Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Medical Update

Sandi was supposed to see the radiologist tomorrow for a followup appointment and to have the spinal tumor imaged to see if it had shrunk as we all hope. After some back and forth between everyone involved the appointment has been canceled at their direction.

Instead, the new plan is for her to see her regular oncologist on the 15th for the normal bloodwork and followup. At that point, depending on her blood work, they most likely will restart chemo immediately as well as schedule the PET Scan to do the full body imaging and look at her cancers.

Revue of Reviewers for 8-30-16 (The Rap Sheet)

Revue of Reviewers for 8-30-16 (The Rap Sheet)

Do Some Damage: The Thief of Time

Do Some Damage: The Thief of Time: The life of a writer can be one of extremes. There's the hyper-socialization at events like Boucheron, and the countless hours of tuckin...

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: LYRICAL PRESS DOUBLE RELEASE!

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: LYRICAL PRESS DOUBLE RELEASE!:    Breaking Hearts   by Melissa Shirley GENRE : Contemporary Romance ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The authors will be awarding a d...

Guest Post: "What to do with the Yadada Yadada" by Lesley A. Diehl

Please welcome author Lesley A. Diehl who has a new mystery coming out titled Mud Bog Murder……

What to do with the Yadada Yadada

By Lesley A. Diehl

I write cozy mysteries, and although I love plotting the story, I also believe that my stories are character driven tales, life in small communities, life we can all understand, but life disrupted by murder. My husband, who is also a mystery writer, always says of his writing, “I like presenting the murder for my protagonist to solve, and I love creating roadblocks for him before the ending. It’s just all that yadada yadada in the middle.” That yadada can be deadly and, if the mystery isn’t structured to avoid a sagging middle, a writer can lose the reader halfway through the book. Good writers are careful to create plot twists and turns, generate a second plot point, throw roadblocks in the protagonist’s way and develop interesting subplots and likable secondary characters, all to avoid the reader taking a snooze through the middle of the book or turning the pages to rush to the end. Worse yet, that reader may never pick up another book by the author.

For those of us who write mystery series, there’s a similar fate that can befall the mystery series; a sagging middle around book 3 or 4, where it feels as if the writer has lost traction with the series—the series yadada yadada. The writer seems to be repeating previously used plot twists, uses the same locations over and over, has the protagonist and other characters engage in dialogue that has occurred before and chooses motivation for the murder that is too close to what has been used in earlier stories or the motivation for the murder and the weapon is the same. Unless the writer intends to always have murder by knife because that’s a theme of the series, that writer would be better to select another method for bumping off someone. Since some have argued that a mystery is really the killer’s story, not the protagonist’s, writers fashion a meatier tale when the killer is as almost as clever and innovative as the hero or heroine.

Writers struggle with how to keep a series fresh. One way is to focus on the protagonist and her journey, not simply in a given book, but her overall arc from the first book in the series to the final one. For most series writers, the evolution of our protagonists is what keeps us engaged in our work, and the expression of the passion we have for our characters finds its way into our writing. Readers expect protagonists to change, to be altered by the events writers throw at them. Not only must the murder in the first book and the manner in which our protagonist solves it have an immediate impact, but the residual effects including what our protagonist has learned both intellectually and emotionally about herself and her relationships should be threaded into her next sleuthing endeavor. And we should ask ourselves, what is the cumulative effect of her involvement in these cases?

There is more than the impact of murders upon what our protagonist gleans from her sleuthing
endeavors. We like her not only because she is a good detective, but also for personal characteristics and her treatment of others. Her personal life should develop also. As long as a writer decides to age a character, change is inevitable. Some of it may emerge quite naturally from relationships which mature or the writer may also decide to place the protagonist or another character in a situation demanding radical changes. Both changes, normative and unexpected, make up the fabric of the protagonist’s life and create as much interest in what will happen as the solution of the murder may. They are certain solutions to a sagging series. A warning, however. Radical changes may not fit a character or a writer may introduce them so abruptly that the reader won’t buy the change. Sometimes it’s best to lay the ground work for change in a previous book in the series, a kind of titillation so the reader is intrigued and wants to find out what may happen in the next book.
Elizabeth George shocked most of her readers when she killed off a major character in her Inspector Lindley series. George used the murder of Lindley’s wife effectively in subsequent books in the series by detailing his reaction to her death, its impact upon him personally and in his professional life. It also allowed her to focus on his partner, Barbara Havers and take a closer look at the difficulties in her life. No one could have predicted this tragic event, but it has served the author well in keeping the series reading dynamic and fresh.

In contrast, Nevada Barr chose to have Anna Pigeon marry, but her relationship with her husband has become background in the subsequent books in the series. The reader knows little about the substance of their relationship and, aside from some thoughts about missing him. Anna seems to be unmoved by his absence or presence (he does appear as a secondary character in an adventure set on the Rio Grande. Perhaps this silence is a precursor to marital issues in books to come. In Barr’s defense, I still read her and don’t feel as if her series sags, but Pigeon is almost the kind of iconic character Robert Parker’s Spencer is. We don’t expect change from him.

Aging a character gives the writer many opportunities to keep the writing fresh and the series on its own arc of discovery. A character marrying may provide the future opportunity for children or it may involve becoming a parent to children of the spouse. This should be a change event that lays the groundwork for additional interesting opportunities.

Whether change is part of how our character ages or we choose to disrupt a character’s life by presenting an unusual set of circumstances demanding change, we can use these techniques to insure we infuse excitement and tension in the yadada yadada.

Lesley A. Diehl ©2016

Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in Upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.

She is the author of a number of mystery series and mysteries as well as short stories. Mud Bog Murder follows the first three books in the Eve Appel mystery series, A Secondhand Murder, Dead in the Water and A Sporting Murder.       

Visit her on her website:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Last Editor Standing: Multiple Paragraphs in a Single Instance of Dialog...

Last Editor Standing: Multiple Paragraphs in a Single Instance of Dialog...:     I was reading a short story at an online literary magazine,  here , a couple days ago. The author had elected to write the story in pr...

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Gene Wilder 1933-2016

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Gene Wilder 1933-2016: I have a couple friends who say they learn of celebrity deaths from my blog, that I write about these things first. I don't want to...

Guest Post: Jeanne on "Continuing a Series…"

Those of us who read a lot can’t help but notice how many series these days continue on with a new author after the original author has passed. Sometimes it works, but there is still a little something missing. Jeanne of the Bookblog of the Bristol Library is back today to consider that issue and a few other things…..

Continuing a Series…

Continuing a series after an author passes away seems to be quite the thing these days.  Multiple authors have taken over Robert Ludlum’s books and Robert B. Parker’s various series (Spencer, Jesse Stone, Virgil Cole)while specific authors have picked up others (Sophie Hannah for Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, Jill Paton-Walsh for Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey, etc.)  These efforts are often met with mixed reactions.  Some readers decry the new books, saying the characters are changed or that plots aren’t well done, while others proclaim readers won’t notice any difference at all.  It’s almost like having eyewitnesses to a single incident testify:  each one will notice something different and impart differing amounts of importance to it.

To illustrate what I mean, I’m going to go outside of the mystery genre to a subject near and dear to my heart:  Star Trek.  I’m a first generation Trekfan who started watching the show in 1966.  I was fascinated with the series, which was so unlike anything I’d ever seen before. I didn’t even really understand it all.  In that era, TV programming was heavy with Westerns, comedies, and the occasional cop show.  Plus, in my area, the only TV network available was NBC: so no Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, or even Lost in Space.  I was glued to the TV every Thursday night (later Friday).

The character who resonated with me most was Spock.  Here was a character who was the ultimate outsider: part Vulcan, he served on a ship with humans, many of whom regarded him with a degree of suspicion or at least unease.  On Vulcan, his human heritage created a barrier.  He was even estranged from his parents, not speaking to his father for two decades.  There was no place he could really call home.  (I can cite episodes, if anyone’s interested.) He simply did not fit in among the crew. His friendship with Kirk
evolved over time, with Kirk seemingly bemused by Spock in early episodes, and the tart exchanges with Dr. McCoy were gradually revealed to be less antagonistic and more one- upsmanship. Kirk had his own form of isolation:  that of command, where one had to know one’s crew, build comradery and trust while avoiding favoritism and personal entanglements.  In large part, this is what drew these three men together.  In The Making of Star Trek (a book I read to tatters), it was explained that McCoy and Spock were representing emotion and logic, respectively, while Kirk as the Man of Action had to reconcile the two impulses.

Spock’s outsider status resonated with a lot of people.  In the 1960s, many people felt alienated (no pun intended) and were drawn to someone who handled his situation with dignity and calm, who proved his value over and over. He was the hero of everyone who felt shunned because he or she was too fat, too thin, too smart, too uncoordinated, too different in some way.

Over the years, I read a lot of fanfiction. Here you must understand this fiction was not, but paper – and mimeo at that, at least in the beginning.  Some I felt captured the characters perfectly (Ruth Berman, wherever you are, you are still my hero!).  Others expanded the characters in way I felt were plausible.  Still others had me wondering if we had actually watched the same show, as the people portrayed were nothing like the characters I knew and loved.  Some of the differences were cultural.  For example, I was thrilled to discover there were British Star Trek fanzines, but I was puzzled to find that in story after story, the authors seemed to believe that McCoy really hated Spock.  Many were earnest attempts to show McCoy that Spock was actually someone with feelings and that McCoy was wrong to be so prejudiced against Vulcans.

Flash forward to the present, when Star Trek has been rebooted.  I’m not here to particularly praise or bash the productions, which I can sometimes appreciate on their own terms but which, to me, have lost a fundamental part of Star Trek’s appeal:  the outsider.  This Spock is shown to be very much an insider.  He’s the Academy’s prize student and he has an extremely attractive girlfriend. He remains rule bound and literal, but for me, he’s not Spock:  he’s Sheldon Cooper.

 Meanwhile, Kirk is a wild kid who comes in and upsets the system, usurps command of the Enterprise from by the book Spock, and gets the girls and the ship almost by sheer charm.  No real outsider there, either. Who is there for the disaffected to identify with?

To me, this is a huge and fundamental difference in the series.  However, not one review brought this aspect up. I was puzzled, but thought this was probably the result of later generation fan views—people for whom Vulcans were stereotypes (a clever thing for a non-existent race to be) and Spock’s status as beloved icon was so firmly entrenched that they had no idea how Spock was regarded when the series began.  (NBC reportedly wanted the character out after the pilot, believing people would think he was some sort of devil figure.)   

So imagine my surprise when another first generation fan said, “You know, I think Zachary Quinto really nailed Spock.  He’s just like the original.”

This took a great deal of rethinking on my part.  How could she have missed this, to me the most vital aspect of the series?

I conclude that the key words are “to me.”

And so it goes with all these other series and series characters.  All readers focus on a few aspects that really speak to that particular reader, be it the use of imagery, of language, setting, or facets  of characters. Others focus on different things.  Robert Goldsborough’s take on Nero Wolfe lacks the cadences and nuances that I found in Rex Stout’s version.  Brad Strickland’s first Johnny Dixon book, based on John Bellairs’ outline, I
found to be true to the original; later books seemed to lose the chemistry between Johnny and his elderly mentor, which was the part I found most appealing.  Sophie Hannah’s Monogram Murders caught the flavor of Christie’s Poirot (particularly as influenced by David Suchet) but the plotting and clues fell short. I won’t even go into all the Sherlock Holmes tales, though I will say a couple of my favorites were not written by Conan Doyle at all.

The key to enjoying any of the above, as far as I’m concerned, is to approach them for exactly what they are: others’ visions of “our” characters. I don’t expect to believe I’m reading a lost Sayers manuscript when I read Jill Paton-Walsh’s version, but if I pause to question every sentence there’s no point in reading it at all.  Instead, I just hope to have a nice visit with some vaguely familiar folks and experience the occasional flash of happy recognition when the author’s vision of the characters and mine align.  And if it doesn’t go well, it’s just back to the originals to satisfy my longing for old friends.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks: Reviewed by Ambrea Katie arrives in Southport, North Carolina, only a handful of belongings and a determination to avoid forming ...

Rough Edges: A Most Auspicious Star - Martin L. Shoemaker

Rough Edges: A Most Auspicious Star - Martin L. Shoemaker: Martin L. Shoemaker is quickly becoming one of my favorite new science fiction writers. His e-book novella A MOST AUSPICIOUS STAR is the ta...


FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Noteworthy Reads: TOUGH JOB IN DRIFTWOOD by Richar...: Richard Prosch writes with a distinct voice that has, in recent years, made him one of my favorite authors. I savor not only ...

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for August 29, 2016 (The Practicing Writer)

 Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for August 29, 2016 (The Practicing Writer)


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR August 29-...: Bookish events in Texas for the week of August 29-September 4, 2016:  Ongoing Exhibits: Xu Bing: Book from the Sky , a meditation on...

Monday With Kaye: Panacea by F. Paul Wilson (Reviewed by Kaye George)

Like zombie novels anything billed as a medical thriller is a no go for me right off the bat. For this final Friday in August,  Kaye George reviews the July release of Panacea by F. Paul Wilson. 

Unfortunately, this also marks the final Monday With Kaye blog post for awhile. Kaye has a lot going on and desperately needs to take a break. With huge thanks and anticipation of her glorious return to this time slot sometime in the future....

Panacea by F. Paul Wilson

Here’s a medical, slightly supernatural thriller from this multi-dimensional writer, and it’s a good one. I believe this is a stand alone, but there could be more planned.

The storyline touches down in the Yucatan, Israel, and other places—usually with disastrous results. However, Laura Fanning, medical examiner for Suffolk County, and her silent, dangerous-looking bodyguard, feel they’re drawing closer to discovering what the panacea is about with each foray.

Laura has a daughter who is recovering from cancer and is in precarious condition. Laura is reluctant to leave her with her father (Laura’s ex), but she receives a stupendous offer from an ailing billionaire to journey to a Mayan village and learn about a miracle cure. She’s the perfect person for the job because of her medical knowledge and because she’s half Mayan and speaks the local language.

It all starts amid an arson investigation with a murdered victim. It appears that the dead man has been growing something in his house, marijuana is what law enforcement assumes. When another case pops up that is almost identical, people take notice. Both victims have similar back tattoos and both were connected with a startling series of seemingly miraculous recoveries from unrelated illnesses. On her journeys, Laura finds herself entangled with two opposing groups, one called 536 and the other called the panaceans. The latter has possibly been secretly curing people for centuries and the former has been attempting to prevent them for almost as long.

Laura not only has to deal with the warring clandestine factions with some incredible abilities, and searching for a cure she doesn’t believe exists, but also is having problems trusting her bodyguard—while being drawn to him against her will.

Complete with twists and turns and high adventure, this thriller will grip you to the end.

Reviewed by Kaye George, author of Eine Kleine Murder, for Suspense Magazine

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Flash Fiction: Right Down the Line by Garnett Elliott (Shotgun Honey)

Flash Fiction: Right Down the Line by Garnett Elliott (Shotgun Honey)

Little Big Crimes: A Paler Shade of Death, by Laura Benedict

Little Big Crimes: A Paler Shade of Death, by Laura Benedict: "A Paler Shade of Death," by Laura Benedict, in St. Louis Noir, edited by Scott Akashic Press, 2016. This may the grimmest st...

All Due Respect: Cold London Blues by Paul D. Brazill

All Due Respect: Cold London Blues by Paul D. Brazill: Below is an excerpt from PDB's latest. Check out Cold London Blues, Amazon US and Amazon UK . A shadow of gloom hung over Father...

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Finding Dory

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Finding Dory: Finding Dory ~ The general parallels to the Star Wars franchise are hard to ignore here in this sequel to Finding Nemo . In the origin...

Everything coming to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Now in September (The Verge)

Everything coming to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Now in September (The Verge)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Scene of the Crime: MysteryPeople Explores P.J. Tracy’s Minnesota

Scene of the Crime: MysteryPeople Explores P.J. Tracy’s Minnesota

Bitter Tea and Mystery: See Also Deception: Larry D. Sweazy

Bitter Tea and Mystery: See Also Deception: Larry D. Sweazy: See Also Deception continues the story of Marjorie Trumaine, set on a farm in rural North Dakota in October, 1964. The area is affected by ...

25 Writing Contests in September 2016 - No Entry Fees

25 Writing Contests in September 2016 - No Entry Fees

Tony Romo's MRI reveals broken bone in back, could miss 6-10 weeks for Cowboys (CBS SPORTS)

After telling everyone in sight yesterday that the MRI cleared Tony with no injury we now have this breaking (literally) news ....

Tony Romo's MRI reveals broken bone in back, could miss 6-10 weeks for Cowboys (CBS SPORTS)

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis Wiebe and ...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis Wiebe and ...: Reviewed by Ambrea   In The Rat Queens:   Sass and Sorcery , readers have the opportunity to meet a most unusual group of ba...

KRL This Week Update For August 27, 2016

Up this morning in KRL a review & giveaway of "A Maiden Weeping" by Jeri Westerson

And a review & giveaway of "The Readaholics and the Gothic Gala" by Laura DiSilverio

Also a review & giveaway of "Clock and Dagger" by Julianne Holmes & an interesting interview with Julianne

And we have the latest mystery Coming Attractions from Sunny Frazier, along with a giveaway of "Murder Has Nine Lives" by Laura Levine from a past Coming Attractions

And a review of the Flower Shop Mystery Movies on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel based on the books by Kate Collins

We also have a never before published mystery short story by Nancy Brewka-Clark

And a review & giveaway of "Skeletons in the Attic" by Judy Penz Sheluk

Over on  KRL Lite we a fun article from mystery writer Anne Louise Bannon about what she learned about life in Kansas in the 1920s when she was researching her latest book. You can also enter to win a copy of her latest book "Bring Into Bondage"

 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


Late yesterday evening I finished THE BRANSON BEAUTY.  I will do a proper review of it very soon, but don't wait for that. This book is mighty good and highly recommended.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Criticism’s Sting: The Author Curtis Sittenfeld on Book Reviews (NYT)

Criticism’s Sting: The Author Curtis Sittenfeld on Book Reviews (NYT)

Lesa's Latest Contest: Miranda James' Arsenic and Old Books & Laurie Cass' Cat with a Clue

Books relating to librarians, cats & murder. I'm giving away copies of Miranda James' Arsenic and Old Books & Laurie Cass' Cat with a Clue. Details on my blog, Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine

FFB Review: HAIL, HAIL, EUPHORIA! (2010) by Roy Blount, Jr. (Reviewed by Barry Ergang)

After recently reviewing THE TIGHTROPE MEN by Desmond Bagley, today Barry Ergang reviews something entirely different with Hail, Hail, Euphoria! by Roy Blount, Jr. Make sure you check out Patti’s blog for the other reading suggestions today.

HAIL, HAIL, EUPHORIA! (2010) by Roy Blount, Jr.

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

I’ve been a Marx Brothers fan for as long as I can remember. Groucho is the first one I saw in early childhood on “You Bet Your Life,” his quiz show which started on radio and later aired on television. My maternal grandmother, who lived with us, preferred listening to radio rather than watching television programs, and I have a vague memory of listening to “You Bet Your Life” on radio with her one evening, then a night or two later watching the same episode on television with my parents.

Eventually I must have seen Harpo (and possibly Chico) guest-starring on TV, as well as some of the brothers’ films. In any event I loved the comedy, even if as a child I didn’t understand the wordplay between Groucho and Chico that I came to love later on.

This brings me to a digressive reminiscence you can read or skip over. Back in the late 1960s or early 1970s, there was a Marx Brothers revival, and a local movie theater ran their classics over a period of several weeks. One of my closest friends and I attended several showings. On one of them—I don’t recall which and it doesn’t matter—someone in the audience had brought his very young son. Every time Harpo appeared on the screen, the little boy erupted in laughter and his father tried to shush him. It bothered me. Nobody else in the crowded audience voiced any objections—the child’s laughter was infectious—and I silently wished the father would be the one to shut up. His son, although too young understand the wordplay, loved Harpo’s antics, so why not let him revel in them? I can only hope that when he grew older, the kid came to appreciate the Marx Brothers as I and so many others have.

Which brings me to Hail, Hail, Euphoria! by humorist Roy Blount, Jr. I discovered its existence several months ago, as of this writing, when it was offered in an e-mail I received from one of two e-book sites I subscribe to: Early Bird Books and BookBub. Its subtitle is “Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, The Greatest War Movie Ever Made.” I’ve never considered it in terms of war movies, but it has not only always been my favorite of the Marx Brothers films, I’ve also long maintained that it is one of the greatest film comedies ever made. So of course I had to have this book, according to the author of which “In 2009 an international panel of critics voted Duck Soup the thirty-seventh greatest film of all time.”

Roy Blount, Jr. goes through the film scene by scene, offering his personal observations and analyses. I found some of his attempts at humor more than a little strained, and some—but not all—of his analyses and efforts at “critical insights” to be confusing and/or pointless meanderings. What really worked for me were passages of biographical information about the Marxes themselves, Duck Soup’s director Leo McCarey, how some of the final screenplay and what wound up on-screen diverged from the original, and the making of the film itself. Here’s an example of a Marxian anecdote:

“Groucho once interrupted a charity tennis match between himself and Charlie Chaplin by spreading out a picnic lunch on the court and eating it as Chaplin fumed. Harpo would pick the pocket of another guest at a garden party, count the money, slip the wallet back into the guest’s pocket, and then bet the guest a hundred dollars he could tell him exactly how much money he was carrying. Chico had to go on the lam sometimes when he owed too much money to the wrong people.”

What worked for me might not work for everyone. Some might find the author’s analyses more penetrating and intelligible than I did. Were I to grade Hail, Hail, Euphoria! according to Internet book sites’ usual one- to five-star rating system, I’d give it a three out of five.

Ultimately, I’ll leave it to Marx Brothers fans to decide for themselves.

© 2016 Barry Ergang

Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang’s work has appeared in a multitude of publications, print and electronic. You can find some of it in a variety of genres in e-book formats at Amazon and Smashwords

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Gone Girl, Winnie the Pooh, Washington...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Gone Girl, Winnie the Pooh, Washington...: Reported by Ambrea Nevermore settled in with a familiar book and revisited one of their favorite authors with Gone Girl by Gilli...

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Café Society

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Café Society: Café Society ~ I have always been a Woody Allen fan, although admittedly more of his funny early work than his later still-funny-but-in-...

Brainsnorts Blog: Friday Fictioneers – 8/26: “Drifting”

Brainsnorts Blog: Friday Fictioneers – 8/26: “Drifting”

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 8-23-16 (J. Kingston Pierce)

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 8-23-16 (J. Kingston Pierce)

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: AN ISLAND GETAWAY THAT ENDS IN DEATH

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: AN ISLAND GETAWAY THAT ENDS IN DEATH: Murder on the Aloha Express by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GENRE : Cozy Mystery Murder on the Aloha ...

Review: Coffin for Cash (Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Book 12) by Nik Morton

As Coffin for Cash begins the almost 30-year-old U.S. Marshal Cash Laramie is in Cheyenne, Wyoming to see his boss, Chief U.S. Marshal Devon Penn. Also in his office is an attractive redhead by the name of Berenice Rohmer who is a family friend of Penn’s. Her brother has gone missing in the Dakota Territory out by Rock Springs and Green River.

Baron Hans Von Kempelen has opened a new casino in the area. Berenice’s brother, Horace, planned to do some business with the Baron. Apparently, Horace got there because additional funds were recently withdrawn by Horace at the local bank. Yet, it has been two weeks and Berenice has not heard anything from her brother. While Penn wants to send Cash solo to investigate, Bernice adamantly insists on going with him, and soon they are on the trail to the casino.

While on his investigation, Cash might cross paths with his old friend and occasional partner, Marshal Gideon Miles. Chief Penn has already sent Miles into the area to bring back a suspect murder for trial. Vincent Raven, who once served in the ninth cavalry, claims his is innocent and did not kill the local postmaster, Mr. Edgar Clemm. He is equally adamant that as a black man, like Miles, he won’t get justice. His story of what actually happened makes quite a lot of sense even before Marshal Miles starts asking questions. It isn’t long before Miles is on the hunt for the real killer and sure that Raven is a good man falsely accused. Proving that innocence is going to be difficult.

As the pages fly by and the action intensifies the storylines slowly came together in another great read well worthy of this long running series. Coffin for Cash is the latest in the series and one that is guaranteed to stress the reader quite a bit more than one place. A highly entertaining adventure, this latest read serves as a great introduction for readers new to the series while also providing a quality tale for those of us who have been fans since the early days. It is a mighty good read and highly recommended. 

Coffin for Cash (Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Book 12)
Nik Morton
Beat To A Pulp
May 2016
126 Pages
eBook (print format available)

Material purchased to read and review back at the end of June by way of funds in my Amazon Associate Account.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016

Review: Thuglit: Last Writes Editors Todd Robinson, Allison Glasgow, and Julie McCarron

Thuglit: Last Writes is the latest, and unfortunately, the last issue of Thuglit franchise. The final issue contains twelve quality stories that are very good in their own right as well as also honoring what has come before them.

After a very short introduction from Editor Todd Robinson, Nick Kolakowski is up with his story “A Bad Day in Boat Repo.” The client is Clive Stevens and he has a cargo vessel in Cuban waters. The crew was paid off to walk away from it and the harbormaster wants an incredible amount of money to release the ship. Mr. Stevens can’t use the normal channels, won’t pay the money, and wants the narrator to repo the vessel and bring it back to the Bahamas. Since Mr. Stevens is adamant against employing the authorities clearly means the cargo is something illegal and most likely drug related. That is the first strike against taking the gig and there are a number more culminating with the fact it is in Cuban waters. But, there is a lot of money at stake so soon the repo man and his number two, Limonov, have a plan and are on the way from the Bahamas to Cuba.

Ray did not want a baby in “What’s A Jim Hat?” by Nick Manzolillo. But, things have changed and he knows he has to do what needs to be done. His woman, Snack, is pregnant and he has to provide. He’s going to talk to Lou because Lou is his local conduit to the local crime boss. Hopefully, there is something he can do. All he is looking for is an opportunity as he needs the money bad.

Somebody should have shot Richie Vaillard years ago. He would have been shot down in the states. But, this is Canada and so it took way longer for Richie to get his. In “The Missing Piece” by Aaron Fox-Lerner, Guy did it. Now his big brother has to keep his baby brother safe and out of a mess that seems to getting bigger and worse by the hour.

He knows his meeting with Jackie is a last supper of sorts. Differences have to be settled in “Separate Checks” by Mike McCrary. Hunter has his gun, has made plans, and is keenly aware of what she can do as he has seen her kill a lot of people.
Duchamp is taking Sara out to the ghost town in the swamp. Mid-August and the heat and humidity take their toll on the two in the small boat. But, what is coming up out of the swamp thanks to Westerfield Chemical is far worse in “The Last Living Thing” by Andrew Paul.

Willie Lynn isn’t in the best of moods in “Flip the Record” by Patrick Cooper. The August sun and humidity certainly isn’t helping him as he lives out his days at the retirement community. The property manager of the place in Boca Raton isn’t helping either. Jazz records and his friend Henry keep him centered in the moment. Though he isn’t always with it, Willie has got a plan to liberate some cash so the two of them can get out of the Gracious Homes Retirement Community hellhole and go hang out on a Mexican beach.

Abby has been having a hard time of late in “Juke” by Kyle Summerall. It hasn’t been easy on her partner. The stress and all has taken a huge toll. At least there is always Larkin’s Bar for some escape from reality with folks who don’t know his personal situation.

It never is a good idea to date a coworker. Especially if it the hired help. Amber didn’t check in and he knows that means the worst. Not only for her, but for him too in “Forever Amber” by Dale T. Phillips. The only question is how many he can take out first.

A screaming child in your backseat will drive any parent insane. The jackknifed tractor trailer, the gridlocked road covered in ice, and everything else isn’t helping Travis Hayes in “All Things Come Around” by William Soldan. Trying to get home any way he can and to escape the gridlock, he follows a number of cars off the nearest exit only to then realize he is back in the old neighborhood where he had a far different life and plenty of memories.

Lonnie leads the life of a scammer and a thief so Vanessa isn’t supposed to know where she lives. But, she is in his place as “Prowl” by James Queally begins and that is most definitely not a good thing. The big Armenian with her who is built like a linebacker is going to have to be dealt with the hard way.

Despite the drought, the almond trees around them have somehow thrived. For Colby and Trav the plan is to do some payback to Galinger Farmworks. These folks have been taking all the water in the Central Valley of California, among other things, and they have to be stopped and sent a message. That is easier said than done in “Tulare” by Blair Kroeber.

The candy apple red Plymouth Duster in the far corner of the garage has caught the customer’s eye in “Slant Six” by S. A. Cosby. He wants to buy it and thinks he made a good offer. The customer has no idea what the car represents and why it would not be for sale. The car cost far too much and more than he could ever get back.

As one expects in the Thuglit series, the nine tales in this last issue are all solidly good ones. Thuglit: Last Writes features crime fiction at its best as well as subtle and not so subtle social commentary.  The struggle to survive permeates every story to its core. Thuglit: Last Writes is not only a highly entertaining read, it is a fitting end to what has been a great ride in the passenger seat as the black sedan, driven by a succession of talented folks, sped down shadowy dangerous streets.

Thuglit: Last Rites
Editors Todd Robinson, Allison Glasgow, and Julie McCarron
Thuglit Publishing
June 2016
eBook (print format available)
171 Pages

Material was picked up back in late June to read and review by way of funds in my Amazon Associate account.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lesa's Book Critiques: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two - J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two - J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

Bruce DeSilva on "How I Made the Transition From Journalist to Crime Novelist"

Bruce DeSilva on "How I Made the Transition From Journalist to Crime Novelist"

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The FIrst Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The FIrst Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter: Reviewed by Ambrea Cassie O’Malley has spent her life treading water, trying to appease the mother she both loved and hated, figh...

FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Noteworthy Reads: TORN AND FRAYED by David Cranmer...

FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Noteworthy Reads: TORN AND FRAYED by David Cranmer...: This seventh installment of the Drifter Detective series is penned by series creator David Cranmer, coming out from behind the Edwa...

Review: The Boy Who Ate Rainbows by Barry Ergang

Christina and her friends like it when there is a summer shower followed by a rainbow. It is one of the things they love about summer. That was until one day when the rainbow slowly began to disappear as it vanished into the ground. The entire rainbow just kept going over until the other end of the rainbow disappeared.

Nobody has ever seen anything like it. None of the kids has any idea why it happened. Nor did the any of their adult family members. It would be awhile before they could talk to their teachers at school about it as that wouldn’t start until September.

The kids decided that when the next shower happened and the rainbow formed they would ride their bikes to where the rainbow was to find out what was going on. When that happened the kids jumped on their bikes. They rode and rode and eventually had to walk into some woods. The last bit of the rainbow led them to a clearing where they found The Boy Who Ate Rainbows.

They also learned his name is Duncan and a lot more in this cool tale for kids written by Barry Ergang. Originally written as a fourth birthday gift for the daughter of close friends, the read is a cool mystery fantasy that has a number of important teaching moments for children. Not only was the book a hit with a birthday girl, the read was a big hit with her fellow Montessori classmates. That led to four pictures by those students being included in this edition. 

A short tale of understanding, compassion, and hope for the future, The Boy Who Ate Rainbows  is a fun read for both kids and adults. While the original tale and artwork may be nearly 20 years old, the message contained in these 18 pages is universal and timeless. 

The Boy Who Ate Rainbows
Barry Ergang
May 2016
18 Pages

Barry Ergang provided me a PDF copy back in May wth absolutely no expectations that I would review it.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bruce DeSilva on "What’s a Mystery Writer to Do When His Hero Loses His Crime-Fighting Job?"

Bruce DeSilva on "What’s a Mystery Writer to Do When His Hero Loses His Crime-Fighting Job?"

Crime Time : SOMETHING HAPPENED -- Joseph Heller

Crime Time : SOMETHING HAPPENED -- Joseph Heller: I'm just over halfway through my second reading of Something Happened but I'm already ready to write about it. This doesn't ...

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 8-22-16 (The Practicing Writer)

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 8-22- 16 (The Practicing Writer)


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR August 22-...: Bookish events in Texas for the week of August 22-28, 2016:  Ongoing Exhibits: Xu Bing: Book from the Sky , a meditation on the natur...

Monday With Kaye: Guilty Minds by Joseph Finder (Reviewed by Kaye George)

Released last June, Guilty Minds is the third book in the Nick Heller series by Joseph Finder. If you wish to read in order you need to start with Vanished  followed by Buried Secrets.

Guilty Minds by Joseph Finder

This is a dark tale of intrigue and underhanded politics. It hits the stands in June, just in time for the height of our own political entanglements.

Nick Heller says his job is figuring out who’s lying and why, since he has a knack for detecting lies, but there’s a lot more to it than that. He calls himself a private intelligence contractor, a nebulous job description that gives him leeway. Gideon Parnell, a Washington DC as well as national legend, wants Nick to look into a high powered friend of his, who going to be attacked in the sleazy online Scandal Sheet for using a prostitute. Parnell is reluctant to even give Nick the name because, it turns out, he’s the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Nick starts digging and finds that the author of the exposé is Mandy Seeger, who used to be a hot shot reporter for the Washington Post. He’s intrigued by her. She says she’ll send the story out in 48 hours unless Nick can prove it’s false. He follows the trail, finds out who the prostitute is, and who paid for her, a wealthy casino owner, but before he gets further, the prostitute is murdered.

Now he’s investigating a murder and the scandal. Wading through muddy waters, trying to find out which leads are dead ends, which are false, and where the truth is, puts all of his powers to the test.

If you’re a Finder fan, this book will not disappoint you. If you’re not, you might become one after this read.

Reviewed by Kaye George, author of Requiem in Red for Suspense Magazine