Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Rap Sheet: Remembering the “Forgottens”

The Rap Sheet: Remembering the “Forgottens”

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Only 99 cents for Kindle for a limited time!

 This is book one of a terrific series. Go get it!

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Only 99 cents for Kindle for a limited time!: Dead on the Island (Truman Smith Private Eye Book 1) - Kindle edition by Bill Crider. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazo...

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange for 8/30/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange for 8/30/17

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Silence, Waking Lions, A Criminal Defe...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Silence, Waking Lions, A Criminal Defe...: The fun of the Nevermore Book Club is that you never know what books will be discussed. Unlike many book groups, the Nevermore members ...

Review: They No Here: A Short Story by George Wier

Nothing much happens in Fort Davis, Texas or in the surrounding Jeff Davis County. People drift in, stay awhile, and leave. Ralph MacAfee hadn’t thought of the Cynds—Melvin and Judith—until he was reminded of them by Jerry Miles over at the local bookstore. It was only then that Ralph realized he hadn’t seen them in as long as a couple of years.

Miles tells Ralph about how Melvin had been looking for an obscene book by J. Frank Dobie and Miles had come across it. When he went to try to reach Melvin, he could not get ahold of him. He had been trying several times over a couple of months and never has been able to get ahold of him. He has also been talking to the local real estate guy and the property has not been sold.

Ralph MacAfee is spooked by all of this and decides to go out to the Cynd place up on a mesa outside of town. The drive out to the mesa about ten miles outside of town is easy enough, but the drive up the last little bit onto the mesa is quite an adventure. Being the county coroner means Ralph has a truck with four-wheel drive to get up and over the abrupt edge of the mesa. What he finds up there changes everything they in They No Here: A Short Story by George Wier.

Known for having a touch of the supernatural in his long running Bill Travis Mystery Series that began long ago with The Last Call as well as in numerous short stories, George Wier does in again in this short story. Couple that fact with his usual ability to create a sense of place in a few quick sentences as well as conjure up a strong mystery makes it very clear that George Wier is again weaving his storytelling magic in They No Here: A Short Story. The result is a fun read that entertains from start to finish. 

They No Here: A Short Story
George Wier
Flagstone Books
May 2017
ASIN: B0719P764J
16 Pages

Material was purchased to read and review using funds in my Amazon Associate account.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Finally Home

It was a long day today as the blood work indicated that Sandi needed IV fluids coupled with magnesium to deal with some potential issues.  So, that has been done and we are now finally home.

Her immune system as well as her blood counts indicate she is far too weak to have chemo now. That has been delayed to the end of next week at the absolute earliest and far more likely the follow week at some point.  We go back next Wednesday for another doctor visit and blood work to assess where she is at by then. She is better, but she still has quite a ways to go to recover from the bacterial blood infection. Part of that is finishing the antibiotic cycle early next week.

Cancer Doc Day

By the time this post appears, we should be at Texas Oncology at Medical City Dallas Hospital. Sandi has an appointment for blood work and a visit with the doctor. Assuming no unpleasant surprises with her blood, we should also learn today when they plan to do the next round of in-hospital chemo.

We think that will happen right after Labor Day. But, with the influx of medically critical patients from the Gulf Coast, it is possible her chemo will have to be delayed. They were already having trouble getting patients into the hospital before Hurricane Harvey did what it did on the Texas coast.

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 35 Fabulous Writing Conferences in September 2017

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 35 Fabulous Writing Conferences in September 2017: If you have the time and the money, attending a conference is the best thing you can do for your writing career. Conferences offer a uniqu...

Guest Post: Jeanne and Treadmill Books: West Food Critic series by Lucy Burdette

Having exhausted the subject of cats, Jeanne now makes things harder by talking about a series with food…..

Treadmill Books: West Food Critic series by Lucy Burdette

Hayley Snow has been unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend Chad, a smooth operator who charmed her into giving up everything to follow him from New Jersey to Key West.  Out of a job, not to mention a place to live, she decides to apply for a job as food critic for Key Zest, a local publication.  Unfortunately for her, the owner of Key Zest is Kristen-- the Chad’s new lover and no fan of Hayley.  When Kristen expires after eating some bad Key Lime pie supplied by Hayley, the police pounce upon her as the chief suspect.

This is a series I picked up again recently.  The first books put me off because Hayley is such a doormat.  She is still desperately in love with a guy who has treated like a piece of garbage.  She knows this, but still goes crawling back to him in hopes that he’ll take her back. In book three (I skipped two), she now hates the guy but he still figures in her thoughts and actions.  I found her whiney and immature.

I wanted to like the books because of the setting but I couldn’t because of the characters.  I didn’t like Hayley and more importantly I didn’t respect her, and that loomed so large I couldn’t appreciate the rest. The best thing was her cat’s name, Evinrude--and at one point she loses track of him in a dangerous situation and if he ever turned back up in that book, I missed it.  (He does show up in later books, so apparently all was well.)

Flash forward some years and I found myself on a plane to Key West.  I decided to give Hayley another shot, hoping that at least I’d find out about some KW attractions. Fatal Reservations is the sixth book in the series and I was pleasantly surprised by it.  Chad is finally out of the picture and Hayley is an established columnist, living on a houseboat with an elderly roommate. The plot revolves around the murder of Bart Frontgate, the flaming fork juggler at the nightly Sunset Celebration.  A fellow performer, Lorenzo the Tarot card reader, is the prime suspect, but of course Hayley disagrees and sets out to clear his name.

Stripped of most of the old boyfriend baggage, Hayley was a much more appealing character even if she does still have a few relationship issues. Miss Gloria, her roommate, is a delight, a lively senior citizen who has decided to volunteer to give tours of the local cemetery. A good bit of the action took place there, and since I do enjoy a good graveyard, I found that particularly interesting.  I learned about the behind the scenes parts of the Sunset Celebration, a  real Key West staple, and was able to amaze my family with bits of information which I really hope were true.

I was so cheered by the transformation that I’m going to read some of the ones I’d missed.  Sadly, the series was canceled after book seven. 

So, to treadmill or not to treadmill?   The earlier books, no; but the later books have enough local color to hold my interest and the characters are more enjoyable. I was sorry to see that the publisher has ended the series just when I thought it was getting good.

The books in the series are:

1.      An Appetite for Murder
2.      Death in Four Courses
3.      Topped Chef
4.      Death with all the Trimmings
5.      Murder with Ganache
6.      Fatal Reservations
7.      Killer Takeout

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 8/29/17

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 8/29/17

Writing into the Sunset: Guest- Caroline Clemmons

Writing into the Sunset: Guest- Caroline Clemmons: Thank you, Paty, for sharing your blog today. I’ve loved writing the Bride Brigade Series. PRUDENCE , Book 7, was emotional for me ...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Astronaut from Bear Creek by Nick Allen Brown

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Astronaut from Bear Creek by Nick Allen Brown: Reviewed by Brenda G.              Jim Mayfield is a recluse and a retired astronaut. He lives alone in the inn his parents ran,...

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 8/28/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 8/28/17

Review: Eight Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Bill Crider

The eight short stories in the Eight Adventures of Sherlock Holmes appeared before in various anthologies over the years from 1987 as recently as 2009. Collected in one book and published by Gordian Knott, an imprint of Crossroad Press, these tales quickly pull the reader in to the world originally created by Arthur Conan Doyle. Mr. Bill Crider’s work so closely resembles the original author it is very easy to forget who wrote these eight tales. Many folks try to imitate the original and miss. M. Crider does so with ease in tales that easily could be part of the Sherlock canon.

“The Adventure of the Young British Solider” opens the book with a tale where Watson, many years later, writes about a previously untold story that happened during 1884. A highly personal that begins on a very cold night in early December. Watson is thinking of what happened to him in Afghanistan after those memories are triggered by a certain poem. A certain fellow soldier, an orderly, saved Watson’s life that day. His name was Edward Murray and Watson totally lost touch with him after the incident. Only days later his wife will appear on their doorstep seeking their help.

It is the spring of 1887 and upon their return to London Holmes has become bored and depressed. Such a mood is very dangerous for an addict and Watson is very worried as “The Case of the Vanished Vampire” begins. Sherlock Holmes thinks the whole idea of vampires is utter and complete nonsense, but his visitors, Bram Stoker and Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, seek to convince him otherwise. They claim to have killed one here in London. They are not sure they killed it correctly in the pressure of the moment. According to them, it escaped and is probably out there in London converting others to its gory cause. They want to find the creature this night, before it feeds again, and they want the help of Watson and Holmes.

The supernatural is also a major part of the next story titled “The Adventure of the St. Marylebone Ghoul.” According to the newspaper, a creature of some sort is at the St. Marylebone cemetery causing unspeakable horrors. They are discussing the situation when the night caretaker at the cemetery, Benjamin Swaraj, arrives seeking their help.

Holmes is not a fan of Christmas and the carolers in the streets outside 22B Baker Street are not going to change his mind. He’s bored and Watson is well aware what that can mean. Fortunately, a client appears this night two nights before Christmas in the form of a Mr. Oscar Wilde. Mr. Wilde needs Holmes help as he believes someone is trying to kill him and he thinks he knows the suspects.

Years later, as Watson nears the end of his life, he thinks about the many events involving Sherlock that he recorded over the years for posterity. He also considers the events that before now he did not have the strength to detail. One such case is “The Adventure of the Venomous Lizard.” On a cold and sometimes treacherous winter night, Holmes has spotted a man he perceives to be desperate headed their way. Upon his arrival, they hear his name and his reason for his desperation.

While Holmes did not like to clean, he especially liked to cook breakfast, which was his favorite meal. Over a morning repast, he slowly pulls out of Watson what is bothering him in “The Case of the Vampire’s Mark.” Once Watson confesses all and they have dealt with that, they are ready for their visitor Abraham Stoker when he arrives. He brings news of a child that bears the neck bite marks of vampire and requests their help.

Sharing the name of Holmes with the man going by the moniker H. H. Holmes, known for hideous crimes, was bad enough, but having been in close proximity to him with no knowledge of what he was doing bothers Sherlock a lot more. Buffalo Bills’ Wild West Show was in Chicago at the time they were there and they were able to spend time with Colonel Cody himself. That was a good thing as he needed their help. What happened is detailed in the tale, “The Adventure in the White City.”

It is Dec. 22nd as “The Adventure of the Christmas Ghosts” begins. Franklin Scrooge, great nephew of Ebenezer Scrooge, is in quite a state when he arrives at 221B Baker Street. A ghost, a family legacy, and more are at stake and Franklin Scrooge needs their help.

A bonus story, “Death Did Not Become Him” by Patricia Lee Macomber and David Niall Wilson brings the book to a close. In this one, Watson goes to 221B Baker Street late one night desperately seeking his help. Watson has had his own visitors earlier this night and was greatly disturbed by them in this Lovecraft style tale. While Sherlockian in style, this short story is jarring when compared to the tales of Mr Crider featured in the book. It strikes a totally different style and tone and does not compare at all well to the previous stories.  

Eight Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Bill Crider is a very good read. Mysteries, often more than one, are present in each short story where a rational explanation of events is always the outcome. Each tale quickly pulls the reader into the world of Conan Arthur Doyle as Mr. Crider spins a web indiscernible from the original creator. Eight Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Bill Crider is a very good read and highly recommended. 

Eight Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Bill Crider
Gordian Knott (imprint of Crossroad Press)
June 2017
ASIN: B072R26D3T
163 Pages

I picked this up to read and review back in June using monies in my Amazon Associate account.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

Mark Troy's Hawaiian Noir -- Monday Mystery: Snarky Cozies

Mark Troy's Hawaiian Noir -- Monday Mystery: Snarky Cozies 

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: THE BOOK BARN MYSTERY SERIES

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: THE BOOK BARN MYSTERY SERIES: Winner of the Bride Brigade Series $50 Giveaway is Mary Preston! Congratulations, Mary. Message me or email me to let me know whether you w...

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers | (8/28/17)

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers |


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 8/28-9/3: Bookish events in Texas for the week of August 28-September 3, 2017:  Ongoing Exhibits: Illustrator of the Century Garth Williams , A...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay (Bantam, 2007) is a classic example of a contemporary domestic thriller. No spies, no master criminals, no exotic locales, no political intrigue, just ordinary people leading ordinary lives, until one day….. 

Cynthia Bigge was 14 years old and delighted to be asked out by the school bad boy. He was so good-looking, who cared about his reputation? Well, her parents for one, so she had to fabricate a story to explain her absence. Her father checked up on her, found she was not where she said she would be, and searched for her at the teen make-out site. He removed her slightly intoxicated self from her date’s car, where he had been plying her with alcohol, embarrassing her to the core in front of her peers, and took her home. The teen-parent argument that followed was epic. She then slammed the door to her bedroom and fell into an inebriated sleep. When she awoke the next morning, she was alone in the eerily silent house. Her mother, father, and brother were gone. The car was gone. No note or sign to explain their absence. They were never found and no clue to their disappearance was discovered. An aunt raised Cynthia and sent her to college.

Twenty-five years later, Cynthia is married with a daughter and she still wants to know what happened to her family. One of the cold case television series agrees to broadcast a re-enactment to perhaps uncover new information. After the broadcast, as usual all sorts of people come forward, not all of them seeking to be helpful. Strange phone calls frighten them. Someone breaks into their house and leaves a hat Cynthia thinks is her father’s. Her husband decides they need help and hires a private investigator, and long-held secrets begin to unravel. The resolution actually has several clues planted along the way, but I didn’t pick up on them because it is so unexpected.

This is my favorite book by Barclay, although Fear the Worst and The Accident run a close second. He is adept at describing everyday people leading routine lives when one slight change sends those humdrum lives into a tailspin. What is particularly interesting to me is that this book re-uses a plot from a Perry Mason mystery with many of the same details. This book is hard to put down once begun, so set aside lots of uninterrupted time before reading the first page.
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (September 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055380555X 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553805550

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

Sunday, August 27, 2017

RTE Update-- August 26th Issue of RTE

The August 26 2017  issue of RTE is out and includes fifteen new reviews as well as a new interview:                       

David C. Taylor  in the 'Sixty seconds with . . .' interview hot seat:


GLASS HOUSES    Louise Penny    Reviewed by Susan Hoover

SLEEPING IN THE GROUND    Peter Robinson    Reviewed by Yvonne Klein

THE WINNERS' CIRCLE    Gail Bowen    Reviewed by Yvonne Klein

PERISH THE DAY    John Farrow    Reviewed by Jim Napier

CAT SHINING BRIGHT    Shirley Rousseau Murphy     Reviewed by Abbey Hamilton

PARADISE VALLEY    C. J. Box    Reviewed by Sharon Mensing

FAST FALLS THE NIGHT    Julia Keller    Reviewed by Barbara Fister

THE SORBONNE AFFAIR    Mark Pryor    Reviewed by Sharon Mensing

THE ADDRESS    Fiona Davis    Reviewed by Cathy Downs

COLD HEARTED RIVER    Keith McCafferty    Reviewed by Sharon Mensing

DEATH IN A DARKENING MIST     Iona Whishaw    Reviewed by Lourdes Venard

THE NUTTING GIRL    Fred DeVecca    Reviewed by Susan Hoover

BASED ON A TRUE STORY    Delphine de Vigan    Reviewed by Nicola Nixon
TAKE OUT    Margaret Maron    Reviewed by Abbey Hamilton

THE TELL-TALE TARTE    Maya Corrigan    Reviewed by PJ Coldren   

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

Criminal Minds: The Good Life, The Bad Life and the Writing Life

Criminal Minds: The Good Life, The Bad Life and the Writing Life: (Besides getting rich) how has the writing life changed you as a person? by Paul D. Marks Rich is the only way I’ve changed from the wri...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sandi Update Saturday Evening

A little over 48 hours since Sandi came home things continue to roll on. The home health care nurse came and checked her vitals and a few other things today. She was pleased at how much better Sandi was today then the last time she saw her a couple of weeks ago.  The nurse left the PICC line dressing alone as the PICC line was put in Thursday morning so it was best left alone. Wednesday morning we see the folks at Texas Oncology so they can handle changing the dressing there. All in all she seems to be doing okay.

Tonight Sandi told me that sometime while she was in the hospital iOffer took down her site so it is no longer possible to buy any of her stuff there. She is not intending to put it back up or sign up with any other site. Except for a few occasions, she hardly ever sold anything by having the sites. This happened despite spending tons of time setting things up as well as a lot of time promoting the items. Most of what remained for sale will now be given to friends who can and will use the stuff or it will be donated.

KRL This Week Update for 8/26/17

Up in KRL this morning reviews & giveaways of 5 more mysteries from Penguin authors for your end of summer reading-"Addressed to Kill": A Postmistress Mystery by Jean Flowers, "Sowed to Death": A Farmer’s Daughter Mystery by Peg Cochran, "Muffin to Fear": A Merry Muffin Mystery by Victoria Hamilton, "A Tangled Yarn": A Yarn Retreat Mystery by Betty Hechtman, & "Chime and Punishment": A Clock Shop Mystery by Julianne Holmes

And a review & giveaway of the first book in a new mystery series about a cat cafe, "Cat About Town" by Cate Conte

Also a review & giveaway of "A Game of Deceit" by KA Davis aka Kim Davis & an interesting interview with Kim

And we have a review & giveaway of "The Sorbonne Affair" by Mark Pryor

And the latest mystery Coming Attractions by Sunny Frazier

We also have a mystery short story by Patricia Della Valle

And if you enjoy a superhero with your mystery-Up in KRL this morning a review & giveaway of "Sovereign" by April Daniels, the latest book in a series about a transgender teen superhero, & an interesting interview with April
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

S. D. Parker - Western Author: The Haunted Legion: A Walt Slade Pulp Story by Bra...

S. D. Parker - Western Author: The Haunted Legion: A Walt Slade Pulp Story by Bra...: A little under a month ago, I discovered Walt Slade, El Halcon, the Texas Ranger extraordinaire as chronicled by prolific author Bradford ...

Friday, August 25, 2017

Sandi Friday Evening

We have made it through 24 hours and so far everything seems okay. Sandi just got the last antibiotic for today and is now in bed. Home health care nurse should be here mid morning tomorrow to check on her and change the PICC line dressing.

For those worried about us in relation to the hurricane--- we should be safe. We live in NE Dallas and therefore are a very long way from the coast. Assuming Hurricane Harvey meanders around in deep South Texas, as currently predicted, the general forecast for here is some breezes and occasional showers and storms due to the outer bands coming way north. The forecast for here is about three inches of rain over the weekend. Even if it does a lot more, we are not in a flood zone. I am also very aware of those areas that flood as they always do and have since I was a kid. So, if we absolutely had to go out this weekend in a storm because we had to get to the hospital, I know how to go and be safe.

We are very worried about friends and family in South Texas and are thinking of all tonight in harm's way.

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn: Reviewed by Christy H.       Libby doesn’t want to get a job. She’s not exactly someone who has her life together, and she’s ...

Lesa's Latest Contest: Escape to Europe in books

This week, I'm giving away two mysteries that will allow you to slip off to Europe, Susan C. Shea's Love & Death in Burgundy and G.M. Malliet's Devil's Breath. Details on my blog, Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine

FFB Review: Sworn To Silence by Linda Castillo

Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. Having reviewed the latest short story in the Kate Burkholder series, Only The Lucky yesterday, it seemed like a very good time run again my review from February 2010 of the first book in the series, Sworn To Silence. This is one of those series that you really should read in order and that means you should start here. For more reading suggestions today make sure you head over to Todd Mason's blog where he will have the links later today.

Police Chief Kate Burkholder is sure it can’t be happening again and for a very good reason. Winter has gripped the small town of Painters Mill, Ohio and a serial killer is at work. Sixteen years ago he struck four times and Kate Buckholder is pretty sure he can’t be back now. The dead woman at the household of the Stutz place seems to belie that idea. Not only was she brutally murdered in the same savage way as before there are other signs linking the killings from sixteen years ago to the killings now.

Raised as Amish until she became rebellious and was, for all intents and purposes, disowned by her family, Kate Burkholder has seen quite a lot over the years. But, nothing prepared her for the sight of the dead woman with roman numerals carved into the skin of her stomach. Just as the killer did sixteen years ago.

Clichés and stereotypes exist for a reason. They do have a kernel of truth in them and resonate for readers both in terms of real life and in the world of fiction. They abound in this book in the form of Kate Buckholder and the outsider John Tomasetti of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Investigation. Both are flawed characters, hiding secrets from their past which could very easily destroy them, and both hold themselves apart from others. It isn’t surprising when the two make a connection on various levels and unite in a case that becomes increasingly violent and political.

This is one of those books that are hard to review. As a writer and editor, there were places in the book where it was stunningly easy to predict exactly what was going to happen. The same was true as a reader because I read so many books. For this reader, the who-dunit was no surprise once the triggering event became very obvious. It was also obvious where there were occasional continuity issues and plot point problems.

At the same time, despite the predictability and the clichés, Texas author Linda Castillo has created a highly suspenseful and atmospheric book. Much of the criticism that has noted the plot point problems and continuity issues will not impact the casual reader who allows the story to take over and doesn’t analyze the work. The book works because it is highly atmospheric, the main character isn’t run of the mill and the setting using the Amish in the area is a bit different. The author manages to hook the reader quickly and pull one deep into her world where it all does make sense and everything works.

Not only is the book, which is very violent and very graphic in several spots, worth your time and effort, it serves as the foundation of what could be an entertaining series. Pray For Silence is the second book in the series and is currently scheduled to be released this June.

Sworn To Silence
Linda Castillo
Minotaur Books (St. Martin’s Publishing Group)
321 Pages

Book provided by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2010, 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sandi Home

We are finally home. Antibiotics just arrived. Next doctor appt is currently scheduled for next Wednesday.

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Review: THE BLINDS by Adam Sternbergh

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Review: THE BLINDS by Adam Sternbergh: I reviewed The Blinds: A Novel (Ecco Books) by Adam Sternbergh for Lone Star Literary Life . This novel is an original fusion of mystery,...

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange 8/24/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange 8/24/17

Sandi Update 8/24/17

Sandi update---PICC line is in. BUT.....the antibiotics that were delivered last night are the wrong dosage and frequency as the doc changed things this morning. She also needs platelets. So, until all of that is handled, she is not coming home today. Looking at dinner time if not later.

Review: Only The Lucky: A Kate Burkholder Story by Linda Castillo

For Alma Fisher, the party should be fun. She is going with a friend, Irene, and will meet up with her boyfriend, Aden Keim. Two years older than her as he is now 20, she knows Aden is a hard worker, and that she is in love. She is thrilled that he plans on being baptized into the church next year further proving his devotion. She has her sights on marrying him.

For the Chief of Police Kate Burkholder the evening in Painters Mill, Ohio has been a quiet one. It is a Friday evening in the spring and things are unusually quiet. She does not know about the party the local teens are having. It is not just the Amish teens that will attend; teens from the town and miles around will be there. It is only when local Amish farmer  Aaron Yonder comes to the station and requests to see her that she learns what could be happening on this quiet evening. She has known Aaron since they were kids and she knows that he does not come to see her easily.

He knows what is planned in the coming hours out at old Davenport place. He has heard whispers and talk about the planned activities at midnight and has seen both cars and Amish buggies headed out there. He believes that the place is haunted and that “it is an ungodly gathering.” The fact that it is Friday the 13th does not help matters. Nor does a murder.

While not at the level of the books, Only The Lucky: A Kate Burkholder Story by Linda Castillo is a pretty good one. It is significantly better than the previous short stories she has done as tie-ins to the series. In this case, all the usual characters are in place and the mystery has a couple of twists to it. Unfortunately, a couple of time discrepancies are apparent and that tends to cause the reader to double check the sequence of events as one works through the read. Despite the fact as well as the obvious fact that the short story is a marketing gimmick designed to wet appetites and interest readers into buying the latest novel, it does work fairly well on its own. 

Only The Lucky: A Kate Burkholder Story
Linda Castillo
Minotaur Books (St. Martin’s Press)
May 2017
eBook only
56 Pages

I picked this up to read and review back last May using funds in my Amazon Associate account.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Sinclair Lewis, Trinity, Fatal, Lafaye...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Sinclair Lewis, Trinity, Fatal, Lafaye...: Reported by Ambrea Nevermore started our meeting off with a review of It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis.   Written during ...

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: WHAT DID YOU WANT?

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: WHAT DID YOU WANT?: Please leave a comment to be entered in my Bride Brigade Contest for a $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash, to be announced on August 28. Fo...

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

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

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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...