Saturday, December 16, 2017

SleuthSayers: How Not to Collect and Edit an Anthology

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Checked Out by Elaine Viets

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KRL This Week For 12/16/17

Up in KRL this morning we have reviews & giveaways of 2 more Christmas mysteries by Kathi Daley-"Fourth Victim" and "The Christmas Letter" http://kingsriverlife.com/12/16/two-more-christmas-mysteries-by-kathi-daley/

And a review & giveaway of another Christmas mystery by Kathi Daley, "Reindeer Roundup", and with this one we have a fun Christmas guest post and recipe from Kathi http://kingsriverlife.com/12/16/reindeer-roundup-by-kathi-daley/

We also have a review & giveaway of "Eaves of Destruction" by Kate Carlisle along with a fun guest post by Kate about how books make great gifts this Christmas http://kingsriverlife.com/12/16/eaves-of-destruction-by-kate-carlisle/

And a guest post by Summer Prescott about a great group of winter mysteries called "Winter Whodunnits" along with a chance to win a copy of the set http://kingsriverlife.com/12/16/winter-whodunnits-a-dozen-cozy-mysteries-for-a-chilly-winters-night/

And a review of "Freshly Ground Murder" by Tonya Kappes, along with an offer to get a free ebook copy of one of her Christmas mysteries, and a guest post by Tonya http://kingsriverlife.com/12/16/freshly-ground-murder-by-tonya-kappes/

Also a review & giveaway of another Christmas mystery, "Bel, Book and Scandal" by Maggie McConnon (this one has an earlier giveaway deadline)

And a Christmas mystery short story by Sylvia Maultash Warsh

Over on on KRL News & Reviews we have a review & giveaway of "Bones to Pick" by Linda Lovely http://www.krlnews.com/2017/12/bones-to-pick-by-linda-lovely.html

Happy holidays,
Lorie

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KRL is now selling advertising & we have special discounts for
mystery authors & bookstores! Ask me about it!
Mystery section in Kings River Life http://KingsRiverLife.com
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A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: EVERYTHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS!

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In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange for 12/14/17

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Friday, December 15, 2017

FFB Double Take Review: The Blacklin County Files by Bill Crider

Bill and Judy Crider
 For more years than I care to count, I have been a fan of the works of Bill Crider. Long time readers of this blog know that I review his books and am an unabashed fan. News that he has moved into hospice, just days after I lost Sandi, hit me hard as it did many in the mystery community. His wife, Judy, fought a variant of one of the same type of twin cancers that ultimately took Sandi away. Bill and I used to exchange frequent emails regarding what was happening with our spouses, ideas that might help, and support after the unthinkable happened. It was Bill who reached out to me after Sandi left telling me I would get through this. Something that still seems to be a near impossibility right now. And now he has gone to hospice which hurts more than I can say.
Bill and a VBK

Today is supposed to be a celebration day of his work over on Patti’s blog. I am having a very hard time celebrating the fact that somebody who I never had the pleasure of meeting is moving on without me.  2017 has been the worst year ever and I can’t lose anyone else that I deeply care about. Bill means more than I can say. I had always thought our paths would cross. I had hoped it would be at Bourchercon 2019 when the event is held here in Dallas. Apparently, that is not to be. So, with tears in my eyes, I thank you Bill Crider for your books, your blog, the VBKs, and everything you have been all these many years. More importantly than the hours of reading pleasure you gave me and other readers, I thank you for being a friend.

Today on the blog I run again our double take review of The Blacklin County Files.  Below is Barry's take on the book from July 2013 followed by my own from February 2012.



THE BLACKLIN COUNTY FILES (2012) by Bill Crider

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

As far as I can remember, my first experience with Bill Crider’s work came when I read his marvelous, not-to-be-missed “Cranked” in 2007, when it subsequently won the Derringer Award for the best mid-length short story of 2006. Since then I’ve read a couple of other short stories under his byline and a western novella, Dead Man’s Revenge, that he wrote using the pseudonym Colby Jackson. A prolific writer, he’s the author of several different mystery series as well as horror, western, and young adult novels. His longest-running mystery series stars Texas Sheriff Dan Rhodes, who is featured in the six stories in the e-book under consideration here. (NOTE: the cover says it contains five stories, the title page six. The title page wins—and so does the reader with the additional story.)

It opens with “Buster,” which is the name of one of the elderly, idiosyncratic Miss Onie Calder’s forty or fifty cats. Miss Onie summons Sheriff Rhodes to her home in a once-
fashionable but now rundown section of the town of Clearview because Buster is dead. She’s certain that her neighbor, Ralph Ramsdell, whose cat has been set upon by one of hers, is the poisoner. When he investigates, Rhodes discovers that something much more sinister is going on.

The Stag BBQ is an annual event in Blacklin County. "It was a chance for the movers and shakers to get together and drink a lot of beer, eat some BBQ and homemade ice cream, tell a few dirty jokes, and do a little gambling....Women weren't allowed. Blacklin County was becoming more conscious of women's rights by the day, but Blacklin County was, after all, in Texas, where a great many men still believed that some activities just weren't appropriate for women." It's probably just as well, in this case, because even some of the men get sick when they discover the body of Gabe Tolliver, who has apparently been "Gored." Sheriff Rhodes doubts the killer was one of George Newberry's Brahma bulls and must figure out which of the many attendees wanted Tolliver dead.

A recipe for homemade peach ice cream, Rhodes's favorite, is appended to the story.

Reverend Alf Anderson helps to restore a community when he turns the stone building atop Obert's Hill into a nondenominational church and attracts a congregation of more than three hundred people. One church member, Ron Eller, does nothing to endear himself to his fellow congregants when he leases his land to Calame's Crusher, Inc., a gravel company that is mining the limestone on it. Between the the noise and dust from the rock crusher, and especially the explosions, Obert residents are sorely unhappy campers: "They claimed that they [the explosions] were destroying property values, which were already low, and driving the livestock crazy. They were driving the citizens crazy, too...." Dan Rhodes has to determine who among them crucified Eller in "The Man on the Cross."

Arrested for armed robbery, Charles Lathrop is a serious rival of Adrian Monk's when it comes to obsessive cleanliness. He even cleans his jail cell, doing a better job of it than Lawton, the jailer, does. The ditched gun Deputy Ruth Grady finds is probably the weapon Lathrop used to hold up convenience stores and a Texaco station, though he denies ever having had one, and it's been thoroughly cleaned. But, as Sheriff Rhodes senses, it's his obsession that will prove his undoing in "Under the Gun," a story lighter in tone than those that precede it, and whose solution reminds me of one of the greatest inverted detective stories I've ever read: Cornell Woolrich's "One Drop of Blood." (I daren't explain why lest I spoil both of them.)

Co-authored by Bill's wife Judy Crider, "Chocolate Moose" concerns the strange death of Mack McAnally at the Round-Up Restaurant. It appears to be a bizarre accident, but when Sheriff Rhodes gives the scene a careful examination, he realizes he has a murder to deal with—the murder of a man who might well have been the most hated person in Blacklin County. "McAnally was, or had been until only a short while earlier, a bully...He spent his time working in his yard and harassing any animal that happened to stray onto his property. He had a pellet gun that he used to shoot at dogs and cats and, rumor had it, even the occasional human. When he was driving, he would sometimes swerve out of his lane in an attempt to run over a squirrel or family pet." The list of his hectoring transgressions is a good deal longer, and many a county resident undoubtedly has a reason for wanting him dead. It's up to Rhodes to figure out who that person is.

A recipe for the "World's Best Chicken-Fried Steak" is appended to the story.

The last and longest story in the collection, "Who Killed Cock Rogers?" begins with manure and ends with murder. Janelle Tabor complains to  Sheriff Rhodes when she's splattered with cow manure from one of Ralph Claymore's cattle trucks. The trucks make their way through Clearview's main street every week on their way to the auction sale, and have caused problems for other residents as well as for some of the merchants. There is nothing Rhodes can really do because the law is on Claymore's side. Thus Mrs. Tabor decides to talk to Red Rogers about the matter. "Rogers, whose real name was Larry Redden, was the closest thing Clearview had to a local radio personality. He did just about everything at KVUE...." One of those things was to host a daily talk show that "dealt with both national and local issues." He thrives on controversy. When he invites Mrs. Tabor and two other locals to present their sides of the argument to Ralph Claymore and one of his truck drivers on the air, chaos erupts and Rhodes has to hurry to the station to break up a physical altercation. Two weeks later, Rogers is found shot to death at one of Ralph Claymore's feed lots, and Rhodes has a mystery to solve that doesn't lack suspects. 

As evidenced by the passages quoted above, Bill Crider's style is lean and straightforward. It's also leavened with some wonderfully dry humor. Because of the brevity of every story but the last in this collection, characterization is very sketchy. But these are not the kinds of tales in which characterization takes precedence. They're good old-fashioned short detective stories in which half the fun is trying to figure out from the clues given who the culprit is—with the exception of "Under the Gun," in which readers can try to figure out where the known culprit slips up and so give Rhodes the evidence he needs to turn the thief over for prosecution.

The Blacklin County Files, which I can and do enthusiastically recommend, has me looking forward to reading the Dan Rhodes novel-length mysteries in which, based on my reading of the aforementioned "Cranked," I'm sure there's greater character development.


Barry Ergang ©2013
Bill Crider Writer Simulation Photo (lol)

As promised above, here is my review…

Long familiar to readers via the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series novels Texas author Bill Crider has assembled a short collection of previously published stories featuring the good sheriff Dan Rhodes.  The Blacklin County Files: 5 Sheriff Dan Rhodes Stories read just like the good novels in that the stories feature humor, mystery, and the extensive cast of  folks that populate the town of Clearview and the surrounding East Texas County of Blacklin.

The small collection opens with the story titled “Buster.” Miss Onie Calder is quite elderly and someone has killed one of her many cats. She blames an angry neighbor and wants him arrested for murder. Things aren’t that simple but the truth will come out.

Sheriff Rhodes knows things happen in the county that might be technically against the law.  But, Rhodes is not a hard-nosed law and order guy and is willing to look the other way on certain things as long as nothing happens.  In “Gored” Sheriff Rhodes has to break his long standing policy of ignoring the Blacklin County Stagg BBQ. The quiet annual event deep in the woods as a remote cabin usually has no problems and nothing much happens but this year the addition of a dead man means Rhodes has to investigate.  By the end of the story if you were not already hungry for barbecue and all the fixings Bill Crider helpfully includes a recipe for homemade Peach Ice Cream.

Ron Eller never did look like Jesus did in all the pictures Sheriff Rhodes saw as a kid in Sunday school classrooms. The fact that he did not look like Jesus at all didn’t stop somebody from killing him and wiring him to a cross. In “The Man on the Cross” Sheriff Rhodes has to figure who killed Ron Eller and why in a story that starts the Monday morning after Easter. The suspects are many in this complex tale of faith, profit, and deceit.

If you live in Blacklin County and you want real good food--meat and potatoes kind of food that will stick to your ribs-- you go to the “Round Up Restaurant.”  The sign outside the door makes it clear that they don’t serve chicken¸ fish or anything vegetarian. In “Chocolate Moose” authored by Bill and Judy Crider, Sheriff Dan Rhodes has to go to the restaurant to investigate a death. Pretty much everyone in the county hated Mack McAnally and for various good reasons.  Now he is dead in a very strange way in one of the dining rooms. It could be an accident or something more. A good story that finishes up with the killer caught and a recipe for the “World’s Best Chicken Fried Steak” and includes the recipe for gravy.  Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Environmental issues are often a theme in the series---especially in recent books. An environmental problem and controversy are present in the “Who Killed Cock Rogers?”  Shipping live cattle can often be a messy operation with unintended consequences and controversy. But, nobody expected a murder because of it.

So, get yourself some glass bottled Dr. Pepper (plastic bottles and cans just aren't the same), some peanut butter and cheese crackers, and kick back for a spell with the Blacklin County Files. Five good short stories featuring Sheriff Dan Rhodes, his wife Ivy, Deputy Rudy Grady, Jail Dispatcher Hack Jensen and numerous other good and no so good local residents.  Plenty of humor¸ twists and turns in the cases, and detail regarding the residents makes The Blacklin County Files: 5 Sheriff Dan Rhodes Stories  yet another fun comfortable cozy style read from award winning author Bill Crider. Solidly good, just like his novels, author Bill Crider provides yet more good reading.



The Blacklin County Files: 5 Sheriff Dan Rhodes Stories
Bill Crider
January 2012
eBook
ASIN: B006X6QIP6
147 Pages
$2.99



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


Kevin R. Tipple © 2012, 2013, 2017

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Grandson Visit

Yesterday was a very tough day as I had to go to the funeral home and pick up the urn containing Sandi's ashes. When I can do so without instantly crying, I will post a  picture of her urn. It is really hard to look at her urn and realize that the woman I love so much is now inside it. Tow weeks later all I have is her urn and the pain.

Things got a little better when Karl and Amy came by for several hours with our grandson Jacob Ryan. Scott took the pictures below.







In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday (on a Tuesday) 12/12/17

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Velveteen Daughter, Mute Stones, Bushm...

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Guest Post: Jeanne and Treadmill Books: Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries by Beverly Allen

Jeanne of the Bookblog of the Bristol Library is back today with her latest review…

Treadmill Books:  Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries by Beverly Allen

Audrey Bloom is the appropriately named owner of a flower shop that specializes in bridal bouquets.  The shop’s claim to fame is that brides who carry her bouquets have had happy marriages, but it appears that streak might be broken when Audrey’s childhood friend Jenny wants a bouquet, only to have the groom expire before the walk down the aisle.  Of course, this being a mystery series, foul play is involved—as is one of Audrey’s bouquets.

That’s the plot of Bloom and Doom, the first of three books in the series.  Audrey is a plucky heroine with a healthy dose of self-respect even though she was dumped by her fiancé and her father ran off when she was a child.  Spending time with her beloved Gran and cousin Olivia was her salvation.  Now she lives in Gran’s old house and Olivia is a partner in the flower shop.  Audrey’s breezy personality and self-assurance were selling points for me, especially as she is a. . .  um, healthy girl. (One of my favorite scenes came in the second book when a fashionista told Audrey snidely there was no way that Audrey was a size 12, to which Audrey responded, “You just have to know where to shop.”  As someone who is baffled and bemused by sizing these days, I could identify even as I revel in vanity sizing.)

Another selling point for me was learning about the Victorian Language of Flowers. Audrey likes to be sure that her bouquets send the right message, though it can be confusing at times since the same flower can have several different meanings.  Some reviewers didn’t care for that aspect of the series, but I loved it.  I cut my mystery teeth on Agatha Christie novels, and many’s the time that the solution of a case involved the message sent by bouquet.

Although Bloom and Doom had its share of “first in series” moments (i.e., when time must be spent to lay groundwork and to introduce characters) but I liked it well enough to read the second, For Whom the Bluebell Tolls, in which a reality wedding show is filming in quaint little Ramble, Virginia, where the series is set.  While the series doesn’t have a strong sense of place, the expectations of the film crew are played for some comic effect. 

I just finished the third, and apparently final, book in the series, Floral Depravity. Audrey is doing the flowers for a wedding with a serious medieval flare: it’s being staged at a re-enactors’ encampment where cell phones are forbidden and one can be tossed out for having potatoes.  Unfortunately, someone has indeed added a little something extra to a stew which, while authentic to the period, is also lethal—monkshood.  The father of the groom promptly expires and Audrey finds herself involved in another murder case.

The plots are well done enough, but the real appeal for me is the sense of humor displayed in the books.  I also appreciate the tidbits of information which this time around included details of medieval life.  Let’s just say I would rather not wear any yellow garment authentic to the era. The characters, especially Audrey are delightful.

Most of all, I appreciated the way that the third book ended.  My suspicion is that the author thought it might be the last in the series, so while the door is left open for the characters’ return, a number of ongoing plot lines were wrapped up in a most satisfying way.  Thank you, Beverley Allen (aka Barbara Early), for treating your readers so well!

I finished Floral Depravity on the treadmill yesterday. Due to inclement weather (i.e., it was as cold as kraut out there!), I had a LOT of steps to do and I couldn’t have asked for a better book for the journey. My feet were sore, but I had a smile on my face. So, yes, this is a good treadmill series.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: CUPID SANTA!

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Monday, December 11, 2017

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Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Dogstar Rising by Parker Bilal

Because I know there are dozens, even hundreds, of mysteries out there that I would like if I could just find them, sometimes I go to the library and select books at random by five authors unfamiliar to me. The outcome is what you might expect: several books are returned after I read a few chapters, some I finish with no particular desire to read more by the author, and a few are gems. I found the mysteries of Parker Bilal that way; they are one of my great finds of 2017.

Jamal Mahjoub published several critically acclaimed novels before he began writing about Makana, an exiled Sudanese police investigator, under the name Parker Bilal. Set in Cairo in the early part of the 21st century, these books, six so far, reflect the political turmoil and religious tensions of the Middle East as they affect the day-to-day lives of ordinary people. For those of us who, thankfully, only know about these affairs as they are reported in news outlets, this very different perspective is illuminating.

Dogstar Rising (Bloomsbury, 2013) is the second Makana. (I read The Burning Gates, Makana #4, earlier this year.) This episode takes place in late summer 2001, as a serial killer victimizes street boys and a mysterious figure that many believe to be an angel appears on roofs throughout the city, both causing religious zealotry, always simmering, to approach an outright boil. The son of an old friend asks Makana, now acting as an unlicensed private investigator, to help the owner of a travel agency who has received threatening letters, a seemingly simple task that is complicated when a murder takes place outside the office and the local police and the state intelligence detectives want to know what Makana is doing. While staying out of their way, he stumbles across clues to the serial killer and crosses paths with an arms dealer.

An engrossing plot with multiple threads and more characters than I could easily keep track of. Perhaps it is just me but Makana seems to get beaten up far too often to bounce back as easily as he does. However, Mahjoub writes beautifully. His use of imagery is lyrical and imbues the mundane with a bit of magic. Water spraying from a hose resembles a silvery peacock tail, cats walk like queens, the moon is a copper penny tossed into the air. The ending paragraphs of the book are nothing less than inspired.

Part political thriller, part detective fiction, these stories defy easy categorization but they make exceptional reading. Highly recommended.

·         Hardcover: 400 pages
·         Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1st edition (February 19, 2013)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1608198715
·         ISBN-13: 978-1608198719


Aubrey Hamilton © 2017
 
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal IT projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Glenn Walker, R.I. P.

I just learned this afternoon that my online friend, Glenn Walker, passed a few days ago. I am stunned and incredibly sad by this news. A prolific writer of short stories and other things, he was known best around here for his Welcome To Hell blog. 2017 has been horrible in so many ways. I knew he was having health issues, but was not aware that things were this serious. His obituary can be found here.

Please keep his wife, Jennifer, and the family in your thoughts and prayers.  

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Saturday, December 09, 2017

KRL This Week Update for 12/9/17

Up in KRL this morning a review & giveaway of "Wagging Through the
Snow" by Laurien Berenson
http://kingsriverlife.com/12/09/wagging-through-the-snow-by-laurien-berenson/

Also up reviews & giveaways of 4 more Christmas mysteries for your holiday
reading-"Hark the Herald Angels Slay": A Year-Round Christmas Mystery by Vicki
Delany, "Not a Creature was Purring": A Paws & Claws Mystery by Krista Davis,
"Slay Bells Ring": Caprice De Luca Home Staging Mystery by Karen Rose
Smith, "Yuletide Homicide": A Wiccan Wheel Mystery by Jennifer David Hesse,
and "The Ghost of Christmas Past": A Molly Murphy Mystery by Rhys Bowen
http://kingsriverlife.com/12/09/more-christmas-mysteries-for-your-holidays/

And a review & giveaway of "12 Slays of Christmas" by Jacqueline Frost
http://kingsriverlife.com/12/09/twelve-slays-of-christmas-by-jacqueline-frost/

Also a review & giveaway of "Murder on the Toy Town Express" by Barbara
Early along with a fun Christmas guest post by Barbara
http://kingsriverlife.com/12/09/murder-on-the-toy-town-express-by-barbara-early/

And we have a review & giveaway of "Idyll Fears" by Stephanie Gayle which
features gay police chief Thomas Lynch
http://kingsriverlife.com/12/09/idyll-fears-by-stephanie-gayle/

And a review & ebook giveaway of "It Cannoli Be Murder" by Karoline Barrett
(and you can enter to win the first 2 books in the series as well)
http://kingsriverlife.com/12/09/it-cannoli-be-murder-by-karoline-barrett/

And a review & giveaway of "Tales of a Thought Reader" by Barry Wiley
http://kingsriverlife.com/12/09/tales-of-a-thought-reader-by-barry-wiley/

And over on KRL News & Reviews this week we have a review & giveaway of
"Ingognito" Khalid Talib
http://www.krlnews.com/2017/12/incognito-by-khaled-talib.html

Happy holidays,

Lorie

Friday, December 08, 2017

A Week Later.....

It was a week ago this morning when Sandi's suffering ended and she left us. It still feels like it just happened a minute ago. Yet, a week has passed. The pain is immense.

So, too is the love expressed by so many. Many of you never knew her expect for reading about her through my blog posts and have expressed your own sorry. I have tried to respond to everyone and say thank you. It has meant so much to me.

If I didn't get back to you, please know I screwed up here and it is not because I did not appreciate your email. A lot of times reading the emails got me crying. Crying as you sit over your laptop is not a good thing. It is also very hard to hit keys correctly when you can't see or everything is very blurry.


I miss her so much. I knew this was coming and had known for quite awhile that losing her was inevitable. And, yet, as much as I thought I was ready, I wasn't. Not by a long shot. I promised her I would go on....though I don't know how I am going to do that.

Books have always been my refuge. Whether or not they can work any magic on me now remains to be seen. For now, as I promised her right before Thanksgiving when we had our last real conversation, the blog will continue. You have seen some erratic updates from me this week as I linked to various things. Next week, guest reviews from Aubrey and Jeanne will resume. I have every intention of pulling something together to participate in Bill Crider day over on Patti Abbott's blog.

Beyond that....I just don't know. I just want the pain to stop. I just want her back. And I know neither one is possible.


The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 11/28/17

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 11/28/17

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Thirst, Blood Card, Billy Lynn, Faithfu...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Thirst, Blood Card, Billy Lynn, Faithfu...:  Reported by Kristin Nevermore kicked off with The Thirst by Jo Nesbo, heartily recommended by our reader.   In this series entr...

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: PEACE AND GOODWILL TO ALL!

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: PEACE AND GOODWILL TO ALL!: Please welcome one of my favorite people, Jacquie Rogers. Remember to comment for Jacquie’s giveaway. Your comment also enters you for the ...

Gravetapping: QUARRY'S CLIMAX by Max Allan Collins

Gravetapping: QUARRY'S CLIMAX by Max Allan Collins: Quarry’s Climax , the fourteenth title in Max Allan Collins’ revitalized Quarry series, is set in the Highland Strip area of Memphis in ...

ClassicAndCozy: Writing Schedules and Other Fictions

ClassicAndCozy: Writing Schedules and Other Fictions: by Janis Patterson There are those who say that the success to writing lies only in following a strict schedule. So many words per da...

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: BAKING AND MAKING CANDY MAKES MEMORIES

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: BAKING AND MAKING CANDY MAKES MEMORIES: Welcome Paty Jager, an award winning and bestselling author.  Remember to leave a comment to be entered to win a Kindle Fire 7 on Christmas ...

FFB Today 12/8/17

At 8:45 am one week ago today Sandi left us. It seems inconceivable that it has been that long as it seems like it just happened. Somehow, I am supposed to go on like she wanted. I am trying...in fits and starts. One of those little ways I m supposed to do so is by getting things up for FFB up here.

I don't have anything for FFB today. Patti does and has the links here. Next week will be Bill Crider Appreciation Day on Patti's blog and I intend to put something together for that.

Have a good Friday and make sure the people in your life know you love them. They can't know it enough.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Tough Day

After doing a lot online yesterday, I have not been online at all today except to write this post. We had to run errands today and as part of that we had to pick up prescriptions at the old store Sandi used to work at while she was attending TWU because I have not moved them yet. That meant I had to talk to folks who knew Sandi and cared about her. Trying to tell them and watching them as the shock and pain of the news hit was very hard.

Hearing two different songs on the radio as we came home that were favorites of hers and ones we danced to at our wedding did not help. Nor did seeing an old movie that contained a song that I used to sing to her back in the day as we danced. So, I spent part of this afternoon and evening back in bed, occasionally crying, and missing her so much.

Tomorrow it will be a week. Seven days. It still feels like it just happened.....and it hurts so bad.

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Moon-spinners by Mary Stewart

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Moon-spinners by Mary Stewart: Reviewed by Jeanne Englishwoman Nicola Ferris has been working in Greece for a year, but now is on holiday in Crete.   Her cous...

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: SMALL MOMENTS BECOME GREAT MEMORIES

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: SMALL MOMENTS BECOME GREAT MEMORIES: Please welcome the talented and Amazon bestselling author,  Keta Diablo. Remember to comment to be entered to win a Kindle Fire 7 on Christ...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer: Reviewed by Kristin Scientists Lloyd Simcoe and Theo Procopides hoped to prove the existence of the never-before-recorded Higgs...

The Rap Sheet: Crider’s Tough Path

The Rap Sheet: Crider’s Tough Path

December issue of Gumshoe Review

Gumshoe Review December 2017 now Online


Short Fiction Reviews:
The Burning by J.P. Seewald

US Book Reviews:
Final Fall (Lock & Mori) by Heather W. Petty
Hell's Gate by Bill Schutt and J.R. Finch
Her Last Day (Jessie Cole) by T.R. Ragan
The House at Baker Street (Mrs. Hudson & Mary Watson) by Michelle Birkby
The Ninja's Illusion (Jaya Jones/Treasure Hunt) by Gigi Pandian
Old Scores (Barker & Llewelyn) by Will Thomas
Unquiet Spirits: Whisky, Ghosts, Adventure (Sherlock Holmes)
     by Bonnie MacBird
The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers
The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen
-- Gayle Surrette
Brandywine, MD 20613
Email: davinci@amperzen.com
Blog: http://amperzen.com/blog

SleuthSayers: Some Short Story Collections by Great Living Myste...

SleuthSayers: Some Short Story Collections by Great Living Myste...: by Robert Lopresti Last week I wrote about Bouchercon and said that this time I would provide my favorite quotations from the con.  But ...

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar 12/4-10

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar 12/4-10: Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of December 4-10, 2017:  Special Events: 13th Annual SIGNATURES AUTHOR SERIES  featuring Paula Haw...

New Books and Short Stories by MWA Members – December 2017

New Books and Short Stories by MWA Members – December 2017

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Update

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Update: Things could change, but I suspect this will be my final post on the blog.  I met with some doctors at M. D. Anderson today, and they sugges...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Astrophysics, Everybody Lies, Carl Saga...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Astrophysics, Everybody Lies, Carl Saga...: Reported by Kristin Nevermore began with a fascinating book: Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Te...

KRL Update for 12/2/17

Up in KRL this morning reviews & giveaways of 4 fun Christmas mysteries for your holiday reading-"Death by Eggnog": Bookstore Cafe Mystery by Alex Erickson, "Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise Women" by Emily Brightwell, "Purring Around the Christmas Tree": A Pawsitively Organic Mystery by Liz Mugavero, and "How the Finch Stole Christmas": A Meg Langslow Mystery by Donna Andrews http://kingsriverlife.com/12/02/christmas-mysteries-for-your-holiday-reading/

 
Also a review & giveaway of "Seeds of Revenge" by Wendy Tyson, published by Henery Press. And also a fun holiday traditions guest post by Wendy, a gardening tip, & a recipe! http://kingsriverlife.com/12/02/seeds-of-revenge-by-wendy-tyson/

 
And a review & giveaway of "Knit to Kill" by Anne Canadeo http://kingsriverlife.com/12/02/knit-to-kill-by-anne-canadeo/

 
We also have a review & giveaway of "Burgundy: Twisted Roots" by Janet Hubbard, along with a fun Christmas guest post by Janet http://kingsriverlife.com/12/02/burgundy-twisted-roots-by-janet-hubbard/

 
And a review & ebook giveaway of "Of Spice and Men" by Sarah Fox, along with a fun holiday recipe from Sarah http://kingsriverlife.com/12/02/of-spice-and-men-by-sarah-fox/

 
And a review & giveaway of "Killing Season" by Faye Kellerman http://kingsriverlife.com/12/02/killing-season-by-faye-kellerman/

 
We also have a mystery short story by Barry Wiley http://kingsriverlife.com/12/02/a-true-believer-a-mystery-short-story/

 
And a review & giveaway of a fun Christmas novella by Nancy J Coco called "Deck the Halls with Fudge" http://kingsriverlife.com/12/02/deck-the-halls-with-fudge-novella-by-nancy-coco/

 
Over on KRL News & Reviews we have a review & ebook giveaway of "16 Millimeters" by Larissa Reinhart http://www.krlnews.com/2017/12/16-millimeters-by-larissa-reinhart.html

 
Happy Holidays!


Lorie


--
KRL is now selling advertising & we have special discounts for
mystery authors & bookstores! Ask me about it!
Mystery section in Kings River Life http://KingsRiverLife.com
Check out my own blog at http://mysteryratscloset.blogspot.com/

Lesa's Latest Contest-- Last giveaway of 2017

My last giveaway of 2017 features 2 holiday books - Rhys Bowen's The Ghost of Christmas Past & Wendy Tyson's Seeds of Revenge. Details are available on my blog, http://www.lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com. Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry: Reviewed by Jeanne Lee, aka Maralee, Barrett has just returned to her hometown of Salem to interview for a job as a televisio...

Thank You

Thank you one and all for your messages of love and support online and in private. Words don't begin to convey how much they have meant to all of us. Words also don't convey the depth of pain and loneliness I feel now with Sandi gone. I have not been around online at all and am just now finding things after, maybe, three hours sleep again last night. I have a lot to reply to so please be patient with me.

As it happens, today is the anniversary of her very first chemo treatment back in 2011. A treatment that damn near killed her then as her body reacted to the chemo that was supposed to stop the twin forms of non hodgkins lymphoma that would ultimately take her from us all these years later.

2017 has seriously sucked. Losing my Mom in January was bad enough, but she desperately wanted to again be with my Dad. For her, death was a release she had welcomed for years and that made things a little easier. Losing Sandi now is brutal. She so desperately wanted to be here with every fiber of her being. Those who treated her thought she had finally accepted what was coming when she grudgingly agreed to hospice. I knew better. I knew she still believed she would beat this damn disease and fought it until the bitter end. Those trusted with trying to ease her passing by making her as comfortable as possible were astounded she held on for a week. I wasn't. I knew Sandi and loved her. She hadn't given up. Her body failed her ....not her spirit.

We used to talk about our "new normal." That began on the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day 2011 around 1:30 when nine doctors came in, formed a ring around her bed, and broke the news that she had cancer and it was bad. Our life became before and after. Before cancer and after cancer. Trips to the hospital took over everything. First, to Baylor Plano. Then, when the damn things came back and were declared "advanced and aggressive" it was on to Medical City Dallas Hospital on Forest Lane. We were there so much I used to joke that they should build us a small garden apartment up on the roof so we could come down from the Penthouse and get her treated each day. I hated fighting the traffic --first from Plano and then from the house I grew up in these last few months.

I grew to hate that place. Not the people in it. But, what the buildings meant and how they had taken over our lives. The hospital these past months became our home more than ever and this house was just a way station because we spent so much time there. We didn't have a life outside the place. Cancer and all that entailed was a full time job with unlimited overtime.

I'd give anything to make that drive again if it meant she was with us. Instead, yesterday, I met with the folks at the funeral home and signed the contracts for her to be cremated as she wished. As she wanted, there won't be a memorial service. Sandi did not want a fuss made about her. In a few days she will come home one final time in a dark blue urn inscribed with her name and the relevant dates. 

I now have another "new normal." Life at 56 as a widower. She is gone and it hurts so much.

Friday, December 01, 2017

It Is All Over

At about 8:45 this morning my wife very quietly took her last breath and passed away. A woman I have loved since the fall of 1980 and married in 1985 is gone. Her suffering has finally ended. Sandi is finally in a better place and free.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The End Is Very Near


The picture you see of Sandi is how I will always remember her. This is from five years ago when it seemed like she had beaten the odds then and was well. Her hair was back (she was thrilled about that) and she felt normal again. She was happy and had major plans for all of us. It would not be long afterwards when we would find out the damn cancer was back with vengeance. But, for a few weeks there it seemed like her battle was over.

It will be in a matter of hours, a day, maybe two. The end is very near. The only good thing about that is she won't suffer anymore. She has suffered a lot. Especially these last few weeks and in recent days. She has fought and continues to do so even now. I made her promise years ago when this started to never leave me.

I told her this this morning as I held her hand that it was okay to go. It isn't. Not for me. But, for her the pain needs to end. Mine never will.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thursday, November 23, 2017

New issue of Crime Review

We feature new 20 reviews in each issue of Crime Review (
www.crimereview.co.uk), together with a top industry interview. This time
it’s author Chris Ryan 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 SEAGULL by Ann Cleeves, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
DI Vera Stanhope has been persuaded to give a talk to inmates at Warkworth
Prison. At the end she is approached by a prisoner in a wheelchair whom she
recognises. He says he has information that she would be interested in
hearing. Reluctantly she agrees to listen to what he has to say.

SECRETS OF DEATH by Stephen Booth, reviewed by Linda Wilson
The Peak District is home to tourists of all types, but a rash of suicides
is not what it wants to play host to.

BLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD by Attica Locke, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Texas Ranger Darren Mathews is suspended from duty but makes his own way to
a small East Texas town where a double murder shows signs of being racially
inspired.

SO SAY THE FALLEN by Stuart Neville, reviewed by John Cleal
DCI Serena Flanagan follows her instincts as she investigates the apparent
suicide of a wealthy disabled man.

SWEET LITTLE LIES by Caz Frear, reviewed by Linda Wilson
DC Cat Kinsella stopped trusting her father at the age of eight, so she’s
certainly not surprised when a connection emerges between him and her
latest murder investigations. It’s as if she’s been waiting her whole life
for this moment.

AN ACT OF SILENCE by Colette McBeth, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
All Gabriel has ever wanted is for his mum to believe him, but now he’s
accused of murder and Linda is unable to help. Meanwhile, a young woman
wants the world to know her terrible story.

DAYS WITHOUT END by Sebastian Barry, reviewed by John Barnbrook
Two young men meet after they sign up for the US Army in the 1850s.
Together they go through the Indian Wars and the Civil War, experiencing
the horrors of battle, imprisonment and loss.

WHEN IT GROWS DARK by Jørn Lier Horst, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
Stavern 1983. As Christmas is approaching the young policeman and a father
of baby twins William Wisting becomes engrossed in an old mystery of an
abandoned classic car. He’s determined to uncover 60-year-old secrets.

THE DEVIL WINS by Reed Farrel Coleman, reviewed by Chris Roberts
A storm exposes a body, and the remains of two more killed years ago.
Police Chief Jesse Stone investigates an event nobody in Paradise is keen
to talk about.

NONE SO BLIND by Alis Hawkins, reviewed by John Cleal
The remains of a young woman are found buried beneath tree roots. Harry
Probert-Lloyd, a barrister forced home from London by encroaching
blindness, has been dreading this. He knows whose bones they are and
working with his clerk, John Davies, is determined to expose the guilty

THE NINTH GRAVE by Stefan Ahnhem, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
Two countries, two predators, too many victims, and winter is closing in.
Fabian Risk is called on to undertake a secret investigation.

THE INNOCENTS by Ace Atkins, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Quinn Colson returns home and helps out his friend Sheriff Lillie Virgil
investigate when a young girl is found walking down a highway engulfed in
flames.

THE ASSET by Shane Kuhn, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
Kennedy’s younger sister Belle had been one of the victims of 9/11 and he
never forgot that the last words he spoke to her were in anger. In an
attempt to make amends, he abandons his studies and joins the Transport
Security Administration as an aviation security specialist.

RAVENHILL by John Steele, reviewed by John Cleal
Former UDA tearaway Jackie Shaw, who disappeared during the Troubles,
returns to Belfast after 20 years for his father’s funeral and finds his
past coming back to haunt him.

THE KILLER by Susan Wilkins, reviewed by Kate Balfour
Two women, Kaz Phelps and Nicci Armstrong – one the scion of a notable
family of Essex gangsters, the other retired from the Metropolitan Police
Force on medical grounds – are under threat and must cooperate to survive.

TRIPLE CROWN by Felix Frances, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Something is rotten at the heart of American horse racing, and British
Horse Racing Authority investigator Jeff Hinkley goes undercover to help
his US colleagues.

THE VENETIAN GAME by Philip Gwynne Jones, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
Nathan Sutherland is the English Honorary Consul in Venice, a post that
pays nothing but allows him to be of assistance to tourists in trouble. A
rather dull life suddenly becomes exciting when he is offered a
considerable amount of money to look after a small package.

THE ANGEL by Katerina Diamond, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
The body in the burnt-out signal box is just the beginning, but it could be
the end for a lonely young man.

YOU COULD DO SOMETHING AMAZING WITH YOUR LIFE [YOU ARE RAOUL MOAT] by
Andrew Hankinson, reviewed by Kim Fleet
An account of the last days of multiple murderer Raoul Moat, told from
inside his mind.

INDIGO DONUT by Patrice Lawrence, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Indigo’s mother was murdered when she was a small child, but the past has a
nasty habit of coming back to haunt her.

Best wishes

Sharon

Crime Watch: Review: EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND

Crime Watch: Review: EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND: EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND by Glen Erik Hamilton (William Morrow, 2017) Reviewed by Craig Sisterson Former Army Ranger Van Shaw is recentl...

Do Some Damage: Crime Fiction by Native Americans; or, Tony Hiller...

Do Some Damage: Crime Fiction by Native Americans; or, Tony Hiller...: By  David Nemeth I know it is quite white of me to be writing about Native Americans on Thanksgiving Day, but trust me, it’s either th...

The Rap Sheet: Bullet Points: Thanksgiving Links Feast

The Rap Sheet: Bullet Points: Thanksgiving Links Feast

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange, Thanksgiving Edition, 11/22/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange, Thanksgiving Edition, 11/22/17

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Happy Thanksgiving from all us Tipples!

We won't be doing a turkey and all the trimmings today as cooking the bird was always something Sandi did every year. I was always in charge of muscling the bird in and out of the oven, handling potatoes, and other things as well as getting the heck out of the way whenever she ordered me to do so. With the way things are here, there just didn't seem any point in my trying to blunder through trying top cook a bird and all. Today she is in tremendous pain and it is clear that she is slowly getting worse. The hospice folks return tomorrow. The focus on today will remain on trying to keep her comfortable and having a quiet day. More important than ever before as everyone involved in her treatment believes this is the last holiday she will be with us. 

In far more pleasant news.....You may have already seen these pictures Scott took back on Tuesday if you are on Facebook with us, but if not, I thought I would share with you the most recent pictures of our grandson. Jacob Ryan came over Tuesday afternoon and brought along his parents, Amy and Karl. Jacob is now ten months old and growing like crazy.



First up is Sandi with Jacob. The little guy really wanted her glasses, so I kept my hands nearby to protect them as well as help her as she is a squirmy worm when you try to hold him. He takes after his dad, Karl, on that. You can also see her new minion buddy in the bed with her thanks to Karl and Amy. Sandi has always been a huge fan of the minions and was very happy to get him.






This picture is of Amy, Jacob's mom and myself sitting in respective recliners. Eventually, Jacob came crawling across the arm rests and into my lap.









One of several times he ended up in my lap. We tried several times to work it where both of us were looking at the camera, but that did not work out too well.














The final picture is of Jacob with his father, Karl. Ignore the mess behind them. With everything going on hospice wise, trying to clean up more stuff has not been a priority.


As things escalate in the wrong direction, I am very thankful that Sandi has been able to be coherent during the recent visits with Jacob and been able to hold him. At the same time, it is also hard as I , and all the rest of us know, how short the time frame is and all that she is going to miss out on in the coming months.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Crime Watch: Review: THE WAYS OF WOLFE

Crime Watch: Review: THE WAYS OF WOLFE: THE WAYS OF WOLFE by James Carlos Blake (Mysterious Press, 2017) Reviewed by Craig Sisterson Twenty years ago, college student Axel Pr...

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Torso, Justice League, and the Russian Avengers

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Torso, Justice League, and the Russian Avengers: Confession time.  I hadn’t thought about this in years, decades really, but it came up recently in a Twitter conversation with friend an...

The Digital Reader: Simon & Schuster’s Vanity Press Launches NaNoWriMo Writing Contest to Exploit More Authors

The Digital Reader: Simon & Schuster’s Vanity Press Launches NaNoWriMo Writing Contest to Exploit More Authors

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Thanksgiving, Last Ballad, Indigo Girl...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Thanksgiving, Last Ballad, Indigo Girl...: Reported by Jeanne Nevermore opened with a review of The Thanksgiving Book , a delightful browsing book which provides a history ...