Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sandi Update 8/23/17

Just got home from seeing her at the hospital. She was sitting up in a chair and doing okay when we arrived. They plan on putting a PICC line into her arm tomorrow and then sending her home later in the day. The timing of both events is up in the air right now. The home health care folks have already billed and processed my payment for the $600 they wanted for her out of pocket stuff on this so you know that things are being lined up to send her home asap.

I hope we all are ready.

Guest Post: Jeanne and Treadmill Books: Cats on Book Covers

Jeanne is back this week with some thoughts on the phenomenon of putting cats on book covers…..

Treadmill Books: Cats on Book Covers

Anyone who has browsed the mystery paperback racks knows there are lots (and lots and lots) of books with either cats or dogs on the cover.  Being partial to cats, I immediately gravitate to those.  First I look to see how prominently the cat is featured:  is it a small, unobtrusive cat or is it front and center?  Front and center gets my attention first, but I’ll also take a look at any with feline present.

However, a cat on the cover doesn’t mean there’s a cat in the book.  Often authors feel obligated to insert a passing cat to justify the image, such as, “I raced to my car to follow the serial killer, and the neighborhood stray cat ran under the bushes to get out of my way.” Authors, you don’t have to do that for me.  I understand that these days a cat on a cover is meant to convey that this is a cozy mystery, just as a plate of fried chicken on a checkered tablecloth means Southern cozy.  Actual fried chicken may or may not appear in this book.

Books with cats added under protest feel like books with cats added under protest. Authors obligated to create a reoccurring cat character tend to forget said feline for large portions of time.  One book had a cat run off, giving the heroine an excuse to go snooping in the bushes and uncover evidence.  What she never uncovered was the cat, who vanished for the rest of the story, though he did obligingly show up next book to be fed and forgotten again.

Actually, I don’t demand or even expect a cat be part of a book.  A well written book with complex, likable  characters or a clever plot that keeps me engaged is a winner every time. In fact, some of my favorite mysteries do not feature cats. Give me a sleuth, amateur or professional, with flaws but who doesn’t wallow in self-pity, who doesn’t find a new lust object every book or else who doesn’t think their Significant Other is cheating/leaving five times a book, who follows up on clues without being foolhardy, and who is a decent human being without being a saint or a doormat, and I’m in. Or else give me a fiendishly clever solvable puzzle, one that will keep me guessing until the end, and I’ll be happy.

So why do I look for covers with cats on them?  When it comes to new authors and series, I expect a certain percentage to be, well, average at best. In some cases it takes time for characters to grow on me, and if there’s a cute cat around I can be more patient.  There have been books I would have given up on long before the end if I hadn’t been hoping that terrific tabby or adorable angora might show up again. They’re my backup plan. Some of these series have become fairly decent series, despite lackluster beginnnings; I hung in there only because of Muffy the Maine Coon or Simone the Siamese, and now I’m glad I did. If there’s a cat on the cover, but no cat in the book , it’s okay providing the book meets the above criteria, i.e., is well written with complex characters and a decent plot.

Also, there are books in which the cats are the ONLY redeeming quality.  I’ve read more than a couple of tales in which the amateur sleuth needs  to be hit in the head with a common sense stick or else needs to develop a backbone or learn to follow up on clues before she or he ends up the next victim—the acronym TSTL exists for a reason.  I may swear I’ll never read another book by the Honorable Mrs. Mewington, but when a new book comes out with Charming Billy the grey tabby or Crazy Fred the ring-tailed wonder or amiable Melon the overweight ginger and white on the cover, I tell myself that surely it couldn’t have been as bad as I remembered and find myself buying a copy.

I will add one caveat, though:  if there is a cat on the cover but the only time a cat is mentioned is when the heroine complains about stray cats being a nuisance, then that’s an immediate deal breaker.  I don’t ask that the author and/or heroine LIKE cats, but I draw the line at active dislike. And yes, there was such a book.  The heroine was so-so, a supporting character was really annoying, the rest of the characters were bland, and I don’t remember any of the plot, though I assume there was one.  The cat was my only hope, and when that was dashed, the book became a rare DNF.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sandi Update 8/22/17

Just talked to Sandi tonight and she is doing okay. They removed the tri fusion port this afternoon. They are now running what they need to do through one IV that is located in her right arm halfway between her wrist and her elbow. Currently that is one bag of antibiotics after another one with each one being a different antibiotic. After getting multiple units of blood and platelets this morning it looks like they are not planning to repeat that tomorrow.

Fortunately, she is not in much pain and has been able to crochet. Her mood is pretty good though she is a bit bored and restless and is not finding anything on TV to take her mind off of things. She can still hear and she is thrilled with that fact and hope it holds.

So, I think things are as good as they can be right now. Or, as she put it again tonight, "It is what it is."

MWA meeting Saturday, September 2, 2017

September 2, 2017 - Shelley Kaehr, Ph.D. "The Wacky and Unpredictable World of Writing and Publishing."

Shelley Kaehr, Ph.D. began her writing career as a newspaper editor-in-chief. She opened a publishing company in 1994 and became a nationally known past life regressionist and authority on the practical applications of gems and stones after authoring dozens of books on the mind-body connection. Her work has been featured on such programs as Coast to Coast AM with George Noory and William Shatner’s Weird or What.

Shelley also writes horror and science fiction under the pen name Annette Shelley and romance under the pen name Leah Leonard.  When she's not writing, Shelley loves to travel and owns a Cruise Planners franchise. She is a member of the Horror Writer's Association and NTMWA and will talk to our group about her experiences in the wacky and unpredictable world of writing and publishing.  

James E. Gaskin
Writer / Consultant / Speaker
Member Internet Press Guild

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Two New Ones from Stark House

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Two New Ones from Stark House: Stark House and its Black Gat imprint have two great new publications, both from Clifton Adams.  Here's my review, from Steve Lewis'...

Review: Geronimo Must Die by J. R. Lindermuth

There is unrest on the San Carlos Indian Reservation in Arizona in the late 1800s as some are agitating for the Indians to unite and leave. There are rumors that those chiefs who oppose leaving will be killed. That includes Geronimo who was just shot as Geronimo Must Die by J. R. Lindermuth begins.

Mickey Free, whose mixed race ancestry is uncertain and was raised among the White Mountain Apaches, does not think the shooting at Geronimo was faked, though others, including his superiors, certainly do. Serving as a scout for the U.S. Army, Mickey moves about the reservation quietly drifting through the camps of the various groups while listening to what is being said. It is a dangerous practice at the best of times, and far more dangerous now as some actively work against peace.

Before long, Mickey Free has a contact among those in the rebellion and begins to work at the edges of the conspiracy against Geronimo and others. As he slowly works his way closer to the discovering the elusive identity of the person behind the conspiracy, he increasingly puts his own life at stake. Having saved Geronimo twice before, the third time may not be the charm for either one of them.

Along with the mystery at work in Geronimo must die, there is plenty about the history and political situation for the Indians on the reservations. While San Carlos is the location, these same issues existed elsewhere throughout the country. This social commentary, often delivered from Mickey’s perspective, serves to enhance the mystery.

Geronimo Must Die is a solidly good western from J. R. Lindermuth. As in other books from this author, while the genre is primarily western, there is a strong mystery element that runs throughout the work. Complex and nuanced this western has fully developed characters, a complicated mystery, a hint of romance, and plenty of history that brings the book alive for the reader. Geronimo Must Die is another very good read from author J. R. Lindermuth and well worth your time. 

Geronimo Must Die
J. R. Lindermuth
Sundown Press
March 2017
ISBN# 978-1544076515
eBook (also available in paperback)
104 Pages

Material supplied by the author quite some time ago in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

Sandi Update 8/21/17

Having talked to her a couple of times today I was already aware that by noon she had learn that the planned port removal surgery was not happening today as she was not on their schedule. As we had discussed, that might have been a good thing as that would mean she would be on heavy antibiotics for another day to deal with the bacterial blood infection before they again opened her up to do something. It also had become clear that they had to do yet another multi unit blood and platelet transfusion.

When we got home from UTD tonight, less than an hour ago, Scott called her and then after a few minutes I was on the phone with her. Upon further review of the x-rays, it turns out she did break her right rib. It is apparently a hairline fracture and the rib did not displace so it should heal without any intervention. At this time, they do not see any breaks anywhere else.

The plan for tomorrow is for the port to come out. At this point, we do not know when. She has been told that she is probably getting more blood and platelets tomorrow and they will do that by way of fresh needle inserts through each hand. Obviously, when they do that, it pretty much is going to shut down her ability to crochet as it will hurt far too much. Of course, if they do this tomorrow after the port surgery, she will be so heavily pain medicated that she won't be able to crochet or do anything anyway.

"It is what it is" has been her mantra the last few days and that hasn't changed tonight. The fight goes on.

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 8/21/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 8/21/17

Don Coffin Reviews: Dead, To Begin With by Bill Crider

Don Coffin Reviews: Dead, To Begin With by Bill Crider

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: They Left Us Everything: A Memoir by Plum Johnson

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: They Left Us Everything: A Memoir by Plum Johnson: Reviewed by Kristin How do you let go of a house infused with a lifetime of memories?   After her mother’s death, Plum Johnson ...

Mystery Fanfare: Solar Eclipse Fiction

Mystery Fanfare: Solar Eclipse Fiction: I was thinking about books that feature solar eclipses , and the one that immediately came to mind was Jane Langton's Dark Nantucket ...

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: RACHEL, FREIGHT WAGONS, AND PRISON

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: RACHEL, FREIGHT WAGONS, AND PRISON: Please leave a comment to be entered in my $50 giveaway and check the Rafflecopter to enter the Back To School $250 giveaway at the end of ...

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: RIP Jerry Lewis

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: RIP Jerry Lewis: I was saddened to learn of the passing of Jerry Lewis earlier today. Not just a Hollywood legend, but an award-winning actor, writer, di...


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 8/21-27: Bookish events in Texas for the week of August 21-27, 2017:  Special Events: TEDx Sugar Land , August 26 Ongoing Exhibits: Illustra...

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers |

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers |

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Music Tells All by E. R. Punshon

One of my great finds this year has been the prolific Golden Age author Ernest Robertson Punshon (1872-1956). Writing as E. R. Punshon, he released 35 books featuring Bobby Owen, an Oxford-educated policeman who worked his way up through the Scotland Yard ranks. He wrote another five featuring Sergeant Bell, a plodding, lugubrious London detective who nevertheless always reached a satisfactory conclusion in his cases. Still another 20 books were stand-alone mysteries.  Dorothy L. Sayers regarded Punshon’s work highly, saying that “all his books have that elusive something which makes them count as literature, so that we do not gulp them furiously down to get to the murderer lurking at the bottom, but roll them slowly and deliciously upon the tongue like old wine.” While I don’t like them quite that much, I enjoy reading Punshon, sometimes more for his portrayal of England during the first half of the 20th century than for his plots, which are not always as solid as one could hope.  

In Music Tells All, published by Victor Gollancz in 1948, Bobby Owen and Sergeant Bell, promoted now to Inspector, team up on a case that moves back and forth between a village and London. The story starts with Bobby and his wife Olive who need a place to live. She asks to see a home at a comfortable distance from his job at Scotland Yard. Expecting a crowd of competing seekers, they rush out only to find a quiet village with a house that seems perfect. The landlord names a rental fee far less than what he could get in this time of extreme scarcity and they jump at the lease. They soon learn that an odd neighbor is given to playing her piano tempestuously at all hours. Everyone in the village gives her a wide berth, except for their landlord who seems to be simultaneously fascinated and repulsed.

Bobby is distracted by a jewelry heist in London which involves a wild car chase through the city streets. One of the rings from the robbery is found in the village where Bobby just moved and the body of a stranger shows up in a nearly dismantled bomb shelter, bringing in Inspector Bell. The obvious suspect is a chauffeur who disappeared about the same time but several of the neighbors warrant closer inspection. Bobby doesn’t understand how his new village is tied to the robbery but can see that it is. Poor Olive is constantly searching for food for the two of them.

There aren’t enough clues to suggest the actual culprit and the motivation behind the crimes so the ending requires too much explanation, but all in all this is a good story, describing as it does life in post-war England and the citizenry determined to make do and get by.

The Kindle edition features a new introduction by crime fiction historian Curtis Evans.

  • File Size: 1185 KB
  • Print Length: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Dean Street Press (July 22, 2016)
  • Publication Date: July 22, 2016 
  • ASIN: B01IYDCH28

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

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The End of Porch Time

Yesterday morning, Scott and I turned in all the keys to the old apartment. Doing so ended a thirty year plus run of living at the complex that we had moved into in late June of 1987. It was a very strange moment to turn those keys in and realize that it really was over. In many aspects, it is a relief to be out of there.

Before we went to the office, I went out on the back porch over looking the creek for one final look. Sitting out on that porch while reading and writing was one of my favorite activities. But, it wasn't just that. It was also sitting out there on the many, many nights that I could not sleep and was losing my mind over what we were going through here. A few times over the last several years, I sat out there cloaked in darkness and cried over Sandi. That porch helped me cope with so much.

Scott went up the stairs and took this final picture of me out there.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

KRL This Week Update for 8/19/17

Up in KRL this morning a review & giveaway of "Death of a Bachelorette" by Laura Levine Mysteries

Also a review & giveaway of "Lions, and Tigers, and Murder, Oh My" by Denise Swanson

And a review & giveaway of "Camp Carter" by Kathi Daley along with a fun camping post by Kathi

We also have a review and giveaway of "Hollywood Homicide" by Kellye Garrett along with an interesting interview with Kellye about her book and her background in TV

And a review & giveaway of "All Signs Point to Murder" by Connie Di Marco along with an interesting chat between Connie & Sunny Frazier about astrology & their books

And an article about Ann Cleeves series featuring DI Jimmy Perez

We also have a mystery short story by Michael Bracken

For those who also enjoy fantasy, on KRL Lite today a review & giveaway of "Moonbreaker" by Simon R Green

And if you enjoy a little fantasy with your mystery, on KRL News & Reviews we have a review & giveaway of "Blood Kissed" by Keri Arthur
KRL is now selling advertising & we have special discounts for
mystery authors & bookstores! Ask me about it!

Happy reading,

Mystery section in Kings River Life
Check out my own blog at

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by ...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by ...: Reviewed by Jeanne Periodically, I will find a collection of first lines from novels that a compiler has found to be especially int...

Writer Beware: Solicitation (and Plagiarism) Alert: Legaia Books / Paperclips Magazine

Writer Beware: Solicitation (and Plagiarism) Alert: Legaia Books / Paperclips Magazine

The Rap Sheet-- Bullet Points: Pre-Solar Eclipse Edition

The Rap Sheet-- Bullet Points: Pre-Solar Eclipse Edition

FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Available Now - WANTED: DEAD (Book 5 in the Bodie Kendrick- Bounty Hunter Series)...

FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Available Now - WANTED: DEAD (Book 5 in the Bodie ...: My latest title in the Bodie Kendrick - Bounty Hunter series (number 5) is now available on Amazon Kindle. Here's the cover blurb t...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Mingo County, Ebola, The Reader, Almos...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Mingo County, Ebola, The Reader, Almos...: Reported by Kristin Our first reader took on a social history of a poor Appalachian community:   They’ll Cut Off Your Project: A...

Sandi Update 8/19/17

We are now safely home after seeing Sandi at the hospital. She remains on the catheter with the heart telemetry doing its thing and is still off of oxygen. Her mood is pretty good even with the news she was given this morning.
Picture by Scott

They currently plan to remove the port on Monday as it no longer matters if the tests come back saying the port is clean. Even if it is still okay, it will not stay that way. The only question is when it will be come infected. There is no choice at all so it will come out to protect her. They also, as I suspected, can't put anything into her port wise until she is clearly infection free.

That means she will have new iv lines put into her hands and arms each and every single time they have to put something into her. She is not happy, but also understands very well that she does not have any choices right now.

All in all, she is amazingly upbeat about everything and looks pretty good. She has eaten a bit more today, so far, than she has been and that is a good sign. She also has had at least some shrinkage of the sinus tumor as her ears have opened up a little bit. She can actual hear you when you talk to her and she can now hear the television. Being able to participate in the world has helped her tremendously. 

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange 8/16/18

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange 8/16/18

New Issue of Crime Review

We feature new 20 reviews in each issue of Crime Review (, together with a top industry interview. This time
it’s author Louise Penny 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 LATE SHOW by Michael Connelly, reviewed by Linda Wilson

Detective Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, starting cases
then handing them on as each new day rolls around. But now there are two
investigations that she wants to stay part of. Unfortunately, her bosses
don’t see things the same way.

THE KILLER ON THE WALL by Emma Kavanagh, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor

The three villagers leaning up against Hadrian’s wall could have been
asleep, but even from a distance, 15-year-old Isla Bell knew they were dead.

THE EXILED by Kati Heikkapelto, reviewed by Ewa Sherman

Finnish police officer Anna Fekete returns to her home town in the former
Yugoslavia for a well-deserved summer holiday. But when her handbag and
passport are stolen, she realises that there are other deep-rooted reasons
why the Romany thief chose to target her.

KITTY PECK AND THE DAUGHTER OF SORROW, by Kate Griffin, reviewed by John

Kitty Peck has inherited Paradise, her grandmother’s sprawling criminal
empire in the Thames docklands. But the past casts a long shadow and she
must face a criminal cabal intent on her humiliation and destruction.

HUNTING THE HANGMAN by Howard Linskey, reviewed by Arnold Taylor

A few thousand soldiers from the defeated Czech army made their way to
Britain. Now their President in exile wants two of them to return to
Czechoslovakia to undertake a special mission from which they are unlikely
to return.

THE UNQUIET DEAD by Ausma Zehanat Khan, reviewed by Chris Roberts

A man found dead at the foot of Scarborough Bluffs, a Toronto suburb,
proves to have a history in Bosnia, where he played a very active role in
the slaughter.

ROBERT B PARKER’S SLOW BURN by Ace Atkins, reviewed by Linda Wilson

Boston PI Spenser investigates a fire in a disused church that left three
firefighters dead. One of their colleagues is convinced the fire was arson.

SHERLOCK HOMES AND THE NINE-DRAGON SIGIL by Tim Symonds, reviewed by Chris

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson investigate a fiendish plot in Imperial
MONSTER IN THE CLOSET by Karen Rose, reviewed by Sylvia Wilson

Taylor Dawson comes to Baltimore to work as an intern equine therapist, but
also to find her father, from whom she has been hidden by her mother since

EARTHLY REMAINS by Donna Leon, reviewed by Sylvia Maughan

Commissario Brunetti is under strain at work and is sent away for a rest,
but then an old man he’s made friends with goes missing.

THE SUMMER OF IMPOSSIBLE THINGS by Rowan Coleman, reviewed by Madeleine

After their mother’s suicide, two sisters fly to Brooklyn to sell the house
their grandfather left. There, impossible events offer them the opportunity
to change the past and affect the present.

THE SHIMMERING ROAD by Hester Young, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor

Charlie Cates’ mother and sister have been murdered, leaving a legacy she
cannot ignore.

THE IRREGULAR by HB Lyle, reviewed by John Cleal

When a friend is murdered, Wiggins, once leader of Holmes’ Baker Street
Irregulars, seeks revenge and becomes involved with Britain’s emerging
security services.

THE GOOD DAUGHTER by Alexandra Burt, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor

Dahlia came home to uncover the truth about her childhood, but wasn’t
expecting to find a woman buried in the woods.

WHERE SHE WENT by BE Jones, reviewed by Linda Wilson

TV journalist Melanie Black wakes up in bed next to a man she doesn’t know.
And that’s not the least of her problems. She then realises that she’s dead.

THREE DROPS OF BLOOD AND A CLOUD OF COCAINE by Quentin Mouron, reviewed by
Chris Roberts

When old Jimmy Henderson is found dead in his car, mutilated with a knife,
both local sheriff Paul McCarthy and Franck, a visiting private detective,
take an interest.

THE WOMEN OF BAKER STREET by Michelle Birkby, reviewed by John Cleal

Holmes’ landlady, Mrs Hudson, is in hospital, and thinks she sees a murder,
but cannot be sure. Dr Watson’s wife Mary investigates a number of missing
young boys. Gradually the two inquiries are drawn together and their lives
are put in danger.

PILL CITY by Kevin Deutsch, reviewed by Chris Roberts

The true story of two tech-savvy Baltimore 18-year-olds who created a dark
web drug delivery service for legal and illegal opiates across the US.

THE DEATH HOUSE by Sarah Pinborough, reviewed by Linda Wilson

Toby lives in the Death House, isolated from the world, confined with
others who have tested positive for a defective gene. There’s only one way
out of the house, and that’s not one any of the inmates wants to take.

CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber, reviewed by John Barnbrook

>From a young age, Scarlett has longed to go to Caraval, a magical event run
by the famous Master Legend. Scarlett wants her and her sister to escape
from her cruel father. Eventually she gets her wish but things do not
happen as she expects.

Best wishes


Friday, August 18, 2017

Just Talked To Sandi

Just talked to her for a little while and she says that she had a blood transfusion earlier today and is awaiting platelets tonight. That is way different than what I understood earlier today. None of the therapy folks showed up so she did not do any of that either that she thought was planned.

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 8/15/17

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 8/15/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 8/14/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 8/14/17

Bitter Tea and Mystery Review: Dead Skip by Joe Gores

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Lesa's Latest Contest: This Week's Giveaway

This week, I'm giving away ARCs of Linda Castillo's Down a Dark Road and Claire Booth's Another Man's Ground. Details on my blog, Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine  

Sandi Update --8/18/17

Scott and I just got home from seeing Sandi at the hospital. She is doing a little better as she is off oxygen support and breathing on her own. She was awake and more with it than the past several days as well. She still has the catheter in her and still is being monitored for any possible heart issue. She has been fever free so far today.

The x-rays came back with no sign of a break. She does have a dark area on her right ribcage indicating that she has a bruise. They do not believe that the bruise extends inward to her lung nor does it appear that her heart is bruised. All that is very good news. It also means that I did not make things worse for her trying to get her up off the floor. The bruise is causing her significant pain, but there is no sign that I did anything to make that worse or cause any other injury.

We also now know for sure that the shower I helped her take after the fall was not responsible for her fever and everything else since then. I was very worried I had not done something correctly with her port in trying to cover it from the water and had caused what she is going through now.

The tests have come back and she does have a major bacterial blood infection. It is worse than the last one. We don't know if this is the staph infection that was not completely defeated and came back with a vengeance or something new. There is a very good chance that not only has the infection spread to her major organs (which they believe they can stop and clear) it has also spread to her tri-fusion port. If that has happened --they are running tests for that--there is going to be a major problem as the port would have to be removed. It also would seem that such a situation would preclude trying to put another one into her until the infection was completely cleared.

While they run tests and try to decide what to do about that, they are running massive amounts of various antibiotics into her along with saline fluids and platelets. She probably is going to have a blood transfusion of multiple units over the weekend. They also hope to get her out of the bed at some point this afternoon and have her walk a little bit with the therapists.

So, at this point, clearly there are things to worry about, but I feel a little better about her situation. Seeing her awake and oriented was a major relief. She has clearly been through a lot since Tuesday evening, but I think she is doing a little bit better.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sandi This Evening--8/17/17

Nothing really new to report since this morning other than multiple rehab therapists have been in to talk to her--usually by waking her up first and then rushing through what they have to say while she is not awake enough to comprehend---and then leave her a bit confused as to their plans. Apparently, one of them went so far as to complain to one of her nurses about Sandi as he rushed off to leave for the day, so that nurse took it upon herself to come in and chew out Sandi without knowing the facts. Needless to say that did not go over well.

This summer there have been no end of problems at Medical City Dallas. Why--we don't know. They do seem overwhelmed with patients and short staffed so that may be part of it.

It seems their main focus right now--despite the fact she is still hooked up to all sorts of monitoring and pumping machines, running high fevers, and all the rest of it---is the  idea of sending her to rehab for an unspecified period of time  as soon as possible. While they are justifiably concerned about her falls and preventing them, we both are far more focused on what the infection is and how to get that damn thing cleared up.

And speaking of falls, I also fell here earlier this afternoon while in the garage. It was a spectacular one witnessed by no one. Nothing broken, but I am very sore. Hopefully, with five falls here between the two of us (I now have the lead 3-2) the HOUSE GODS are appeased and no more falls will be required. If more are required, I think we should have warning like they always did on Star Trek with the fight music so we would know what was coming ahead of time.

Sandi This Morning-- 8/17/17

Talked to her for a little while and she hurts and is not a happy camper. As expected, they put in the catheter and have done the x-rays of her chest and right side rib cage. She is also on some oxygen support though she does not think she needs it. She does. They also added heart monitoring equipment overnight due to her erratic heart rate. She does not want that either, but having seen her erratic heart rate happening yesterday for most of the day, I am very glad they did that. Antibiotics of various types continued overnight and are underway this morning. She continues to have a significant fever, but not quite as high as it was several times yesterday.

So, things are under control as best as they can be right now. She does not want us coming up there as she says that all she is doing is sleeping. She is also worried about me and what I went through the last couple of days. So, for now, I have agreed that we willl stay home and do some things here as we can.

Will update as I know more.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sandi Hospitalized

After a full day at Texas Oncology where they worked on her and did a lot, Sandi was hospitalized this evening. There are multiple issues at work and numerous tests are being done. All we really know at this point is that she has a very high fever, something infectious is doing very bad things, and there is a strong possibility she broke ribs on her right side when she fell here yesterday evening. So, it has been a bad day.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tough Evening

This has been a very tough evening here. Sandi fell here a couple of hours ago for the second time since she came here. Had one hell of a time getting her back on her feet. I thought we were going to have to call Dallas Fire Rescue. She has been safely in bed the last two hours, but I worry about not just tonight, but things going forward.

Doctor Day

Finally home as things ran exceptionally long this morning and then we went to the apartment very briefly so that Sandi could see it one final time and know that we got everything. Sandi's blood work was okay, though things are beginning to trail off so by the end of the week she probably will need platelets followed by a major blood transfusion on Monday. Today they also gave her the white blood cell shot they give as she is not a candidate for the patch you see constantly advertised on television.

In addition to the fact that the skull lesions have gone down considerably, while sitting in a waiting room this morning, Sandi realized she could hear the television from the other waiting room. This is the first time she has been able to do that since February. It is also another small sign that this round of chemo definitely did something.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers |

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers |

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: A Cast of Vultures by Judith Flanders

A Cast of Vultures by Judith Flanders (Minotaur, 2017) is the third in the Samantha Clair contemporary amateur sleuthe mystery series set in London. Samantha Clair is an editor with an established publishing company who lives part-time with a police detective. Let me say for the record that I am more than a little tired of the mandatory police detective boyfriend in amateur sleuth stories. Yes, it makes a convenient venue for obtaining information that the general public is not supposed to have. But still, if authors are creative enough to manufacture plots and people, one of them can surely devise another way of getting information, like having a 13-year-old computer whiz from next door break into the police network. At any rate, this particular arrangement actually sounds like the kind of accommodation adults might come to. He is out at all hours and when he finds himself closer to his home than Samantha’s, he stays there, giving her some much-needed space. He does not have access to all police information either, as is the case in real life.

Initially there appears no real cause for police interest. A neighborhood organizer reports that someone in her apartment house is missing but since he is an adult, everyone assumes he will show up sooner or later. The neighbor is one of those holy terrors who can convince anyone to do anything through sheer force of character and in no time Samantha buckles to her demand to help break into the missing man’s apartment. They find nothing out of the way there and remain puzzled until a few days later when his body is found in a burned house with drugs and a large amount of cash. The police assume that he is a drug dealer caught in a fire he set to hide his illicit activities. None of the people who know him can see him as a drug dealer, but the police just point to the contraband when they protest.

On the job front Samantha is appalled to learn her company has hired consultants to reorganize their work with no real understanding of what it involves. The scene where the editors meet with the consultants spouting jargon and waving PowerPoint presentations is so true to life it’s clear the author has endured a few of these attempts at corporate restructuring. Samantha’s assistant encounters every publisher’s nightmare when she fact-checks an autobiography the firm paid mega bucks for and finds little truth in the manuscript.

The characters are a big reason I enjoyed the book so much. Nice people with recognizable quirks, we all know folks like them. Well-written and witty, the book moves smoothly back and forth between publishing crises and the murder/arson investigation and ties it all up with an unexpected resolution that could have been foreseen had I paid a little more attention to the deviously placed clues. Do add this book to your To-Be-Read list.

·         Hardcover: 320 pages
·         Publisher: Minotaur Books (February 21, 2017)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1250087821
·         ISBN-13: 978-1250087829

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Chemo Round 2 Finished--Sandi Home

Sandi has finished her second round of chemo and is back home where she belongs.

Lesa's Latest Contest: Island Mysteries Giveaway

This week, I'm giving away 2 island mysteries, Linda Greenlaw's Shiver Hitch & Francine Mathews' Death on Nantucket. Details available on my blog, Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine 

KRL This Week Update for 8/12/17

Up in KRL this morning a review & giveaway of "Fire and Ashes" by Elaine
Viets along with an interesting guest post by Elaine about some of her
research for the book

Also a review & giveaway of "Murder at the Male Revue" by Elizabeth Perona

And a review & ebook giveaway of "Dead Storage" by Mary Feliz along with an
interesting interview with Mary

We also have a review of "Divas, Diamonds, & Death" by Sally J. Smith &
Jean Steffens & a great giveaway where you can not only win a copy of the
book, but also a great animal rescue t-shirt. And we also have an animal
rescue guest post by Sally

And a review & giveaway of "Bad Housekeeping" by Maia Chance

And we have an overview of some of the many great mystery programs on Acorn

Over on KRL News & Reviews, we have a review & giveaway of "Ruined Stones"
by Eric Reed

Happy reading,

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Chemo--Round 2-Day 4

Been to the hospital with Scott to see Sandi and found her very active thanks to steroids. Chemo seems to be going fine. The guy who caught the error last time was sent to her floor specifically to do the audit check on her drug cocktail. He came to her room yesterday afternoon to assure her that all is correct this time. The fact he came and did that meant a lot to her.

As it currently stands, they will be sending her home sometime tomorrow. When is in question right now, though I suspect it will be mid to late afternoon. After that we go back Tuesday morning to see her people in the office and do blood work.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Chemo--Round 2-Day 3

Seen Sandi today and she is doing okay. Assuming things continue correctly she will be released sometime Sunday.

FFB Review: WHO’S NEXT? by George Baxt -- Reviewed by Barry Ergang

After you read Barry’s review below, make sure you check out the full list at Patti Abbott’s blog.

WHO’S NEXT? (1988) by George Baxt

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Multimillionaire Medwin Patton collects “protégés,” people whose talents he can exploit to their mutual benefit. In his case, the benefits might be, on occasion, sexual as well as financial. The latest protégé is eighteen-year-old Vanessa Clay, a ballerina who “was already acclaimed as one of the brightest luminaries in the Gotham Ballet Theatre…Haven Haskell, considered the next best choreographer to Jerome Robbins, was leaving Gotham Ballet to form his own company with financing supplied by Medwin Patton.”

Before he and Vanessa have even met Patton, Vanessa’s widowed father Jethro Clay is having misgivings about his daughter’s welfare in the company of her would-be benefactor. On the other hand, being impoverished, he understands Vanessa’s desire for a big career break and its attendant wealth. An inventor who does “free-lance work as a patents specialist,” he has in the past done some work for the movie industry, creating for films “all forms of infernal machinery with which to astonish and then horrify the teenage audiences who mostly patronized the junk.” Among those films was The Scarecrow, based on the best-selling novel by Lilith Manley, now Mrs. Medwin Patton.

Lilith and Medwin have developed an open marriage so that when, at a lavish party at the Pattons’ Westchester estate, Lilith and Jethro meet and exchange sparks, Medwin could care less. What he does care about—and intensely—is Vanessa as an object of his lust. When the two are alone in the library and he makes a pass at her, the instantly repelled young woman bolts from the room and the house. Medwin has the habit, when angered, of jumping into his Volvo and driving maniacally off the estate to settle himself. On this particular evening, Vanessa flees along the driveway as Medwin decides against slowing down. Besides Jethro and Lilith, there are seven of the many party-going protégés on the estate’s grounds who witness what they all subsequently testify to as an accident, despite recognizing it as purposeful murder lest they lose any sort of personal celebrity status and, more importantly, Patton monetary benefits.

Jethro is determined to avenge his daughter’s death, but realizes he would be the suspect investigators would look at immediately and most intensely. Lilith is the one witness who sided with him, and their mutual attraction, along with her hatred of Patton, leads them to devise a plan for Jethro’s phony suicide coupled with murder methods appropriate to the professions or personal quirks of the witnesses. What follows is a well-paced, absolutely improbable, often absurd tale of retribution.

It’s also pretty funny, its omniscient narrative, along with some of its dialogue, packed with wry observations and occasional word-play. Its final couple of moments of dialogue struck me as suitably and humorously ambiguous, in a dark sort of way, though I’m sure not everyone will agree.

Readers preferring grim, ominous vengeance tales of the sort found in some Mickey Spillane novels and Clint Eastwood westerns will be sorely disappointed. Absurdities apply to some of Jethro’s murderous inventions--e.g., his method of disposing of a sculptress is one that must be accepted as something that would appear in a science fiction or horror film: just go along with it unanalytically and enjoy the ride because in real life the odds don’t favor its hurried devising if it could be devised at all. (Nowadays, who knows? It probably could be.)

Who’s Next? is good criminous comic entertainment.

© 2017 Barry Ergang

Some of Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang’s work is available at Amazon and

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Guest Post: Jeanne and Treadmill Books: Retired Witches Mysteries by Jim and Joyce Lavene

This is a day late because I was so worn out Tuesday evening I was online very briefly only to let everyone know how Sandi was doing and then I went to bed. I apologize to Jeanne as well as everyone who expected to see the latest review yesterday.

Treadmill Books:  Retired Witches Mysteries by Jim and Joyce Lavene

Molly, Elise, and Olivia are three good friends who run a magical shop in Wilmington, NC.  They’re also witches who have helped protect their town from –well, whatever ill supernatural beings or events might appear.  In the opening book in the series, Spell Booked, the three are facing the fact that none of them are spring chickens any longer and their powers are starting to fade.  Their magic is becoming a bit iffy at best. The trouble is that they can’t just up and retire to Boca Raton (retirement community of choice for witches, in case you didn’t know) because that would leave the town unprotected.  They’re trying to recruit replacements to pass on their spell book, but that’s proving more difficult than anticipated. 

Then Olivia is murdered and their spell book is stolen. Molly and Elise must try to find the murderer and recover the spell book before their powers fade away.

A friend recommended this book, which she called charming.  I agree wholeheartedly, and not just because the main characters are women “of a certain age.” There’s a whiff of Golden Girls among the cast as well in their observations about growing older.  To up the ante, the conceit is that witches cannot reveal themselves to non-magical beings, even if that individual is a spouse or child.  Molly, for example, is married to a mortal policeman and they have a non-magical son. This makes for a very difficult situation when both Molly and her husband are trying to solve Olivia’s murder—not only is her husband upset that Molly is meddling, but Molly knows a number of things about the murder that she can’t reveal even when the official investigation is following the wrong leads.

For me, much of the appeal is the humor and the age of the characters.  Younger ones are introduced, but the stories revolve mostly around these aging ladies with whom I can identify.  The stories, while having dark elements, have a light-heartedness about them.  I don’t think it’s giving too much away to reveal that Olivia shows up as a ghost early on, but she doesn’t know who did her in.  She’s too disoriented and trying to come to terms with her new state of being—or non-being, as the case may be.  The three friends are also portrayed as being among the “little people”—i.e., not the ones in positions of power, like the Council.  They are small fish in a big pond, struggling to keep their part of the world safe.

Previously, I reviewed the Lavenes’ Sweet Pepper Mystery series which I tried because of my fondness for this series.  I also tried a book from another of their series and it just didn’t click, for whatever reason.  The settings tend to be a bit generic; there are some details, but not many.  The writing can occasionally be clunky, but the fun of the Retired Witches Mysteries kept me turning pages.  There are only three in the series, and the third book was published after Joyce’s untimely death. I found a few stylistic problems with that one, but overall I found this to be a good treadmill series.

The books are:
1.      Spell Booked
2.      Looking for Mister Goodwitch
3.      Putting on the Witch

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 8/8/17

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 8/8/17

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: JFK, Beloved Poison, Donner Party, Fat...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: JFK, Beloved Poison, Donner Party, Fat...:   Reported by Kristin Our first Nevermore reader was moved by the story of peace-seeking President Kennedy in To Move the World:...

Chemo--Round 2- Day 1

Earlier today after taking care of some stuff at the apartment, Scott and I went to the hospital to check on Sandi. Last night and this morning they gave her additional doses of the antibiotic. She will have one more of those tomorrow and then she should be done with that.

This morning they gave her steroids as well as the premeds and then started the chemo. So far so good as there have been no issues.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Chemo--Round Two

Late this afternoon Sandi was admitted to the hospital to start the second round of chemo. This was done because her blood work today indicated she was strong enough to do this right now and it is very clear that the cancers are running amok. Just from last Thursday it was clear to me as well as her medical folks that the skull tumors had grown yet again. If they are growing there is no doubt that all the tumors she has are growing. Exactly when later today the chemo will start is in question right now as a few things have to be done to make sure all is okay.

As part of her stay she will also get the final three days of the antibiotic she was getting through the home health care folks. They never bothered to call and deliver the rest of her antibiotic nor did they send the home health care nurse that was supposed to come and do things. Knowing we were going to see Sandi's people today and knowing that most likely she would be admitted one way or the other, I did not call and badger the home health care folks about doing their damn jobs.

The chemo that starts sometime tonight is the one she was supposed to get in mid to late June so it is almost two full months late. Those involved believe that the delay will not be an issue. They believe her body has not built up resistance to it so we can go with the originally intended chemo cocktail she was supposed to get right after Memorial Day. Hopefully, they are right.

Folks seemed to be very attentive to her on the floor while we were there so I suspect all involved have been read the riot act over what happened before and are going to make very sure there is not another screw up. Something we are all counting on.

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 8/7/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 8/7/17

Monday, August 07, 2017

Monday Mystery: Tough Dames-- Violet McDade and Nevada Alvarado

 Monday Mystery: Tough Dames-- Violet McDade and Nevada Alvarado

Reviews by David Nemeth--Incident Report No. 3

Reviews by David Nemeth--Incident Report No. 3

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Tightening the Threads by Lea Wait

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Tightening the Threads by Lea Wait: Reviewed by Jeanne When Ted Lawrence announces to his family that not only has he found a niece he didn’t know existed, but tha...


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 8/7-13: Bookish events in Texas for the week of August 7-13, 2017:  Special Events: 1st Annual Marfa Poetry Festival , August 9-13 Friends of th...

Gravetapping: A Trio of Mack Bolan

Gravetapping: A Trio of Mack Bolan: A few months ago I read the trilogy that killed Colonel John Phoenix and brought Mack Bolan back to the world. I had meant to write a ...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: McCafferty’s Nine by Elizabeth Gunn

McCafferty’s Nine by Elizabeth Gunn (Severn House, 2007) is the seventh in the Jake Hines police procedural series. (Why the series started with Triple Play and skipped the numbers one and two is an enduring mystery.) These books are set in fictional Rutherford, Minnesota, a medium-sized city about two hours from Minneapolis that’s large enough to have big-city problems but not a big-city budget to deal with them. 

Jake started out as a detective on the city police force and in this book has been promoted to Chief of Detectives where he is learning how to manage the work of his team instead of doing it himself. There’s lots of work for them: a mugger is growing progressively more violent and a credit card fraud scheme is costing the city’s merchants plenty. He wrangles the never-ending paperwork of his job while his staff sets up decoys to catch the mugger before someone is seriously hurt. The sting is successful but a similar crime takes place elsewhere at the same time, sending the department back to their investigative drawing board.

On the homefront his wife Trudy, star of the forensics section in the Minnesota Bureau of Crime Apprehension, is about to give birth to their first child. Jake is beside himself with anxiety. He was abandoned in a dumpster when he was a few hours old and was raised in a series of foster homes. With no family or family history, he has no idea what to expect. His anxiety gives rise to a recurrence of old nightmares that he is afraid to tell anyone about.

Jake and Trudy live in an old rundown farmhouse midway between their two jobs. After nearly freezing the first winter they lived there, they decided to renovate, which makes another entertaining subplot. Their negotiations with the local conniving contractors they need to do the heavy work was a high point in an earlier book.

A large part of the charm of this first-rate series lies with the characters and their relationships with each other. They are down to earth and realistically lifelike. Any of them could live one street over or sit in the next office. Jake does not minimize the limitations of his childhood which led to gaps in his education that he’s sensitive about but he takes responsibility for who he is now. His first-person narration of police work seamlessly interwoven with domesticity is a satisfying read. Booklist starred review.

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers; First Edition edition (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0727865145 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727865144

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

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 34 Calls for Submissions in August 2017 - Paying m...

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 34 Calls for Submissions in August 2017 - Paying m...: The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County fountain There are nearly three dozen calls for submissions in August. Every genr...

SleuthSayers: Who Put the B in the BSP?

SleuthSayers: Who Put the B in the BSP?: by John M. Floyd Here's the question of the day, for all you writers out there: How Blatant should Self-Promotion be? Consider th...

KRL This Week Update for 8/5/17

Up in KRL this morning a review & giveaway of "A Panicked Premonition" by Victoria Laurie along with an interesting guest post by Laurie about how she has come up with some of her book ideas

Also up a review & giveaway of "Come Helen High Water" by Susan McBride along with an interesting interview with Susan

And a review & giveaway of "Second Look" by Kathi Daley

We also have a mystery short story by Guy Belleranti

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
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Review: The Tithing Herd by J. R. Lindermuth

I first read The Tithing Herd by J. R. Lindermuth last December. I enjoyed it very much. It was only while working on my review I discovered that during the time the book had been sitting here waiting to be read and reviewed, the publisher had gone under. I went ahead and posted my review last year knowing that it was not available and that Mr. Lindermuth was seeking a new publisher. That has occurred and the read is once again available in paperback and eBook. The book is strongly recommended. The original review runs below and has been slightly shortened in favor of this introduction.

The boy, Tom Baskin, is helpless as the rider approaches one evening near dusk. The boy is hanging by a rope tied to his heels and slung over a branch. Upside down and left to twist on the rope, he was put in that position for a reason.

His rescuer, Luther Donnelly, knows the people that the headstrong boy says did it to him and for good reason. They are companions to a man he is hunting to settle a score. It isn’t long before Tom Baskin and Luther Donnelly are working together, not to settle their respective scores, but to move a herd of cattle to market so that the local Mormons can pay their title to the church. Once that is done for people that Luther Donnelly cares a lot about and are in real need, they then can go about their business. Vengeance is just going to have to wait.

The Tithing Herd by J. R. Lindermuth is a compelling western read regarding faith and perseverance. What begins as a simple vengeance story turns into a multi layered desperate quest to save the life of a loved one featuring a number of complicated and nuanced characters. The read is s a compelling western tale where good triumphs over evil in small and big ways.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016, 2017