Thursday, September 21, 2017

Doctor Today

By the time this post appears, I will be at the doctor with Sandi. She has not been doing at all well the last couple of days. Not sure what is going on. I am worried that there is a new issue with her. I expect the blood work will tell us she definitely needs more blood. My concern is with another  infection problem as well as a couple of other things. I am pretty sure something is going on.....just don't know what now.

Even if I am wrong about other things, if they do blood, it is going to be a long day there. Will update when I am back home.

Review: Gardening In The South by Mark Weathington

Defining “The South” in Gardening In The South comes up early in the book as it should. Author Mark Weathington defines the area from Northern Florida up thru North Carolina and to the Virginias and then back to the west through Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana and over into most of East Texas. In Texas, the area comes almost to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and stretches down to the Texas coast where it bends along the coastline after encompassing Houston and goes as far as Galveston. Heat and humidity mean longer growing seasons as compared to much of the country as well as other factors that make things a bit different.

After a short discussion of geography, type of soils across the region, and seasons, it is on to “Design Inspirations” starting on pages 23-24. This is when you have to know the type of soil you are working with, what your needs are in terms of what you want in your landscape, your own limitations (start small and work up), and numerous other factors. A lot of this is aimed at the type of garden/landscape and how it might be created for your own particular needs. Through text and photographs of lush areas that will take years to come anywhere close to, the author inspires the reader with numerous possibilities.

A little over twenty pages later, “A Southeast Plant Palette” begins on page 46 with a close up picture of a flowering “Hartlage Wine.” A hybrid plant, it offers large glossy leaves and burgundy flowers and is flat out gorgeous. This chapter takes readers through various plant types such as annuals and tropicals, grasses, trees, vines, and others including “planets for problem spots.” Each section has numerous plants listed by their Latin and their common name along with their details in terms of hardiness, height, when they bloom (if they do), need for sunlight, and many other factors. In this colorful section, there are also tips for using containers, the differences between an aggressive and an invasive plant, and many other items of interest.

Beginning on pages 284-285, it is time to learn about “Southeast Gardening Practices. “ This is where you learn how to figure out what soil you have and how to make it better, compost (and all that entails), planting correctly, and maintaining things while dealing with pests such as deer, rabbits, armadillos, Japanese beetles, and more including giant and small mosquitoes. Also covered in this section are various plant diseases, how to plant to avoid them as you can use some pants to protect other plants, and dealing with weeds when flamethrowers are not an option.

The book comes to a close with a list of recommended reading resources as well as a general list of resources for plants and supplies, and a two page list of places to go see beautiful landscapes. Not only is the Dallas Arboretum not listed, the Tyler Rose Festival is also not listed. In fact, Texas is totally and completely ignored in the listing.

Despite that major omission from a book that includes East Texas as part of its defined area, Gardening In The South by Mark Weathington is a good book. Filled with an informative text that includes plenty of side bar topics, pictures on every page, and more, the book serves as a good resource as you consider your landscape and the changes you would like to make for next year. 

Gardening In The South
Mark Weathington
Timber Press
May 2017
ISBN# 978-1-60469-591-5
320 Pages

Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Mystery Fanfare: Crime Fiction during the Days of Awe: Rosh Hashana...

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Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Down to No Good -- Eric Javorsky

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Mississippi, Mortuaries, and Mysteries...

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Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Bonus FFB on Wednesday: The Winter Is Past -- Harry Whittington

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WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: F is for Family

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TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Author Interview: THE DAY THE ANGELS FELL by Shawn...: THE DAY THE ANGELS FELL by SHAWN SMUCKER   Genre: Psychological Fiction / Christian Publisher: Revell Date of Publication: S...

Guest Post: Jeanne and Treadmill Books: Witch City Mysteries by Carol J. Perry

Please welcome back Jeanne of the Bookblog of the Bristol Library as she is here with her latest review….

Treadmill Books:  Witch City Mysteries by Carol J. Perry

In Caught Dead Handed, Lee Barrett returns to Salem, the town where she grew up.  Now she’s a young widow in town for a job interview at the local TV station, much to the delight of her Aunt Ibby, a long time Salem resident who raised Lee after the deaths of her parents.  Lee realizes very quickly that she’s not going to be hired for the reporter’s job—that position is going to go to the shiny young man—but another job opportunity soon appears.  Ariel Constellation, a self-proclaimed psychic who hosts the weekly horror movie, is found dead (by Lee, of course) and the station manager takes Lee on a trial basis to fill in. 

It isn’t long before Lee has some unnerving encounters of her own, leading her to believe that Ariel’s killer might strike again.  Aided by reference librarian Aunt Ibby and O’Ryan, Ariel’s cat who seems to be more than an ordinary tabby, she sets out to unveil a murderer.

So goes the plot of Caught Dead Handed, the first in the Witch City Mystery series.  I was drawn in easily because of the likeable characters, especially Lee and Aunt Ibby.  Lee is an independent woman, capable of making her own decisions, which I like. While she inherited money from her parents and from her late husband, but doesn’t flaunt her wealth other than the odd extravagance; and she has a strong work ethic, which means that even though she doesn’t have to have a job, she wants to be employed.  She’s attracted to Pete, the local police detective but isn’t rushing into anything, nor does she pester him to reveal information he shouldn’t.  Pete, for his part, doesn’t continually admonish Lee to be careful or not to meddle.  Same for Aunt Ibby.  There’s just a lot of mutual respect between the characters, trusting each other to behave like adults. 

I also like the way the supernatural elements are handled.  Lee has experienced some things in the past that are inexplicable by rational standards, but she doesn’t immediately buy into the idea that, say, Ariel Constellation was anything but clever at reading people and giving plausible answers.  I like the balance between skeptic and believer, and feel that the author manages it well.  I confess I get tired of the lady protesting too much in some books; if it’s a supernatural mystery, then at some point, a character needs to buy into the idea and stop whining that it’s impossible.  I don’t mind a little resistance to the idea, but to have it go on book after book gets tiresome.  The supernatural clues that Lee gets are appropriately vague, giving Lee and the reader hints rather than solutions.  I expect that the supernatural elements will strength as the series continues.

Of course, one of my favorite parts is O’Ryan, Ariel’s cat who sometimes seems to point out clues.  He’s adorable and very cat-like (not all cozy mystery cats are).  He has a habit of sitting in front of the door just before someone comes, knowing either from supernatural means or very good hearing.  Some of my cats do the same thing. There are occasions when he goes beyond the expected, usually when Lee is in extreme danger but for the most part he seems like my orange cat—well, maybe not as Tommy isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer.  More like Flora whom I suspect of masterminding a good bit of the mischief around the house.

I also enjoy some of the behind the scenes sorts of things, such as how a TV station works or how to prepare for a job on camera.  Lee has an eye for vintage furniture and fast cars, and tidbits of information about both are dropped during various books.

Besides interesting, well developed characters, Perry gives us a good sense of place.  Some scenes in the series take place in an old fashioned department store which is being repurposed for a school.  The store layout is described in lovely detail, bringing back memories of one I remember—not the modern versions, but ones with their own lunch counters and styling salons, where large signs or cut outs proclaimed that the store was a purveyor of Buster Brown shoes or Evening in Paris perfume. The rest of the town also has a presence, depending on the book; I like when authors use unique settings to good advantage rather than the generic Everytown, U.S.A.

Finally, Aunt Ibby and Lee love old movies, so there’s always a sprinkling of nostalgic titles or quotations to make me smile. 

I’m in the middle of Look Both Ways, the third book in the series, and enjoying it as much as I did the first two.  If there’s a weakness in the books, it’s that Lee doesn’t always make connections that I think are fairly obvious or follow up on certain clues.  I give her a bit of a pass because most of this arises from the supernatural visions which she doesn’t trust. Failure to follow up on clues can be a pet peeve, but in this case Lee is otherwise so likeable and sensible that I find it doesn’t annoy me too much.

This series is a definite treadmill win! I’ve already bought copies of the rest of the series including the just-released Grave Errors. The sixth in the series is scheduled to be out in 2018.

In order:

1.      Caught Dead Handed
2.      Tails, You Lose
3.      Look Both Ways
4.      Murder Go Round
5.      Grave Errors

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Non-Gamer's Gamer's Blog: Adventures in Electronics

The Non-Gamer's Gamer's Blog: Adventures in Electronics: Folks who come here often might notice I haven't been here lately.  I have been pretty busy since moving to Florida last year. And mo...

SleuthSayers: The Terror of Daylight – Neo Noirs for a Rainy Day...

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Review: Dead, To Begin With: A Dan Rhodes Mystery by Bill Crider

After a problem at the nearby beauty shop resolved, Sheriff Dan Rhodes learns of a far more serious problem as Dead, To Begin With begins. Jake Marley has been found dead on the stage at the Clearview Opera House. The building dates back to the oil boom days in the early 1900s and, like the rest of the former bustling downtown area, has seen hard times and disrepair. That was going to change thanks to Jake Marley. 

Grandson of one of the local men that had gotten very rich during the oil boom all those decades ago, Jake Marley suddenly took an interest in the Clearview Opera House. Known as an eccentric recluse for years, he lived a life of isolation until he suddenly bought the place and started renovations. Suddenly, he was active in the community and that was a good thing, as his money would really help the town of Clearview and the surrounding area. Nobody wanted to ask him about his reasons or his plans as just about everybody was afraid he would change his mind and take his money away. All anyone has known these past few weeks is that he planned to restore the opera house to its full glory and establish some kind of community theater. The theater’s first performance was to be some sort of Texas based vision of the classic, A Christmas Carol.

What the death of Jake Marley means for the local economy is one thing and not something that Sheriff Rhodes can do anything about at all. Mr. Marley is very much dead and Sheriff Rhodes can’t change that either. What concerns Sheriff Rhodes is the fact that there are some signs that Mr. Marley had some help shuffling off this mortal coil.

Found by real estate agent Aubrey Hamilton, who had been summoned to a meeting by the deceased, she doesn’t know what happened or why he wanted her to come by this morning. She assumed it was a real estate issue of some type considering the nature of their business relationship. While the Sheriff has heard rumors about Jake and Aubrey, she denies all of it. According to her, beyond the age difference between the two of them that would be a huge hindrance, they were not even friends, and only had a business relationship.

Maybe he did just fall from the overhead grid deck above the stage. That obviously could have happened. However, if he did that, it would not explain every detail of the scene. Seepy Benton may believe the theater is haunted, but Rhodes does not think supernatural forces were involved either. Sheriff Rhodes has plenty of questions as his investigation begins in Dead, To Begin With.

The latest in the long running series featuring Sheriff Dan Rhodes and a host of characters is another good one. As usual, the secondary characters, the humor, the observations of small town life in Texas, are just part of an overarching mystery. Dead, To Begin With first and foremost is another solidly good mystery filled with plenty of misdirection, intrigue, and a few clues. Another very good read by Bill Crider who simply can’t write a weak book. If it isn’t already clear, Dead, To Begin With is a highly recommended read. 

Dead, To Begin With: A Dan Rhodes Mystery
Bill Crider
A Thomas Dunne Book (Minotaur Books)
August 8, 2015
ISBN #978-1250078537
Hardback (also available in e-book form)
272 Pages

ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Fleabag

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Fleabag: I have to admit that until her name came up as a possibility for the role of the thirteenth incarnation of The Doctor on " Doctor Wh...

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 9/18/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 9/18/17

Do Some Damage: Monday Review: SKULL MEAT by Tom Leins

Do Some Damage: Monday Review: SKULL MEAT by Tom Leins: Before turning in one night this past summer, I picked up my reader and skimmed the first few paragraphs of SKULL MEAT by Tom Leins. It ha...

Writers Who Kill: Of Books, Politics, and Privilege

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Less Than a Treason by Dana Stabenow

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Sandi Update

Sandi is now back home after blood work at Texas Oncology that determined she absolutely had to have platelets today. We have been warned to expect to be the hospital into the evening after her doc and lab appointments on Thursday as they expect she will have to have another unit of platelets as well as two units of blood.

Other than that she is doing okay.


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 9/18-24: Bookish events in Texas for the week of September 18-24, 2017:  Special Events: West Texas Book Festival , Abilene, September 21-23 Te...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: A Dead Liberty by Catherine Aird

A Dead Liberty by Catherine Aird (Collins, 1986) is the 12th book in the long-running British detective series featuring Inspector Christopher Dennis Sloan of the fictional Berebury CID department in West Calleshire, England. Known as “C.D.” which invariably is pronounced “Seedy”, Sloan is generally accompanied by a clueless constable named Crosby. Sloan reports to Superintendent Leeyes, who is irritable and often demanding. He frequents the local Adult Education classes and is prone to quoting odd bits of information from the latest class that may or may not be relevant to the subject at hand. 

In this outing what should have been an open-and-shut case turned out to be anything but. Lucy Durmast was accused of poisoning an employee of her father’s. He had just become engaged to his hometown girlfriend and jealousy was thought to be the motive for the murder. The meal she prepared for him was the only food he’d taken that day that wasn’t shared with others, making her the obvious and sole suspect. The first indication that things would not go as expected was when Lucy refused to speak at her arrest and interrogation. She declined to talk when the judge asked for her plea, and she wouldn’t say a word when she was consequently imprisoned for contempt of court. She politely listened to everything said to her but she would not respond. This extraordinary behavior puzzled and worried everyone, including her friends, the police, the prosecutor, and the judge.

Then the original investigating officer was injured in an accident and Inspector Sloan was assigned to wrap the case up for the prosecutor to present at trial. When the college friend of the victim disappeared and another person known to the accused was killed, Inspector Sloan started from the beginning and conducted a brand-new investigation to get to the bottom of a situation that everyone was beginning to see was not what it appeared to be.

Catherine Aird, who won the Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger Award in 2015, has been on my TBR list for years. Through Open Media’s Early Bird Books list of discounted Kindle titles I acquired three that I read in short order. While observing the conventions of the classic British detective story, Aird delivers original characters and innovative plots via immensely readable narratives.  I did not guess the perpetrator or the motive in any of the three, which is always a plus for me. These books are not long, they seem to run less than 250 pages, an advantage for anyone who binge reads and a big change from the current tendency toward doorstopper tomes. I am looking forward to finding the rest of the books in the series and reading them as fast as possible.

  • ISBN-13: 9780002314978
  • ISBN: 0002314975
  • Print Length: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Collins Crime Club
  • Publication Date: 27 May 1986
  • Book Type: Hardcover

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

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 9/17/17

The Rap Sheet:  Revue of Reviewers for 9/17/17

Yet More Sunday Afternoon Humor

More Sunday Afternoon Humor

Sunday Afternoon Humor

Sunday Morning Humor

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: SMFS Members Published in EQMM: September/October 2017 ...

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: SMFS Members Published in EQMM: September/October ...: Josh Pachter, Paul D. Marks, and brand new member Laura Pigott have short stories published in the September/October 2017 of Ellery Queen My...

The Pot Is On it is most mornings ....

Awake Far Too Early

Despite staying up and watching Texas eventually lose to USC (heck of a game) so I did not end up in bed until after midnight, I have been awake the last two hours. My mind seems to have locked on in warp drive. So, as lucky other folks slumber on here, I am up and not very willingly facing the day.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: SMFS Members Published in Black Cat Mystery Magazi...

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: SMFS Members Published in Black Cat Mystery Magazi...: Today the first issue of Black Cat Mystery Magazine came out courtesy of Wildside Press. This first issue features short stories from a n...

Yet Still More Humor

Yet More Humor

More Humor

I came across the one below while working on a review of a gardening book that you will see late next week. I thought it was funny. I also notice now that it appears to have a decapitated head. Since a decapitated human head is a key fixture in the fist chapter of the book I am writing (at rare times) this deal seems even more appropriate.

KRL This Week Update for 9/16/17

Up in KRL this morning a review & giveaway of "Dog Dish of Doom" by E.j.
Copperman along with a fun pet related guest post by EJ

And a review & giveaway of "Gone Gull" by Donna Andrews along with an
interesting interview with Donna

Also a review & giveaway of "Hunting Hour" by Margaret Mizushima

And an article about 3 of Dennis Palumbo's mysteries featuring Daniel

Also a review of the Seagrass Sweets Mystery series by Sandi Scott, along
with a giveaway of one of her books and an interesting interview with Sandi

And a review & giveaway of "Oh, Fudge" by Nancy J Coco

For those who enjoy fantasy with their mystery, a review & giveaway of
"Grave Ransom" by Kalayna Price

And on KRL News & Reviews a review & giveaway of "On Her Majesty's
Frightfully Secret Service" by Rhys Bowen

Happy reading,

Morning Funny by way of Barry Ergang

Mystery Fanfare: Harlan Coben's The Five on Netflix

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A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: A NEW PIPER BLACKWELL MYSTERY!

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Conflict Makes the World Go Around by J. R. Lindermuth

Conflict Makes the World Go Around by J. R. Lindermuth

Smashwords: Smashwords Implements New Classifications for Erotic Fiction

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Living with Memories by Janette Carter

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Lesa's Latest Contest: Agatha Christie Birthday Giveaway

Today (Sept. 15) is Agatha Christie's birthday. I'm celebrating by giving away 2 copies of Murder on the Orient Express for my weekly giveaway. Check out the details at my blog, Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine 

Gravetapping: PROJECT JAEL by Aaron Fletcher

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SleuthSayers: What's in a name

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FFB Review: Dice Angel by Brian Rouff

I know there have been lots of repeats for FFB these past few months and I am sorry about that. I am trying to keep things going on the blog as well as around here. That means repeats, like today as I run my review of Dice Angel by Brian Rouff again. Make sure you check out the full list over at Patti Abbott’s blog. Dice Angel is far more than a simple story off one man’s bad luck in Vegas. A good book worth your time.....

Finding a new author that is worth reading is a treat. No matter how good the storyline or plot setup is, if the characters don't come alive for the reader, then the book won't be that good. In this case, everything works across the board, which creates a very enjoyable debut novel by Brian Rouff.

As Dice Angel opens, Jimmy Delaney is on a rather bad roll of luck in life. Not only is his ex-wife Joy (who isn't) giving him a hard time, but burglars have broken into his supper club named Jimmy D's. The club is a legacy from his father who started it from nothing and lately it seems to be a target for every burglar in Las Vegas. This time they got the cash from the video poker machines, which adds up to quite a sum. But that loss seems rather small when he discovers that the IRS wants $50,000 for back taxes and penalties within days and his checks are bouncing all over town.

It appears that his ex brother in law who was his accountant and supposed to be handling all sorts of things, instead embezzled every last cent and took off, leaving behind his marriage and his very ill daughter. Jimmy turns to the usual sources as his world slowly collapses seeking funds to pay off the IRS and keep the club open. The quest for help goes nowhere and as he hits rock bottom, he has nowhere else to turn except to the mysterious lady known as Dice Angel. Supposedly through the means of mystical powers she can bring lady luck back into Jimmy's life so that he can save himself and those he cares so much about.

Beyond the storyline that suffers greatly in my telling, is the fact that this novel is full of interesting characters that actually come alive for the reader. Within a few pages the author pulls the reader into the Vegas he knows so well and the pull is simply irresistible. It is also fascinating to watch Jimmy D crash and resurrect himself and evolve as a character over the course of this 222-page novel. This fast read is over way too soon and hopefully there will be another following Jimmy D., his club, and his somewhat eccentric customers and staff. 

Kevin R. Tipple © 2003, 2011, 2017

Thursday, September 14, 2017

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 Kate Griffin in the Countdown hot seat.

We’re on Twitter at:

Crime Review: @CrimeReviewUK

Linda Wilson: @CrimeReviewer

Sharon Wheeler: @lartonmedia

This week’s reviews are:

I Know a Secret by Tess Gerritsen, reviewed by Sylvia Wilson

Two bodies are found days apart in Boston, both drugged and both mutilated
after death, but otherwise seemingly unrelated.

The Dark Isle by Clare Carson, reviewed by John Cleal

Sam returns to the island of Hoy, scene of her childhood holidays, to
uncover the facts surrounding the death of her undercover policeman father.

Shadows and Sun by Dominique Sylvain, reviewed by Chris Roberts

Retired Paris policewoman Lola Jost and her friend Ingrid Diesel return in
a tale of murky political goings-on which threaten valued ex-colleagues.

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson, reviewed by Arnold Taylor

Emily Roy, a Quantico-trained officer in the Canadian Royal Mounted Police,
currently working with Scotland Yard, becomes involved in a frantic search
for a serial killer operating in both England and Sweden.

The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka, reviewed by Linda Wilson

PI Roxane Weary is hired to find a woman who went missing 15 years ago and
who may well hold the key to saving a man from Death Row.

Sweet After Death by Valentina Giambanco, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor

Detective Alice Madison is out of her comfort zone investigating a murder
in an isolated town in midwinter.

Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito, reviewed by Ewa Sherman

Rich teenager Maja Norberg is accused of killing four students and a
teacher at school. As the trial starts, the prosecutor and the defender
battle to prove their points.

You Belong To Me by Colin Harrison, reviewed by Chris Roberts

New York immigration lawyer and map enthusiast Paul Reeves gets involved in
his neighbours’ marital friction, which generates a deadly struggle and an

The Breakdown by BA Paris, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor

Cass Anderson didn’t want to get out of her car that night in the storm.
Now the woman she saw is dead.

The Damselfly by SJI Holliday, reviewed by John Barnbrook

In a small town in Scotland, a gifted girl is found murdered. And the
townspeople are determined to take matters into their own hands.

You Can Run by Steve Mosby, reviewed by Linda Wilson

A stolen car crashes into a house, revealing an unexpected depth of horror.

Safe by Ryan Gattis, reviewed by Chris Roberts

Ricky ‘Ghost’ Mendoza cracks safes for the DEA, and when he opens a safe
full of cash decides to take it. Not for himself, but for others, in a last
chance for redemption.

Yesterday by Felicia Yap, reviewed by John Barnbrook

There are two types of people in an alternative reality: Monos, who can
only remember yesterday, and Duos, who can remember the last two days. In a
taboo marriage, Mono Claire marries the famous Duo author, Mark. When a
body is discovered in the River Cam, their life is torn apart by the
ensuing investigation.

Dark Asylum by ES Thomson, reviewed by John Cleal

The principal physician at Angel Meadow asylum is found brutally murdered.
The police concentrate on the inmates, but apothecary Jem Flockhart and
Will Quartermain believe it an act of vengeance.

Ruined Stones by Eric Reed, reviewed by Chris Roberts

Grace Baxter arrives in Newcastle in 1941 as a junior policewoman and is
immediately put to work investigating the death of a woman amongst the
remains of a Roman temple.

The Night Stalker by Clare Donoghue, reviewed by Linda Wilson

Met detectives Lockyer and Bennett are sent to Somerset to investigate a
suspicious fatal car accident and find themselves working in the shadow of
a 200-year-old murder.

The Coroner’s Daughter by Andrew Hughes, reviewed by John Cleal

A nursemaid conceals her pregnancy then murders her newborn, but before an
inquest can be held, she is found dead. Abigail Lawless, daughter of
Dublin’s coroner, investigates and is drawn into a world of zealotry and

The Warehouse by SS Mausoof, reviewed by Chris Roberts

A Pakistani insurance surveyor is tempted into a lucrative job in a very
dangerous part of the country, and is launched into a series of harrowing

The Room by the Lake by Emma Dibdin, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor

Caitlin leaves behind her life in London and heads for New York in search
of a new start. Instead of a job in a coffee shop and a cheap apartment,
she finds herself drawn to the simplicity of life in a cult.

Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart, reviewed by Linda Wilson

Imogen has everything that Jule wants in life: she’s rich, spoilt and gets
everything she wants. Jule is determined to have a slice of Imogen’s cake.
Maybe even the whole cake …

Best wishes


Finally Home

Sandi's blood work was okay today so, other than the white blood cell shot, they left her alone.

We go back Monday for blood work. If it is bad, there will have to be blood transfusions.

Whatever happens Monday, we go back Thursday for blood work and a doctor visit. If we get lucky and miss the blood transfusions on Monday, it is also a 100 percent guarantee that we will have to do it Thursday.

In the meantime, everything is relatively stable and she is doing okay.

Relevant History: Is the Traditional American Western Dead? by Mike Torreano

Relevant History: Is the Traditional American Western Dead? by Mike Torreano

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Marvel's New Animated Spider-Man

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Marvel's New Animated Spider-Man: The worst part of superhero reboots is retelling of the origin story over and over and over again. Despite the official Marvel Cinematic ...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Midnight Sun, Behind Closed Doors, The...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Midnight Sun, Behind Closed Doors, The...: Reported by Jeanne  Nevermore started the week with a review of Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbo , an award-winning Norwegian author b...

Gravetapping: Merrick

Gravetapping: Merrick: Merrick is hard, tough, and when he needs to be, mean as hell. When Merrick is called in as a late-replacement for a payroll heist...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Chemo Round 3--Finished

Sandi is now home. We go see the doctor tomorrow for an office visit, blood work, and her white blood cell booster shot. Hopefully, there won't be any unpleasant surprises.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Chemo Round 3-- Day 5

We are finally home after running lots of errands and spending time at the hospital with Sandi. Things continue to chug along okay after they had to move her to a different room Sunday evening and the electrical problem. Whatever was wrong that caused the all the lights to lock on has been apparently fixed as they have a new patient in that room.

Sandi continues to get more chemo today. Chemo should finish tomorrow about mid day. Assuming she does not get yet more blood, the current plan is to release her late tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday afternoon we have to be back at the doctor for blood work, an office visit, and one of those shots she hates. The patch you see advertised everywhere on television is not something they use as the delivery is erratic at best. For Sandi and her issues, there is no way she can have it. So, we go in, she has the shot and then for the next 48 hours she gets sick and sleeps a lot.

SleuthSayers: Editing An Anthology Electronically: Stronger Stor...

SleuthSayers: Editing An Anthology Electronically: Stronger Stor...: by Elizabeth Zelvin When I agreed to serve as editor of Where Crime Never Sleeps , the fourth volume of the Murder New York Style anthology...

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: SMFS Members Published in Mysterical-E: Summer 201...

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: SMFS Members Published in Mysterical-E: Summer 201...: The latest edition of Mysterical-E is now online and features work by three SMFS members. In fiction, Bern Sy Moss has a tale titled The Per...

CrimeFictionWriter: Three new mystery periodicals

CrimeFictionWriter: Three new mystery periodicals: At least three new digest-sized mystery magazines launched this year, each with a different editorial focus, but all deserving the support o...

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: HEATHER HEYFORD'S NEW RELEASE!

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The River at Night by Erica Ferencik: Reviewed by Kristin Winifred Allen is hesitant about taking a whitewater rafting trip into Maine’s Allagash Wilderness.   She l...

Mystery Fanfare: Hurricane Crime Fiction // Hurricane Mysteries

Mystery Fanfare: Hurricane Crime Fiction // Hurricane Mysteries: What a terrible Hurricane Season. Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have been two of the most disastrous hurricanes on record. Sending ...

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers | 9/11/17

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers |

Lesa's Latest Contest: Police Thrillers

This week, I'm giving away copies of Brian Thiem's Thrill Kill & A.R. Ashworth's Souls of Men. Details on my blog, Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine  


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 9/11-17: Bookish events in Texas for the week of September 11-17, 2017:  Special Events: Las Lunas Locas Writing Circle Southwest Tour , Austin, Se...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: White Heat by M.J. McGrath

White Heat by M.J. McGrath (Viking, 2011) is the first book in the Edie Kiglatuk series set in the extreme northern part of Canada near the Arctic Circle in the Queen Elizabeth Islands. From the first page the reader is immersed in an alien ice-covered world, where the sun does not rise for months at a time and does not set for months at other times. Outside temperatures are routinely below zero degrees and running or any exertion that results in sweat is avoided because hypothermia is sure to follow. Compasses fail this far north since the electromagnetic field is unreliable near the North Pole. Options for transportation are limited to dog-pulled sleds, snowmobiles, and airplanes.

Tourism is the primary and almost only industry in this barren wilderness. Half Inuit and half Caucasian, and thereby an outsider, Edie ekes out a living as a part-time guide to vacationing hunters and as a part-time teacher in the local school. A routine trip with two inept hunters ends suddenly as one of them is shot while she is setting up camp. She barely has time to investigate the incident to avoid blame which would result in the forfeiture of her thin stream of guide revenue when a relative unexpectedly commits suicide. Devastated by the loss, Edie is intent on proving that the death is not what it seems, regardless of the opposition of the village and her family. Her fact-finding resources are limited, although she does have the reluctant support of the local law enforcement officer, who is also an outsider.

More than a mystery or a thriller, although certainly competent as either, this riveting book describes the encroachment of the 21st century on a civilization struggling to maintain its way of life, the profound impact of climate change on people and wildlife, and the unjust treatment of the Inuits, who were relocated to the harsh northern territory by the Canadian government much as the Native Americans were relegated to undesirable lands by the U.S. government. In fact, reading about the Inuits is depressingly similar to reading about present-day Native Americans: they both share a high incidence of poverty, alcoholism, diabetes, and suicide. It is hard to separate the mystery plot elements from the socio-economic description, the political commentary, and the environmental travelogue.

I am happy that I started this book on a weekend because I found it nearly impossible to put down. I have the next one in the series which I am afraid to start for fear it won’t be as good as the first. Highly recommended. Booklist starred review, finalist for the 2011 Gold Dagger Award.

·         Hardcover: 400 pages
·         Publisher: Viking; First Edition edition (August 4, 2011)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 0670022489
·         ISBN-13: 978-0670022489

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

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Chemo Round 3-- Day 3

We are back home from seeing Sandi at the hospital. As you can see, she was sitting up today and was doing okay.

They are again making extra sure that she is getting the correct chemo and in the correct sequence. The guy who caught the disastrous error back at the end of May is once again on her case and checking things. I got to meet him today and tried to express how grateful I was for everything he did for her and his continuing work on her case. I think all I managed to do was super embarrass him. He most likely saved her life and a "thank you" from me does not begin to cover that.

At this point, everything seems to be going okay. She did not get any blood today and as of right now they did not see any reason to do a blood transfusion today. That is a good thing as Sandi is one of those rare folks that a blood transfusion makes her feel way worse than if they had left things alone. The chemo continues as she is on the third bag of the day and that one is a 24 hour one which means it won't finish until around 1 am.

She was going to order a little food to just get something into her when we left and then probably will be out for much of the afternoon.  She is hoping she can be awake for most of the Cowboy game tonight. She was able to see much of the game last night and was not happy that her beloved Ohio State lost to Oklahoma. She has seen some of the hurricane coverage and is very worried about friends and family down in Florida who are in the direct path of Irma this afternoon.

So far, things seem to be as good as they can be during chemo. The doctor again today brought up doing the PET Scan asap once she is through chemo so we now have the impression that they will be trying to get her in for that as early as late next week.

Observations from the Slash Y: Upcoming movie and TV westerns

Observations from the Slash Y: Upcoming movie and TV westerns: Some upcoming westerns that are worth keeping tabs on. I'll post more when I know more.   Godless from Steven Soderberg is coming to ...

Saturday, September 09, 2017

KRL This Week Update for 9/9/17

Up in KRL this morning a review & giveaway of "Wrong Side of the Paw" by Laurie Cass

Also up a review & giveaway of "Third Strike" by Kathi Daley

And a review & giveaway of "The Painted Queen" by Elizabeth Peters & Joan Hess

Also a review & giveaway of "Witch Chocolate Bites" by H.Y. Hanna, along with an excerpt from the book

We also have an interview with The Murder Mystery Co., a group that puts on murder mystery party dinners

And on KRL News & reviews a review & giveaway of "Dadgummit" by Maggie Toussaint
Happy reading, Lorie

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

Observations from the Slash Y: August 2017 new release westerns

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Chemo Round 3---Day 2

Just got home from seeing Sandi at the hospital who was falling asleep due to the meds. She is doing okay at this point. She had a blood transfusion last night followed by her chemo premeds just after midnight and then the chemo started long before dawn.  When we arrived this morning she was sitting up and crocheting.

So far so good at this point. If things run like they did last time, in between the chemo bags, they will be doing multiple blood transfusions over the next several days. But, that is to come. For now, things are as good and stable as they can be.

Guest Post: The Black Bird and the Chicago Kid by Thomas B. Sawyer

Back in June for FFB here on the blog, Barry Ergang reviewed The Sixteenth Man by Thomas B. Sawyer. One thing led to another and for this first this first Saturday in September, please welcome author Thomas B. Sawyer to the blog today…

The Black Bird and the Chicago Kid
Thomas B. Sawyer

Funny how stuff can sneak up on you. I was a youth when I first read Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, and therefore didn’t really understand its significant place in American literature. Nor did I have any notion of how deeply and pervasively it would affect my life and my professional career. Only now, upon reflection, have I become fully aware of this last.

On one level, I simply enjoyed the hell out of the book. But some things about the story grabbed me in a special way – not least Hammett’s account of the Black Bird’s history, part fact, part fiction, that greatly heightened the romance of the fictional story – the possibility that the McGuffin everyone in the book was pursuing still existed somewhere in the real world. The mixing of a dollop (or maybe more?) of fact with fiction. Exciting stuff for a thirteen year-old, growing up in Chicago’s not-very-exciting South Side. How much was real, and how much was Hammett’s creation?

             That question, plus Hammett’s vivid cast of characters and his terse, unembellished style hooked me enough that I re-read the novel. Over and over, at yearly or semi-yearly intervals. By age 20, I had read it at least eight times. And discovered something new each time. It never disappointed.

Along the way, I read a lot of other books, including Hammett’s competition in the mystery genre, both old and new. And it gradually hit me that in many ways, Falcon differed from virtually all the mystery and detective fiction that had gone before – dramatically breaking the patterns set by Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) and Agatha Christie (Miss Marple & Hercule Poirot, among others). It also became apparent that most of the mystery fiction written since was largely derivative-if-not-downright-imitative of The Maltese Falcon, with very very little even close to equaling it. Of course there has been, and continues to be, some terrific writing done in the genre, but for me, while Raymond Chandler’s wonderful, literate Philip Marlowe novels came nearest, along with some newer contributions by Elmore Leonard and Donald Westlake, Falcon has never been surpassed.

One of the ways Hammett’s paradigm novel was so singular was that while it contained a murder mystery – Who killed Sam Spade’s partner, Miles Archer? (three murders, actually, the others being those of Captain Jacoby of the SS La Paloma, and tough guy Floyd Thursby) – it was surprisingly, for its time – and even today, a detective story that was not about clues or suspects. Another difference was that the tale took the reader on such a fascinating, entertaining journey through rascal-and-double-cross country that one almost forgot the murder mystery part of it.

In the end, Hammett delivered satisfying closure in the matter of Archer’s killer (and Jacoby’s and Thursby’s), but in truth we almost didn’t care, the rest of it being so thoroughly gripping, introducing us to such a variety of wonderful, skewed characters – especially his enigmatic hero, private eye Sam Spade, and the lying, seductive Brigid O’Shaughnessy, who was to become the model female antagonist of novels and films noir for decades. The superb, classic movie version of The Maltese Falcon (Scr. & Dir. John Huston) is, by the way, almost scene-for-scene and word-for-word, Hammett’s book.

When I was invited to write for the Murder, She Wrote TV series (Cr. William Link & Richard Levinson and Peter Fischer) before it went on the air, I was immediately thrilled by the prospect of writing for one of the world’s truly great actresses, Angela Lansbury. I asked Peter what kind of stories he planned to do. His response, delivered with a shrug: “I dunno – sort of youknow Agatha Christie puzzle mysteries.”

I pointed out to Peter that as a boy I had read a few Christies, plus a couple of locked-room mysteries by others, wherein the suspects were invariably gathered at the end in “the drawing room” or its equivalent, and they had bored the hell out of me. “I won’t write that kind of stuff.”

“Okay – so what will you write?”

“I’ll write The Maltese Falcon.”

Peter’s reply – without missing a beat – was “That’ll be fine.”

The cool thing – he knew exactly what I meant. And that’s what I wrote for the next twelve years, coming to realize that that approach was probably my signal contribution to the series – in effect a weekly play about a bunch of fascinating characters in conflict – in which a murder invariably happened.

Without my becoming conscious of it for decades, Dashiell Hammett and The Maltese Falcon have profoundly influenced all of my writing, both pre-Murder, She Wrote, and since. Has my storytelling been shaped by other writers, other books? Of course. But I love having come to a fuller understanding of and appreciation for The Black Bird’s place in my life. It has always been for me, and still is, the Gold Standard.

© 2017 Tom Sawyer Productions, Inc.

Tom Sawyer, Emmy & Edgar-nominated, Head Writer/Showrunner/Producer, classic series, Murder, She Wrote, for which he wrote 24 episodes. Tom’s new bestselling memoir: The Adventures of the REAL Tom Sawyer. Authored bestselling Fiction Writing Demystified. Bestselling thrillers: The Sixteenth Man, No Place to Run, Cross Purposes. Sold/wrote 9 TV series pilots, 100+ scripts. Co-librettist/lyricist: JACK, an opera about JFK.