welcome prolific author Jacqueline Diamond who has a few thoughts about how one
has to adapt to changing market forces and other issues during a writing career….
There ought to be a warrantee for
authors. After a certain number of years in the book biz and/or a minimum
number of novels published, you get a free pass. Write a book you love and
shazam! editors and readers snap it up.
I wish it worked that way, but my
scars—invisible but real—prove it doesn’t. Yet I refuse to admit defeat. After
more than 30 years and 100 published books, I’m taking a big risk to (cliché
alert!) follow my dream.
Let’s start with the back story. In
the early 1980s, after honing my fiction skills while working at two newspapers
and the Associated Press, I sold four Regency romances to a hardcover
publisher. Despite strong reviews, my editor rejected the fifth with a scathing
letter that, to me, came out of the blue.
The book, A Lady’s Point of View,
later sold to a different publisher with minor revisions and has proved
popular. In the meantime, the need to pay my bills sent me in a different
direction, to contemporary romance.
At Harlequin and Berkley, my
reinvented self established a reputation for romantic comedies. Although I
enjoyed writing them, I hadn’t lost my taste for the puzzle plotting and
excitement of mysteries.
When The Eyes of a Stranger
sold to St. Martin’s Press, I figured I was on my way, but no such luck. My
next mystery, Danger Music, suffered several rejections before landing
at Five Star. A haunted-house mystery, Touch Me in the Dark, also
struggled before finding a publisher, Triskelion, which promptly went bankrupt.
Not exactly encouraging!
With two kids to raise, I settled in
to writing for Harlequin. There was much to be grateful for, including a steady
if modest income, some excellent editors and, of course, my readers.
Not only am I the daughter of a
doctor, I owe my life to medical interventions on more than one occasion. As a
result, I keep up with medical news, and many of my romances have had medical
In 2010 I invented a fictional
California hospital, Safe Harbor Medical Center, as the setting for three linked
novels, each featuring a different hero and heroine. As more ideas came, the
series expanded to six, then nine, twelve, and ultimately seventeen books.
Despite this success, I hadn’t
stopped yearning to write mysteries. It was time, I decided, to take the leap
to self-publishing. No more crossing my fingers and hoping some editor would
decide my work fit into his or her current line. No worries about having to pad
the length or squeeze into an arbitrary page limit.
However, I’d learned a lesson along
the way. While freedom is great, you can’t leave your fans behind. I’d
established what publicists call a brand: fast-paced, emotionally satisfying
stories that unexpectedly make readers laugh. And let’s not forget the medical
As my hero, I created a young
obstetrician, Eric Darcy, whose best friend is a homicide detective. His inner
circle also includes his late wife’s sister, a prickly private investigator.
For the setting, I chose my fictional town of Safe Harbor, which has developed
into a multi-layered place with a police department and detective agency as
well as the hospital.
That’s how I came to write The
Case of the Questionable Quadruplet, Book 1 of the Safe Harbor Medical
Mysteries. For my 101st book, I’m starting over. But after more than
30 years in the book biz, that’s only to be expected.
Available to pre-order now in advance of the April 5, 2016 Publication date.
Case of the Questionable Quadruplet
Young, widowed obstetrician Eric Darcy is stunned when
the mother of triplets claims to have borne a fourth baby, a quad, that was
stolen from her years ago. When someone murders his patient, Eric believes the
police are dismissing a vital clue and teams up with his PI sister-in-law to
investigate, never imagining his own life might be in danger.
former Associated Press reporter and TV columnist, USA Today bestselling author
Jacqueline Diamond has sold mysteries, medical romances, Regency romances and
romantic comedies to publishers including Harlequin, St. Martin’s Press and
Five Star Mysteries. The Case of
the Questionable Quadruplet is her 101st published novel. The parents
of two grown sons, Jackie and her husband live in Southern California.
Sandi had another round of the IVIG today and we are now back home. This is the stuff that is supposed to help stabilize her immune system and keep it from utterly collapsing yet again.
The results of the Pet Scan are inconclusive and a mixed bag. Some hot spots or tumors have vanished. But, she has new ones in places that she has never had them before. They want more time to take another look at the imaging, but it seems to be a bit of a wash as to whether or not the chemo is really working.
With no compelling reason to change things one way or another--at this point--she is scheduled for her next round of chemo in two weeks.
What began in Flank
Hawk and Blood
Sword continues on in Soul Forge: A First Civilization’s Legacy Novel.
Not everything in the trilogy is tied off and complete, but a lot of things are
by the end of this book.
This is a fantasy series set far in
the future where the first civilization (anyone reading this now) has long
since collapsed. What is left of humans is scattered far and wide across the
globe. Battles rage between various tribes and kingdoms while magic is once
again possible along with dragons, souled zombies, trolls, and more.
Supreme Enchantress Thulease needs
the help of mercenary Flank Hawk. In the aftermath of the events in Blood
Sword, her daughter, the young Thereese, lies in what might be best described
as a coma. She is very slowly dying despite Enchantress Thulease and others
efforts, magical and otherwise, to keep her alive. Enchantress Thulease Flank
Hawk to join her and several others on a quest for a cure.
Imperial Seer Lochelle has suggested
that Enchantress Thulease seek out the entity known as the “Sleeping Sage.” To
do so they will have to get to the Southern Continent and deal with all matter
of man and creature. Assuming they survive and get there safely they then have
to somehow convince the Sleeping Sage to give them the information they seek. What
was already going to be a very difficult quest is beset by treachery within the
group almost from the start as a young woman’s life hang in the balance.
This third book in the series
contains all the hallmarks of the earlier books in the series. Hints of a past (our
world) that went so wrong in a future that is filled with magic, desperate
people, and mutant creatures of various proportions are once again on full
display. As fitting as the third novel of a trilogy, Soul Forge: A First Civilization’s
Legacy Novel is also a remembrance of things past in
terms of the earlier novels in the series and the score of companions lost in
The result is a complex book that
looks forward throughout while at the same time often looks back at preceding
events. In the hands of a lesser author such a split read would turn into a maddening
and depressing navel gazing read. In this case the technique works very well
and adds additional complexity to an already compelling tale.
The ending of Soul Forge: A First Civilization’s
Legacy Novel provides a small possibility for the series to continue
though the author is at work on his Crax War Chronicles (both books are in
my print tbr pile). One hopes that maybe we will again be invited to journey
along with mercenary Flank Hawk, his close friend Lily, and others on yet
another quest where one can fly with dragons.
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
BUGSY SIEGEL -
HIS KILLER FINALLY ID'D. . .MAYBE
by Earl Staggs
Siegel, born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 28, 1906, died on June 20,
1947, in Beverly Hills, California, from multiple gunshot wounds. Police were
unable to pinpoint with certainty who pulled the trigger.
son of Jewish immigrants, Siegel began a life of crime early. As a teenager, he
extorted money from vendors and peddlers for “protection.” For a fee, he and
his cohorts guaranteed those who paid would not be bothered by other gangs in
the neighborhood. He eventually moved into bootlegging and gambling, and he and
Meyer Lansky established a group of assassins which eventually became known as
Murder, Inc. Siegel was credited with participation in the assassination of a
number of top mobsters. He built a reputation as a tough guy, and his erratic
behavior and violent tendencies earned him the nickname “Bugsy.”He hated the name and preferred to be called
Ben. Even though he was Jewish, he become a solid member of the organization
headed by Mafia boss Charles “Lucky” Luciano.
1937, Lansky and Luciano assigned him to tighten up their West Coast
operations. Ben obliged and moved his operations to California where he added
prostitution, narcotics, and bookmaking to his portfolio. He bought an
extravagant estate in Beverly Hills and partied with Hollywood stars such as
Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, and Frank Sinatra. Ben's
pal, Moe Sedway, also moved to the West Coast with his bride,
seventeen-year-old Beatrice (“Bee”). Bee and Ben became close friends. He fed
her caviar for the first time, bought her Agatha Christie novels, and called
her his “little lunatic.”
Bugsy (left) and Moe Sedway
Sedway loved the high life in Beverly Hills and could not understand why Ben
and her husband spent so much time talking about a tiny place in Nevada called
Las Vegas. She saw it as nothing more than a barren stretch of sand with no
paved roads, a few gambling clubs and dives, and a small red light district.
Las Vegas was an unlikely tourist destination. It was in the middle of a
scrubby wasteland, had no airport, and was five hours from Los Angeles by car.
She didn't see the potential they saw there. Gambling was legal in Nevada, and
Ben and the mob bosses back east wanted to capitalize on it. In 1945, Ben and
his mistress, Virginia Hill, moved to Las Vegas, and he began working on
building a gambling mecca in the Nevada desert.
and other mob investors bought a small casino in the city, but local officials
were wary of his criminal background and thwarted his plans to expand it. When
Ben heard that a hotel being built outside the city limits had run out of
construction funds, he sought out the owner and bought the place with mob
began anew on the project with Ben in charge and Moe Sedway as his business
partner. Ben teased his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, about having long slender
legs like a flamingo and named it after her. It would be known as The Flamingo
Hotel and Casino.
eastern crime syndicate provided a budget of $1.5 million, but construction
costs quickly soared to more than $6 million. Meyer Lansky, by now a top boss
of the mob, attributed the overruns to Ben's theft and mismanagement, and he
was not happy. His source of information was Moe Sedway, who was more loyal to
Lansky and the mob than to Ben.
opened the 105-room hotel – the Las Vegas Strip’s first luxury resort—in 1946,
the day after Christmas. Guests included movie stars Clark Gable, Judy Garland,
Joan Crawford and more. After a slow start for the first few months, in May of
1947, the Flamingo posted a $250,000 profit.
than a month later, on June 20, 1947, just after 10:45 p.m., Ben was brutally
killed when bullets from a 30 caliber military M1 carbine crashed through the
living room window of Virginia Hill's rented home in Beverly Hills where he was
staying. Within minutes of the shooting, three of Lansky's people entered the
Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, announced that Ben Siegel was dead, and that new
management was taking over. Lansky denied responsibility for the hit, but most
everyone assumed the order came from him.
Nick Pileggi, writer of the movies Goodfellas and Casino
and a renowned expert on everything related to the Mafia, offered other prime
suspects. He said Chick Hill, a former Marine and brotBodyher of Siegel's
girlfriend Virginia Hillmight have been
the trigger man. He was reportedly very upset over a beating Bugsy gave his
sister. Pileggi also suggested that Frankie Carbo, a boxing promoter and gunman
for Murder, Inc., might have been behind the assassination.
most interesting story, however, came from Robbie, oldest son of Moe and Bee
Sedway. When he was 16, he asked him mother if she knew who killed Bugsy.
She said, “Moose.”
She added, “Don’t ever tell
held a special place in the Sedway family. While her husband was busy taking
care of mob business, Bee met and fell in love with a crane operator named
Mathew Pandza. Because of his huge size, he was known as “Moose.” One evening
when Moe was home, Bee told him she had fallen in love with another man and
wanted to marry him.
than get upset, Moe, who had several mistresses of his own, said he wanted to
meet the man.Bee invited Moose to come
for dinner. The two men talked privately and decided they would share her.Moe told his dinner guest, who stood more
than a foot taller than him, he had only two conditions. When Moe was home, Bee
would be his, and Moose had to promise that when Moe died, he would marry her.
Bee and Moose
men shook hands, Moose moved into the Beverly Hills house with them, and their
marriage became a threesome. Over the next several years, Moe and Moose became
the closest of friends.
Ben learned Moe had snitched on his misuse of mob funds to Meyer Lansky, he
decided Moe had to go and made plans to have him killed. “I’ll have Moe shot,'
he said, “chop his body up, and feed it to the Flamingo Hotel’s kitchen garbage
of Ben's plan and told Moose. According to Bee's story, Moose shot Ben to save
Less then five years later, in January 1952, Moe boarded
a plane in Vegas bound for Miami. Just before landing, he was stricken and died
of coronary thrombosis. Moose held up his end of their agreement and married
1990, Warren Beatty hired Bee as a consultant on his film Bugsy. Reliving
the events of those days prompted her to decide to tell her secret. She felt
she was the only person alive who knew the solution to one of America's most
famous unsolved murder cases. She planned to write a book telling all,which she
would call Bugsy’s Little Lunatic. The book was never written, and Bee
Sedway passed away in a rest home in 1999 at the age of 81.
have three suspects for the shooting of Bugsy. Meyer Lansky could have assigned
the hit to one of his assassins, Virginia Hill's brother may have pulled the
trigger, or the carbine might have rested in the arms of Frankie Carbo.
never know for sure who killed Bugsy Siegel, often called “the father of modern
Las Vegas.” All the people who knew have passed away. Of all the possibilities,
I prefer Bee's story about Moose doing it. I don't think she made it up. Nearly
fifty years after it happened, I think she felt the truth should come out.
Unfortunately, she passed away without writing her book.
motive was not money or mob revenge. He did it for love. He loved Bee, of
course, and Moe had become his best friend. He knew Bugsy planned to kill Moe
and probably figured Bee might also be killed.
will always be one of my favorite unsolved mysteries. It has all the basic
ingredients of a good mystery story – money, mobsters, and murder. But this one
is special. This one is also a love story.
Earl Staggs earned all Five Star
reviews for his novels MEMORY OF A MURDER and JUSTIFIEDACTION 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.
This last Monday in March
brings us a mystery read. The Look of Love by Mary Jane Clark is
the second of a four book series that began with To Have and To Kill. If this one does not appeal make sure you
check out the other suggestions Kaye George has made previous weeks. I am sure
you will find at least one if not many more to consider.
The Look of Loveby Mary Jane Clark
Piper Donovan is making her second
wedding cake, this time in L.A. Jillian Abernathy, daughter of a famous plastic
surgeon and an equally famous model/actress, fiancée of Ben Dixon, M.D., and
director of the Elysium Spa, saw the cake Piper designed in the last book and
wants to pay Piper's airfare and put her up at the spa with all its amenities
in exchange for a one-of-a-kind cake.
It sounds like just what Piper needs,
time away from the handsome FBI agent on the East Coast while she figures out
her feelings for him, plus the stay in the exclusive resort. There's a problem,
though. Someone has just attacked Jillian's maid with acid in the face, an
attack undoubtedly meant for Jillian. This doesn't stop Piper. Away she goes,
right into the thick of things.
The story opens on New Year's Eve. The
unusually short chapters, some only a page long, bounce between Jillian, her
sister who is now a cloistered nun, Piper, the injured maid, an ambitious
reporter hot of the trail of a big story at the spa, Jack (the FBI agent who
would like to be more than friends), and others. The action races toward the
wedding day, two weeks off, as things continue to go wrong--and then there's
the murder. It seems more and more impossible that the rites will take place.
Piper is also auditioning for an advertising spot while she's there. And
missing Jack more than she thought she would.
This is a fast, light read that holds
your interest throughout every page.
Also published by All Due Respect Books and currently free on Amazon in the eBook format is Tussinland by Mike Monson. My review is here.
"Addicted to cough syrup, television and Sugar Frosted Flakes, Paul Dunn
is living in a state of torpor while staying at his mother's house after
the humiliating ending of his third marriage. His inertia is broken
when he becomes the chief suspect in the murders of his soon-to-be
ex-wife and her new lover. Set in the town of Modesto, deep in
California's Central Valley, Tussinland is about sex drugs, addiction,
smart phones, Facebook and the internet, digital cable, anti-government
militias, reality TV, fundamentalist homophobic Christians, families,
12-step groups, pornography, marriage, death, disease, and love. So noir
Selena by Greg Barth is currently FREE in the eBook format over on Amazon. If you buy a book published by All Due Respect Books you know going in violence and graphic language will be on full display. All Due Respect publishes graphic crime filled books where cozy style tales have no place. The cover alone should make it clear what you are getting so don't complain later.
Having read this-- working on my review--- and enjoyed it a lot I can tell you it is one heck of a ride.
Scatter shot revenge.
Selena is living the dream on her terms – carefree and sloppy and
all in the pursuit of pleasure. When a careless act of petty theft puts
her in the crosshairs of a violent crime syndicate, her choices are
clear – either curl up and die, or tear down the whole damned
organization one bloody shotgun blast at a time.
Nothing will satisfy her but savage retribution. Nothing can stop her. Get ready.
Cover design by Dyer Wilk. Edited by Chris Rhatigan and Rob Pierce. Published by Mike Monson and Chris Rhatigan.
Resume Speed by Lawrence Block is a quirky stand-alone novella. The
stranger with little more than the clothes on his back gets off the bus in the
small town of Cross Creek, Montana after seeing a help wanted sign in a local diner.
He goes by the name Bill Thompson. He keeps to himself and slowly begins a quiet
existence in the small town.
He does that by taking the job as a fry
cook. He takes a room in a local boarding house, gets a library card, and gradually
begins to assume an identity among some of the locals. They know him to be a quiet
and unassuming man who may or may not have suffered a great loss. While it is
not clear to them it is clear to the reader that Bill Thompson is running from
something though he seems like a good guy. There are the occasional hints
that make the reader wonder what happened before he came to town.
Currently only available as a kindle
single e-book this sixty page read is a good one. Not all questions are
answered in this highly entertaining read and that is more than okay. A whisper
of mystery begins the tale and a gale of mystery ends it. In between there is
plenty of complexity and details/allusions to ponder before one can Resume
Material was provided by author
Lawrence Block in response to a comment I had made on Bill Crider’s review.
Warmer days means I am back out on the apartment back porch in the
evening working on things by way of the laptop. Working on reviews and
blog posts as I have the porch light on. Apparently I have again become
an object of curiosity as a number of neighbors have come by at
different times and watched from across the creek as I worked. I
distinctly heard some lady say to the guy she was with as they followed
their little dog and failed to pick up after it, "I bet he is watching
I wanted to yell out to her-- Never before ten pm.
would be a lie and I am not a politician.
There's a great little book store in the suburbs of Austin that's in
trouble. I NEVER do this like this, but I'm doing it now. They've
started a GoFundMe drive to try to keep their doors open. The Book Spot
in Round Rock has been a great friend to local authors for many years. I
can even keep this topical, because they hosted me and two other
writers who had done a short story anthology a few years ago. If you
can, and if you want to see small, friendly, local bookstores stay in
business, here's a link to help out:
(If this is against the rules, I suppose no one will see this and I apologize for feeling strongly about this.)
Kaye George/Janet Cantrell~~ National Best-selling & Agatha-nominated mystery author~~ FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE April 5, 2016~~ REQUIEM IN RED April 12, 2016~~ DEATH ON THE TREK
13, 2016~~ http://kayegeorge.com/ and http://janetcantrell.com/ Sign up for our newsletter above (or on facebook)
a reader I tend to prefer books set in the West or Southwest because as a child
my parents took me camping a lot and I have been to locations across Texas and
almost every western state. You take me to say, Martha’s Vineyard, that is one
thing. You move that mystery with the required adjustments to New Mexico and
you already have me hooked before I open the book. I may not notice the fact
that you use the same house in multiple books. But, you get the details wrong
on a location I have been too such as the sunrise or a well-known landmark and I will notice that big time. A sense of
place is incredibly important to me. Please welcome back Jeanne of the Bristol
Public Library as she has some thoughts about the importance of place in a
mystery. This is part one of a two part guest post.
Location, Location:A Very Personal View
of the Power of Place
Kevin has been very generous in giving me a space to
ramble on about various things connected to mysteries.Lately I’ve been thinking about places.The main questions in a murder mystery are
usually who, how, and why.I happen to think where is an
important ingredient, at least in the books I enjoy.True, there are some books that get by
without letting a reader know much about the setting beyond the necessities
such as murder location and possible exits.Those can work just fine, but for a series I like to have some idea of
where in the world I am.The inciting
incident for all this was when I realized I had no idea where a particular book
was set.It was Generic Small Town USA,
which was a little disappointing.
really encompasses a lot of things, I realized belatedly, and so this little
essay has expanded accordingly.I
apologize in advance!
Houses, or buildings in general, are important.That’s where the action is and those
aforementioned exits and entrances.Let
me start by saying that I am directionally challenged.I am terrible at spatial relations.My house has two stories.When I hear a noise or spy a leak in the
basement, I have no idea as to what room upstairs is the point of origin.I laughed at one my cats for peering intently
down a grate and then running up the downstairs cat tree to stare up at a grate
because I knew that was the wrong
grate.Of course, the cat had the last
laugh because she was right and I was wrong.She understood the layout of the house better than I did—or do.
So when I read a description of a house or village
in a book, I never envision the physical layout of the setting.Authors can get away with moving streets or
rooms to their hearts’ content and I will probably never notice.The “probably” is only in there because one
book I did read recently had a character step into a room from the kitchen and
I would have sworn that she couldn’t have gotten there from the kitchen, but since
I’m used to being wrong about such things, it didn’t worry me unduly.
On the other hand, I have friends who definitely do
not have that problem.They can draw
maps of St. Mary’s Mead and throw in a floorplan of Miss Marple’s house.They can describe each shop and house in
Three Pines. They know if an author gets it wrong, and they adore authors who
provide maps or floorplans.The latter
has definitely fallen out of favor; I remember them from some of the classic
locked room mysteries.Maps, however,
still show up.The last one I noticed
was in G.M. Malliet’s Max Tudor series,
where endpapers show readers all the features of Nether Monkslip.
Some readers notice if an author re-uses structures.One friend was a fan of Barbara Michael’s
books, but gave up in disgust on one because “it was the same damn house” that
had figured in at least two other books. (I, of course, noticed nothing.)
While architecture doesn’t make much of an
impression on me (see spatial relations above), a few well-chosen details of
structure or furnishings can convey a feeling for an area.Breezeways in houses or the occasional pie
safe or gingerbread trim give clues.Of
course, just say the word “brownstone” and New York pops into mind.I couldn’t even tell you what a real brownstone
looks like, but Rex Stout made that description such an integral part of the
Nero Wolfe novels that I have a knee-jerk reaction to the term.
One house I do picture is the one inhabited by Dixie
Hemingway in the Cat Sitter Mysteries
by Blaize and John Clement.Dixie shares
a house with her brother and his partner, but she lives in an apartment over
the garage.I couldn’t draw you a
diagram, but I feel I know the house well enough to borrow Dixie’s bathroom
should the need arise.
At this juncture, I decided to take pity’s sake on
the readers and save my comments on non-building aspects of place for another
A Knife In The Back: A Case for
Professor Sally Good by Bill
Crider is the second one in the series following Murder Is An Art. Head
of the English and Fine Arts of Hughes Community College located between Houston and
Galveston, Dr. Sally Good she is still trying to live down her reputation for
solving the recent murder case. Her plan is to focus on student essays and
dealing with the daily various difficulties of being the department chair. She
has to deal with all that and her ongoing addition addiction to chocolate bars.
Mass Market Paperback
Then Ralph Bostic gets himself
killed. One of the trustees of Hughes Community College, Ralph Bostic was
considered to be a less than stellar human being before he got himself stabbed
by a knife. A certain knife made by one of Dr. Good’s department members, Jack
Neville. The same Jack Neville who helped her in the previous situation and a
guy she is developing some sort of attachment to because she had said yes to a
As others in the HCC system
overreact to the situation and local police believe no further investigation is
needed, Dr. Sally Good is well aware that somebody needs to figure out who
actually did the crime. She knows that based on prior experience and long before
the murderer strikes again on campus. Once again it is going to be up to Dr.
Sally Good to solve the case that literally begins with A Knife In The Back.
Building on the previous character
development for Dr. Sally Good, Jack Neville, and others in Murder
Is An Art this read is another good one in the series. As in the Carl
Burns Mystery series the author is clearly using his background in
academia to craft these mysteries. Subtle humor, a dash of romance, and plenty
of mystery where there are lots of suspects make A Knife In The Back a
mighty good read. While I personally prefer Sheriff Dan Rhodesseries,
the author’s many other series and stand alones also provide an excellent Bill
Crider writing fix even without the Dr Pepper.
Material supplied by the good folks
of the Plano Public Library System. They do not care one whit whether I read it
or even if I review it. They just want their book back in the same shape it
came to me.
Make the rest of your Friday a
reading quest by heading over to Patti Abbott’s blog and checking out the FFB list.
Make sure you make time to pick up a copy of her Concrete
Angel. A mighty good read that is well worth it.
Yesterday was one of those days where every few hours the forecast got worse. By late afternoon we had slipped into the "marginal" risk zone of severe weather. Since that often seems to mean that severe weather is definitely coming I was worried. Especially since radar seemed to indicate the storm line was beginning to the west way further out than had been predicted.
By around ten last night I knew we were in trouble for sure as there was one particular nasty storm in the line that was aimed right at us. The same storm had tried to spin up a tornado in north Fort Worth before morphing into a major hail storm. In the picture to the right from one of the local radars, the light pink area is hail to the size of golf balls. Our apartment is located just a few miles north of where it says Shepton. The Shepton deal refers to Shpeton High School where both the boys went to school.
I moved my car under the carport into the empty parking spot for the vacant apartment next door and hoped for the best. Then a few minutes later the hail began smashing down. It quickly escalated to ping pong and golf ball sized hail that tore up the few plants on the porch and broke the edges of the pots. Fortunately, we were not hit with the 50 plus mph winds that were seen elsewhere in the area. That meant that a lot of the hail came down straight or on a slight angle and missed the apartment windows and did not go under the carport.
Local media is full of images this morning showing what hail can do when it is coupled with wind and blasted into homes and cars. We got lucky. The apartment windows held despite being hit repeatedly in cringe worthy impacts and the cars seem to be okay.
Our nerves are fried. The next round of storms is supposed to be on Ester Sunday which traditionally can be a very rough day weather wise.
Gunfire Ridge is the fourth and apparently final installment of the Bodie
Kendrick Bounty Hunter Series. It opens with Kendrick in the company of
a soiled dove in the town of Ford’s Bottom. The quiet is disturbed by the pounding
on their room door, followed by threats, and very soon gunfire. When the lead
stops flying and the dust has settled a bit town marshal, Cotton Mayhew, makes
it clear that the bounty hunter has overstayed his welcome in these parts. Thanks
to the Sheriff up in Laramie already having authorized his bounty pay at the local
bank, Kendrick can collect his monies due him and head on out of town immediately.
That would be just as well as for
all involved as some folks are no doubt coming to town to settle a score with
Kendrick. Today’s attempt at killing him traces back to an event earlier in the
series and the far flung family members, of which there are quite a few, seem
to be of no mind to let things go. Kendrick also has work to do near Pine
Ridge, Nebraska and would like to get out of northern Colorado before the winter
snows set in. That is going to be a way easier said than done in Gunfire
Gunfire Ridge: Bodie Kendrick Bounty
Hunter Book 4 is another good one. Starting with Hard
Trail To Socorro, Rio
In The Roughand now Gunfire Ridge, the very good reads in
this series are well worth your time. Kendrick is a man’s man--- he loves hard,
he drinks hard, and he works hard. When killing needs to be done he does it as
that is the cards he was dealt. A very good western series where there is
plenty of action and adventure with a hint of romance and mystery thrown in the
mix. Award winning author Wayne D. Dundee simply can’t write a bad story. This
is another good one.
According to Amazon I picked this up
in early April 2015. I have no idea now if it was a free read or I used funds
in my Amazon Associate account. I suspect the latter.
The Ehrengraf Fandango is the twelfth short story featuring the lawyer Martian H.
Ehrengraf. He has a small room at his home reserved for attorney-client
meetings. The room is a bit reminiscent of such a room at a police station as
both the table and the chairs are bolted to the floor. The surroundings lean
towards the austere and Ehrengraf may or may not be recording everything that goes
on in the room. It is not exactly clear from the start that he pushes the legal
boundaries hard if not flat out obliterating them. That talent comes in handy
with his latest client, Cheryl Plumley, as the story begins.
The entire world knows she fired the
gun that killed three people in a house on Woodbridge Avenue. She has no memory
of actually going into the home and shooting Mary Beth and Richard Kuhldreyer
as well as their neighbor, Patricia Munk. While her only explanation other
than sheer madness for the crime would be satanic intervention, Ehrengraf has a
much more down to earth explanation. Not only does he know how he can help her
with the case, he has a few other ideas to help her and her future.
Along with a touch here and there of
subtle humor, The Ehrengraf Fandango by Lawrence Block is a complicated
multiple case mystery. The Plumley case is just part of a much larger tale in
this work. Martian H. Ehrengraf is a lawyer who bends the law to suit himself
and enjoys the fruit of his labors in the process. He only defends innocent
clients and he never loses a case. If you need his services it is always best
to pay his free promptly and without delay.
Also present at the end of the book
is the original introduction to the first story, The Ehrengraf Defense,written
by Edward D. Hoch for the 1978 initial appearance in Ellery Queen’s mystery
magazine. That is followed by two different afterwards from the author, first
in 1994 and then 2014. Those pieces by Hoch and author Lawrence Block provide
intriguing details about the dapper lawyer, the other eleven tales in the
series, as well as publishing in general.
Material was picked up to read and
review when the author made it free back in January.
As author Reed Farrel Coleman writes in the introduction, crime fiction these days has grown far beyond the private investigator. Not th...
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 medical supplies for me. Some of it goes to the purchase of various short story anthologies and collections which eventually are read and reviewed here.