Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ed Gorman's blog: Guns by Ed McBain Random House, Copyright 1976

Ed Gorman's blog: Guns by Ed McBain Random House, Copyright 1976

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Slow Sad Season Start

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Slow Sad Season Start: The new season so far hasn't been all that great, at least as far as the major traditional networks go. Things like " Doctor Wh...

Why this Author Walked Away from a $25,000 Advance to Publish His Novel Independently (Bob Mayer's Blog-Write On The River)

Why this Author Walked Away from a $25,000 Advance to Publish His Novel Independently (Bob Mayer's Blog-Write On The River)

The South Jersey Writers' Group Blog: Announcing the Biff Bam Pop! Podcast Network

The South Jersey Writers' Group Blog: Announcing the Biff Bam Pop! Podcast Network: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Toronto, Ontario/Marlton, New Jersey - Pop culture website Biff Bam Pop! today announces the launch of the Biff B...

Review: "Dragon By The Bay" by Garnett Elliott

A tale by Garnet Elliott is always a good one full of pulpy goodness as Garnet Elliot never disappoints. Such is the case with Dragon By The Bay, his latest novelette set in San Francisco in 1866. The Civil War is over, the Gold Rush is very much on, and people are active above and below ground with many of them pawns in various nefarious schemes. This is not a genteel San Francisco, but a city of criminal chaos where anything goes and often does.

Carson Lowe is newly arrived in San Francisco having come over on the ferry from Oakland with very little money in his pockets. He has plans and dreams, but they suffered a nearly fatal setback recently when he was in Nevada where he nearly lost all of his money and his life. The current plan is stay low and be careful. That was the plan before he saw the men of very hard appearance roaming the streets, members of some sort of vigilance committee, clearly looking for somebody to take their frustrations out on as soon as possible. Carson determines it is a good idea to get off the streets as quickly as possible and goes into a nearby tavern.

Once inside he spots a poker game underway. That game just might be the place to run his time tested scam regarding a mine of sliver just waiting to be excavated. The problem with time tested scam is that others may be aware of the scam and not take kindly to your attempt to scam them. They may inflict heavy violence upon you before making sure you wind up in the local jail.

That is exactly what happens to Carson Lowe in short order. Once in the local jail he is witness to the rescue of a fellow prisoner by the name of Nine Serpens Hsien. A legendary figure in San Francisco and a man that is said to be immortal with inconceivable powers.

What follows is a kung fu adventure style story that is a fast moving tale of deceit, alliances, and martial arts in a time tested tale of the battle between evil and those who oppose evil. Frequently the flying fists are as fast as lightning, as are the feet and a few other things as the action moves around and below the city of San Francisco. Paying homage to the movie Big Trouble in Little China, author Garnett Elliott has penned a complex novelette that is a sheer blast to read. No matter how you label it if you call it a western, a kung fu adventure, or something else, Dragon By The Bay, is packed top to bottom in pulpy goodness and delivers an excellent read.

Dragon By The Bay
Garnett Elliott
Beat To A Pulp
September 2015
ISBN# 978-1943035113
Paperback (also available as an e-book)
122 Pages

Paperback was supplied by the publisher in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: The Bastard Executioner

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: The Bastard Executioner: I loved Kurt Sutter's "Sons of Anarchy." Sure, it wasn't perfect - I wish I'd skipped the Ireland season, and of c...

Dreamlands – Ch. 30 (Brainsnorts Blog)

Dreamlands – Ch. 30 (Brainsnorts Blog)

Shooting for the Stars by R. G. Belsky/ Reviewed by Kimn Hinkson (Killer Nashville Book Of The Day)

Shooting for the Stars by R. G. Belsky/ Reviewed by Kimn Hinkson (Killer Nashville Book Of The Day)

Market Call-- Dark Crime Novellas for Dark Passages Publishing

Dark Passages Publishing, a new genre imprint of ELJ Publications, is seeking dark crime novella manuscript submissions for our 2016 catalogue.

Give us something nebulous, something gritty, something radical, compelling stories with intriguing characters and quality writing.

We accept manuscripts from 15,000-35,000 words.

Please submit original material only; no reprints. We do not accept multiple submissions. Please submit the entire
manuscript in PDF format. Manuscripts must include word count and pagination.

We read BLIND. Please do not include any personal or biographical information in the coverletter or submission itself. Failure to comply with our guidelines may result in a delay of considering your submission and/or declination of your work.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable so long as we are notified in your coverletter and if/when your work is accepted by another press. We do not permit multiple submissions. You may submit again only after you receive a declination.

If your work is accepted by another press, please let us know where it was accepted in your withdrawal so we can send our many congratulations.

Please forward your manuscript to darkpassagespublishingATgmailDOTcom. We aim to respond to your submission within 4-8 weeks of receipt.

Please address any questions to darkpassagespublishingATgmailDOTcom.

SleuthSayers: Bouchercon Anthony Award Short Story Countdown

SleuthSayers: Bouchercon Anthony Award Short Story Countdown: by Paul D. Marks I’m turning over my post today to the Anthony Short Story Nominees Blog Tour. (Try saying that ten times quickly.) The ...

Review: "Flash And Bang: A Short Mystery Fiction Society Anthology" Edited by J. Alan Hartman

After watching the success of anthologies from other writers groups have had in recent months, the members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society embarked on their own anthology. Over three hundred entries were whittled down to the final nineteen tales showcased in the book. Variety is the key in Flash And Bang: A Short Mystery Fiction Society Anthology. Edited by J. Alan Hartman, the read features tales that cross time as well as space in terms of geographic locations.

After a short introduction by current SMFS President Jan Christensen, it is on to the stories. Herschel Cozine leads things off with his flash tale “The Perfect Crime.”  Imagine, if you will, all of the great fictional detectives gathered together to discuss one case.

Bobbie A. Chukran comes next with “The Conflagration at the Nameless Cotton Gin.” The title easily
enough explains what happened, but the why of the event is a bit more complicated.

“Murder on Elm Street” by Su Kopil comes next with a tale where a power outage on a brutally cold night drives nearby neighbors to the one house that has power. It is fitting on a night such as this that it is time for a twenty-two year old cold case to be finally solved.

P. A. Devoe takes readers back in time to a China of long ago in “Fireworks (From Judge Lu’s Ming Dynasty Case Files)". During the annual celebration of the monk Li Tian and his invention of fireworks, Lu is informed there has been a death at the nearby shop of the Lie brothers out on Xiao Di Road. The accident requires the immediate attention and investigation by Judge Lu.

Receiving unwanted attention from a bag lady is not a good thing. Even if she does give good advice in “The Bag Lady” by Laurie Stevens.

The chaos of a rapidly moving wildfire might be the perfect time to murder someone and get away with it. Tim Wohlforth examines the possibilities in “Sierra Noir.”

The Vikings have harnessed steam power in this alternative history mystery titled “Thor’s Breath” by Suzanne Berube Rorhus. It is the year of the Christian Lord 627, and this small area of coastal Norway has one mechanical healer by the name of Hamarr. He is possession of a magical new material from the Far East that has wonderfully intriguing possibilities if it can be harnessed.

Debbie and her companion, Arthur, have a job to do at Detweiller Industries. “Arthur” by Sandra Murphy is a clever and fun story that takes a little while to figure out.

The morning after is rough for Keith in “Fractured Memories” by Julie Tollefson. Andrea’s latest Fourth of July party was a real blast and Keith is paying the price. Somebody else paid a far bigger price due to last night’s events in this complicated tale.

A hostage situation that is gradually getting worse is at work in “Don’t Let the Cop into the House” by O’Neil De Noux. The small brick home in Lakeview was flooded during Katrina and was put back together. Somehow the police now have to save homeowner Mike Agrippa, who is drowning in his own way.

When men want protection money the elderly grandmother has few choices in “Rosie’s Choice” by John M. Floyd. These are not the kind of customers she needs in the store the day before Independence Day.

Readers again go back in time in the next story. “Don’t Be Cruel” by Joanne Lucas takes readers to June 1957 in Fresno, California where Homicide Detective Frank Ransom has a new case. Ransom thinks of movies quite a lot and sees the world as a movie scenario. Before he can make it all fade to black he needs to figure out who killed the woman in the diner and why.

Brigid Morgan is the client and she claims somebody is blackmailing her over some very adult pictures that were taken 15 years ago. As the new CEO of an internet search engine company she knows that once she starts paying it will never end in “A Simple Job” by Andrew MacRae. She has a plan and first she needs the identity of the blackmailer.

Twenty years later, Carly is back to the Quick ‘N Slow Diner located close to the nearby cabins. As a child, she came there with her family when they rented out one of the cabins. In trying to find herself, Carly unwittingly finds much more about others in “Beautiful Killer” by Judy Penz Sheluk.

Being a hooker is a tough job, but finding your client dead in a bed is a real problem. So too is the female already in the room in “The Fruit of Thy Loins” by Albert Tucher. Good thing Diana can fight and knows at least one good cop.

The small town of Sentry, Texas is the location for “The Raymond Chandler Con” by Earl Staggs. Murder is not supposed to happen in a small town such as Sentry, which is why Police Chief Harry Phillips left the job in Dallas and came here. The murder victim’s best friend, Martha Robinson, has no police experience, but she reads a lot of mysteries. She has an idea how to solve the case with or without Harry’s help.

No one ever takes notice of the janitor as he or she goes about doing a very necessary job. The person doing the cleaning blends into the background. Such is the case here in “The Wrong Girl” by Barb Goffman, where the janitor overhears a plot by three teens at an elite private school.

It has been three weeks, the ransom was paid quite some time ago, and the child still has not been returned in “Silent Measures” by BV Lawson. Scott Drayco, a private consultant, has been brought in to help find the boy who vanished from his boarding school.

A tale translated by Willem Verhulst is the final entry in the anthology. “A Day Like No Other” by Walter A. P. Soethoudt follows a Lieutenant Belloc as he goes through his day in Antwerp while thinking about the past and the many changes in the city.

Short author bios for the contributors bring the read to a close.

While not every story in the book is an actual obvious mystery, all of the stories have a mystery at the core. Some are more mysteries of the mind where characters think about their past actions and the resulting ramifications, while other tales are very much in the moment where one can smell the blood on the floor and the cordite in the air. Filled with interesting tales of complicated characters dealing with events in their lives, Flash And Bang: A Short Mystery Fiction Society Anthology brings a pleasant read by way of a variety of stories. As in other anthologies, each reader will have his or her own personal favorites among the 170 pages, but all the tales presented are good ones in their own way. 

Flash And Bang: A Short Mystery Fiction Society Anthology
Edited by J. Alan Hartman
Untreed Reads Publishing
October 8, 2015
170 Pages

While I am a writer as well as a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society I did not submit a story for this anthology. Material supplied by the publisher in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

Gravetapping: Available Now: "The Marilyn Tapes"

Gravetapping: Available Now: "The Marilyn Tapes": “ Ed Gorman’s writing is strong, fast and sleek as a bullet. He is one of the best. ” —Dean Koontz Purchase a copy of The Marilyn T...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Madam, Will You Talk? By Mary Stewart

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Madam, Will You Talk? By Mary Stewart: Reviewed by Jeanne Charity is on a trip to Provence with her friend Louise, trying to distract herself.  Her RAF pilot husband ...

Dead with the Wind by Miranda James (Lesa's Book Critiques)

Dead with the Wind by Miranda James (Lesa's Book Critiques)

Blood-Red Pencil: Taking It to the Mainstream

Blood-Red Pencil: Taking It to the Mainstream: Once your book is released, how can you reach readers? Getting noticed by the mainstream audience isn't easy, and can be costly. No long...

Justice Isn't Always a Straight Path (Lindy's Lair)

Justice Isn't Always a Straight Path (Lindy's Lair)

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Book Signing Tonight

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Book Signing Tonight: I'll be in Austin this evening to sign books at Book People along with Ben Rehder and Reavis Wortham .  All you Austin folks come on out...

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup September 28 - October 4

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup September 28 - October 4: Bookish events in Texas for the week of September 28 - October 4, 2015:  Special Events: Voces Americanas : Latino Literature in the Unite...

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers: No Fees to Apply. All Paying Gigs (The Practicing Writer)

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers: No Fees to Apply. All Paying Gigs (The Practicing Writer)

Monday With Kaye: "The Sound of Broken Glass" by Deborah Crombie (Reviewed by Kaye George)

This week Kaye George offers her thoughts on another author and series I have not read. According to the all-powerful and all-knowing Amazon, The Sound of Broken Glass published in February of 2013 is the 15th novel in a series that began in 1993 with A Share In Death.

The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie

Crombie just gets better and better. This Kincaid and Gemma British procedural mystery gripped me from beginning to end.

The story opens with the glass in a shop window tossing one of the characters back fifteen years. From there, alternating the present day story with the older one, the reader can barely get up for a drink of water, following the stories of Andy, a gifted guitarist with an inauspicious beginning in life, his fellow band members, his manager, and a producer who may be the making of Andy, and tracing the stories of two barristers who are found dead in exactly the same manner, apparently by the same murderer, though there seems to be no connection between them.

The Crystal Palace building, built in 1851 as a modern marvel of engineering, and enduring as a spectacle in another form at another site well into the next century, was destroyed by fire in 1936. The south London area where it last stood is now called Crystal Palace, and it is here that the story takes place.

Gemma is on this case while her husband, Kincaid is on Daddy Duty for their three adopted children. That’s because the youngest, three-year-old Charlotte, can’t attend her nursery school because she’s terrified of new people and situations, so Kincaid is stuck. He’s getting restless being away from work this long. Gemma’s partner, Melody, an unlikely cop from a privileged background, gets herself into some trouble that not only gets in the way of the investigation, but threatens to ruin things for several people.

Not wanting to ruin this read for you, I’ll quit here. But there’s a lot more to this tale than I can squeeze in this review.

Bonus: a delightful tour of London, with local history, thrown in by way of the chapter headers.

Reviewed by Kaye George author of  Broke for Suspense Magazine

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Book Review: Blood Red by Wendy Corsi Staub (Buried Under Books)

Book Review: Blood Red by Wendy Corsi Staub (Buried Under Books)

The Story Behind the Story: “Spanish Luck,” by Robert Skinner (and a link to Bill Crider's review)

The Story Behind the Story: “Spanish Luck,” by Robert Skinner

Bill Crider's Review from earlier this month can be found here.

A High Ridge Homecoming by Sarah M. Chen (Shotgun Honey)

 A High Ridge Homecoming by Sarah M. Chen  (Shotgun Honey)

Little Big Crimes: The Discovery, by Meg Opperman

Little Big Crimes: The Discovery, by Meg Opperman: "The Discovery," by Meg Opperman, in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Issue 18, 2015. Celeste is a young woman studying at a ...

Crime Watch: Review: THE HUNDREDTH MAN

Crime Watch: Review: THE HUNDREDTH MAN: THE HUNDREDTH MAN by Jack Kerley (HarperCollins, 2005) Reviewed by Craig Sisterson A cracking debut that introduces intriguing young A...

These 10 Towns In Texas Have The Most Breathtaking Scenery In The State

These 10 Towns In Texas Have The Most Breathtaking Scenery In The State

Killing A Chair For Fun AND Science

Firearms Test: Bullets versus Plastic Chair (Righting Crime Fiction)

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2015: Celebrating the Freedom to...

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2015: Celebrating the Freedom to...: __________________________________________________________ Banned Books Week Proclamation ___________________________________________...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bullet Points: Friday Sweep-Up Edition (The Rap Sheet)

Bullet Points: Friday Sweep-Up Edition (The Rap Sheet)

KRL This Week Update

Up this morning in KRL reviews & giveaways of 4 more September mysteries from Penguin & Kensington authors-"Basket Case" by Nancy Haddock​, "Murder She Wrote Death of a Blue Blood" by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain, "Swag Bags and Swindlers" by Dorothy Howell, and "The Marsh Madness": A Book Collector Mystery by Victoria Abbott​

Also up, a review & giveaway of "Peril by Ponytail" by Nancy J. Cohen along with an interesting interview with Nancy

And we have a review & giveaway of "Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons" by Denise Grover Swank

And we have the latest mystery Coming Attractions by Sunny Frazier​, along with giveaways of books by Kathleen Bridge​, Linda Thorne, and Neil Plakcy

And a review & giveaway of "Nun Too Soon" by Alice Loweecey

We also have a mystery short story by Guy Belleranti

And for some sci-fi/fantasy with your mystery, we have a review & giveaway of "Breakout" by Ann Aguirre
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

Seven Tips From William Faulkner on How to Write Fiction (Open Culture)

Seven Tips From William Faulkner on How to Write Fiction (Open Culture)

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: WHAT INSPIRES YOU?: What inspires you? Tell me in a comment to be in a drawing for a free e-book.  Research is a large part of a writer’s world, especially...

The Non-Gamer's Gamer's Blog: X-Man

The Non-Gamer's Gamer's Blog: X-Man: Because I'm a comic book guy, when I say "X-Man" you all probably think I'm talking about Nathaniel Grey, that alternat...

The Education of a Pulp Writer: Miles to Lost Dog Creek by Ron Scheer

The Education of a Pulp Writer: Miles to Lost Dog Creek by Ron Scheer: Ron Scheer   completed “Miles to Lost Dog Creek” in 2012. Unfortunately, I was top heavy at the time with Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles sto...

Lesa's Latest Contest-- Texas Lawmen Giveaway

Read and reviewed Shames' book here and Crider's here. Enjoyed both of these and strongly recommend them. Go enter. You can thank me later.

No; I'm sorry. I'm not giving away Texas Lawmen, but, instead, mysteries featuring them. This week, you could win Terry Shames' Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek or Bill Crider's Half in Love with Artful Death. Details on my blog at Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine  

Nevada Roadkill: Roadkill Review: Wake Up Time To Die by Chris Rhatigan

Nevada Roadkill: Roadkill Review: Wake Up Time To Die by Chris Rhat...: WAKEUP TIME TO DIE is a stunning collection of shorts from author and All Due Respect front-man Chris Rhatigan. I had the privilege o...

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Getting Prepped for the New Season

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Getting Prepped for the New Season: Just a recap of my reviews to get ready for what's coming this season… " Arrow " begins its fourth season on October 7th...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pet Scan Results

The results of the Pet Scan were not good. While the chemo did shrink some of the non hodgkins cancers, there are multiple new mass sites at the back of her intestinal tract along each side of the spinal column. They could be inflammation points as the particular type of chemo she has been taking can cause such points. However, all who have looked at the images strongly believe the sites are a new cancer that is NOT anything she has ever had before. If they are what they think they are this is going to be very difficult to treat.

One factor leading them to believe this is a new cancers at work is due to the fact that they have explosively grown since the last scan a couple of months ago when there was no sign of anything. One of the things that took so long this morning was waiting for the experts to take another look at today's results in comparison to the last scan as well as earlier ones. There is no question this is an all new problem. Whether this deal is responsible for her strange blood loss that has plagued her the last seven weeks nobody knows at this point.

So, next Thursday we will be spending the day at the hospital while they pump stuff into her and then do a CT guided biopsy and take samples from the sites. They hope to do this as an outpatient deal.

The following Wednesday we go in to see the doctor and find out the results.

Obviously, this is a tough blow. We are just stunned. As always, Sandi has taken the news way better than I did. She is mad and not giving up. The fight goes on.....

Crime Review Update--New Issue

In our new edition of Crime Review ( this week we
have 16 reviews, together with William Shaw in the Countdown interview hot
Crime Review may be followed on Twitter: @CrimeReviewUK
Linda Wilson may be followed on Twitter: @CrimeReviewer
Sharon Wheeler may be followed on Twitter: @lartonmedia

This week’s reviews are:
OBLIVION by Arnaldur Indridason, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
1953: A young girl disappears on her way to college. A newly-promoted
detective Erlendur is only starting out. 1979: A woman discovers a corpse
floating in a blue lagoon. Erlendur is obsessed, though, with the cold case.

THE SEEKER by SG MacLean, reviewed by John Cleal
Damien Seeker is a mystery. His family and past are unknown, but as an
enforcement agent for Oliver Cromwell he is known and feared as a ruthless
investigator, sworn to protect the ruler of England at any cost.

I AM DEATH by Chris Carter, reviewed by Madeleine Marsh
Seven days after Nicole Wilson goes missing, her body is found in a field
outside LA International Airport. She has been tortured and her body posed.
A posed corpse means a ritual, which gives Detective Richard Hunter limited
time until the killer does it again.

SHOTS FIRED by CJ Box, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Ten stories from the foothills of the Rockies, home to game warden Joe
Pickett, and all featuring some sort of conflict.

BITTER FRUITS by Alice Clark-Platts, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler
DI Erica Martin is drawn into the privileged world of university students
and the murky world of social networking after first year student Emily
Brabants is found dead.

THIEVES FALL OUT by Cameron Kay (Gore Vidal), reviewed by Chris Roberts
Pete Wells is stranded in Cairo when his money is stolen, and is induced to
act as a courier. But he soon realises that he has become mixed up in
something very murky.

NOBODY WALKS by Mick Herron, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
His son’s apparent suicide brings Tom Bettany back to the UK, determined to
find some answers.

AT THE RUIN OF THE WORLD by John Henry Clay, reviewed by John Cleal
The western Roman empire is collapsing with its rulers relying on unstable
alliances with barbarians while fighting among themselves. Three young
people hang on the dream that Rome can be great once more, but how can they
save it, or themselves?

THE KILLING KIND by Chris Holm, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Michael Hendricks is a contract killer, but his quarry is other killers.
The only problem is that one of them has his sights fixed firmly on him.

THE CASE OF THE HAIL MARY CELESTE by Malcolm Pryce, reviewed by John Cleal
Railway detective Jack Wenlock sets out to solve the 30-year-old mystery of
a party of missing nuns and finds love – and problems with the secret state.

WALKING BY NIGHT by Kate Ellis, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler
A young woman insists she has seen a dead body down an alleyway – but when
police investigate, there’s nothing there. DI Joe Plantagenet is inclined
to believe her, though.

MOCKINGBIRD SONGS by RJ Ellory, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Henry Quinn is released from prison and embarks on a mission to deliver a
letter penned by his cellmate to a daughter he has never met.

THE BLOOD WHISPERER by Zoe Sharp, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Former crime scene investigator Kelly Jacks simply can’t ignore the
evidence, even though it’s not her business and no longer her job.

THE THIEF TAKER by CS Quinn, reviewed by John Cleal
As the plague wracks London, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly takes
on a murder investigation and becomes involved in a world of intrigue and
witchcraft in which he is the hunted as well as the hunter.

DEAD AND BURIED (audiobook) by Anne Cassidy, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Rose and Joshua’s search for their missing parents continues, but events
take an unexpected turn when a body is discovered buried in the garden of
the house they used to live in.

BLOOD OF MY BLOOD by Barry Lyga, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Jasper Dent – Jazz to his friends – knows he’s the only person who can end
a serial killer’s reign of terror, but as the killer in question is his own
father, it’s never going to be an easy job.

Best wishes


An Interview With Linda Castillo (Buried Under Books)

One of my favorite authors, Linda Castillo, who writes the Kate Burkholder series. To me the books are not at all thrillers, but are mysteries. Not that I would ever argue with the author....

An Interview With Linda Castillo (Buried Under Books)

FFB Review: "FAT OLLIE'S BOOK" (2002) by Ed McBain (Reviewed by Barry Ergang)

As we continue the run up to Ed Mcbain day next Friday on Patti Abbot’s blog, I thought I would run again a review of Barry’s that first appeared here a few years ago. Last week was THE LAST BEST HOPE. This week it is FAT OLLIE’S BOOK. As always, after you read the review below head over to Patti’s blog for the list of reading recommendations.

FAT OLLIE'S BOOK (2002) by Ed McBain

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

City councilman Lester Henderson and his staff are setting up in Martin Luther King Memorial Hall for a rally during which Henderson will announce that he's running for mayor. While Henderson is practicing a walk across the stage to a podium, multiple shots explode from somewhere in the building and he falls dead. Because the Hall is in the Eighty-Eighth Precinct, the foul-mouthed, obese, gluttonous bigot Oliver Wendell Weeks is the detective assigned to the case. Because the victim lived in the Eighty-Seventh Precinct, Ollie requests help from that quarter, and Detectives Steve Carella and Bert Kling are stuck
with the task of working under his direction.

As excited as he is to be working his first high-profile case in a long time, Ollie is equally excited about his novel entitled Report to the Commissioner, which was written (on a typewriter) in the form of an official report. He has written it using the pseudonym Olivia Wesley Watts, who in her "report" is explaining to the Commissioner how she has come to be locked in a basement with over two million dollars' worth of diamonds. All but the last chapter has been revised, and Ollie has put the thirty-six pages of the preceding chapters into a dispatch case, intending to have it copied at a Kinko's. ("Less is more. That's an adage amongst us writers," he tells his sister when she questions whether he's really written a novel-length manuscript.)

When the dispatch case is stolen in a smash-and-grab from Ollie's car while he's inside King Memorial Hall, its recovery takes precedence over the Henderson murder, as far as he's personally concerned. Unbeknownst to him, the thief is one Emilio Herrera, a cross-dressing prostitute and drug addict who, upon reading the fiction, believes it to be a true but "coded" account, and who endeavors to break the code so as to get his hands on the diamonds.

Meanwhile, Detective Eileen Burke, who has just joined the Eighty-Seventh squad, is partnered with Andy Parker, a man whose attitude is as odious as Ollie's. One of Parker's informants tells them of a major drug deal that's going down in six days in the basement of a building somewhere in the city. What basement he doesn't know because the address keeps changing. He's only certain that the people involved aren't amateurs. He's somewhat wrong about that, however, as the reader learns soon afterward.

While Carella and Kling–and sometimes Ollie, when he's not trying to track down his manuscript–try to solve the Henderson murder, Burke and Parker's case becomes unwittingly entwined with Emilio's quest to locate the basement where Olivia Wesley Watts and the diamonds are held, resulting in some
moments worthy of a good sitcom.  

The reader also gets to join Emilio in reading Ollie's book, sections of which are scattered throughout the broader narrative. These make for great comedy in themselves, loaded as they are with English usage uncertainties–e.g.:

"Because that's where Lock lost him because, you should pardon this, Commish–and this is just between you and I, or maybe even you and me–he had to relieve himself....So it was with considerably great expectations that I took the call from The Needle that morning. Hopefully, The Needle...

"Or perhaps I hoped The Needle...

"Or maybe I was even hopeful that The Needle...

Hopefully, The Needle would have some information on Grant or his missing wife Marie or his cousin Ambrose Fields."

I was fourteen when I first read an Eighty-Seventh Precinct novel, 'Til Death, and I've been a fan ever since. The fifty-second entry in the series, Fat Ollie's Book has at least as much verve as the earliest entries, and quite possibly more. Ed McBain's characters, including many of the minor ones, are three-dimensional figures. His narrative style is laced with wry humor. His ear for dialogue is and always has been impeccable and unerring. His pacing is flawless.

As is, or even like, nearly every Eighty-Seventh Precinct mystery, Fat Ollie's Book is superb entertainment.  

Barry Ergang ©2012, 2015

Winner of the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2007 Derringer Award in the Flash Fiction category, Barry Ergang’s written work has appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. Some of it is available at Amazon and at Smashwords. His website is

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pierce’s Picks-- A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction

Pierce’s Picks-- A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction

Smashwords: Oyster and the KDP Select Party Train

Smashwords: Oyster and the KDP Select Party Train: Word came out yesterday afternoon that Oyster is "sunsetting" their business, a polite euphemism for "closing." I re...

Righting Crime Fiction welcomes Frank Zafiro! (Righting Crime Fiction by BJ Bourg)

Righting Crime Fiction welcomes Frank Zafiro! (Righting Crime Fiction by BJ Bourg)

Dreamlands – Ch. 29 (Brainsnorts: trashing today for a better tomorrow)

Dreamlands – Ch. 29 (Brainsnorts: trashing today for a better tomorrow)

PET Scan Done

Sandi's Pet Scan is now done. They are working on expediting the processing of the information so the cancer doctor has it early tomorrow morning for our appointment. Hopefully, it will show that the chemo is working on the cancer throughout her body.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Our Day

Been gone all day until moments ago because I along with Scott were doing things for my elderly Mom after we had our doctor appointment deals this morning. Scott has been determined to be fine and normal despite the fact that I am his father.

While I am certainly NOT any better, I am not measurably worse either regarding my various conditions. He is most concerned about the stress I am under as well as my worsening mobility and pain issues. he would like me to see a pain management specialist. My doc wants me to discuss with a specialist the idea of the surgical implantation deal where they insert the little box and hook it up to the nerves to provide a steady current to stimulate the nerves and cut the pain.

The idea of having anything surgical done to me is not really something I am on board with for a variety of reasons including the down time. I am the sole driving support here and we have no one we can ask or rely on to help. Heaven help me if I fall and break something as I don't know what we will do then.

HISTORY’S RICH WITH MYSTERIES with Earl Staggs: Frank – The Other James

Please welcome back Earl Staggs with his latest guest post...

When I look at the past, I find stories about people which fascinate me, particularly those in which there is a curious mixture of fact, legend, and mysterious uncertainty.  In this series of articles, I want to explore some of those stories.  I think of them as mysteries swaddled in legend.  While truth is always desired in most things, truth easily becomes staid and boring. Legend, on the other hand, forever holds a hint of romanticism and an aura of excitement borne of adventure, imagination and, of course, mystery. 

Frank – The Other James by Earl Staggs

Frank James lived most of his life in the shadow of his younger brother, Jesse, throughout their long career of robbing banks and trains.   I’ve often wondered about the relationship between the two brothers.  They were quite different in nature. 
Jesse age 25 (left) and  Frank age 29 (right) in 1872
Jesse was reckless and flashy and enjoyed the attention and notoriety he gained as a criminal.  His nature well-suited him to a life of crime and leading a gang of outlaws.  Frank, on the other hand, was shy and studious and seemed out of place in a group specializing in robbery and killing.  As a young man, Frank showed interest in his father’s sizable library with a particular interest in the writing of William Shakespeare.  He attended school regularly, got good grades, and wanted to become a teacher someday.
Why did Frank follow Jesse all those years in a criminal career when he seemed more suited to being a writer or a teacher?  I think it’s possible Frank took his big brother status very seriously.  I think he rode in Jesse’s gang out of a sense of responsibility to protect his younger sibling.  That’s my theory, and certain things in Frank’s life support it.
He was born Alexander Franklin James on January 10, 1843, in Clay County, Missouri, to Baptist Minister Robert James and Zerelda Cole James. Jesse came into the family four and a half years later. 
Frank was eighteen when the Civil War began.  Since his family lived in an area strongly committed to the Confederate cause, he joined a Missouri militia group to help the Confederate Army fight Union troops.  After a battle in Lexington, Missouri, the Confederates retreated.  Frank became ill and was left behind.  He surrendered to the Union army, was paroled, and returned home.

Frank was not finished as a guerrilla fighter, however.   Diehard Southern sympathizers were not ready to give up their fight.  He eventually rode with a band led by William Quantrill, and the following year, sixteen-year-old Jesse followed.    After Quantrill was killed in 1865, Jesse and Frank teamed up with the Younger brothers to form an outlaw gang  and spent the next few years specializing in bank and train robberies.

In 1875, the Pinkertons closed in on the gang and Frank and Jesse barely escaped.  They fled to Tennessee, assumed new identities, and lived quietly.  Frank married and settled down to life as a farmer.  Frank would later say those years  “were the happiest I have spent since my boyhood. My old life grew more detestable the further I got from it."   That certainly fits a man who wanted a peaceful life rather than life on the other side of the law.  That leads me to believe his heart was never in being an outlaw but one who only rode the criminal trail to keep a watchful eye over his kid brother.

With Jesse inactive, Frank was perfectly happy being a farmer.  When he heard he and Jesse might receive amnesty for their crimes, he wanted to surrender.  Jesse talked him out of it.  By then, Jesse had grown bored with civilian life and wanted to return to the excitement and adventure of robbing banks.  He convinced Frank to join him and once again, the James brothers were on the outlaw trail.  Jesse was robbing banks and trains again for the notoriety and attention he received as a famous criminal.  I believe Frank once again gave up the kind of life he really wanted and went along to protect Jesse.

On April 3, 1882, Jesse was killed by Robert Ford, a member of his gang, for the $10,000 reward on Jesse’s life.  

Frank did not go looking for Ford to exact revenge as Wyatt Earp did in the aftermath of that incident at the OK Corral.  Nor did he take over the gang and continue robbing.  Not long after Jesse’s death, he surrendered to the Governor of Missouri and handed over his gun with this statement:  'I have been hunted for twenty-one years, have literally lived in the saddle, have never known a day of perfect peace. It was one long, anxious, inexorable, eternal vigil.”  I think the “vigil” he referred to was protecting his brother.  

Frank was tried twice and found not guilty by a jury both times.  He was finally free of the criminal charges hanging over his head.  He was also free of his responsibility to keep his younger sibling safe.  With Jesse gone, Frank never turned to crime again.

For the last thirty years of his life, Frank James, one of the most feared outlaws of the old west, moved around and worked a variety of jobs.  He was a burlesque theater ticket taker in St. Louis, a telegraph operator in St. Joseph, a betting commissioner at a race track in New Orleans, and a shoe salesman in Dallas.  For a time, he and his former gang member Cole Younger created "The Great Cole Younger and Frank James Historical Wild West" show. 

After his mother died in 1911, Frank returned to the family farm in Clay County, Missouri, where he guided tourists around the place for the sum of 50 cents.[5] He died there on February 18, 1915, at the age of 72.

Frank James devoted many of his early years fulfilling the inborn obligation to look after his kid brother.  After Jesse died, that obligation no longer existed, and he was finally able to live the kind of life he really wanted. 

At least, that’s my theory.  What do you think?

Earl Staggs ©2015

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Update from Mystery Weekly Magazine

I recently posted a market call from Mystery Weekly Magazine. This is a new paying market that takes submissions up to 10k. They just sent this update.....

Mystery Weekly Magazine is now available on the world's largest and fastest growing digital multi-platform newsstand and magazine store, Magzter. Thanks to this partnership, we are now set to reach over 24 million global digital users. We present crime and mystery short stories by some of the world's best established and emerging mystery writers. The stories we select for each issue run the gamut from cosy to hardboiled fiction. Submissions are always welcome at

MysteryPeople Q&A with Bill Crider (MysteryPeople Blog)

MysteryPeople Q&A with Bill Crider (MysteryPeople Blog)

Murder at the Courthouse by A. H. Gabhart / Reviewed by Sharon Marchisello (Killer Nashville Book of the Day)

Murder at the Courthouse by A. H. Gabhart / Reviewed by Sharon Marchisello (Killer Nashville Book of the Day)

Who Killed My Daughter? by Lois Duncan (Bookblog of the Bristol Library)

Who Killed My Daughter? by Lois Duncan  (Bookblog of the Bristol Library)

Review: "Go Down Hard" by Craig Faustus Buck

We all remember that female singer that made us crazy as adolescent boys. The one that you fantasized about meeting up close in the most intimate and very personal way. Okay, don’t admit it, but I did. I am also not about to say who that was, but I still have all her records. Not CDs like the kids today have, but the old vinyl records. For Nob Brown that certain singer was,  and to a certain extent still is, Lana Strain. Her murder twenty years ago remains an unsolved case.

LAPD Lieutenant Gloria Lopes has decided to give the murder book to Nob in an effort to cheer him up. Nob used to be a cop before he walked away from the job. These days Nob is having a hard time on a variety of fronts including working as a freelance writer. The Lieutenant, who also happens to be his frequent bedroom and anywhere else sexual partner, says that she is giving him the book for six days so that he can do research and just maybe sell a piece on the murder as part of a twenty year retrospective on the stunningly beautiful singer. Considering Nob is known as a true crime writer, as well as any other kind of writing that pays the mounting bills, this temporary gift of the murder book for a legendary cold case that is still a hot bed of publicity just might save him form the financial ruin of his recent divorce.

Lana Strain died when Nob was 17. It rocked his world at the time and the incident still shakes him to the core when he sees the brutality of the crime scene photos. While giving him the murder book for the stated reason of Nob’s being able to sell some writing is one goal, Nob is highly motivated to solve the crime the LAPD has not been able to for all these years.

Twenty years after Lana’s violent death in her home, Nob’s poking around will bring him contact with her family, Russian organized crime, porno peddlers, and more in Go Down Hard by Craig Faustus Buck. It also might get him and everyone he cares about killed as someone works to tie off loose ends uncovered
by his poking into the cold case.

While some reviews have referred to this as a mystery noir spoof, that would imply far more humor and slapstick than there is in the book. Nothing in this hard hitting and often violent book is remotely slapstick. At times graphic in terms of language and descriptions, this is a crime noir style story with an underpinning of sarcasm throughout the read. Nob Brown tends towards the sarcastic in word and action, but when things get dangerous he is prepared to be one hundred percent serious to get the job done.

According to the recent interview with the author on The Rap Skeet Blog this is the start of a new series. That is excellent news and this book was incredibly good. Go Down Hard by Craig Faustus Buck, recently published by Brash Books, is very much worth it and one you should not miss. It is one of those books that, if the award committees and voters in various organizations have any sense next spring, it will be up for quite a few awards.

Go Down Hard
Craig Faustus Buck
Brash Books
May 2015
E-Book (also available in print)
368 Pages

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

Kevin R. Tipple ©2015