
get help from the corrupt local police. The trail of the missing Edna leads
back and forth across the Lake Charles area and the Tennessee Mountains while
Brendan soldiers on getting the answers he seeks. Some of them won’t be pretty.
The front cover has a blurb quote
from author Ed Gorman, "Lake Charles is going to scorch your soul . . .
I loved it." That pretty much sums up things very well for this very
complicated book where everyone has a dark backstory that gradually comes out.
A dark and twisted noir tale that starts with a bang and goes in many different
ways by use of dreams and flashbacks and forward literary narrative before
bringing the whole thing to a surprising conclusion.
Simply put, Lake Charles
by Ed Lynskey is a mighty good book and one well worth your time.
Texas On The Table: People, Places,
and Recipes Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State does exactly what the title suggests in every way possible.
Part of that is in the text by Terry Thompson-Anderson. Part of that is by way
of the gorgeous photography by Sandy Wilson. The combination works incredibly
well from start to finish.
A cookbook that easily doubles as a
coffee table book, this massive tome at more than 450 pages features a ton of
recipes to take you through every meal every day of the year. Every meal,
holiday or otherwise is covered as are snacks and appetizers of all types. The
pictures often paired with the detailed recipes tell the tale of the people and
the land. Like a lot of cookbook this one does not have anything on fat/salt
counts in the recipes or how to adjust any of the recipes based on dietary need.
But, if you are going to eat “Bison
Enchiladas with Green Chile Crema, Pickled Red Onion Slaw, and Serrano Pico De Gallo”
(pages 282-284) or nearly anything other delectable thing in this cookbook you
probably are not really worried about fat or salt intake. You can always finish
things up with “San Sabu Texas Pecan Pie” (437-438) or “Bananas Foster Cream Pie” (page 436-438).
A four page index as well as an
eight page recipe index brings this visually stunning book to a close.
Even if you don’t cook or intend to
On The Table: People, Places, and Recipes Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone
Star State as a cookbook you will want this one for the photographs and
history contained within this excellent book. Published by the University of
Texas Press at $45 it pretty much works out to a buck a page. It is well worth
Texas On The Table: People, Places,
and Recipes Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State
As A Deadly Affair At Bobtail Ridge
opens Samuel Craddock is awakened by a pounding at his door. His neighbor, Jenny
Sandstone is on his porch and very upset. Her mom, Vera Sandstone, apparently has had a
stroke and has been rushed to a hospital in nearby Bobtail, Texas. Jenny needs
to get to the hospital and wants Samuel to call Truly Bennett to take care of
her horses. Despite his aversion to horses, Samuel takes care of them himself
and before long he is at the hospital.
Once there he comes upon an obvious confrontation of
some sort in the hallway near Vera’s room between Jenny and some guy who has
gone so far as grab her arm. Chief of Police Sheriff Samuel Craddock inserts
himself in the situation and learns the man is named Wilson Landreau. He is a
public defender and Jenny refers to the whole incident as politics. Jenny makes
it clear that not only is there nothing to talk about, she does not want Samuel
Craddock involved in any way. One wonders how she would characterize Vera’s
cryptic warning to Samuel Craddock just a few minutes later about Jenny being
Good thing he also knows a thing of two about police
work while living in this South Texas rural area located in the middle of the
triangle formed by Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. He has been Chief of
Police for Jarret Creek before and while he did not really want the job again
he is very good at it. It does not take long for Craddock to come to the
conclusion that Vera may have been right in her warning. Jenny is clearly in a
world of trouble on multiple fronts and refusing any and all offers of help. Who
is messing with her and why are just two questions that need to be answered as
things escalate. How current events link back to an unspoken horror from more
than a decade ago drive the majority of this book.
That is not to say that the various secondary
storylines present in earlier books do not continue here. They do which is why this excellent series
should absolutely be read in order. Like any real good series, characters grow
and evolve, relationship dynamics change, and people age as the books move
forward in time. Of course, you could read this fourth installment in the
series first, but you really need to go back to the beginning with the award
Killing At Cotton Hill.
Deadly Affair At Bobtail Ridge: A Samuel Cradock Mystery
Back home and Sandi is doing "okay." Blood work came back relatively stable so they gave her the white blood cell boosting shot. Evaluated a couple of other things that have been bugging her and it would appear progress is being made. In short, it was a mainly positive today.... at least for the short term.
We do it all again Friday.
Assuming she remains relatively stable they are going to try and do another chemo round next week.
If you ever wanted to know more
about garlic the book Garlic, An Edible Biography might be
the book for you. As the subtitle makes clear the book is about The
History, Politics, and Mythology behind the World’s Most Pungent Food with over
100 Recipes. Written by Robin Cherry, travel writer and historian, the book
is split into two sections regarding history and recipes.
After an introduction from author
Robin Cherry on how important and meaningful garlic has been to her, it is on
to “Part One: The Story Of Garlic.” The four chapters in this section of over
100 pages explain the history of garlic in food, health, and literature, modern
uses, and how to grow your own. Also included in this section are short bios of
all the various garlic types which number far more than what you will ever find
in your local store or produce market.
“Part Two: Recipes” begins on
page 117 with a 4 page recipe list of all the recipes and their corresponding
page numbers. That is followed by three pages on how to properly handle garlic
before one moves on to “Dips, Sauces and Condiments” on page 125-130. All
of that prepares you for “Bread, Pizza, and Pasta” (pages 141-146), “Beef”
(pages 197-202), “Side Dishes” (pages 227-232) and more. Each recipe has an
intro that often features a cooking tip or other advice that might include
another history lesson, a list of ingredients needed, and instructions that include
information on number of servings.
An acknowledgement page, a two page
bibliography, an 11 page index, and a one page short author bio bring this 265
page book to a close.
While Garlic, An Edible Biography
is interesting it suffers from two significant drawbacks. Surprising it does
not contain any pictures of the various garlic types the book covers nor does
it contain any pictures of the finished dishes. In addition to the lack of pictures
that would have helped break up the bland and very dry text, there is zero nutritional
information regarding fat/salt content or other possible dietary restrictions
Garlic, An Edible Biography is quite the garlic resource. With the noted forgoing limitations,
if you want to know quite a lot more about garlic and how to use it, this is a
book worthy of your consideration.
Garlic, An Edible Biography: The
History, Politics, and Mythology behind the World’s Most Pungent Food with over
Roost Books (Imprint of Shambhala
Back in October 2011, Snubnose Press published a collection of stories titled Monkey Justice: Stories . It took me quite a few months to...
Supporting The Blog
In my wife's memory and honoring a promise I made to Sandi, the blog continues...at least for now. If you would like to make a donation of support, you can do so at the links below. Most of the donated funds go to the purchase of various short story anthologies and collections which eventually are read and reviewed here.