Saturday, April 30, 2016

Booktrope Closing

Team publishing startup Booktrope to shut down, citing revenue shortfall (GeekWire)

The Education of a Pulp Writer: Under Burning Skies: The Americano, Hombre, and Ba...

The Education of a Pulp Writer: Under Burning Skies: The Americano, Hombre, and Ba...: The Americano (1955, film) You have to love low-budget RKO Pictures for always throwing in everything but the kitchen sink. In the...

KRL This Week Update

Up this morning in KRL a recipe for your Mother's Day dinner from the mystery "A Catered Mother's Day" by Isis Crawford, along with a chance to win a copy of the book

Also up a review & giveaway of "Reading Up a Storm" by Eva Gates aka Vicki Delaney along with an interview with Vicki

And reviews & giveaways of 3 more April mysteries from Penguin authors-"Crime and Poetry" by Amanda Flower, "Murder She Wrote: Design for Murder" by Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain and Renee Paley-Bain, and "Needle and Dread": A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

We also have the May mystery Coming Attractions by Sunny Frazier along with a giveaway of books by Linda Reilly and Sherry Harris

And we have a review & giveaway of "Double Knot" by Gretchen Archer

We also have a never before published mystery short story by Paul Lees-Haley

For those who enjoy fantasy with their mystery,  a review & giveaway of "Grave Visions" by Kalayna Price

Over on KRL Lite, a review & giveaway of "Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot" by Elaine Faber

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

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: Member Lori Rader-Day wins Simon & Schuster-Mary H...

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: Member Lori Rader-Day wins Simon & Schuster-Mary H...: Announced last night at the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar® Awards, SMFS member Lori Rader-Day won the Simon & Schuster-Mary H...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt: Reviewed by Ambrea In The Sisters Brothers , Patrick DeWitt chronicles the unfortunate misadventures of Eli and Charlie Siste...

The Truest Voice of All … by William Kent Krueger (rockymountainfictionwriters)

The Truest Voice of All … by William Kent Krueger (rockymountainfictionwriters)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Gravetapping: Mystery Scene Reviews: Issue No. 144

Gravetapping: Mystery Scene Reviews: Issue No. 144: The latest issue of Mystery Scene Magazine —No. 144—is at a newsstand near you. The issue is packed, as usual. It features an in-depth ar...

Writing 4.5 – Editing vs Revising (Brainsnorts Blog)

Writing 4.5 – Editing vs Revising (Brainsnorts Blog)

Spam, Spam, Spam Spam: Inkitt and the Grand Novel Contest (Writer Beware Blog)

Spam, Spam, Spam Spam: Inkitt and the Grand Novel Contest (Writer Beware Blog)

FFB Review: "Shaken: Stories for Japan" Editor Timothy Hallinan

Back in July 2011 I wrote the below review after reading and enjoying the anthology Shaken: Stories for Japan. In the wake of the recent earthquakes that once again have rocked the island nation it seemed a good idea to mention this book as part of Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott.

As noted on the cover, this book is “A Collection of Original Fiction for Japan America Society of Southern California's 2011 Japan Relief Fund.”  The authors involved have banded together to create this e-book with all monies raised from sales given to the Japan Relief Fund to aid earthquake relief efforts.  The need remains great in Japan and the aim of this book is to help in some small way while also providing reading pleasure. The book seems to be meeting both goals quite well based on the buzz it has generated.

After a brief message from Douglas G. Erber, President, Japan American Society of Southern California followed by a brief introduction to the book by Editor Timothy Hallinan it is on to the stories. While some are mystery stories and others are fiction, they are all stories of depth featuring complicated characters dealing with heavy burdens. These are not the shallow characters of the latest maga Hollywood style adventure. There are not any lightweight fluff stories in this book either.  It becomes quickly evident to the most casual reader that this is a book of fiction with serious depth and meaning.

The book opens with “Matsushima Bay” written by Adrian McKinty.  The author briefly chronicles a previous trip into the area, near the epicenter of the recent tragic earthquake and what the region means spiritually to so many.  While it is a work of fiction, it reads as nonfiction in the style of a personal and heartfelt narrative.

Naomi Hirahara comes next with “Chirigami” where a resident, Kenbo, of an apartment with very thin walls located somewhere just outside of Tokyo has a new neighbor.  All he knows is that she is a woman and foreigner but she is not British or American.  Times have changed.  Not only does Kenbo have an unattached female neighbor, something unheard of before, but the business he works in is slowly failing.  Thanks to his unknown neighbor, Kenbo’s relationship with others begins to change.

“Gift of the Sea” by Vicki Doudera tells the tale of a daughter of a woman who was destined to die at sea.  The sea was her end but it was also her mother’s beginning in this touching story.

Japan isn’t the only place to suffer major earthquakes that have been devastating. San Francisco has seen its share and serves as setting for “Coolie” by Kelli Stanley. The earthquake has struck, the heart of San Francisco is on fire and Alfred and his rescuer must navigate through the chaos to Golden Gate Park.  Alfred is blinded so he must rely on his rescuer to navigate as well as tell him of the dead horses, the rubble marking collapsed buildings and homes and everything else in this hell on earth this April 18, 1906.

Editor Timothy Hallinan makes his appearance with the powerful story “The Silken Claw.”  It is September 1926 on a movie set where production of a Dr. Zo movie is underway. Shooting of a pivotal scene is underway but the real drama is amongst the cast and crew.

Tom Hickey is 36 and a borderline diabetic in “The Enemy” by Ken Kuhlken.  He owns a supper club and hates what he is doing and the madness of the world. That includes the shocking shooting death of his bartender who was robbed on the way to the bank. Since Tom Hickey also works as a private investigator he intends to find the shooter one way or another.

It has been four long years and finally Eunice Toyama is back home in San Pedro. Internment has changed her home town as well as Eunice. It is 1946, she is 19, and very ready to do business and take care of debts that are due in “The Emperor’s Truck” by Wendy Hornsby.

Unlike many of the stories in this anthology that are set in the past, Cora Black chose present day Tokyo for her setting with “Mosquito Incense.”  Despite the initial modern day setting, the past is the key point of the story where Tokyo in August means heat, humidity and regret in large amounts in this tale rich with visual details and depth of feeling.

“Dead Time” by Dale Furutani powerfully tells the tale of a man in prison waiting to be executed.  Between 8 and 8:30 every day the warden comes to collect the prisoners to be executed that day.  In Japan the day of the execution is not known to the condemned or the family so each day begins with the mounting terror of not knowing if this is the day you die.  Being forced to contemplate death each day gives one time to think.

Reality is harsh for Miki in “Miki’s 19th Birthday” by Stefan Hammond.  Her daily reality is living in a cardboard nest in a tunnel with several other refugees.  She has semi bonded with two other teen girls in the wake of the earthquake/tsunami.  It’s time to find another empty house and get clean--what they call a “shower Invasion”-- as well as take whatever the trio wants.  The problem is the place they picked isn’t empty.

Brett Battles turns in “The Assignment” a tale where Orlando is supposed to pick up a married Japanese national at the airport in ‘Los Angeles.   It is supposed to be a simple pick up, escort Mrs. Tomita to a certain location, and drop her off job.  But, Mrs. Tomita is not everything she appears to be and has her own agenda.

Faith Hasegawa and the narrator were best friends from Junior High until Faith died at 40 from cancer.  In “Faith’s Secret” by Dianne Emley, the past is the theme in a tale that will strike a chord in many readers that grew up in the seventies. Set in Los Angeles this tale about teen issues works no matter where you grew up.

Working customer service from a cubicle is no fun and it certainly isn’t in “Father Knows Best” by Hank Phillipi Ryan.  A difficult boss has to be dealt with and the options are few.

Blending in the local society is a frequent theme of the stories in this book regardless of where they are set. This is certainly true in “Borrowed Scenery” by Rosemary Harris.  A fixture in the neighborhood block, Goria Madison always knew what was going on.  At least, she thought she did. The quiet neighbor next door is a surprise. 

With a name like Cynthia Goldberg, people didn’t expect her to look the way she did.  Thanks to her American Jew father and her Japanese mother, her heritage is mixed and striking as she walks near the tidal basin in March 1994.  It is almost time for the annual “Cherry Blossoms” in Washington D.C.  The setting is more than symbolic in this powerful tale by Debby Mack where the painful legacy of atomic warfare lives on.

Jerri Westerson pens a tale of forced marriage and much more in “The Noodle Girl.”  Haruka has just turned 13 and has been told she is to marry Masaru-Sama.  She unfortunately came to his attention because of her mom and their noodle/tea cart.  If the food had been bad, she could have been safe from him.  Mom is thrilled with her prospects but Haruka is not.

It has been twenty years since he was back to his village. Now the man has an 11 year old daughter.  Both the man and his daughter are abducted in the chilling story “The Missing” by Jeffrey Siger.  Captured by North Korean soldiers they must do what they have to do to survive while keeping secret exactly who they are.

“Enforcer No. 3” has been given his assignment in this hard hitting tale by Gary Phillips.  Tokyo may be having power problems, the city of Sendai may be heavily damaged, but the Yakuza carry on with normal business.  He has work to do with blade and grenade.

Rebecca has her hands full with three kids in “Dusty” by C. J. West.  But instead of all three to see the temple at Kamakura, Jessica plans instead to go to a friend’s home high in a local apartment building. By doing so, she leaves her younger sister Lisa and baby brother Stephen with Mom for the trip.  Within minutes of her leaving their car and joining up with her friend, the ground starts shaking and seemingly won’t stop threatening everything and everyone.

Watanabe Wataru was born into the right family at the right time.  It may be the 11th century in “The Kamo Horse” by IJ Parker, but nobleman Wataru is doing very well.  If he can win the great Kamo race, he can claim the prize of the Emperor’s new horse.  The emperor has selected him to train and ride the horse in the great race but others think the horse is unlucky and dangerous.  Wataru‘s future in the court hangs in the balance but not because of the obvious in this complex mystery tale that finishes the book.

At the very end of this enjoyable book, there is a small explanation about the Japan American Society of Southern California and their work.  Throughout the book after each story and author bio, there are scattered haiku from the book titled Basho: the Complete Haiku translated by Jane Reichhold and published in 2008. Along with a brief note about the passages cited, there is a brief note about the illustrative work created by cover artist Gar Anthony Haywood.

The result is a complex and imaginative work that spans the wide gulf between American and Japan while telling tales that will resonate with many people. These are not fluff pieces dashed off to meet a word count or loosely address a theme. These characters are complex and deep and allow a glimpse into their lives for a few pages.  This is a book of soul and complexity of depth that just happens to support a good cause.

Shaken: Stories for Japan
Edited by Timothy Hallinan
Japan American Society of Southern California
June 2011
E-Book: Kindle Edition

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

Kevin R. Tipple © 2011, 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Edgar Award Winners 2016 (Lesa's Book Critiques)

Edgar Award Winners 2016 (Lesa's Book Critiques)

Market Closed: Thuglit

Editor Todd Robinson has announced on the Facebook page for Thuglit that the market has closed. The final issue to come out, hopefully, by the end of May will be a larger than normal edition of stories as he winds things down.

Pierce’s Picks- A periodic alert for followers of crime and thriller fiction (The Rap Sheet)

Pierce’s Picks- A periodic alert for followers of crime and thriller fiction (The Rap Sheet)

Mystery Fanfare: CrimeFest Award Nominees

Mystery Fanfare: CrimeFest Award Nominees: CRIMEFEST annually presents its awards at a dinner which in 2016 will be held on Saturday, 21 May. Bristol, England. Congratulations to ...

A Dust Up in My Reading Habits: Reviewing Dust Up by Jon McGoran (David Cranmer reviews at

A Dust Up in My Reading Habits: Reviewing Dust Up by Jon McGoran (David Cranmer reviews at

HISTORY’S RICH WITH MYSTERIES----"NATALIE WOOD – Accidental Drowning or Something Else?" by Earl Staggs

After considering the mystery of Agatha Christie’s disappearance in January and the death of actor George Reeves in February and who killed Bugsy Siegel last month, Earl considers the circumstances surrounding the death of Natalie Wood.


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. 

NATALIE WOOD – Accidental Drowning  or Something Else?

by Earl Staggs

Born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko in San Francisco on July 20, 1938, to Russian immigrant parents, she began acting at the age of four and soon changed her name to Natalie Wood.  In 1947, at the age of eight, she played Maureen O'Hara's daughter in the original film version of the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street, a role which established her as one of the top child movie actors.  As an adult, she starred in a number of major films including , Splendor in the Grass (1955), West Side Story (1961), Gypsy  (1962), and  Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969).  

By the time she was twenty-five, Natalie Wood, a strikingly beautiful and talented actress, had  accummulated three Oscar nominations.  That was a record number of nominations for a young actress until  2014 when Jennifer Lawrence accomplished the same feat  by the age of twenty-three.

At 8:00 on the morning of November 29, 1981, Natalie's body was pulled from the water near Catalina Island, off the coast of California. 

The previous night, she had partied on their yacht, Splendour, with her husband, actor Robert Wagner.  They were married in 1957, divorced six years later, and remarried in 1972.   Also on board the yacht were their friend, actor Christopher Walken, and Dennis Davern, the boat's captain.

The Los Angeles county coroner ruled her death an accident by drowning and hypothermia and noted that a night of heavy drinking could have caused her to slip and fall into the water.

Not everyone accepted that ruling.  Lana Wood, Natallie's sister and a former Bond girl,  accused  Wagner of killing Natalie in a jealous rage over an alleged affair with Walken. When it was suggested Natalie fell into the water trying to board a dinghy alongside the yacht, Lana said Natalie was a  poor swimmer with a lifelong fear of water, and for her to voluntarily leave the yacht on a dinghy was  implausible.  All three men on board said they thought Natalie had gone to bed and had no idea she was in the water.

The case was reopened in November 2011 after the captain of the boat, Dennis Davern, published a  book titled, GoodbyeNatalie, Goodbye Splendour.  In his book, he admitted he lied to police during the initial investigation and now stated Wagner was responsible for her death.  Davern appeared in a 1992 Geraldo Rivera special, a 2000 Vanity Fair piece, and CNN interview in 2010.

Davern claimed Wagner pushed Natalie away after a drunken brawl and she fell overboard.  He said he wanted to  save her, but Wagner said, “Leave her there. Teach her a lesson.” 

Wagner dismissed Davern's allegations as nothing more than an attempt to sell books through tabloid headlines.

In his 2008 memoir, Pieces of My Heart,  Wagner acknowledged he had a fight with Natalie  that night after Walken went to bed, and that both of them had been drinking heavily.  As for what caused her to fall off the boat, he wrote it was "all conjecture. Nobody knows. There are only two possibilities: either she was trying to get away from the argument, or she was trying to tie the dinghy. But the bottom line is that nobody knows exactly what happened."

"Did I blame myself?," he wrote. "If I had been there, I could have done something. But I wasn't there. I didn't see her. The door was closed; I thought she was belowdecks. I didn't hear anything. But ultimately, a man is responsible for his loved one, and she was my loved one."

After a fresh examination of the original autopsy report, the Los Angeles County Chief Medical Examiner in 2012, amended Natalie's death certificate.  The cause of death was changed from  “accidental drowning” to "drowning and other undetermined factors."

The amended document also states:

. . .the circumstances of how Natalie ended up in the water are "not clearly established;"
. . .some two dozen bruises on her body and an abrasion on her left cheek may have been sustained before she went into the water;
. . .she may have been unconscious when she entered the water.

As of now, the case is still open and unsolved.  Investigators have circumstantial evidence, allegations, and suppositions, but no definitive evidence that Natalie's death was due to foul play.

As for me, I'm undecided.  Maybe they had  a physical altercation on deck, and she went over the side accidentally or aided by an angry, drunken husband.  Perhaps she was so anxious to get away from him, the amount of alcohol she'd consumed overwhelmed her fear of water, and she braved climbing into the dinghy only to lose her balance and wind up in the water.

One thing I'm certain of.  I don't believe we'll ever know for sure what happened on that ill-fated yacht on that dark night off the coast of Catalina.

What do you think?

Earl Staggs ©2016

Earl Staggs earned all 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. 

He invites any comments via email at

He also invites you to visit his blog site at to learn more about his novels and stories.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Florida, Paris, Einstein's Lawn, and Wh...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Florida, Paris, Einstein's Lawn, and Wh...: Reported by Jeanne The Thang That Ate My Granddaddy’s Dog by John Calvin Rainey was praised by our reviewer as a fun and funn...


After a long delay Sandi finally got her IVIG done.

News on the MRI was pretty bad. We await word regarding the next steps once they have talked to some specialists.

Chemo is currently planned in two weeks.


While there are power outages across the area and there is tornado damage to our north, we are fine. As the squall line hit here it had weakened a bit so all we got was a lot of rain and lightening with a little wind. Just a normal Texas thunderstorm and nothing more here. We are very glad about that.

I have not made it down the stairs to look at the car yet, but from looking down into the lot everything appears normal. That is a very good thing as we have a trip to the hospital today. Sandi has her IVIG deal and we should learn the MRI results.

I'm exhausted, but that is my normal state of being these days. Between the stress of  the situation here and my worsening health, things are very hard. But, it could be way worse this morning and I am well aware.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Severe Weather

Watching the radar as the squall line rolls in the west side of DFW. The TV weather folks are not saying this, but I think the line is weakening as it comes and seems to be kicking a gust front out of the front of it. They are currently warning about high winds and large hail. But, the hail reports right now are about hail the size of quarters and smaller so none of the baseball and grapefruit sized things of just a couple of hours ago.

Hopefully the car will get nothing more than a good wash and we can go down to the hospital in the morning for Sandi's IVIG multi hour infusion. Should also have the MRI results.

FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Noteworthy Reads: MAGE, MAZE, DEMON by Charles All...

FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Noteworthy Reads: MAGE, MAZE, DEMON by Charles All...: When it comes to writing heroic fantasy --- or sword and sorcery, if you will --- nobody captures the drive and raw energy of the lat...

Amazon Continues Its War Against Fake Reviewers (Business Finance News)

Amazon Continues Its War Against Fake Reviewers (Business Finance News)

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Michael Bracken honored for lifetime of mysteries

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Michael Bracken honored for lifetime of mysteries: Waco writer Michael Bracken honored for lifetime of mysteries

Little Big Crimes: Creampuff, by Rob Hart.

Little Big Crimes: Creampuff, by Rob Hart.: "Creampuff," by Rob Hart, in Unloaded, edited by Eric Beetner, Down and Out Books, 2016. Clever concept for an anthology: cri...

Review: "Apocalypse Soon" (Kyler Knightly and Damon Cole Volume 2) by Garnett Elliot

Timelines are tricky things as readers were reminded in Carnosaur Weekend. Agents Kyler Knightly and Damon Cole are back in Apocalypse Soon. The work of protecting the timelines by Continuity Inc. is ongoing,  difficult, and relies on everyone sharing the same common goal and following the rules.

In the signature story of this second volume of the series one Continuity Inc. technician by the name of Paul Dirac has gone rouge. His ongoing obsession with Pre-Apocalypse North America and vintage cars was thought to be a quirk one expected from a genius. The company shrink had perceived his obsessive interest as nothing to be concerned about and cleared him to work. Proving the shrink wrong, Dirac has gone rogue and jumped back in time to “Old Vegas” in the year 2035. He took a lot of supplies with him which means he is not coming back. What he plans to do there is unknown, but he can’t be allowed to do more damage than he has already done simply by going back then. Kyler and Damo have to go after him as fast as possible and bring him back alive. Easier said than done.

“Babylon Heist” comes next where Kyler Knightly is sent back approximately 3000 years to prevent a theft. Continuity Inc. got a tip that another time traveler had been sent back to collect a priceless artifact for a collector in the 23rd century. Kyler knows what they are after, but has no idea of the identity of the time traveler. So, he is working undercover in the Babylonian underworld trying to make contacts and gather information. 770 B.C. is a dangerous place and he has no idea whom he can trust.

Billed as a “Bonus Story” the final tale “Strontium Dreams” has nothing to do with Kyler and Damon or Continuity Inc. for that matter. Time travel may or may not be involved. What is clear is that it is a future world and one so decimated that survival means doing anything you have to survive.  Having the stamp of “genetic undesirable” on your forehead helps keep you away from the collectors looking to salvage organs for the wealthy and keeps the rest of you out of the taco meat sold by vendors in the Jetsam Flats. One does not want to become taco meat.

Like the past, the future is not always pretty and certainly not here in these short stories written by Garnett Elliot. Whether it is Red Venus or Dragon By The Bay, Scorched Noir, or his efforts in the Drifter Detective Series, or the aforementioned Carnosaur Weekend, a hint of hard edged noir prevails no matter the setting. It doesn’t matter if one is vicariously on Venus fighting humans and alien life, running from dinosaurs, or shooting it out to bring back the rogue employee, that dark nourish edge of crime fiction is always there in the works of Garnett Elliot. One could easily make the argument that these are primarily crime fiction tales in a science fiction setting. Those works are also very good reads that tell complex tales with plenty of action and adventure.
Apocalypse Soon is yet another example of Mr. Elliott’s steadily increasing body of work. If you have not read him yet you really should. The only question is where and when you wish to start. 

Apocalypse Soon (Kyler Knightly and Damon Cole Volume 2)
Garnett Elliot
Beat To A Pulp
February 2016
ISBN# 978-1943035144
Paperback (also available in eBook format)
104 Pages

Material was supplied in paperback format by the publisher three months ago in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mystery Fanfare: Worst. Reading. Ever. - Guest post by Adrian McKin...

Mystery Fanfare: Worst. Reading. Ever. - Guest post by Adrian McKin...: Adrian McKinty is an Edgar Award nominated  ( Gun Street Girl ) crime writer from Belfast. His first crime novel, Dead I Well May Be , wa...

Come Dark by Steven F. Havill (Lesa's Book Critiques)

Come Dark by Steven F. Havill  (Lesa's Book Critiques)

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee: Reviewed by Ambrea Portia Cuthcart always dreamed of running the Glass Kitchen.   Like her grandmother, who founded the rest...

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: MONDAY ROUNDUP: Texas Literary Calendar April 25 -...

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: MONDAY ROUNDUP: Texas Literary Calendar April 25 -...: Bookish events in Texas for the week of April 25 - May 1, 2016:  Special Events: Houston Writers Guild Annual Conference , April 29 - ...

Monday With Kaye: "Threat Warning" by John Gilstrap (Reviewed by Kaye George)

This Monday author Kaye George brings news of a thriller that could be all too real…

Threat Warning by John Gilstrap

There’s no need to wonder how Gilstrap gets the rave reviews and best-selling status that he gets. Just start reading and it all becomes clear.

A bizarre group calling themselves “The Army of God,” and calling each other Brother-This and Sister-That, have a secret goal so lofty it’s worth killing for. At least in their minds it is. The story opens with young Colleen Devlin preparing to mow down motorists on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac during the afternoon rush hour. She’s at one end of the bridge and Brother Stephen is at the other end.

Jonathan Grave is driving across the bridge at the moment they open fire, stuck in traffic, chatting with his friend and passenger, Father Dom D’Angelo. Jonathan instantly recognizes the sound of an automatic weapon, creeps out of his car, and whips out his Colt .45. Although he hits the shooter in the chest, she runs away just as he realizes she’s a female and not a young man. A misguided Secret Service agent gets the drop on Jonathan, thinking he’s the perpetrator, and both shooters escape detection.

Colleen commandeers a minivan for her getaway and, in the process, takes the driver and her teenage son hostage to a mountain hideout. The Army of God is well-organized and supremely motivated, but their captives, the wife, and son of a deployed Delta force operative, and their opponent, Jonathan Grave himself, are formidable. Grave and his team watch as other fatal mass attacks are carried out across America. They struggle to get to the people behind the carnage that continues splashing blood and leaving bodies across the country before even greater havoc ensues.

Hang on, it’s a wild ride!

Reviewed by Kaye George, Author of Choke for Suspense Magazine

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dallas Book Festival April 30, 2016 (J. Erik Jonsson Central Library)

Dallas Book Festival April 30, 2016 (J. Erik Jonsson Central Library)

Market Call: Current Cowboy Jamboree call for Fiction and Non

Saw Craig Faustus Buck (author of the very good GO DOWN HARD among other things) mention this on Facebook and am sharing here....

Current Cowboy Jamboree call for Fiction and Non

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye: Reviewed by Ambrea Jane Steele, like her heroine Jane Eyre, endures abuse at the hands of her horrible aunt and her predatory cou...

My Books

I hate plugging my own stuff. Still, every now and then it has to be done. 

Mind Slices: A Collection of New and Previously Published Stories—16 stories in fantasy, science fiction, mystery, suspense, and mainstream fiction, with some stories blending genres. The book includes “Burning Questions” which was a honorable mention winner in Mysterical-E’s “Skeletons in the Closet” contest in the fall of 2007 as well as several pieces that were published at the mystery e-zine “Mouth Full Of Bullets.” In total, the book contains 16 stories in a variety of genres for $2.99.

The book is available at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble  The read currently is only available in e-book form.

If 16 stories all written by yours truly sounds daunting take a look at Carpathian Shadows: Volume II. The anthology contains six stories based on a simple premise.

Deep in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains, in Transylvania, lies an castle once home to a nobleman who warred with the church, bound his servants with a curse of silence, and ruled his lands with a grip of iron. Lord John Erdely has been dead for centuries and his castle now a haven for tourists. Or so, at least, is the claim. Under the editorial direction of Lea Schizas, six authors tell what happens to these tourists.

My story titled “By The Light Of The Moon...” is a mystery with a couple of fantasy elements.

Published by Books For A Buck where it is available, it can also be obtained in print as well as e-book forms at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble. I also have a few print copies on sale for ten dollars which includes postage.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Lesa's Book Critiques: "Murder at the 42nd Street Library" by Con Lehane

Lesa's Book Critiques: "Murder at the 42nd Street Library" by Con Lehane

Writers Who Kill: Ask A Policeman: A review by Warren Bull

Writers Who Kill: Ask A Policeman: A review by Warren Bull: Ask A Policeman published in 1933 was a work by members of the Detection Club. The authors are Anthony Berkeley, Milward Kennedy, ...

Lesa's Latest Contest--This week's giveaway

This week, I'm giving away copies of Marla Cooper's debut mystery, Terror in Taffeta, and Mary Daheim's Here Comes the Bribe. Details on my blog, Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine  

KRL This Week Update

Up this morning in KRL a review & giveaway of "Breach of Crust" by Ellery Adams

Also a review & giveaway of "Moss Hysteria" by Kate Collins​

And in this issue, mystery writer Victoria Abbott talks about food & mysteries

We also have a review & giveaway of a new food mystery, "Dying for a Taste" by Leslie Karst​, along with an interview with Leslie

And we have a review of 2 of the Aurora Teagarden movies on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel

And a review & giveaway of "Curtains for Miss Plym" by Kathleen Delaney

For those who also enjoy fantasy, up this morning in KRL a review & giveaway of "Shadow Rites" by Faith Hunter

And over on KRL Lite a review & giveaway of "Killer Reunion" by GA McKevett
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

A Bookseller Recommends: The Passenger (A Mystery or Thriller)

A Bookseller Recommends: The Passenger (A Mystery or Thriller): Pro: You'll keep wondering until the end. And oh, that twist. Con: It's not as nail-biting as it sounds. The Bottom Line: De...

Small Press Storm Warnings: Pegasus Books, Realmwalker Publishing Group, Spectral Press, Tickety Boo Press (Writer Beware Blog)

Small Press Storm Warnings: Pegasus Books, Realmwalker Publishing Group, Spectral Press, Tickety Boo Press  (Writer Beware Blog)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Mystery Fanfare: Earth Day: Environmental/Ecological Crime Fiction

Mystery Fanfare: Earth Day: Environmental/Ecological Crime Fiction: Earth Day: April 22, 2016 This is an updated Earth Day/Environmental Mysteries List that is by no means complete. There are many more...

Crime Time : JACKSTRAW – Ron Faust

Crime Time : JACKSTRAW – Ron Faust: Jackstraw is the perfect tonic for this election year of our discontent. Tired of worrying (or hoping) an obscenely rich populist presiden...

FFB Review: "SON OF A WANTED MAN" (1984) by Louis L’Amour (Reviewed by Barry Ergang)

Blowing the dust off another older review from the dark ages of this blog for Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. I have read a few of Louis L’amour novels, but not this one reviewed by Barry Ergang.  Journey back to those days of yesteryear by way of SON OF A WANTED MAN by Louis L’Amour.

SON OF A WANTED MAN (1984) by Louis L’Amour

During the course of the past year and a half or thereabouts, I’ve become happily reacquainted with one of the joys of my childhood, the western. It began when Turner Classic Movies ran a Roy Rogers movie marathon. This in turn prompted me to rent Hopalong Cassidy films from Netflix, and to buy some from I also rented movies, primarily the kind of B-westerns I grew up watching on TV in the early 1950s, featuring other cowboy stars: Buck Jones, Bob Steele, Allan “Rocky” Lane, Lash LaRue, “Wild Bill” Elliott, Tim Holt, Dick Foran, Charles Starrett as the Durango Kid, and Bob Livingston, Ray “Crash” Corrigan, and Max Terhune as the Three Mesquiteers. My Netflix queue is loaded with others yet to come.

For all that I enjoyed watching westerns, I’d read very few. Except for a handful of short stories (mostly found at the Online Pulps website), the only novel I’d read was Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses. I remembered Louis L’Amour from his instant best-sellerdom years ago. When a neighbor’s yard sale made his Son of a Wanted Man available, I bought it.

In it we meet Mike Bastian, who has been raised from childhood by his adoptive father, Ben Curry, for the life of a successful outlaw. As one of his “trainers,” a man named Roundy, says:

“…You can track like an Apache. In the woods you’re a ghost, and I doubt if old Ben Curry himself can throw a gun as fast and accurate as you. You can ride anything that wears hair, an’ what you don’t know about cards, dice, roulette, and all the rest of it, nobody knows. You can handle a knife, fight with your fists, and open anything made in the way of safes and locks.

“Along with that he’s seen you got a good education, so’s you can handle yourself in any kind of company. I doubt if any boy ever got the education and training you’ve had, and now Ben is ready to step back an’ let you take over.”

Ben Curry has never been caught because he’s smart, he’s a careful planner, and unlike other outlaws, he doesn’t want a “reputation.” His wife and daughters, who live back east, don’t know anything about this aspect of his life. They think he’s a rancher named Ben Ragan whose business transactions keep him traveling a great deal of the time. Curry has been highly selective about the men he uses to pull off the robberies he plans. He wants men who also don’t seek to advertise themselves as tough criminals.

What he doesn’t know is that two tough lawmen, Borden Chantry and Tyrel Sackett, have begun to detect a pattern in his modus operandi, and are closing in.

Mike Bastian’s problem? Deciding whether he wants to lead an outlaw’s life or stick to the straight path.

As events unfold, the matter is largely decided when Curry’s life and the life of one of his daughters, Juliana, is threatened by a band of men Curry recruited and who have, for years, benefited by his recruitment. Harrowing circumstances compel Bastian and others loyal to Curry to try to hunt down these renegades. Among the hunters is Curry’s other daughter, Drusilla, to whom Bastian is strongly attracted—and vice versa.

Since this is the first novel I’ve read by the late Louis L’Amour, I can only assume it’s representative of the way he wrote his many other novels. He was clearly a storyteller, and a man who wrote in a style free of any verbal furbelows and flourishes. The story itself is compelling, even if there are passages here and there that are repetitious, and despite the intimacy between Mike Bastian and Drusilla Ragan that strikes me as abrupt and false as the almost instant, unlikely connections seen in many B-western films.

L’Amour has one mannerism—in this book, at least—that’s annoying in its misuse. He’s fond of sentences that open with participial phrases, sentences meant to describe simultaneous actions. All too often, the simultaneities he describes are impossible. If I write, for example, “Striding across the floor of the bunkhouse, he unbuckled his holster,” the reader can picture someone walking and unbuckling at the same time. Now consider a line from L’Amour. After telling us that Borden Chantry “went to the stove for the coffeepot,” implying that he had to rise from his seat, move across the room, and then fill his and Sackett’s cups, he writes, “Returning the pot to the stovetop, he sat down, straddling his chair,” suggesting that Chantry is the Old West’s equivalent of Plastic Man. Here’s a “twofer”: “Walking back to the table Dru took the chimney from the lamp, struck a match, and touched it to the wick. Replacing the lamp globe she drew back a chair.” This is a flexible, multi-talented multi-tasker!

In both examples, the addition of the word “after” at the beginning of each sentence would have corrected the errors.

You may have also noted that the second L’Amour example could stand some commas. Which is to say that Bantam Books, the publisher, could have used a good copy editor. Then again, considering the general quality of book editing for years now, along with the way English is taught, I’m not sure the majority of readers will notice the grammatical nits I’ve picked.

Nits notwithstanding, Son of a Wanted Man is a fast-paced, exciting piece of entertainment. It may not be a masterpiece, but it’s a lot better than a Tex Ritter movie.

Barry Ergang © 2009, 2016

Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang’s work, including his locked-room mystery novelette The Play of Light and Shadow, is available at Amazon and Smashwords, along with other stories and collections.