Friday, September 30, 2016

The Rap Sheet: For The Love of Noir

The Rap Sheet: For The Love of Noir

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Graphic Novel Round Up by Ambrea

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Graphic Novel Round Up by Ambrea: Recently, I’ve been on a reading jag involving comic books.   I don’t know why, but I’ve been on a comic book binge like never before—a...

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: In Sunlight or in Shadow -- Lawrence Block, Editor...

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: In Sunlight or in Shadow -- Lawrence Block, Editor...: The full title of this book is In Sunlight or in Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper.   It contains 17 stories along ...

FFB Double Take Review: TOP SUSPENSE: 13 CLASSIC STORIES BY 12 MASTERS OF THE GENRE (Reviewed by Barry Ergang and Kevin R. Tipple)

Back in 2011, Barry and I reviewed TOP SUSPENSE: 13 Classic Stories by 12 Masters of the Genre in individual reviews. Barry had gotten his copy from Bill Crider and Dave Zeltserman had provided me a copy for review. Today, as part of Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott, it is a double take review as part of the celebration today of anthologies. With our differing styles, the reviews should complement each other as well as cover the book in different ways.

The bottom line is we both like the book very much......

TOP SUSPENSE: 13 Classic Stories by 12 Masters of the Genre

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

I suspect many readers feel as I do about most anthologies, genres notwithstanding, and find them uneven as to the quality of the stories they contain. Some stories are superb, others mediocre. Some make you wonder how and why they made it into the book at all.

Top Suspense proved to be an exception to that generality. An anthology from a group of some of today’s finest practitioners in the mystery/suspense field, each of the stories it contains is an engrossing read. There is plenty of variety here, each story being very different from its companions. With the caveat that several of them contain crude language, vivid violence, and graphic sex, and thus might disturb some sensibilities, here is the lineup:--   

In Max Allan Collins’s “Unreasonable Doubt,” Chicago P.I. Nate Heller, president of the A-1 Detective Agency, while vacationing in California visits his partner Fred Rubinski and ends up taking on a case Fred is too busy to handle himself--a case based partly on fact, as Collins explains in an afterword, involving the strong-willed teenaged daughter of a wealthy couple, the girl’s gold-digging boyfriend, and a vicious double murder.

Bill Crider’s story “Death’s Brother” finds a middle-aged professor of Romantic literature engaged in some extracurricular activity with a beautiful young student: extra-legal, extra-lethal activity.

Forbidden to leave the garden without telling his mother, Dylan nevertheless sneaks off to play with some neighborhood children who take him to an industrial area beneath a country park, a trip that has serious consequences, in Stephen Gallagher’s “Poisoned.”

“Remaindered,” Lee Goldberg’s darkly comic inverted detective story, concerns a writer desperate to revive a flagging career who meets an ardent--and amorous--fan at a book signing, who invites the writer to see her collection of signed first editions, among other things. The writer’s wife is hundreds of miles away and never needs to know. Where’s the harm? It won’t kill anybody--right?

Seventeen-year-old Bobby Staley, lusting after a young woman slightly older than he, bargains with God to see her naked. Thirty-four-year-old Vivian Chase, on the run from an accomplice after half a lifetime of robberies and seeking repentance, wants only to take care of the needs of the teenaged daughter she left in the care of another years before. Their paths converge in Joel Goldberg’s potent “Fire in the Sky.”

“The Baby Store” may at first seem out of place in an anthology of stories focused on crime and mystery, but Ed Gorman’s offbeat tale of a competitive future in which prospective parents can literally design their children ultimately deals with crime on a personal and, some readers will probably believe, a societal scale.

In Libby Fischer Hellmann’s “The Jade Elephant,” a professional burglar’s conscience is piqued after he gets some good news from a doctor but learns that one of his former marks has a serious medical problem. Wanting to make amends, he must contend with a partner who is a great deal less sensitive to the needs of others, and with a very determined fence.

Maternal and murderous instincts drive the protagonist in Vicki Hendricks’ raw, explicit, and ironic “The Big O”--a woman seeking a perverse kind of redemption for the sake of her year-old son, who must contend with his abusive father from whom she’s fled, the drug-dealing abusive lover she accepts solely to have a place to live, and a hurricane that’s both literal and symbolic.  

Depicting the lingering anti-Japanese sentiment that permeated southern California in 1951, Naomi Hirahara’s “The Chirashi Covenant” tells the story of a Japanese-American woman who longs to sell the house she shares with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law in a Japanese enclave , and find a new home closer to the ocean. Her quest leads to infidelity, tragedy, and revenge.

The narrator of Paul Levine‘s “El Valiente En El Infierno (The Brave One in Hell)” is Victor Castillo, a thirteen-year-old Mexican boy who, along with others--among them a pregnant Honduran girl--is attempting a midnight border crossing into California. He wants to get to his Aunt Luisa in Ocotillo. She’ll help him get to Minnesota so he can join his father and older brothers. A couple of vigilantes from the Patriot Patrol have other ideas.

Another story that takes place in the desert, this one in Nevada, is Harry Shannon’s tense and memorable “A Handful of Dust,” in which a hit man named Pike meets and confers with a bizarre prospective client who has an even more bizarre request.

Because of his partner’s ineptitude, a thief must bid on a painting from an auction house because its frame conceals the key to a storage locker containing three hundred thousand dollars he and the partner stole. In Dave Zeltserman’s fast-paced “The Canary,” the problem is that someone else is bidding, too.

“The Chase” is the thirteenth and final story in the anthology. It’s a round-robin effort, as explained in a prefatory note: “Each member wrote 250 words and sent it on to the next until it had gone around twice. No planning, re-writing or polishing allowed.” For this reason it’s the weakest story of the lot--but saying so is akin to fruitlessly debating who’s stronger, Superman or the Hulk. Whatever “The Chase” lacks in comparison with the individually written tales that precede it, it makes up for in nearly non-stop action. Like its predecessors, it will hook and hold readers.

If the authors represented in Top Suspense are among the kings and queens of their genre, these stories are jewels for their respective crowns. Highly recommended. 

Barry Ergang © 2011, 2016

Some of Derringer Award-winning author’s Barry Ergang’s work is available at Smashwords and Amazon

Featuring 13 stories by twelve authors this anthology released as an e-book features a lot of variety in the tales. These previously published stories take place in a variety of settings with tremendously different themes and writing styles. Because of the variety there should be several stories that will please any reader.

Max Allen Collins opens the book with “Unreasonable Doubt.”  Nathan Heller is in Los Angeles in 1947 and is supposed to be on vacation. It isn’t a vacation very long as he is pulled into the Overell case. Like many a dad before him, Walter E. Overell does not want to see his daughter marry a guy dad is sure is bad news. What he needs is proof. He wants Nathan Heller and his partner Fred Rubinski to get the goods on the guy so that Walter Overell can prove to his daughter the guy only wants her for the family money.

Bill Crider follows with his noir tale, “Death’s Brother.”  Sometimes the professor just has to help his student outside of the classroom.  Professor Jon Cline certainly intends to help.  The money will be nice too.

In possibly the most disturbing story of the book Stephen Gallager tells the tale of a lonely only child seeking friends to play with as well as escape from his overbearing parents in “Poisoned.” The surrounding English countryside has numerous dangers, many of them man made.  Dylan’s attempts to fit in with the neighborhood kids are a recipe for disaster that will rock many parents.

Book signings bring out all kinds and doing one at an area K-Mart in Spokane, Washington may not be the best idea in “Remaindered.”  Written by Lee Golberg, this story features author Kevin Dangler who has been written off by everyone as a one hit wonder.  Desperate times call for desperate measures as he meets possibly his biggest fan.

Sevente­­­­­­­­­­en year old Bobby Staley wants just one thing out of God – he wants to see Elizabeth Bumiller naked in the beginning of “Fire in the Sky” by Joel Goldman.  This Depression Era story has nothing to do with Mr. Goldman’s series featuring trial lawyer Lou Mason or FBI Special Agent Jack Davis.  Still, the story is a good one and features genetics and destiny at work.

“The Baby Store” by Ed Gorman tackles a subject familiar to science fiction readers – the quest to have the perfect baby.  For Kevin McKay, in light of recent events, that quest is particularly upsetting but his fellow lawyers don’t see the pain they cause by bragging on their own kids.  Designer kids are the new fad for the wealthy and powerful and they just don’t care what other folks think. While Kevin is getting ready to design another child, his wife may not be.

“The Jade Elephant Plant” by Libby Fischer Hellman is the tale of a green jade elephant sitting in a pawnshop window and repercussions.  It may not be a doggie in the window but Gus needs it just the same. Too bad he originally stole it six months ago.

“The Big O” by Vicki Hendricks is not the kind of story the title implies. Or, maybe it is depending on how your mind works. Either way, this tale of a woman trying to start over somewhere on the shores of Lake Okeechobee is a good one.  Taking her one-year-old son, Chance, and running seemed like a good idea to Candy. But, running did not change who she is and old habits are very hard to break in this hard hitting story.

Naomi Hirahara contributes “The Chirashi Covenant” set just after World War Two. Racism against Japanese Americans is a major issue and serves as a backdrop to this intriguing story.  A chance meeting might change the lives of Helen and her husband Frank forever.

“El Valiente En El Inferno” (The Brave One In Hell) written by Paul Levine describes the terror Victor Castillo, thirteen years old, faces trying to get across the border into the US.  Part of a group that is intercepted by two Americans bent on preventing illegals from crossing while also having some twisted fun at their expense, it is up to Victor to save himself and others.

Harry Shannon takes readers to his home state of Nevada in “A Handful of Dust.” It takes Pike the better part of the night to drive to a bar in a barely still alive town in the high desert.  The bug zapper on the porch of the bar is not the only thing that kills---just the most obvious.

“The Canary” by Dave Zeltserman is billed as “This is a simple crime story featuring a thief and a canary. Make that two canaries.”  Not to argue with the author but it is also a story about a very simple truth that stretches from the lowest place on Earth to the penthouse and every stop in between. Plans for success—no matter the endeavor—are always ruined by incompetent help.

The final story of the anthology is the round robin story the original members of the Top Suspense Group created and published last year. Each member wrote 250 words and sent the evolving story on to the next writer. No polishing, editing, planning, etc. was allowed as the growing story made its way through the group twice.  The very good result was titled “The Chase” and fittingly concludes the book.

Read by way of the free Kindle for PC program, this strong and wide ranging anthology is available in a variety of e-book formats. It showcases the work of some of the best crime/mystery writers in the game today. Full of rich characters and lots of twists that you will not see coming, the reads contained in this book are good ones.

Edited by Dave Zeltserman
March 2011
eBook (also available in paperback
188 Pages

Material supplied by Dave Zeltserman in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2011, 2016

Some of Kevin’s work can be found at Smashwords and Amazon.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Gravetapping: THE SUNDOWN SPEECH by Loren D. Estleman

Gravetapping: THE SUNDOWN SPEECH by Loren D. Estleman: The Sundown Speech is the most recent entry, 25 th overall, in Loren Estleman’s justly celebrated Amos Walker private detective series. ...

Crime Review Update

We feature new 20 reviews in each issue of Crime Review (, together with a top industry interview. This time
it’s author Leigh Russell in the Countdown hot seat.
We’re on Twitter at:
Crime Review: @CrimeReviewUK
Linda Wilson: @CrimeReviewer
Sharon Wheeler: @lartonmedia

This week’s reviews are:
THE MURDER ROAD by Stephen Booth, reviewed by Linda Wilson
DI Ben Cooper investigates the murder of a lorry driver whose truck gets
stuck under a low bridge near an isolated Derbyshire hamlet.

BURIED by Graham Masterton, reviewed by John Cleal
The mummified bodies of a family and their pets found beneath the
floorboards of a cottage point to an execution during the Troubles.

THE QUIET DEATH OF THOMAS QUAID by Craig Russell, reviewed by Chris Roberts
PI Lennox subcontracts ‘Quiet’ Thomas Quaid for a simple theft, but things
go awry and Quaid ends up dead. Lennox is determined to find out why.

BLACK RIVER by Tom Harper, reviewed by Fiona Spence
A lost city. The world's deadliest jungle. When your life depends on it,
who can you really trust?

THE FINAL WORD by Liza Marklund, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
Crime reporter Annika Bengtzon is revisiting an old story of a young woman
murdered by her violent boyfriend. She also reports on the court case of
the savage killing of a homeless man. But the mysterious disappearance of
her sister leaves her distraught.

THE SILENT ROOM by Mari Hannah, reviewed by Linda Wilson
A Special Branch officer, believed to have gone rogue, is taken from a
hijacked prison van after being refused bail. Most believe DI Jack Fenwick
has been sprung by his dodgy mates, but his former sergeant believes he’s
been taken against his will and is an innocent man.

CUT TO THE BONE by Alex Caan, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler
DCI Kate Riley and DS Zain Harris find they have millions of suspects when
a popular internet vlogger goes missing.

THE WOMAN WHO WALKED INTO THE SEA by Mark Douglas-Home, reviewed by Linda
Violet Wells was abandoned as a baby. When she finds out that her mother
committed suicide just after giving birth, Violet is determined to learn as
much as she can about the woman who gave her up.

DEADLY HARVEST by Michael Stanley, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Samantha Khama, a new recruit to Botswana CID, takes the disappearance of
young girls seriously, especially when it appears that they may be ending
up in traditional medicine for those seeking power.

STREET SOLDIER by Andy McNab, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Tough teenager Sean Harker is up to his eyes in trouble and a spell in a
Young Offenders’ Institute looks like only digging him deeper in the mire,
but then an unexpected offer gives him the chance to turn his life around.
HONKY TONK SAMURAI by Joe R Lansdale, reviewed by Chris Roberts
When an old lady catches Hap and Leonard on camera assaulting a dog abuser,
they feel a little pressure to accede to her request that they investigate
the disappearance of her granddaughter.

A POISONOUS PLOT by Susanna Gregory, reviewed by John Cleal
Tensions between town and gown threaten full-scale warfare in 1350s
Cambridge as physician/corpse examiner Matthew Bartholomew and senior
proctor Brother Michael try to solve a series of murders and mysterious

SKIN AND BONE by Robin Blake, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Preston Coroner Titus Cragg is called in when the body of a baby is
discovered in the town’s notorious tanning yard.

A DEATH AT FOUNTAINS ABBEY by Antonia Hodgson, reviewed by John Cleal
John Aislabie, one of the wealthiest and most hated men in England, has
been threatened with murder. Thomas Hawkins is blackmailed into
investigating and must hunt those responsible, or lose the woman he loves.

THE LONDON CAGE by Mark Leggatt, reviewed by Jim Beaman
Connor Montrose needs to take control of a secret weapon that could destroy
all the communications and defence systems of the world. Meanwhile the CIA
are on his trail and want him dead.

THE DETECTIVE AND THE DEVIL by Lloyd Shepherd, reviewed by John Cleal
Constable Charles Horton of the River Police investigates the brutal
killing of a clerk and his family in London’s East End and is drawn into
the secretive world of the East India Company.

BROKEN CHORD by Margaret Moore, reviewed by Sylvia Maughan
A brutal murder occurs in a family villa in Italy. With everyone under
suspicion the murky side of each character gradually unfolds. Will
Inspector Dragonetti be able to cut through all this to find the culprit?

BLACK ARTS by Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil, reviewed by John Barnbrook
Jack lives in Tudor London, in a secluded alley with his mother, until, on
the verge of entering life of organised crime, he encounters a world he did
not know existed, a world of red-handed priests, demons and magic.

THE MURDERER IN RUINS by Cay Rademacher, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
The body of a young woman is found hidden behind a wall in the wartime
rubble that used to be Hamburg. She has clearly been strangled but, that
apart, there are no clues.

THE SILENT ONES by William Broderick, reviewed by John Cleal
Father Anselm is approached by the head of a minor Order to trace a missing
priest who ran from a police station while being questioned over an
allegation of child abuse.

Best wishes


Bitter Tea and Mystery: Grifters & Swindlers: edited by Cynthia Manson

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Grifters & Swindlers: edited by Cynthia Manson: Grifters & Swindlers is a collection of 17 short stories taken from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery M...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Whipping Boy, Olive Kitteridge, Don't Y...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Whipping Boy, Olive Kitteridge, Don't Y...: Reported by Jeanne Nevermore opened with Whipping Boy:   The Forty Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully by Allen Kurzweil which ...

Revue of Reviewers for 9-28-16 (The Rap Sheet)

Revue of Reviewers for 9-28-16 (The Rap Sheet)

Crime Time : A MOMENT ON THE EDGE – Elizabeth George

Crime Time : A MOMENT ON THE EDGE – Elizabeth George: I committed a crime a year ago paying a mere 50¢ at my public library’s used-book sale for an excellent copy of A Moment on the Edge: 100 Y...

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 12 Calls for Submissions in October 2016 - Paying Markets

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 12 Calls for Submissions in October 2016 - Paying ...: There are a dozen calls for submissions in October. As always, there are calls for a wide variety of genres and styles. Short stories, e...

A Holland Reads: Denise Weeks - Cozy Mystery Author Spotlight and Interview

A Holland Reads: Denise Weeks - Cozy Mystery Author Spotlight and I...: I am going to be hosting a number of cozy mystery authors on my blog for the next two months. If you have not had the pleasure of enjoy...

The Lust Song of J Alfred Rudeshock by Barry Ergang at Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis

This was originally published in a print poetry journal, The Listening Eye, in 2000. 

The Lust Song of J Alfred Rudeshock by Barry Ergang at Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Revealed: How one Amazon Kindle scam made millions of dollars (ZDNET)

Revealed: How one Amazon Kindle scam made millions of dollars (ZDNET)

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: COOL STUFF TO MAKE YOU SMARTER!

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: COOL STUFF TO MAKE YOU SMARTER!: See how I tricked you into reading about one of my favorite animals, bats. No, don’t stop reading, please! You’ll be so glad you did if you...

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 23 Writing Contests in October 2016 - No Entry Fees

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 23 Writing Contests in October 2016 - No Entry Fee...: There are nearly two dozen writing contests in October. All are free (no entry fees). Some of the prizes are in the tens of thousands of d...

J. Kingston Pierce: Bleeding Balls and Second Lines: Crime Lovers Descend on NOLA (Kirkus Reviews)

J. Kingston Pierce: Bleeding Balls and Second Lines: Crime Lovers Descend on NOLA (Kirkus Reviews)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Blood-Red Pencil: My Rant: Is Editing Ever Elective?

Blood-Red Pencil: My Rant: Is Editing Ever Elective?: Earlier this month, Diana Hurwitz posted a great article entitled " Do You Need an Editor? " Supporting her contention that all wr...

Guest Post: Jeanne on Library Donations in Memoriam

Jeanne of the Bookblog of the Bristol Public Library is back today with a deeply personal post on the subject of donating books to the library…

When I was growing up, one of the only acceptable ways of paying respects to the dead was to send flowers to the funeral. One also sent food to the living, attended the wake, and of course the funeral.  The standard time between death and the funeral was at least three days, to give enough time to notify relatives and friends, and for them to have the chance to travel to the funeral.

Things have changed quite a bit in the past few decades.  For one thing, the wake—also known as “sitting up with the dead” in my region, a reflection of when such things were held in the family parlor—is now largely visitation (“The family will receive friends..”) and since a jumble of relatives don’t usually descend for the week, folks have cut down on the food offerings a bit.  Some funerals have taken place within a day of passing or else been held up for weeks as a memorial service has taken the place of a traditional funeral with a body in a casket.  Death notices in the newspaper have become less of a given, now that many papers charge for such notices.

Another change is the floral tribute which, I am sure, has been very difficult for the florists.  Instead of automatically accepting flowers, many notices carry a list of suitable places to make donations in honor of the deceased.   I have to say that is a change I applaud; while I always appreciated seeing the flowers, knowing that one can help defray funeral expenses for the family or contribute to a charity near and dear to the person seems a much more useful way to express one’s sympathy.

For me, that has become donating a book to the library in memory of the person.  In fact, twice a year I make a donation to the library back in our home town in honor of my mother, a voracious reader who would have loved having a library at her disposal.  When she was growing up, there was no county library; when I was growing up, there was a library at the county seat but not in our town. My mother was on the Regional Library Board and advocated for a library for our town. We did finally get one just about four years before we moved away.  It was in the town hall, above the jail, in a room not exactly designed to held thousands of pounds of weight.  The floor bowed in several places. One always had the feeling one could go in for a book and end up in a cell.

The library now has a new home on a ground floor and has room for more books, though not the budget. With my donation, I allow the library to do the selection based on the current needs of their readers.  After all, there’s little reason to select a book that will just gather dust on the shelves.  I do give some broad guidelines.  For example, my mother had a love of history and genealogy, so books about our region are good choices. She also loved mysteries and historical sagas, so things in that genre—especially large print, as that was her salvation when she developed macular degeneration—are excellent choices.  When the books are selected, a plate goes inside with her name on it.  I like to think that some reader picks the book up and takes a moment to be grateful that Negetha G. Powers is remembered in that way. 

I know that’s my reaction with the collection here.  There are any number of books with memorial plates or “In honor of” plates.  If it’s a subject I especially enjoy, I feel a bit of kinship to the person named.   A few years back, we lost a wonderful patron who was a devoted knitter, especially of socks.  With the donations we bought a number of knitting books, adding greatly to the collection.  Not long after a patron came up, looking a bit puzzled.  She too is an avid knitter and had been through most of the books in our collection.  She pointed to the plate and said, “What does this mean?” I explained, and her face lit up.  “Ah, what a nice lady!” she said.

So this is my pitch for the day. It comes about as we have lost a long time staff member, one who was also an omnivorous reader.  My choices for her were easy:  I just chose the books she had put on reserve but which were not yet published at the time she passed. I know she was itching to read the next Mike Lawson and Lee Child.

At a time when books, authors, and libraries are feeling the pinch, when many readers have had financial setbacks and are living on limited incomes, giving a book to a library pays it forward in so many ways. 

The views expressed herein are my own and not those of other person or instititution.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Phillip Thompson -- Outside the Law (February 2017 Release)

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Phillip Thompson -- Outside the Law: Outside the Law  is an original novel, not a reprint.  (Brash Books is doing a lot more originals these days.)  It's set in a rural Miss...

Craig Johnson at The Poisoned Pen

Craig Johnson at The Poisoned Pen


FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: My Take: THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (2016): Let me get it out of the way right up front: I liked this film a lot. It has flaws and some plot holes you could drive a Humvee thr...

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 09/26/16 (The Practicing Writer)

 Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 09/26/16 (The Practicing Writer)


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 9/26-10/2: Bookish events in Texas for the week of September 26-October 2, 2016:  Special Events: Banned Books Week , nationwide, September 25-Oc...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: The Skeleton Haunts a House -- Leigh Perry (Toni L...

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: The Skeleton Haunts a House -- Leigh Perry (Toni L...: Sid the sentient skeleton detective is back for another adventure.  I reviewed one of his earlier cases here .  Sid can see although he does...

KRL This Week Update for 09/24/16

Up this weekend in KRL a review & giveaway of "All the Little Liars" by Charlaine Harris, along with a fun behind the book interview with Charlaine.

Also upa review & giveaway of "Death of a Pumpkin Carver" by Lee Hollis, along with a fun guest post & recipe

We also have a review & giveaway of "Pumpkin Picking With Murder" by Auralee Wallace.

And a review of the Aurora Teagarden Mystery movies on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel, based on the books by Charlaine Harris

And reviews & giveaways of 4 more fun mysteries from Penguin authors-"No Farm, No Foul": A Farmer’s Daughter Mystery by Peg Cochran, "Cancelled by Murder": A Postmistress Mystery by Jean Flowers, "Digging Up the Dirt": Southern Ladies Mystery by Miranda James, and "Paint the Town Dead": Silver Six Crafting Mystery by Nancy Haddock

We also have the latest mystery Coming Attractions column from Sunny Frazier, along with giveaways of books by Lea Wait, Jean Flowers, and Leslie Langtry

And a mystery short story by Judy Penz Sheluk

Lastly, on KRL Lite a review & giveaway of "Whispers Beyond the Veil" by Jessica Estevao

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

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: “The Magical Mystery Book Tour” (by Jenny Milchman)

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: “The Magical Mystery Book Tour” (by Jenny Milchman...: “The Magical Mystery Book Tour” (by Jenny Milchman) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN : Jenny Milchman’s first professional publication was in ...

Do Some Damage: Brokeback Writer

Do Some Damage: Brokeback Writer: By Steve Weddle If you've felt a disturbance in the Bookternet this week, you might have been surprised to find that Franzen isn't...

FFB Review: BLUNT DARTS (1984) by Jeremiah Healy (Reviewed by Barry Ergang)

Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books. Make sure you check out the list over at Patti’s blog after you read Barry Ergang’s review of Blunt Darts by Jeremiah Healy. Amazon says this is the first book in the John Cuddy series. I am pretty sure I have never read any of the series.

BLUNT DARTS (1984) by Jeremiah Healy

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

After working as a claims investigator for Empire Insurance Company for eight years, John Francis Cuddy was appointed head of claims investigation in Boston. Shortly after his wife Beth’s death after a long illness, Cuddy was approached by a colleague and asked to sign an investigation report of a claim that was never probed by the Boston office, and he refused. This resulted in his dismissal.
Paperback Blunt Darts

“Six years earlier the company had required all of us to obtain and maintain private investigator licenses from the Department of Public Safety. I knew three or four semi-reputable guys in the trade who could tell me how to get started and maybe even refer me a few clients. I decided it was time J.F.C. became his own man.”

When he receives a call from Valerie Jacobs, whom he met while at Empire because at the time she was dating a claims adjuster there, Cuddy agrees to meet her for lunch. A schoolteacher, Valerie is concerned about a former student, Stephen Kinnington, and wants Cuddy to meet with Eleanor Kinnington, who lives in the town of Meade and who is the mother of Judge Willard J. Kinnington, “one of the youngest men ever to go on the bench, and his family has sort of, well, ruled Meade since long before I arrived,” Valerie explains. “Anyway, Stephen’s mother, Diane Kinnington, killed herself about four years ago by driving her Mercedes off a bridge and into the river. Apparently she boozed it up a lot, so no one knows whether it was accidental or suicidal. It hit Stephen pretty hard, as you can imagine.”  Hard because he was catatonic when he went into and spent time recovering in the sanatorium Willow Wood.

Hardcover Blunt Darts--Import
Convinced that the young man has run away rather than been the victim of a kidnapping, his grandmother, Eleanor Kinnington, wants Cuddy to find Stephen and bring him home to resume a normal life. She has a strong sense of where he might have gone, and Cuddy sets out after him—but not without complications. Among the latter are Judge Kinnington and his court officer and right-hand man, a brutal giant of a disgraced cop named Gerald Blakey, neither of whom want Cuddy’s intrusions.  

While dealing with personal issues, not the least of which is his relationship to wannabe-lover Valerie Jacobs versus loyalty to his dead wife, Cuddy’s quest to find and bring Stephen home results in revelations about the Kinnington family, among them the judge’s brother Telford, who died in Vietnam while leading “his company in a counterattack from an American position against a much larger Vietcong force.” The overall quest is not without violence and disclosures, plausible if unexpected, by both Cuddy and the reader.

Blunt Darts is the first novel in the John Francis Cuddy mystery series and the second one I’ve read, the other being Swan Dive. Like the latter, Blunt Darts is a stellar example of economical prose that conveys a powerful, fast-moving narrative and character-delineating dialogue. I look forward to reading still more in this exceptional series and would not dissuade other hardboiled mystery fans—at least, those who aren’t squeamish about occasional moments of street language—to do the same. Jeremiah Healy is an author well worth a reader’s time.

© 2016 Barry Ergang

Some of Derringer Award-winning author’s Barry Ergang’s work is available at Smashwords and Amazon

Thursday, September 22, 2016

ALONE WITH YOUR OWN DISASTER by Nick Kolakowski (Cleaver Magazine)

ALONE WITH YOUR OWN DISASTER by Nick Kolakowski (Cleaver Magazine)

Crime Time : ELIMINATION – Ed Gorman

Crime Time : ELIMINATION – Ed Gorman: When I was in high school my dad ran in the Democratic primary for a state senate seat. I was his campaign manager. We didn't have an...

Review: For The Good Of The Clan by Miles Archer

As For The Good Of The Clan Ulat is pursuing a deer for his clan. He takes the deer down on an early spring day. Minutes later, he is taken down at least two blows from behind.

For Ledeth, the medicine man for the clan, this day has passed like others over his many years. His name translates to “one who knows secrets” and that sums up what he does on a daily basis. Revered and feared by his clan he is well aware that time waits for no creature. He feels a sense of urgency to impart his knowledge to Donathan who is his latest student. Donathan may have potential, but he is also not anywhere near ready to take on the responsibility of being the medicine man to the clan. For Ledeth this is a huge issue, as he knows his time for the long sleep is coming.

It is Ledeth who the people feel comfortable with coming to with their concerns. The oldest daughter, Matha, of his sister comes to him that night to tell him Ulat has not returned and she is very worried. When Ulat still has not returned the next day, Ledeth goes to Chief Balog to ask for clan members to be sent to look for Ulat.  

The search party sent out by Chief Balog soon fins Ulat’s body. Ledeth is assigned, not only the ceremonial funeral, but also the task of figuring out what happened to Ulat. Was it a fearsome boar as some believe, or was a member of the clan responsible for the death of the clan’s greatest hunter?

The death of Ulat has far reaching implications in For The Good Of The Clan by Miles Archer. Part of the Fingerprints Short Story Line published  by Untreed Reads Publishing, the fast moving story takes readers back to ancient times when spirits ruled the land and people did what they could to survive. Ledeth is on the case in a highly entertaining short story that moves steadily forward to a satisfying conclusion. For The Good Of The Clan by Miles Archer works quite well in terms of characters, action, and a strong mystery. A good read and one that is well worth it.  


For The Good Of The Clan
Miles Archer
Untreed Reads Publishing
February 2012
ASIN: B007F1W686
25 Pages

I purchased the book last month by way of funds in my Amazon Associate account.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016

Monday, September 19, 2016


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 9/19-25: Bookish events in Texas for the week of September 19-25, 2016:  Special Events: West Texas Book Festival , Abilene, September 19-24 ...

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 09/19/16 (The Practicing Writer)

 Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 09/19/16 (The Practicing Writer)

Guest Post: Mark Edwards on "As Safe as Houses…The Rise in Domestic Suspense"

Please welcome author Mark Edwards who has a few thoughts about “domestic suspense”…

As Safe as Houses…The Rise in Domestic Suspense

In the summer of 2012 I attended a party in central London with a large group of British crime and thriller writers and readers. Everyone was talking about one book, by a writer who wasn’t at the party or even in the same country. This novel wasn’t a bestseller yet – certainly not in the UK ­– and the author, though reasonably well-known after a couple of mid-size hits, was far from a household name. But there was a buzz about this book; the kind of excitement that was genuine and rare. I was reading it at the time and was blown away by the style and the subject matter. 

This, I thought, is going to be big. 

The book was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Its publication heralded the current wave of what has been called domestic noir, or domestic suspense, a sub-genre of the psychological thriller with several features that make it easy to spot (and not just because half of them have ‘girl’ in the title). It’s usually set in or around the home, with marriage, family and neighbors as a strong theme. The protagonist is usually female – as is the author. There is almost always a big twist at the end. The narrator is likely to be, at best, unreliable and, worst, downright devious. She will be flawed – she might be an alcoholic, a cheat, a liar with a dark secret. And, of course, this being a thriller, there is usually a murder, a missing child or some other terrible crime. 

Last year, The Girl on the Train – another example of domestic noir – became the fastest- and biggest-selling adult hardback novel ever. I know Paula Hawkins and after reading TGOTT a few months before its publication, I messaged her to to tell her I thought she had a bestseller on her hands. 

Understatement of the century. 

Other huge hits of last year included Clare Mackintosh’s I Let You Go, which starts with a child dying in a hit and run, and Ruth Ware’s In a Dark Dark Wood, about a bachelorette weekend that goes murderously wrong. My own domestic noir novel, The Magpies, about neighbors from hell, has sold over 400,000 copies and is always hanging around the bestseller lists. The appetite for these novels has clearly not

But why are they so hugely popular? Is it just another publishing fad? Or is domestic noir here to stay? 

From the feedback I get from readers, there is a simple answer to the question of why they are so popular. It’s because people like reading about things that could happen to them; situations we could all find ourselves in. Jack Reacher is still enormously popular, and books like Lee Child’s provide great escapism, but there is an appetite for worlds we all recognise – and readers love to think about what they would do if their world shifted slightly and they found themselves in danger.  

Gone Girl was a huge hit because it depicted marriage in a new, frightening way. It was a fascinating depiction of a toxic relationship that struck a chord worldwide. The Girl on the Train was a massive seller because everyone who’s ever commuted has wondered what’s going on behind the windows they pass every day. Perhaps that’s the secret: these books bring out the voyeur in all of us. While the media becomes more and more celebrity-obsessed, we readers want to gaze at real people, at people like us. 

Publishers have reacted by snapping up dozens, if not hundreds, of these titles. Right now, it feels like every hot new book is a psychological thriller. It’s already lasted longer than the erotica boom from a few years ago, or the Stieg Larsson-inspired interest in Scandinavian crime. As long as we writers can keep coming up with new angles and fresh twists, I think domestic noir is here to stay. 

Although there are, of course, spin-offs happening already. I’ve read two psychological thrillers recently set on a cruise ship, for example. And my new book, The Devil’s Work, is set in a workplace, an office from hell staffed by toxic co-workers. 

I’m hoping office noir will be the next big thing.

Mark Edwards ©2016

About The Devil's Work by Mark Edwards

It was the job she had dreamed of since childhood. But on her very first day, when an unnerving encounter drags up memories Sophie Greenwood would rather forget, she wonders if she has made a mistake. A fatal mistake.

What is her ambitious young assistant really up to? And what exactly happened to Sophie’s predecessor? When her husband and daughter are pulled into the nightmare, Sophie is forced to confront the darkest secrets she has carried for years.

As her life begins to fall apart at work and at home, Sophie must race to uncover the truth about her new job…before it kills her.

About Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which scary things happen to ordinary people and is inspired by writers such as Stephen King, Ira Levin, Ruth Rendell and Linwood Barclay.

He is the author of three #1 bestsellers: Follow You Home (a finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2015), The Magpies and Because She Loves Me, along with What You Wish For and six novels co-written with Louise Voss. All of his books are inspired by real-life experiences.

Originally from the south coast of England, Mark now lives in the West Midlands with his wife, their three children and a ginger cat.

Twitter: @mredwards

Saturday, September 17, 2016

September 17 issue of RTE

The September 17 2016  issue of RTE is out and includes fifteen new reviews as well as a new interview:                       

Judith Flanders in the 'Sixty seconds with . . .' interview hot seat:

A GREAT RECKONING        Louise Penny        Reviewed by Susan Hoover

SO SAY THE FALLEN        Stuart Neville        Reviewed by Barbara Fister
THE SHATTERED TREE    Charles Todd        Reviewed by PJ Coldren
A CLIMATE OF FEAR        Fred Vargas        Reviewed by Yvonne Klein

FIRE IN THE STARS        Barbara Fradkin       Reviewed by Ann Pearson   

WINTER'S CHILD        Margaret Coel        Reviewed by Sharon Mensing       

STRIPPED BARE         Shannon Baker         Reviewed by Sharon Mensing   

FREE FALL            Rick Mofina        Reviewed by Susan Hoover   

UNDERGROUND AIRLINES    Ben Winters        Reviewed by Barbara Fister

GHOSTS OF HAVANA    Todd Moss         Reviewed by Lourdes Venard

BLOOD CRIME        SebastiĆ  Alzamora     Reviewed by PJ Coldren

IS FAT BOB DEAD YET?    Stephen Dobyns        Reviewed by Christine Zibas

THE BAKER STREET JURORS    Michael Robertson     Reviewed by Meredith Frazier

SIGNAL FOR VENGEANCE    Edward Marston       Reviewed by Jim Napier

THE EMPRESS OF TEMPERA Alex Dolan        Reviewed by Christine Zibas   

We post more than 900 new reviews a year -- all of them are archived on the site -- as well as a new interview with a top author every issue.

Yvonne Klein