Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Market Call: The Space Unicorn Saw Its Shadow and Other Tales of Whimsy

The Space Unicorn Saw Its Shadow and Other Tales of Whimsy
Edited by Pat Hauldren

Whimsical speculative fiction tales of dark or delight are welcome in this anthology. We’re looking for something unusual, special, with a twist or turn, or lead us down a crooked alley. Themed poetry will be considered.
MUST contain the word “space unicorn” in the story. 

OPEN FOR SUBS: May 1, 2017 / DEADLINE: November 1, 2017
PAYMENT: ’ with one copy
WORD COUNT: 5,000 max (if over, must be VERY VERY good)
SUBMIT TO: Pat Hauldren with the word “UNICORN” in the subject line.
(if it’s not there, I might lose your submission. All submissions will be acknowledged in email as soon as possible.) 

*Author keeps all rights to story. Upon submission, author gives permission to editor to publish submitted story in one anthology, The Space Unicorn Saw Its Shadow and Other Tales of Whimsy, in any format in perpetuity. Author may buy unlimited “at cost” copies plus shipping. Author will be given one paperback copy as payment.

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: FALLING HARD BY STACY FINZ!

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: FALLING HARD BY STACY FINZ!: FALLING HARD by Stacy Finz Pub date: 4/11/2017 Genre: Contemporary Romance In the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountain...

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Blog March 2017

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Blog March 2017: From my dear friend Robin Renee 's blog , please join the blog march if you feel the same, and contact her at the email at the bott...

Review: The Last Second Chance: An Ed Earl Burch Novel by Jim Nesbitt

In the wreckage of the S&L crisis of the late 80s and early 90s, Ed Earl Burch works as a private detective. His office located near Mockingbird and Central in Dallas is in a shabby office park with a view of the time and temp sign over at the Dr. Pepper Plant. It features the noise of the traffic, an air conditioner that wheezes and does not cool, and a man with a serious thirst for alcohol. 

Ed Earl Burch is hanging on as best as he can. He has made a few bucks thanks to the scavengers that have come to feats on the remains of the S&L crash as well as former business partners looking for their partner or bank officers looking for the developer that just vanished. He has connections all over town and beyond dating back to his days with the Dallas PD. That fact, as well as his low overhead in an increasingly vacant building, has helped him survive.

About ten blocks away is a small Mexican joint on Ross. Owned by Arturo Garcia, the place known to everyone as “Café Garcia” is always open to Ed Earl Burch. Bringing home the pregnant teenage daughter of Arturo Garcia means there is always a plate of food and a beer for Burch. It has been that way for quite some time so it means it is one of several locations that Burch can be predictably found.

The woman with the gun who interrupts his late dinner has other plans. After dropping a name from the past, at gunpoint she escorts him out to her car. Before very long, they are north of Dallas, up in Grayson Country, and on the land of a man who has left the life of crime behind for the life as a gentlemen rancher. Appearances, if one ignored the gun toting guards scattered everywhere, could be deceiving.

Burch knows exactly what Norville Ross is and could have done without the jaunt down memory lane. But, Ross wanted him here and made sure he was brought in as safely and as quickly as possible. Coming himself was not an option. The woman’s name is Carla Sue. Ross sent her to bring back Burch so that he could discuss with him a business proposition that each could find mutually satisfactory. 

If any of them can say alive long enough to seal the deal.
The Last Second Chance: An Ed Earl Burch Novel  by Jim Nesbitt is a violent crime fiction ride across Texas. Written in a noir style it features a read where the language is coarse, the sexual situations are graphic, and bullets and blood are on nearly every page. Burch takes no prisoners and will unleash hell on those who come after him and those he cares about.

Along the way, there will be heavy toll in carnage and death with plenty of ghosts of the past to keep him company in quite moments.  Author Jim Nesbitt is building the bottom floor of a series with The Last Second Chance: An Ed Earl Burch Novel. A novel that packs quite the punch and is highly recommended. 

The Last Second Chance: An Ed Earl Burch Novel  
Jim Nesbitt
March 2016
eBook (also available in paperback)
236 Pages

According to Amazon, I picked this up in the middle of last November. I don’t know now if I took advantage of a free read promotion or used funds in my Amazon Associate account. Either way, I did it after a publicist contacted me about reviewing the second book in the series, The Right Wrong Number. A paperback copy of that read is in my TBR pile.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jacqueline Reiter on "The Napoleonic Embezzlement Scandal That Never Was" at Suzanne Adair's Blog

Jacqueline Reiter on "The Napoleonic Embezzlement Scandal That Never Was" at Suzanne Adair's Blog

Something Is Going To Happen: The Not-So-Simple Art of Mystery Reviewing by Elizabeth Foxwell

Something Is Going To Happen: The Not-So-Simple Art of Mystery Reviewing by Elizabeth Foxwell

One More Time

For what should be the final time this semester, I am now on the campus of UTD hanging out with Scott. He has one more class this afternoon and evening and then his first semester as a graduate student will be completed.

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 4/25/17

The Rap Sheet:  Revue of Reviewers for 4/25/17

David Cranmer Reviews: Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves

David Cranmer Reviews: Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves

Lesa's Book Critiques: What the Dead Leave Behind by Rosemary Simpson

Lesa's Book Critiques: What the Dead Leave Behind by Rosemary Simpson

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 32 Great Writing Conferences in May 2017

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 32 Great Writing Conferences in May 2017: Conferences are not only the best way to meet agents, get tips from other writers, and learn about the publishing industry, they make you ...

Monday, April 24, 2017

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 04/24/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 04/24/17

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood: Reviewed by Rita If you had to choose the book that matters most to you, what would it be? That is the question that sparks A...

Another day, Another doctor

Just got home from seeing Sandi's new Ear, Nose, and Throat guy. Doc did a camera thingy up her nose and was not happy about what he saw in there. Even after he shot some stuff up her nose to open her up, it didn't work very well. What could be seen did not look good. Even my medically untrained eyes saw things that looked to be problems.

Like Texas Oncology, he also wants a CT scan of her sinus cavities and surrounding areas.

If it is just what he thinks it is, he believes he can do an outpatient deal in the office and do some sort of surgical procedure to open her up and also install tubes in her ears.

But, and you knew there had to be a but, there is a more than decent chance that all of this could be caused by some sort of sinus tumor. In other words..... cancer. Exactly what I have worried about for the last two months and did not say a word about to anybody looking at her. Taking into account her history, there is a more than a decent chance she has a damn tumor up in there somewhere.I got the feeling he is pretty sure that is what we are dealing with and just did not want to say so.

We won't know until the CT Scan is done.

As usual, she is handling this way better than I am.

Do Some Damage: Spinetingler News

Do Some Damage: Spinetingler News: Interrupting regular blogging to share with you the news that Spinetingler will have its first issue in years this fall. We're currently...


A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: SECOND CHANCE MARQUESS BY JESSICA JEFFERSON: Second Chance Marquess by Jessica Jefferson ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GENRE : Historical Romance Jessica will be awarding a $25 Am...


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 4/24-30: Bookish events in Texas for the week of April 24-30, 2017:  Special Events: National Book Awards Festival , Huntsville, April 24-25 KTX...

Review: Two-Trick Pony: The Drifter Detective Series No. 8 by Garnett Elliott

The eighth book of The Drifter Detective Series is split into two parts. As Two-Trick Pony by Garnett Elliot opens, it is 1948 in the Texas panhandle. Jack Laramie has to listen to nonsense from some trucker as the miles of Route 66 pass by. The Desoto broke down on his way to Amarillo so he was forced to hitchhike and that resulted in his riding with the trucker who sees Commies everywhere. Jack Laramie saw far worse than Commies when he served during WWII and is well aware this guy is an idiot. Using the gun he has with him that was once carried by his legendary grandfather would be a bad idea and not just because to do so would disrespect the weapon.

Newly minted private detective Jack Laramie is on the way to Amarillo on behalf of his boss, Hobart Jones, an insurance investigator down in Dallas. All he knows is he is supposed to see a Mr. Adair about a horse. It isn’t a case Laramie is going to want either after he hears the man out, but he has been paid and the job has to be done.

Part Two picks up 11 years later in Dallas where Jack Laramie has given up the lure of the open road for a shabby office in the Wilson Building near Commerce Street. Despite what had happened with members of the local mob three years earlier, Laramie had come back and opened his office. At least the Montmartre Club is within walking distance.

He has become a regular. One of the entertainer’s tonight is new in town. She is also a woman he knew in another time and in another place. She was trouble then over in Longview. No doubt she is trouble now. He has unfinished business with her. He isn’t the only one.

The grandson of legendary US Marshal Cash Laramie first appeared in The Drifter Detective. He continues on here in Two-Trick Pony. Every installment gives readers a strong taste of noir style crime fiction and this two-part read is no exception. Drive by nightmares from his past, Jack Laramie is a loner looking for peace in a bottle and justice at the end of a gun. Whether he finally found it is open to interpretation. This reader hopes the search is not over.

The series: 
The Drifter Detective (Reviewed March 2013)
Hell Up In Houston (Reviewed September 2013)
The Girls Of Bunker Pines (Reviewed March 2014)
Wide Spot In The Road (Reviewed June 2014)
Dinero Del Mar (Reviewed August 2014)
Between Juarez and El Paso (Reviewed September 2015)
Torn And Frayed (Reviewed June 2016)

Two-Trick Pony: The Drifter Detective Series No. 8
Garnett Elliott
Beat To A Pulp
October 2016
eBook (also available in paperback)
99 Pages

According to Amazon, I purchased this back last December. While it does not say how I made the purchase, I took advantage of a free read promotion or I used funds in my Amazon Associate account.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

Sunday, April 23, 2017

RTE Update for 4/22/17

The April 22 2017  issue of RTE is out and includes fifteen new reviews as well as a new interview:                       

Paul Levine  in the 'Sixty seconds with . . .' interview hot seat:


PRUSSIAN BLUE                Philip Kerr        Reviewed by Yvonne Klein

IF WE WERE VILLAINS                M.L. Rio            Reviewed by Sharon Mensing

LOLA                        Melissa Scrivner Love    Reviewed by Susan Hoover

AFTER YOU DIE                Eva Dolan        Reviewed by Yvonne Klein

THE COUTURIER OF MILAN           Ian Hamilton        Reviewed by Nicola Nixon

THE SATANIC MECHANIC             Sally Andrew         Reviewed by Meredith Frazier
THE BOY IN THE EARTH               Fuminori Nakamura     Reviewed by Susan Hoover

VICIOUS CIRCLE                C. J. Box         Reviewed by Sharon Mensing
CELINE                    Peter Heller        Reviewed by Sharon Mensing
TWO HEADS ARE DEADER THAN ONE     Elena Hartwell        Reviewed by Diana Borse

A DEATH BY ANY OTHER NAME         Tessa Arlen         Reviewed by Meredith Frazier

CHARCOAL JOE                Walter Mosley        Reviewed by Jim Napier

THE SECRETS OF GASLIGHT LANE     M.R.C. Kassasian     Reviewed by Cathy Downs

IRREGULARS    Michael A Ventrella and Jonathan Maberry, eds.,     Reviewed by Rebecca Nesvet

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

Yvonne Klein

Bitter Tea and Mystery Review: The Blackhouse: Peter May

Bitter Tea and Mystery: The Blackhouse: Peter May: Description from the dust jacket of my edition: When a grisly murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland's Outer Hebrides that bea...

KRL This Week Update For 4/22/17

Just up in KRL a review & giveaway of "Tightening the Threads" by Lea Wait

And reviews & giveaways of some fun food mysteries from Penguin authors-Town in a Maple Madness": A Candy Holliday Mystery by B.B. Haywood, "A Frying Shame": A Deep Fried Mystery by Linda Reilly, and "Silence of the Jams": A Down South Café Mystery by Gayle Leeson

And a review of the Kenni Lowry Mystery series by Tonya Kappes & a giveaway of the latest book in the series "Southern Fried"

Also a review & giveaway of "Kangaroo Dreaming" by Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens, & an interesting interview with Sally & Jean

And we have an article about the Kate Shackleton mysteries by Frances Brody

And a review of the Oxford Tearoom Mysteries by H.Y. Hanna - Author & a giveaway of one of the books-winner's choice

And a mystery short story by Kate Fellowes, Author

And for those who enjoy fantasy with their mystery, a review & giveaway of "The Holver Alley Crew" by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Happy reading,

KRL is now selling advertising & we have special discounts for
mystery authors & bookstores! Ask me about it!
Mystery section in Kings River Life
Check out my own blog at

Saturday, April 22, 2017

On Conversations: #award-winning #author Caroline Clemmons ...

Conversations with Author and Screenwriter Lisa Mondello: On Conversations: #award-winning #author Caroline ...: Please join me in welcoming award-winning bestselling author Caroline Clemm o ns to Conversations today! Caroline is here to talk abou...

Writers Who Kill: World Book Day

Writers Who Kill: World Book Day: Image from coffeecupsandcrayons (dot) com Reading changes lives World Book Day - Sunday April 23, is all about celebrating re...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Come Dark by Steven Havill

Please welcome Aubrey Hamilton to the blog today as she reviews the latest installment of one of my all time favorite series.....

Come Dark by Steven F. Havill (Poisoned Pen Press, 2016) is the 21st title in the Posadas County contemporary mystery series. Set in fictional Posadas County, New Mexico, a few miles from the Mexico border, this series began with Undersheriff Bill Gastner as the protagonist and shifted in the 10th title to Estelle Reyes-Guzman, originally a detective in the sheriff’s office who later moved up in rank. Books 16 and 18, according to the publication dates, feature Gastner again, as Havill decided to go back in time to expand on some of the characters’ history in those stories. Otherwise each book builds logically on the previous books.

Havill’s entry on Stop! You’re Killing Me sorts the books in chronological sequence according to the story line, not the publication date. Readers new to the series might find this list helpful. And yes, it is possible to read each book as a stand-alone. Havill is adept at sketching enough backstory for the reader to grasp context and characterization. However, these books are so good that it is not likely anyone will want to read just one.

In this latest entry, the huge astronomy park rancher Miles Waddell is building inches closer to completion, with the train that will convey visitors finished enough to allow journalists and local politicians to ride to the top of the mountain where the park is sited. However, the park’s massive satellite dish falls victim to the anonymous graffiti artist who has been decorating the schools and other buildings in town. In addition, one of the patrolling officers runs a routine check on a car with an out-of-state license plate to learn the plate is not on the vehicle it’s registered to and the people in the car don’t have a good explanation. On the same day the young wife of a banker walks into a big box store, leaving her baby and puppy in a hot car with the windows closed, and does not return. To spread the staff of the Sheriff’s Office even thinner, the high school custodian goes to the school Saturday to clean up after the big game the night before and finds the body of the coach in the showers. With multiple visible gunshot wounds, the cause of death is not in question. On the homefront Estelle’s mother is celebrating a milestone birthday and Francisco, Estelle’s musical genius of a son, arrives unexpectedly from the conservatory where he is studying to participate. Bill Gastner is still recovering from the hip fracture incurred in the previous book.

All of the usual characters are present, if a couple of them are only mentioned by the others. For instance, Estelle doesn’t want to bring Linda Real, the department photographer, to the crime scene because she is in the last stages of pregnancy and Estelle thinks there’s no need for her take chances. New officers and some temporary personnel bring a sense of realism to the department, which is perennially short-staffed and underfunded as any rural sheriff’s office is likely to be.

The plot lines unfold in a coherent manner; pacing is smooth and unrushed. My only quibble here is with the subplot involving Francisco, the musical prodigy, and it isn’t intrinsic to the story. Highly recommended, as is the entire series.

Series: Posadas County Mysteries (Book 21)
Hardcover: 308 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (April 5, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1464205256
ISBN-13: 978-1464205255

Aubrey Hamilton ©2017

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Lesa's Latest Contest: Cozy Mystery Giveaway

This week, I'm giving away copies of Christy Fifield's Murder Ties the Knot & Allison Kingsley's Extra Sensory Deception. Details on my blog at Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine  

Mystery Fanfare: Environmental Mysteries: Earth Day 2017

Mystery Fanfare: Environmental Mysteries: Earth Day 2017: Earth Day 2017 This is an updated Earth Day/Environmental Mysteries list that is by no means complete. There are many more authors, a...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel: Reviewed by Kristin Rosie Walsh didn’t expect to fall in love with Penn Adams.   Set up by a friend of a friend, Rosie was a first ...

FFB Review: The Outcast Dead: A Ruth Galloway Mystery by Elly Griffiths

After you read the review, go check out the list of reading suggestions over at Patti Abbott’s blog for the rest of the suggestions for today.  

42-year-old Dr. Ruth Galloway is acutely aware of the history, the blood, that has been spilled over the centuries. While resurrection is not possible, she believes in treating the dead with respect. As The Outcast Dead begins, it is early June and she is on the grounds of Norwich Castle. The vicar is leading the prayers for the outcast dead so that those who died forgotten, penniless, in unmarked graves, etc. are remembered. It is an annual event and one that Ruth feels is very important. 

It seems more important than ever to honor those who have passed as recently some bodies were discovered at the castle. The deceased were most likely prisoners considering how the bodies appeared when uncovered. Included among the bodies may be the legendary Jemima Green, aka Mother Hook. A child caregiver during Victorian times known for her hook instead of a hand and her lower arm, she was executed after being convicted for murdering one of the children in her care. At the time of her execution, it was thought she might have killed at least 20 more.

The find has drawn the interest of producers of a television show well known for sensualizing such cases. The head of department, Phil Trent, is thrilled with the interest, but Ruth wants no part of that. If she had her way, she would get off the dig as well, but Phil is never going to let her do that. Knowing Phil, it is likely she is going to have to play a role in the television show as well as the dig.

Thoughts about the Mother Hook case make Ruth more protective of Kate than ever before. After everything that has happened in recent years before and after Kate’s birth, she has good reason to wonder if it is time to move from the Saltmarsh she loves to be closer to civilization in some form. Isolation is wonderful, but with a small child in the home, it can also be a dangerous risk.

DCI Harry Nelson is also pondering risk though in a different form. He is the lead investigator on the case of 37-year-old Liv Donaldson. Her child has just passed. What might have been treated as a tragic natural death in the home gets a lot more scrutiny when it is the third child in the family to die. Nelson’s team thinks the whole deal is a horrible tragedy. Nelson isn’t so sure. He has a feeling she did something to cause the death, but other than his intuition, there isn’t any evidence to indicate foul play. Like Phil Trent, Nelson’s boss, Gerry Whitcliffe, loves the publicity and is thrilled to have the media coverage. Like Ruth, Nelson hates the media interest and wants no part of the coverage.

The two story times gradually come together while someone might be copying history thanks to the media attention. Child abduction and the death of children are certainly not easy topics to write about, but Elly Griffiths, makes them part of a far larger tale of mystery, greed, and obsession. The sixth book of the series that began with The Crossing Places is another top-notch mystery.

What really makes this series work, as noted before, are the relationships. Complicated and well-drawn characters that interact and evolve over time as they go about their daily lives drive the reads. Unlike many series where the characters never learn from the past or change in any way despite the experiences they have had, both and a lot more are present in the Ruth Galloway Mystery Series. These characters are about as real as it gets on the printed page.

History, archeology, mystery, and more make this book and series well worth reading. The Outcast Dead, like the others before it, is very good and highly recommended. 

The books, in order, and my reviews:

The Crossing Places (Reviewed 12/26/15)
The Janus Stone (Reviewed 11/18/2016)
The House at Sea’s End (Reviewed 12/2/2016)
A Room Full of Bones (Reviewed 12/30/2016)

The Outcast Dead: A Ruth Galloway Mystery
Elly Griffiths 
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
March 2014
ISBN# 978-0-547-79277-4
Hardback (also available in paperback, audio, and eBook formats)
384 Pages

Material obtained via the Plano Public Library System to read and review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Crime Time: THE AX – Donald E. Westlake

Crime Time : THE AX – Donald E. Westlake:   Almost afraid to admit it in a crime fiction community, but The Ax is the first of Donald E. Westlake's many highly acclaimed nove...

Crime Review Update: 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 Oscar de Muriel in the Countdown hot seat:

We’re on Twitter at:

Crime Review: @CrimeReviewUK

Linda Wilson: @CrimeReviewer

Sharon Wheeler: @lartonmedia

This week’s reviews are:

A HANDFUL OF ASHES by Rob McCarthy, reviewed by Linda Wilson

When a notorious whistleblower is found dead, she appears to have taken her
own life, but force medical examiner Dr Harry Kent isn’t convinced things
are as straightforward as that.

THE WICKED GO TO HELL by Frédéric Dard, reviewed by Chris Roberts

A secret service agent is imprisoned with a spy, and instructed to engineer
an escape for the pair in the expectation that the spy’s boss will then
make contact and be revealed.

THE PERILS OF COMMAND by David Donachie, reviewed by John Cleal

Pressed man John Pearce, now a Lieutenant, faces scheming and possible
death as he continues his feuds with senior officers and pursues his
pregnant lover across Italy.

THE ONE MEMORY OF FLORA BANKS by Emily Barr, reviewed by Linda Wilson

Flora Banks has been unable to make new memories since she had an operation
at the age of ten. Her life is lived through the pages of a notebook that
remind her who she is and where she lives. But all that changes when Flora
kisses a boy.

THE VERDICT OF TWELVE by Raymond Postgate, reviewed by Chris Roberts

Twelve members of the jury exercise their highly subjective judgement on a
woman accused of poisoning her nephew.

THE ICE LANDS by Steinar Bragi, reviewed by Ewa Sherman

Four friends embark on a road trip to escape reality and to heal their
professional and personal lives. But their adventure takes a macabre turn
when they crash in the fog into a strange farmhouse, fortified and
barricaded, and surrounded by butchered animals.

THE FOURTEENTH LETTER by Claire Evans, reviewed by John Cleal

A girl is murdered at her engagement party. William Lamb must keep a deadly
secret and deliver a cryptic message, but finds a morass of madness, crime
and murder.

THE FIFTH GOSPEL by Ian Caldwell, reviewed by John Barnbrook

When Father Alex Andreou, a Greek Orthodox priest, finds the body of
Ugolina Nogara in the gardens of Castel Gandolfo, the retreat of the Pope,
he becomes party to machinations within the Vatican that will rock the
whole establishment of the Catholic Church.
THE DRY by Jane Harper, reviewed by Chris Roberts

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to his rural hometown for the funeral of a
childhood friend and family. But Falk’s investigation into the recent
killings is complicated by another death long ago.

THE DEAD SHALL BE RAISED and MURDER OF A QUACK by George Bellairs, reviewed
by John Cleal

Two stories featuring Scotland Yard Inspector Littlejohn, the first a very
cold case which springs to life with the discovery of a body on a lonely
moor, and the other the killing of a homeopathic practitioner in a Norfolk

MODERN CRIME by Chris Nickson, reviewed by John Cleal

WPC Lottie Armstrong, one of Leeds’ first women officers, battles prejudice
and ignorance as she struggles to find a missing girl and solve a murder.

MAIGRET TAKES A ROOM by Georges Simenon, reviewed by Arnold Taylor

Janvier, one of Maigret’s inspectors, is shot and wounded whilst keeping
watch on a boarding house as part of an investigation into a night club
robbery. Madame Maigret is away visiting her sister in hospital and so
Maigret takes a room there.

KILL THE FATHER by Sandrone Dazieri, reviewed by Jim Beaman

A kidnapper appears to be back in action in Rome after being dormant for
decades. Two of Italy’s top analytical minds investigate.

JERICHO’S WAR by Gerald Seymour, reviewed by Arnold Taylor

Corrie Franklin has escaped Jihadist capture following a failed mission in
Syria, and is recruited for another dangerous operation in Yemen.

THE WRONG CASE by James Crumley, reviewed by Chris Roberts

PI Milton Milodragovitch reluctantly accepts a request from Helen Duffy to
find her brother Raymond. The investigation is revealing, if only about

LIVING DEATH by Graham Masterton, reviewed by John Cleal

Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire and her team are stretched to their
limit. Illegal drugs in Cork are at an all-time high. A gang of dog-nappers
is terrorising kennel owners. A girl leaves a nightclub – and disappears.
Katie realises the three crimes may be connected.

FELLSIDE by MR Carey, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor

Jess doesn’t know who she is or why she is in hospital until she hears the
word murder.

DON’T TURN OUT THE LIGHTS by Bernard Minier, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor

When Christine Steinmeyer finds a suicide note in her mailbox, her busy
life begins to unravel.

BEHIND HER EYES by Sarah Pinbrough, reviewed by Sylvia Maughan

David and Adele seem like the perfect couple. Louise befriends both of them
and soon finds that things are not what they seem.

SPEAKING IN BONES by Kathy Reichs, reviewed by Linda Wilson

Some bones found near a remote mountain beauty spot lead forensic
anthropologist Tempe Brennan into an investigation into a young woman’s

Best wishes


Smart Girls Read Romance: Wandering Body Parts and Other Pet Peeves

Smart Girls Read Romance: Wandering Body Parts and Other Pet Peeves: By Sandra Nachlinger I’ve been critiquing a few manuscripts recently and have enjoyed reading the opening pages of a variety of sto...

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange 4/19/2017

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange 4/19/2017

Yesterday At The Cancer Doc With Pictures

While there yesterday we took a couple of pictures. When we got home yesterday afternoon, we both were pretty wiped out for far different reasons. I totally forgot we had taken any pictures.

So, here you are.

This is Sandi in infusion awaiting the start of the IVIG. She is hooked up to a bag of saline and has had her premeds. Those are starting to hit her so she is a little sleepy.  

Sandi donated a number of hats she had made in recent weeks. They took some and put them on each side of the room. This is the batch that was closest to us.

The Rap Sheet-- Bullet Points: On the Mend Edition

The Rap Sheet-- Bullet Points: On the Mend Edition

Chuck Wendig on "What I’ve Learned After 5 Years And 20 Books: 25 Lessons"

Chuck Wendig on "What I’ve Learned After 5 Years And 20 Books: 25 Lessons"

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: L. A. REMINICKY WRITES LOVE STORIES WITH A TWIST O...

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: L. A. REMINICKY WRITES LOVE STORIES WITH A TWIST O...: Where There's Faith Fairfield Corners Book 3 by L.A. Remenicky Genre: Romantic suspense A past she can't r...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Finally Home

Finally home after a long day there. Her blood work was pretty good. But, she has an ear infection and other infections going on in her sinuses and elsewhere.

So, she is now on two new antibiotics.

They are going to schedule a CT scan of her head and most likely will be setting up an appointment with an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor that has experience in dealing with cancer patients like her. They went ahead and did the IVIG infusion as that may help her weakened immune system deal with the problem.

In a month we go back and do the lab, doc, IVIG deal again. That is probably going to be on the docket each month for the next several months. Everything else is on hold as they think she is relatively stable cancer wise.

Cancer Doc Day

Assuming we safely made it through the morning traffic today, at this hour we will be at Texas Oncology at Medical City Dallas Hospital. Sandi has blood work to do followed by a visit with her cancer doctor.

After that, we don't know.

Her sinus problem has come back over the last couple of days. The doctor is aware so I don't know if something new that requires us to be down there longer will be done. They were trying to get IVIG approval for a multi hour infusion today. At least, that had been the plan a month ago, but it never happened. Most likely it didn't happen because of the sinus issues. What is supposed to help the immune system can damage it in her case if she is under immune system assault in another area.

And, of course, we still don't know what the plan is to scan her and reimage the cancers  in order to restart chemo. Her body, post radiation, has needed more time to recover than expected as the nerves in her lower back were damaged more than expected. Her cancers have to be reimaged before they can restart chemo and her body has not been up to that yet before now.

So, we could be back on our way home by noon or we may be there for the day.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Business Musings: Mushroom Publishers And The Tsunami of Crap

Business Musings: Mushroom Publishers And The Tsunami of Crap

Estate Stuff

Last Saturday marked 90 days since Mom passed due to complications from her stroke. I think about her daily and nothing is  getting any easier. On this beautiful morning here in  North Texas, I am inside working on letters trying to handle crap that has come up in the last week.

If you have Bank Of America, know that anything you set up before death won't work thanks to their estate unit down in Tampa, Florida. They will request information they already have, move your case between folks that refuse to give their name and will even give you a fake name, and other issues. So, if things are supposed to happen and your account is supposed to go to a loved one, it won't.

Social Security will send out a letter after their recovery unit starts taking back SS money and will ask that you call and inform them why their money is being returned. Do not call! They will not talk to you. Write a letter.

Medicare will send you a premium notice demanding you call and discuss the situation immediately. Same deal. Write a letter.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Nearly everyone involved since her passing has worked to make all of this harder than it has to be.

Monday, April 17, 2017

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 4/17/17

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 4/17/17

Writers Who Kill: Juggling Novel-Writing and Book Promotion—Part 1 Resources

Writers Who Kill: Juggling Novel-Writing and Book Promotion—Part 1 R...: by Linda Rodriguez I’m going to post some lessons and tricks I’ve learned in the process of going through this whole writing-novels-w...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffith

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffith: Reviewed by Jeanne It’s December 1951 in Brighton, and the city is gearing up for the holidays.   This year the pantomime will...

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 4/17/17

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 4/17/17

Mystery Fanfare: Death and Taxes: Tax Day Mysteries

Mystery Fanfare: Death and Taxes: Tax Day Mysteries: The Tax Man Cometh! I've done several posts over the years about Tax Day Mysteries . Surprisingly there are many that deal with Fin...

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: ROMANTIC SUSPENSE -- WILD CARD UNDERCOVER!

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: ROMANTIC SUSPENSE -- WILD CARD UNDERCOVER!: Wild Card Undercover by Kari Lemor ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GENRE : Romantic Suspense Kari will be awarding a digital copy of t...


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 4/17-23: Bookish events in Texas for the week of April 17-23, 2017:  Special Events: Texas Library Association Annual Conference , San Antonio,...

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lesa's Book Critiques: Souls of Men by A. R. Ashworth

Lesa's Book Critiques: Souls of Men by A. R. Ashworth

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange 4/13/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange 4/13/17

Crime Time Review: CURSED TO DEATH – Bill Crider

Crime Time : CURSED TO DEATH – Bill Crider: Dan Rhodes, sheriff of Blacklin County, Texas, introduced me to the Zero® candy bar. Until then the Fifth Avenue® bar had been my favori...

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 4/14/17

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 4/14/17

KRL This Week Update for 4/15/17

In honor of Earth Day KRL is reviewing only ebooks this week-first up a review & giveaway of "Shares the Darkness" by JR Lindermuth, along with an interesting environment related guest post from JR

Also up a review & ebook giveaway of "Manhattan Murder Mystery" by Susan Bernhardt

And a review & ebook giveaway of "Brew to Die" by Caroline Fardig

And a review & ebook giveaway of "Every Trick in the Rook" by Marty Wingate

We also have a review & ebook giveaway of "Permanently Booked" by Lisa Q. Mathews

And a review of "Springtime Murder" by Marla Bradeen, along with instructions on how to get a free copy

And over on KRL Lite, for those who also enjoy fantasy with their mystery, a review & giveaway of "The Burning Page" by Genevieve Cogman

Happy reading,
KRL is now selling advertising & we have special discounts for
mystery authors & bookstores! Ask me about it!
Mystery section in Kings River Life
Check out my own blog at

Lesa's Latest Contest Giveaway: Becky Masterman's A Twist of the Knife

This week, I'm giving away three copies (Advanced Reader's Copies) of Becky Masterman's thriller A Twist of the Knife. Retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn leaves Arizona, flying to Florida to be with her mother after her eighty-three-year-old father's hospitalization. While she's there, a former colleague asks her to assist with an Innocence Project investigation. She's working to exonerate a Death Row inmate who was convicted fifteen years earlier of killing his wife. His three children have been missing since the night of the murder. Brigid believes the man is guilty but agrees to investigate. Details on my blog at Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine 

The Education of a Pulp Writer: A Book List

The Education of a Pulp Writer: A Book List: I’ve been asked to recommend a list of books. Tall order. This list could change next week or even later today. But these fifteen have had...

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!: New Story Research can be quicksand for me. I start tracking down what I need for my book and find something else fascinating along the...

Guest Post: Jeanne on the "First Person Cozy"

Please welcome back Jeanne of the Bookblog of the Bristol Public Library as she considers the first person technique in terms of cozies.

First Person Cozy

Some years ago, I was trying to explain to a non-mystery reading colleague about some of the differences between the subgenres:  hard-boiled, police procedural, thriller, and cozy.  Sometimes for me it’s just a gut feeling as to what is cozy and what is straight mystery, so I consulted other sources. Most of the answers overlapped, but I remembered that at least one source said that cozies usually have first person narrators.  I didn’t include that in my description but filed it mentally to consider later.

I have been on a cozy reading binge for the past year and there are indeed a lot of first persons out there, so much so that it came as a surprise to find a recent third person.  So why so many “I”s out there?

My guess—authors, please weigh in!—is that it makes it easier to build a connection with the reader to have a character explain her (it’s usually a female) emotions and build empathy.  It also gives readers the feeling that we’re following the sleuthing processes – right up until our heroine has her inspiration, which she doesn’t divulge even though we’ve been privy to her every sensation from drooling over some hunk to drooling over some hamburger.  She only shuts up over the solution, which may be a charitable attempt to give the reader more time to figure it out.

It also gives the author a way to try to convince the reader that the heroine isn’t just being Too Stupid To Live when she rushes down the cellar stairs in the dark and clad only in her nightie to investigate that strange sound.  The readers can find out that our heroine is aware of the danger, knows she’s being a cliché, but gosh darn it all, she feels as if she simply must go down there.

First person allows the author to avoid some stilted conversations.  The heroine can simply explain to the reader how to juggle eggs or the history of a town rather than have two people meet and discuss the subject so that the reader knows this vital piece of information.

Of course, there can be pitfalls to using first person.  For example, one series was frustrating for me at first because the heroine seemed to be rather dense.  She would describe seeing someone, say, in an obvious blonde wig and be surprised to see that same blonde wig show up at three other locations while seeming clueless that she was being followed. A couple of books into the series, it changed to third person and it was amazing how much our sleuth seemed to smarten up. My theory is that the author was trying to let the reader draw conclusions so she didn’t let the narrator share her thoughts, giving the impression she was oblivious.  With third person, the audience knew Our Heroine was noticing things but third personal allowed her to keep her thoughts to herself.

Also, there are some people who dislike first person narration and won’t read a book that uses it.  That’s a shame, because those folks will miss wonderful books by authors such as Mary Stewart and Daphne Du Maurier.  For me, it matters less how it’s done than that it’s done well.

 I’m still not convinced that first person is a hallmark of a cozy book; I can think of many examples of cozies that don’t use it and many examples of other sorts of mysteries that do.

What say you all?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Conversations with American Writers: The Doubt, t...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Conversations with American Writers: The Doubt, t...: Reviewed by William Wade   Conversations with American Writers:   The Doubt, the Faith, and the In-Between by Dale Brown is...

FFB Review: DON DIAVOLO MYSTERIES by Clayton Rawson writing as Stuart Towne - Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Barry is back today taking a look at several mysteries featuring Don Diavolo and a cast of supporting characters. Make sure you check out the full list of reading suggestions on Patti Abbott’s blog for Friday’s Forgotten Books as well as a lot of other cool stuff.

DON DIAVOLO MYSTERIES by Clayton Rawson writing as Stuart Towne
Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Author, editor, and amateur magician Clayton Rawson is best remembered as the creator of The Great Merlini, a magician who had a knack for solving seemingly impossible crimes. Under the pseudonym Stuart Towne, Rawson created Don Diavolo, a magician/escape artist/ventriloquist who was billed as “the Scarlet Wizard” for his bright red on-stage evening clothes. Diavolo appeared in four short novel-length tales which appeared in Red Star Mystery, a short-lived pulp fiction magazine from 1940, and tended—like Merlini (who’s alluded to in one of the novels)—to get involved in a variety of impossible crime situations.

Diavolo has his own cast of supporting players. These include reporter/columnist for the New York Press J. Haywood (“Woody”) Haines, Jr.; Karl Hartz, the engineer of Don’s stage illusions; Patricia Collins and her twin sister Mickey, Don’s on-stage assistants; the gambler of many aliases most often referred to as the Horseshoe Kid; and the Oxford-educated Chan Chandar Manchu, “Don’s dresser, chef, and general handyman.” Sure that only an illusionist of Diavolo’s caliber could pull them off, Homicide Squad’s Inspector Church regularly hopes to nail the magician for murders he cannot solve himself, despite Don’s ability to prove his innocence by explaining the who and how of the crimes.

The titles under consideration here are Death Out of Thin Air and Death From Nowhere, both available from Each volume contains two titles, the premises of which I’ll try to keep brief and moderately oblique rather than spoil readers’ fun.

Death Out of Thin Air opens with “Ghost of the Undead,” which deals with a murderous cloaked figure whose “face, if it could be called that, was black, and its features were unutterably grotesque and hideous. White pointed teeth gleamed between the bestial lips. The Thing had the face of a bat!”

What ensue are impossible murders and disappearances, impossible thefts of thirty thousand dollars in negotiable securities and half a million in diamonds, and the deadly appearances of the vampiric ghost of Gilles de Rais.

In the eponymous “Death Out of Thin Air,” Sergeant Lester Healy, working undercover, has witnessed the impossible: the vanishing of the lethal entity who came to be known as The Invisible Man: “Healy, you see, had under the bright lights, just watched a man vanish into thin air. He had seen him fade slowly and completely into nothing at all…He had been faced with clearly unmistakable evidence that the man who disappeared was still there under those bright lights—still there but quite invisible.” 

Shortly after reporting back to Centre Street Headquarters, Healy is murdered by an invisible killer: someone who is brazen enough to kill one of their own and then challenge the police department to prevent a theft he intends to commit under their very noses. Don Diavolo becomes involved when multi-millionaire financier J.D. Belmont engages him to protect his prized possession, a diamond necklace that belonged to Marie Antoinette. When the invisible man succeeds in stealing it despite elaborate precautions, Diavolo determines to recover it—putting his own life at risk in the process—unmask the killer, and figure out how he effected his crimes and the invisibility.     

The first story in Death From Nowhere is“Claws of Satan,” which has Diavolo paying a visit to the offices of circus co-owner and generally unscrupulous businessman R.J. Hagenbaugh after the latter has stopped payment on a check for an illusion Diavolo sold him in good faith. When he arrives and Hagenbaugh’s attractive blonde secretary denies him admittance to her boss’s inner sanctum on the grounds that he’s in conference and doesn’t want any interruptions, Diavolo uses his ventriloquial skills to deceive her and gain admittance. When he does, he barely glimpses Hagenbaugh slightly 

slumped in his desk chair before he’s blackjacked by someone behind the door. From the time he awakes, he is, as far as Inspector Church is concerned, the prime suspect in the case. To acquit himself, Don must stay one step ahead of the police and solve a series of impossible murders the police are sure only he could have committed.

“The Enchanted Dagger” begins with the arrival in New York of a furtive individual who checks into a hotel after taking steps to conceal his identity, who then phones the unavailable Don Diavolo, and then not long after is attacked by a gun- and knife-wielding assailant. The problem for the police? Plenty of blood but no body to explain its presence. 

What brings Diavolo into the predicament is an ongoing challenge from the wealthy Nicholas Sayre, whose hobby in retirement has become the occult in both the spiritual and collectible realms. He’s not fond of Diavolo because the magician once exposed a con artist to whom Sayre had made a sizable donation. Now “nothing would give him any greater pleasure than to make Don Diavolo admit, once and for all, that occult phenomena did exist which could not be duplicated by trickery and sleight of hand.” Diavolo once told Sayre he’d pay ten thousand dollars to anyone “who could produce a psychic manifestation I couldn’t duplicate by ordinary means.” Sayre contends he’s found one, a mystic named Shivara who can—and does—vanish before multiple viewers’ eyes, one pair of which is Don’s. Ultimately, Diavolo must solve a number of impossible situations, including murders, Shivara’s several psychic skills, and how an ancient treasure figures into modern events, as well as keeping himself from getting killed.

The Don Diavolo mysteries, are fast-paced short novels which combine cerebral conundrums with the kind of fast-paced physical action (and occasional hokeyness) the pulps were known for.

There are (fortunately only) a few instances of offensive racial epithets readers must put into the context of the era in which these short novels were written. As far as I can determine, physical editions of these tales are no longer available. As mentioned earlier, I read them in the electronic editions from Mysterious Press/Open Road Integrated Media, which companies need to hire a competent proofreader. The novels contain their share of missing or incorrect punctuations, as well as occasional misspellings. The worst instance of misspelling occurs in “The Claws of Satan,” when the skin condition vitiligo is written vitiglio. Readers unfamiliar with this condition, and unable to find a definition of the misspelled word, might think the author has made it up.

With those caveats noted, I can and do recommend these as good entertainment.

© 2017 Barry Ergang

Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang’s impossible crime novelette, “The Play of Light and Shadow,” is available at Amazon and Smashwords, along with some of his other works.