Saturday, September 30, 2017

PET Scan Completed

There were significant complications today, but the PET Scan has been completed and we are now home. Patient and spouse are both exhausted.

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 Nadia Dalbuono in the Countdown hot seat:

We’re on Twitter at:

Crime Review: @CrimeReviewUK

Linda Wilson: @CrimeReviewer

Sharon Wheeler: @lartonmedia

This week’s reviews are:

INSIDIOUS INTENT by Val McDermid, reviewed by Linda Wilson

DCI Carol Hill and psychological profiler Tony Hill are up against a
forensically aware killer who is determined to stay one step ahead of them,
and is succeeding all too well.

SINCE WE FELL by Dennis Lehane, reviewed by Chris Roberts

Rachel has only a vague memory of a father who left home when she was
three, a desertion at the root of her vulnerability. She finds a man
prepared to accept her problems, only to discover he is not what he
purports to be.

CONFLICTS OF INTERST by Terry Stiastny, reviewed by Arnold Taylor

Former journalist Lawrence Leith’s life in a French village is disrupted
when an old friend comes to visit.

THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS by Michael Robotham, reviewed by Kati BarrTaylor

When Meghan’s seemingly perfect life is revealed to be a tissue of lies,
the results are devastating.

THE ZEALOT’S BONES by David Mark, reviewed by John Cleal

A Canadian academic, seeking the bones of the apostle Simon the Zealot,
hires a discredited and psychologically damaged Afghan war hero as his
bodyguard. When a woman who briefly brought peace to the soldier’s troubled
mind is murdered, he sets out to bring her vengeance.

IQ by Joe Ede, reviewed by Chris Roberts

Asiah Quintabe, known as IQ, is presented with a testing puzzle when he is
asked to find out who is threatening rapper Calvin Wright, better known as
Black the Knife.

RHYMING RINGS by David Gemmell, reviewed by Linda Wilson

A serial killer is at work in west London. Young journalist Jeremy Miller
desperately wants to cover the story, and soon finds an unusual angle: a
woman who claims to be able to experience the victims’ dying moments.

THE STRANGER by Saskia Sarginson, reviewed by Sue Kelso Ryan

Ellie hasn’t been completely honest with her beloved husband Ed and now
it’s too late. Suddenly her past choices threaten to destroy her chances of

THE LAST NIGHT AT TREMORE BEACH by Mikel Santiago, reviewed by Kate Balfour

A successful musician, wounded by a recent divorce, seeks inspiration and
renewal on the wild north west coast of Ireland.  He is, literally, struck
by lightning and starts to have nightmare visions which foretell horror for
him, his friends and his family.

THE HOURS BEFORE DAWN by Celia Fremlin, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor

Stressed suburban wife and mother Louise is grateful that their new lodger
is quiet and educated, seemingly the perfect houseguest. But appearances
can be deceptive.

SOULS OF AIR by Mons Kallentoft, reviewed by Ewa Sherman

Malin Fors, Link√∂ping’s top detective, deals with a matter too close for
comfort – her daughter Tove has discovered the dead body of one of the
residents at the care home where she works.

FATAL CROSSING by Lone Theils, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor

Journalist Nora Sand discovers that a decades-old cold case concerning two
missing girls is about to become too hot to handle.

DYING TO LIVE by Michael Stanley, reviewed by Chris Roberts

A dead bushman is only the first of a series of deaths brought to the
attention of Assistant Superintendent ‘Kubu’ Bengu and Detective Samantha

COPYCAT by Alex Lake, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler

Sarah Havenant has a good job and a family – but this starts to crumble
when a friend points out that there are two Facebook pages out there with
her name on.

TIME TO WIN by Harry Brett, reviewed by John Cleal

When local crime boss Rich Goodwin is pulled from the river, it looks like
suicide. But Goodwin had many enemies and as his widow Tatiana struggles to
take over his business, she quickly learns that power comes at a price.

THE RIVIERA EXPRESS by TP Fielden, reviewed by Anthea Hawdon

The death of one person in a small Devonshire seaside town could be
misfortune. Two the same day convinces reporter Judy Dimont that something
is going on.

STRANGE MAGIC by Syd Moore, reviewed by John Barnbrook

Rosie Strange has inherited the Essex Witch Museum from her estranged
grandfather. She doesn't want it and is determined to sell it, but her
first visit catapults her into the hunt for the bones of a buried witch, a
crusade to save the life of a young boy and the uncovering of satanic

THE WYCHFORD POISONING CASE by Anthony Berkeley, reviewed by John Cleal

French-born Mrs Jacqueline Bentley is to hang for the poisoning of her
husband. Novelist, amateur criminologist and psychological detective Roger
Sheringham sets out to prove even her own lawyers wrong and unmask the real

I AM TRAITOR by Sif Sigmarsdottir, reviewed by Linda Wilson

The alien invaders have already taken Amy Sullivan’s brother and her best
friend. Now they’re coming for her.

CONTAGION by Teri Terry, reviewed by Linda Wilson

Eleven-year-old Callie Tanzer disappeared a year ago. Shay is the last
person to have seen her alive. While a mysterious flu epidemic sweeps
across Scotland, Shay and Callie’s older brother Kai continue the search
for the missing girl.

Best wishes


The Rap Sheet: From the Field

The Rap Sheet:  From the Field

Relevant History Blog: The Great Hurricane of 1780

Relevant History Blog: The Great Hurricane of 1780

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Rap Sheet: Flee the Coming Cold, Crime Yarns in Hand

The Rap Sheet:  Flee the Coming Cold, Crime Yarns in Hand

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Slow Bullet -- John L. Lansdale

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Slow Bullet -- John L. Lansdale: John L. Lansdale is the older brother of Joe Lansdale, and they've collaborated on a couple of books.  Most of John's work has been ...

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 35 Writing Contests in October 2017 - No entry fee...

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Purr M for Murder by T.C. LoTempio

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Purr M for Murder by T.C. LoTempio: Reviewed by Jeanne Sydney McCall’s sojourn in the Big City came to a crashing end when she caught her fianc√© cheating—with he...

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 37 Great Writing Conferences in October 2017

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 37 Great Writing Conferences in October 2017: Attending a conference one of the best things you can do for your writing career. Conferences offer a unique opportunity to network with o...

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Bonus FFB on Wednesday: Orphans Preferred: The Twi...

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Chess, Comics, Crosswords, Books, Music, Cinema: Boot Hill: An Anthology of the West by Robert J. R...

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WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: The Orville

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: The Orville: Yesterday, I talked about how cool I thought " Star Trek: Discovery was, so today I'm going to talk about the other, unofficial...

FFB Review: The Woman in Blue: a Ruth Galloway Mystery by Elly Griffiths

When I first began reading this series, back in December of 2015, these books clearly were old enough to qualify as FFB reads. The book reviewed today using the best words anyone has ever used anywhere was published in 2016 and is set in 2014. Therefore, clearly the book is not really an FFB entry. Yet, I am putting it up here on the blog as an FFB entry simply because the rest of them are here. This is also my blog and I can party like I want to. For the rest of the suggestions today on this final Friday of September make sure you head over to Patti’s blog.

It is mid-February 2014 as The Woman in Blue: A Ruth Galloway Mystery begins. Cathbad is again house/pet sitting and again things are not going well. The pet in question this time is a black cat by the name of Chesterton. The owner, Justin, made it abundantly clear Chesterton is not to be let out at night. Despite Cathbad’s best efforts, the cat escapes and goes off into the darkness.

The home is a 15th century cottage next to a church and burial grounds. None of that bothers Cathbad as he is a Druid. What bothers him is the feeling he has had ever since he came to St. Simeon’s Cottage, Walsingham of a heavy sense of sadness about everything. He feels it now and with the cat missing that does not help matters.

Cathbad heads out in pursuit of the cat and soon sees a vague shape by one of the tombstones. A woman in white robes and a blue cloak who seems to almost glow in a divine way. She shakes her head at him regards to his offer of help and leaves quickly. In just a few hours, that same woman will be found dead nearby.

DCI Harry Nelson, head of the Serious Crimes Unit, will lead the investigation into the woman’s death. It wasn’t the cold that killed her though she was dressed only in a nightdress, a dressing gown, and slippers. She was strangled, according to police pathologist Christ Stephenson, who has also concluded she has been in the ditch eight to ten hours. It is very possible she is a patient at the nearby “Sanctuary” which is a private hospital that treats well off addicts.

It does not take long to confirm that the dead person was a patient and her name is Chloe Jenkins. She is the first of several deaths that will happen in the area.

A separate storyline is in regards to a series of hate filled letters that have been sent to Ruth’s friend, Hillary. She is an Anglican priest and some people do not want women as priests. The letters are clearly a threat. Are the murderer and the letter writer one and the same? As the murder continues and other events happen, everything seems to be pointing towards Easter Sunday in The Woman In Blue: A Ruth Galloway Mystery.

The eighth book in the series continues to build on character evolution, story arcs, and other elements. The ongoing private lives of all the characters make up a critical part of this very good series. Unlike previous books in the series where archeology was a key element in the read, here it barely makes a passing reference. Region and the role of women in the church is the primary focus and is weaved through the cases as well as the ongoing personal situations that are the backbone of the series. The Woman in Blue: a Ruth Galloway Mystery is another good read in a very good series that must be read in order starting with The Crossing Places

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)
A Dying Fall (Reviewed 2/10/2017)
The Outcast Dead (Reviewed 4/21/17)
The Ghost Fields (Reviewed  7/14/17)

The Woman in Blue: a Ruth Galloway Mystery
Elly Griffiths 
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
May 2016
ISBN# 978-0-544-41785-4
Hardback (also available in paperback and eBook formats)
368 Pages

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

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sandi Back Home

Sandi had an early doctor appointment with lab work today and we are finally home. She is running a significant fever and there remain other various issues that cause a lot of concern. She was extremely anemic so she had two units of blood today, a round of antibiotics, some steroids, and some other various fluids. She also now has an emergency PET Scan scheduled for Saturday.

Sandi's fever is still getting worse despite everything they have done. Today she was running about four degrees of fever. Her kidney function continues to indicate things are not going in the right way. What was thought to be a fever caused by the white blood cell shot is now thought to be something quite more significant. It could be another bacterial blood infection though she is not having a lot of the symptoms of that. Symptoms that we are very familiar with having gone through two bacterial blood infections in almost as many months. So, it probably is not that.

In all likelihood the fever is being caused by the cancer mutating and attacking somewhere. Where and what kind of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma that would now be is totally unknown. Because of  Sandi's urgent need for blood today they could not do the PET Scan today though they tried very hard to make that happen. Because of what they had to do to her with that with the steroids and all, tomorrow was out of the question. So, they are doing that scan on Saturday which means we will be there at least four hours if not way longer to get that done.

That is then and we will deal with it then. For this evening, she is going to try and eat a little dinner, watch a little football, and then head to bed.

Review: Coney Island Avenue by J. L. Abramo

Bill Heller had the feeling he was being followed as he drove in New York City as Coney Island Avenue by J. L. Abramo begins. He parked and went into a local restaurant to have some food and to see if his suspicion was correct. He was being followed and he knew he was in real trouble. The restaurant also gave him the opportunity to hide what he was carrying.

One of Bill Heller’s final acts will have huge repercussions for Vincent Salerno, a bus boy at the restaurant, who at first has no idea what he is carrying or how far those who want it back will go. For the officers and detectives of the 61st precinct located on Coney Island Avenue in New York, the subsequent murders will have huge ramifications professionally and personally. Like ripples in a pond, that first case will spiral out in coming weeks to trigger more carnage with more connected cases, as they go about their daily lives as well as other police work.

A follow up to his first novel of the 61st titled Gravesend, J. L. Abramo keeps the action moving by way of short paragraphs, rapid-fire dialogue, and constant shifts in the storyline. A number of distinct secondary plot lines are in play throughout the read thanks to a whopping 58 characters. The character list at the front of the book makes it clear that the author has a lot going on in the read as these characters run the gamut of crime, police, and average citizen types. Somehow, the author manages to make them all stand out from each other.

As a police procedural, the read works well detailing not only police work, but how events and cases affect the officers and detectives at home in their personal lives. Very reminiscent of Ed Mcbain’s 87th Precinct Series, the read also reminds this reviewer of the legendary Hill Street Blues television series. In both cases, tragedy can strike in a blink of an eye and the repercussions take a toll on all involved.

Coney Island Avenue by J. L. Abramo is not a book for all readers. Graphic language is present as is a dark sense of humor. While it is a police procedural, it is not a sanitized one. This is crime fiction and all that entails. It is also a very good read. 

Coney Island Avenue
J. L. Abramo
Down & Out Books
March 2017
ASIN: B01N0U64A1
eBook (print available)
466 Pages

I received this months ago from the publisher in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Gaiman, Vowell, Du Maurier, Perotta, B...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Gaiman, Vowell, Du Maurier, Perotta, B...: Reported by Ambrea Nevermore kicked things off with Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.   In Neverwhere , readers meet Richard Mayhew, a...

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Guest Post: Jeanne and Treadmill Books: Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery Series by Jane K. Cleland

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

Treadmill Books:  Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery Series by Jane K. Cleland

Josie Prescott is the owner of Prescott’s Antiques, a thriving business that specializes in antiques and collectibles of all sorts, from Chinese porcelains to movie posters.  She started her business after learning the trade in a New York auction house but found her career in shambles when she testified against her boss in a price fixing scandal that sent him to prison.  Starting over from the ground up was the only solution.

Fortunately for readers, expensive antiques seem to attract all sorts of felonies, murder among them.  Josie’s expertise in antiques is often the key to solving these crimes in these solid, entertaining books. 

Uncharacteristically for me, this is not a series I’ve read in order; I have yet to read the first in series, hence the overview description.

For the most part, Cleland takes her clues from the Golden Age mysteries; she plays fair with the reader in presenting clues; murders may be violent but occur off stage; and while there are personal developments among the characters, it’s never a soap opera. (Cleland is a fan of the Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout; one of her police officers is also named Rowcliff and several times she’s dropped in names to make an Archie aficionado smile.)  The surrounding cast members are there to support Josie, either personally or professionally.  There is mutual respect and fondness between Josie and employees but she doesn’t pry into their personal lives.

Josie is the best developed character, and she’s someone I like a lot.  She’s smart, practical, and down to earth.  As a boss, she’s fair and generous, but she also expects results.  One reviewer complained about the number of times that Josie mentioned or quoted her late father; while I noticed it, I wasn’t unduly bothered by it.  Her father was a huge influence on her life and I didn’t find it odd that she continues to refer to him.  I find myself still quoting my late mother and I notice other people doing the same, especially as we age.

The antiques aspect is fascinating to me.  Think “Antiques Roadshow,” because Josie will give brief but interesting comments on items that turn up at her auction house or that she is called upon to appraise.  For example, 1860s era dolls may have been used to smuggle small items across borders during the American Civil War; early movie posters might be designed by local artists, some of whom went on to garner more fame as designers or painters; snow globes became popular in France in the 1800s and spread to England during the Victorian era.  Each of these facts became important during a book, sometimes as part of the process of valuing an object and often in solving the murder.  I enjoy reading about how items are authenticated, which may entail finding out if the purported manufacturer had a particular component in his inventory when the object was allegedly created.  I also appreciate the behind the scenes look at how things come together. For example, Josie offers a tag sale each week, usually of lower end, affordable items that draw in crowds and reduce excess inventory.  Occasionally, she will put in items of higher value at low prices to give savvy shoppers the thrill of finding a treasure.  It almost makes me want to go to a tag sale, except that I don’t really need or want any more things.  It’s the thrill of the chase.

Later on in the series, there’s even a cat!

As you might gather, I do enjoy this series.  I’ve recommended it to several people.  However, it’s not a treadmill book.  Cleland likes to plant clues subtly so a reader has to pay attention to solve the mystery.  Like Agatha Christie, she will drop in tidbits in casual conversations that have crime solving implications, and I am not at my sharpest when I’m trudging along.  Equally, I’m not going to enjoy all those lovely bits of information about antiques when part of my mind is wondering if I’m close to getting in my quota of steps for the day.

Treadmill, no.  Fine mystery series, yes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Crime Watch: Review: MURDER IN MONTEGO BAY

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WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Star Trek: Discovery

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Bookbrowsing: Walking the Plank by LaLa Corierre

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Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Overlooked TV: Harlan Coben's The Five

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Do Some Damage: Failing To Deliver

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Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 9/25/17

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Review: Desperate Crimes: A Bill Travis Mystery by George Wier

For Bill Travis everything revolves around family. His eight-year-old daughter, Jennifer, is supposed to give a piano recital on Saturday. Unfortunately, her piano teacher, Todd Landry, has gone missing. Jennifer is very upset and worried and she wants daddy to find him. Normally, Bill Travis gets involved in things to be paid so he can pay for things like piano lessons.

Money is important, but it is not everything. His daughter’s happiness means more than just about anything else does. His little girl is heartbroken and her tears are a powerful thing. He agrees to look for Todd Landry despite the fact that he has a really bad feeling about things.

He also knows who to call for help and does so. He calls Hank Sterling, a good friend who is also a freelance investigator. As it happens, Hank is already on the case of the missing Todd Landry. He is also very concerned though he has very different reasons for why he is worried. 
Bill and Hank team up and take eight-year-old Jennifer with them on the road to search for the missing Todd Landry. They as well as Jennifer’s pet ferret, Morgan Freeman, hit the road headed to Elysium, eighty miles west of Austin, Texas as they follow their first lead. They will all spend a lot of time in the car together working a case that is complicated and not easily solved.

Desperate Crimes is the 11th book in the Bill Travis Mystery Series that began with The Last Call. Personal relationships, humor, and observations about the Lone Star State have been hallmarks of this running series. They are very much present here with characters that continue to evolve, references to past books, and more. A mystery that is far more complicated than it first appears is also present in this latest read.

If you are new to the series by Texas author George Wier, you could easily start here. While there are a few references to earlier books, they are not so detailed as to ruin previous reads in the series. Those readers that have read the preceding books will enjoy this one a bit more as the Travis family continues to add members and age. Part of the fun of this series is to see what is now going on with the family. Either way, Desperate Crimes: A Bill Travis Mystery is another solidly good read in a very good series.

Desperate Crimes: A Bill Travis Mystery
George Wier
Flagstone Books
March 2016
eBook (paperback available)
131 Pages

According to Amazon, I picked this up back last July to read and review. I believe I did it by way of the Author’s free read promotion.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

Monday, September 25, 2017

Sandi Update

Sandi is now home after a very long day at the hospital. She was only supposed to have some lab work today, but after I explained what had been going on all weekend coupled with what she was saying when they talked to her and could get her to wake up and focus, they worked her in for a doctor visit too. It was during that they discovered she was running a fever and found a couple of other issues. They also ran some tests that came up with some answers and are running other tests that should come back with some more answers over the next couple of days.

If they had a bed for her they would have admitted her without question. The four floors in the hospital that house the cancer patients are full and have a waiting list that goes into double digits. She is so medically fragile right now they felt it was safer to send her home after they did some stuff to her than admit her on one of the other floors.  So, after pumping a bunch of fluids into her that included platelets, steroids, and some other stuff, they have sent her home with strict instructions to me on how to monitor her and when to call 911.

Assuming nothing goes wrong tonight or the next couple of days, we go back Thursday for more blood work and another doctor visit. As of right this minute, she is doing a bit better than she has in recent days.


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 9/25-10/1: Bookish events in Texas for the week of September 25-October 1, 2017:  Special Events: Banned Books Week , September 24-30 Inkstravaganz...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Blood Always Tells by Hilary Davidson

Blood Always Tells by Hilary Davidson (Forge, 2014) is an intricate stand-alone thriller, a break from Davidson’s Lily Moore travel writer series. Dominique Monaghan can tolerate her long-time lover staying married for financial reasons but when she finds out he’s seeing someone else in addition to his society wife, she burns for revenge. Hatching a complicated plot that involves kidnapping and the administration of truth-telling drugs, she instead is kidnapped along with the lover and taken to an isolated house in the country. She managed to place an urgent call to her older brother Desmond, an ex-military man who is still dealing with childhood traumas. Desmond has always rushed to his sister’s rescue and this time was no exception.

Determined to learn who staged the kidnapping, Desmond works with the rural police as well as New York police and meets the wealthy society wife and the lawyer who protects the family fortune and her, in that order. He’s also interested in learning more about the thugs who pop up unexpectedly and who actively attempt to discourage his questions.

This is a labyrinthine story, full of duplicitous people, underhanded moves, and original plot twists. The story gallops along so quickly that whiplash is likely as the plot executes another hairpin turn. None of the people except Desmond are particularly likeable. Even his sister Dominique, as understandable as her motivation is, has serious flaws in her judgment. Dazzlingly twisted, it’s easy to be confused by the author’s expert misdirection. I still am not sure I understand who authorized the first two murders. For readers who like their thrillers on the noir end of the spectrum.
·         Hardcover: 320 pages
·         Publisher: Forge Books (April 15, 2014)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 0765333546
·         ISBN-13: 978-0765333544

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

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Patreon: Draconic Hero and Setsubou are creating Fanfiction and Fan Art

This is the son of a good friend, Lisa Rosen, who just mentioned this on Facebook. Consider being a part of things.

Patreon: Draconic Hero and Setsubou are creating Fanfiction and Fan Art

PODCAST: Frank Zafiro on Episode 9 of WRTER TYPES!

PODCAST: Frank Zafiro on Episode 9 of WRTER TYPES!

Dead, To Begin With By Bill Crider: Review/Giveaway/Author Interview at KRL

Over at Kings River Life Magazine (KRL) this week there is a review of Dead, To Begin With by Bill Crider. There are a considerable number of details in the review so be forewarned as the information  on how to enter the giveaway for the book is found at the bottom of the post after the very interesting interview.

Dead, To Begin With By Bill Crider: Review/Giveaway/Author Interview at KRL

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Saturday Night Sandi Update

Thought I would give everyone a brief update.....there is no real change one way or the other. Things do not seem to be worse, but they sure as hell are not better either. While it had seemed like the blood Thursday had helped her, by about this time Thursday evening she was sick again and in considerable pain. This has continued yesterday and today. By late afternoon each day she starts feeling pretty bad and is in bed before dark.

That happened again tonight as she skipped dinner, had two Ensures which did not help her nausea at all (they usually do), and went on to bed. After just a few minutes she was out like a light. I have no idea if this is temporary or the new normal. But, I am worried.

KRL This Week Update for September 23, 2017

Up this morning in KRL a review & giveaway of "Dead to Begin With" by Bill
Crider along with an interesting interview with Bill

Also a review & giveaway of "Familiar Trouble" the first in a new cat
mystery series by Carolyn Haines & an interesting guest post by Carolyn
about how this series came to be

And a review & giveaway of "Dressed to Confess" by Diane Vallere

And a mystery short story by Cathi Stoler

We also have a review & giveaway of "The Last Place You Look" a debut
mystery novel by Kristen Lepionka & an interesting interview with Kristen

And a review of the Leafy Hollow Mystery series by Rickie Blair, a
giveaway, & an interesting interview with Rickie

Over on KRL News & Reviews we have a review & giveaway of "Student Body" by
Susan Rogers Cooper

Happy reading,

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: FALL INTO BOOKS!

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Business Musings: I Spent Decades Developing My IP (Contracts/Dealbreakers)

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Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: An Insider's View of the Publishing Business

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: An Insider's View of the Publishing Business: Random House: 1745 Broadway, NYC A while ago, I ran across an article in New York Magazine by Daniel Menaker,   a   senior literary edi...

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: SMFS Members Published in Where Crime Never Sleeps...

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QUARTZ: Amazon has laid out exactly how to game its self-publishing platform

QUARTZ: Amazon has laid out exactly how to game its self-publishing platform

Gravetapping: Mystery Scene: Issue No. 151

Gravetapping: Mystery Scene: Issue No. 151: The latest issue of Mystery Scene Magazine —No. 151—is at a newsstand near you. As usual, it is packed. It features interviews with Atti...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Bake-Off by Beth Kendrick

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Bake-Off by Beth Kendrick: Reviewed by Christy H               I picked up Beth Kendrick’s The Bake-Off for two reasons. 1.) I needed something light after...

Mystery Fanfare: Shamus Award Winners 2017

Mystery Fanfare: Shamus Award Winners 2017: 2017 PRIVATE EYE WRITERS OF AMERICA SHAMUS AWARD WINNERS . T he winners are usually announced during the PWA banquet at Bouchercon , but...

FFB Review: OH, MURDERER MINE by Norbert Davis -- Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Barry’s review previously appeared on FFB on November 4, 2011. Make sure you check out the full list over at Todd Mason's blog. Whether you are reading to relax or as research in order to get away with the crime, there are plenty of good books suggested to you each week.

by Norbert Davis

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

In the course of an arduous trek through a sluggish mystery novel, I took a break and tore through this little gem, the third and—alas!—final novel about the unlikely team of Doan and Carstairs (the other two are The Mouse in the Mountain and  Sally's in the Alley). Doan is a chubby, pleasant-faced private detective; Carstairs is the regal, haughty Great Dane he won in a crap game and who disapproves of him.

Doan is hired by 54-year-old cosmetics magnate Heloise of Hollywood to bodyguard her husband, 26-year-old meteorologist Eric Trent—a.k.a. "Handsome Lover Boy" in Heloise's magazine ads. Heloise, though still quite attractive herself, is afraid younger women will hit on Eric and wants Doan to supply the necessary discouragement.

Things get going when Melissa Gregory, an anthropology instructor at Breckenbridge University, is incensed by Trent's usurpation of her office, as sanctioned by T. Ballard Bestwyck, the university president. She confronts Trent about it, but her impetrations have no effect. Trent is arrogant and stubborn. Melissa learns he might even be taking over the apartment she maintains on campus.

That night, Melissa returns home after a date with assistant English professor Frank Ames to find an intruder in her apartment. The intruder knocks her out and flees, but not before Melissa has had time to scream. Hearing her, Doan and Carstairs investigate, and in the course of their pursuit, Doan is shot at and barely missed by the assailant. He subsequently discovers Frank Ames's body in a trashcan. Ames's throat has been sliced open.

It's only the beginning. More bodies remain to be discovered before Doan wraps things up. I won't go on—the book is only 128 pages long—except to say that the chapter in which Carstairs runs amuck in Heloise's salon is worth the price of the book. I recommend this one and its predecessors, along with the out-of-print The Adventures of Max Latin from The Mysterious Press (five novelettes originally published in Dime Detective), as wonderful examples of the screwball comedy school of mystery a la Jonathan Latimer and Craig Rice. Forget about realism, thematic explorations, or character depth—although some of Davis's characters are memorably wacky. This is storytelling as pure entertainment. Davis could and did write stories as hardboiled as those of Dashiell Hammett, Frederick Nebel, and Raymond Chandler, but his best work features an off-the-wall comic perspective on the tough detective story.

Oh, Murderer Mine is available in a trade paperback edition from Rue Morgue Press ( and in e-book formats (for free) at ManyBooks (

For more on Norbert Davis, see

Barry Ergang ©2009, 2011, 2017

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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Finally Home

As expected, Sandi had to have two units of blood and a unit of platelets. Her blood numbers were very low today and all were surprised she was not in worse shape. They think that all the other issues I was seeing were due to the blood issues. Since the platelets made her sick Monday night they also gave her a small amount of steroids before they started doing the transfusion.

Tonight she feels a little better and is in a little bit less pain than she has been these past few days. She is awake and alert tonight and is way better than she has been the last two days. She is not right, but she is better, and that is a very good thing.

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