Saturday, November 25, 2017

The End Is Very Near

The picture you see of Sandi is how I will always remember her. This is from five years ago when it seemed like she had beaten the odds then and was well. Her hair was back (she was thrilled about that) and she felt normal again. She was happy and had major plans for all of us. It would not be long afterwards when we would find out the damn cancer was back with vengeance. But, for a few weeks there it seemed like her battle was over.

It will be in a matter of hours, a day, maybe two. The end is very near. The only good thing about that is she won't suffer anymore. She has suffered a lot. Especially these last few weeks and in recent days. She has fought and continues to do so even now. I made her promise years ago when this started to never leave me.

I told her this this morning as I held her hand that it was okay to go. It isn't. Not for me. But, for her the pain needs to end. Mine never will.

Friday, November 24, 2017


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Review: TEXAS BLOOD by Roger D. Hodge: I reviewed Texas Blood: Seven Generations Among the Outlaws, Ranchers, Indians, Missionaries, Soldiers, and Smugglers of the Borderlands ...

FFB This Week

Patti Abbott is back today with the latest roundup of FFB reviews over at her blog. Go take a look. And make sure you read her books.

Thursday, November 23, 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 Chris Ryan in the Countdown hot seat.

We’re on Twitter at:
Crime Review: @CrimeReviewUK
Linda Wilson: @CrimeReviewer
Sharon Wheeler: @lartonmedia

This week’s reviews are:

THE SEAGULL by Ann Cleeves, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
DI Vera Stanhope has been persuaded to give a talk to inmates at Warkworth
Prison. At the end she is approached by a prisoner in a wheelchair whom she
recognises. He says he has information that she would be interested in
hearing. Reluctantly she agrees to listen to what he has to say.

SECRETS OF DEATH by Stephen Booth, reviewed by Linda Wilson
The Peak District is home to tourists of all types, but a rash of suicides
is not what it wants to play host to.

BLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD by Attica Locke, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Texas Ranger Darren Mathews is suspended from duty but makes his own way to
a small East Texas town where a double murder shows signs of being racially

SO SAY THE FALLEN by Stuart Neville, reviewed by John Cleal
DCI Serena Flanagan follows her instincts as she investigates the apparent
suicide of a wealthy disabled man.

SWEET LITTLE LIES by Caz Frear, reviewed by Linda Wilson
DC Cat Kinsella stopped trusting her father at the age of eight, so she’s
certainly not surprised when a connection emerges between him and her
latest murder investigations. It’s as if she’s been waiting her whole life
for this moment.

AN ACT OF SILENCE by Colette McBeth, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
All Gabriel has ever wanted is for his mum to believe him, but now he’s
accused of murder and Linda is unable to help. Meanwhile, a young woman
wants the world to know her terrible story.

DAYS WITHOUT END by Sebastian Barry, reviewed by John Barnbrook
Two young men meet after they sign up for the US Army in the 1850s.
Together they go through the Indian Wars and the Civil War, experiencing
the horrors of battle, imprisonment and loss.

WHEN IT GROWS DARK by Jørn Lier Horst, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
Stavern 1983. As Christmas is approaching the young policeman and a father
of baby twins William Wisting becomes engrossed in an old mystery of an
abandoned classic car. He’s determined to uncover 60-year-old secrets.

THE DEVIL WINS by Reed Farrel Coleman, reviewed by Chris Roberts
A storm exposes a body, and the remains of two more killed years ago.
Police Chief Jesse Stone investigates an event nobody in Paradise is keen
to talk about.

NONE SO BLIND by Alis Hawkins, reviewed by John Cleal
The remains of a young woman are found buried beneath tree roots. Harry
Probert-Lloyd, a barrister forced home from London by encroaching
blindness, has been dreading this. He knows whose bones they are and
working with his clerk, John Davies, is determined to expose the guilty

THE NINTH GRAVE by Stefan Ahnhem, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
Two countries, two predators, too many victims, and winter is closing in.
Fabian Risk is called on to undertake a secret investigation.

THE INNOCENTS by Ace Atkins, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Quinn Colson returns home and helps out his friend Sheriff Lillie Virgil
investigate when a young girl is found walking down a highway engulfed in

THE ASSET by Shane Kuhn, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
Kennedy’s younger sister Belle had been one of the victims of 9/11 and he
never forgot that the last words he spoke to her were in anger. In an
attempt to make amends, he abandons his studies and joins the Transport
Security Administration as an aviation security specialist.

RAVENHILL by John Steele, reviewed by John Cleal
Former UDA tearaway Jackie Shaw, who disappeared during the Troubles,
returns to Belfast after 20 years for his father’s funeral and finds his
past coming back to haunt him.

THE KILLER by Susan Wilkins, reviewed by Kate Balfour
Two women, Kaz Phelps and Nicci Armstrong – one the scion of a notable
family of Essex gangsters, the other retired from the Metropolitan Police
Force on medical grounds – are under threat and must cooperate to survive.

TRIPLE CROWN by Felix Frances, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Something is rotten at the heart of American horse racing, and British
Horse Racing Authority investigator Jeff Hinkley goes undercover to help
his US colleagues.

THE VENETIAN GAME by Philip Gwynne Jones, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
Nathan Sutherland is the English Honorary Consul in Venice, a post that
pays nothing but allows him to be of assistance to tourists in trouble. A
rather dull life suddenly becomes exciting when he is offered a
considerable amount of money to look after a small package.

THE ANGEL by Katerina Diamond, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
The body in the burnt-out signal box is just the beginning, but it could be
the end for a lonely young man.

Andrew Hankinson, reviewed by Kim Fleet
An account of the last days of multiple murderer Raoul Moat, told from
inside his mind.

INDIGO DONUT by Patrice Lawrence, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Indigo’s mother was murdered when she was a small child, but the past has a
nasty habit of coming back to haunt her.

Best wishes



Crime Watch: Review: EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND: EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND by Glen Erik Hamilton (William Morrow, 2017) Reviewed by Craig Sisterson Former Army Ranger Van Shaw is recentl...

Do Some Damage: Crime Fiction by Native Americans; or, Tony Hiller...

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The Rap Sheet: Bullet Points: Thanksgiving Links Feast

The Rap Sheet: Bullet Points: Thanksgiving Links Feast

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange, Thanksgiving Edition, 11/22/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange, Thanksgiving Edition, 11/22/17

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Happy Thanksgiving from all us Tipples!

We won't be doing a turkey and all the trimmings today as cooking the bird was always something Sandi did every year. I was always in charge of muscling the bird in and out of the oven, handling potatoes, and other things as well as getting the heck out of the way whenever she ordered me to do so. With the way things are here, there just didn't seem any point in my trying to blunder through trying top cook a bird and all. Today she is in tremendous pain and it is clear that she is slowly getting worse. The hospice folks return tomorrow. The focus on today will remain on trying to keep her comfortable and having a quiet day. More important than ever before as everyone involved in her treatment believes this is the last holiday she will be with us. 

In far more pleasant news.....You may have already seen these pictures Scott took back on Tuesday if you are on Facebook with us, but if not, I thought I would share with you the most recent pictures of our grandson. Jacob Ryan came over Tuesday afternoon and brought along his parents, Amy and Karl. Jacob is now ten months old and growing like crazy.

First up is Sandi with Jacob. The little guy really wanted her glasses, so I kept my hands nearby to protect them as well as help her as she is a squirmy worm when you try to hold him. He takes after his dad, Karl, on that. You can also see her new minion buddy in the bed with her thanks to Karl and Amy. Sandi has always been a huge fan of the minions and was very happy to get him.

This picture is of Amy, Jacob's mom and myself sitting in respective recliners. Eventually, Jacob came crawling across the arm rests and into my lap.

One of several times he ended up in my lap. We tried several times to work it where both of us were looking at the camera, but that did not work out too well.

The final picture is of Jacob with his father, Karl. Ignore the mess behind them. With everything going on hospice wise, trying to clean up more stuff has not been a priority.

As things escalate in the wrong direction, I am very thankful that Sandi has been able to be coherent during the recent visits with Jacob and been able to hold him. At the same time, it is also hard as I , and all the rest of us know, how short the time frame is and all that she is going to miss out on in the coming months.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Crime Watch: Review: THE WAYS OF WOLFE

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WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Torso, Justice League, and the Russian Avengers

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The Digital Reader: Simon & Schuster’s Vanity Press Launches NaNoWriMo Writing Contest to Exploit More Authors

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Thanksgiving, Last Ballad, Indigo Girl...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Thanksgiving, Last Ballad, Indigo Girl...: Reported by Jeanne Nevermore opened with a review of The Thanksgiving Book , a delightful browsing book which provides a history ...

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 11/20/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 11/20/17

Monday, November 20, 2017

SleuthSayers: Plotters and Pantsers

SleuthSayers: Plotters and Pantsers: by Steve Liskow Several years ago, I sat on a panel with three other writers and one of the patrons asked if we outlined or not. I said &q...


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 11/20-26: Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of November 20-26, 2017:  Ongoing Exhibits: Fact, Fiction, and the New World: The Role of Boo...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Clubbed to Death by Ruth Dudley Edwards

At Bouchercon in October I learned that my friend Sarah Byrne and I share a mutual admiration for the satirical mysteries of the incomparable Ruth Dudley Edwards. I re-read one of them upon my return home and found it every bit as good as I remembered it. Clubbed to Death (St. Martin’s Press, 1992) is the 4th title in the Robert Amiss series. Later in the set of 12 books, released between 1982 and 2012, Baroness (Jack) Troutbeck joins him in blithely skewering the English establishment.

A historian, journalist, and prize-winning biographer, Dr. Dudley Edwards won the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction for Aftermath: The Omagh Bombings and the Families’ Pursuit of Justice. Her mysteries have been shortlisted by the Crime Writers' Association for the John Creasey Award for the best first novel and twice for the Last Laugh Award for the funniest crime novel of the year.  Murdering Americans won the Last Laugh award at the 2008 CrimeFest in Bristol.

Robert Amiss is a former British civil servant, caught up in the economic roller coaster that was England in the late 1900s, always looking for some kind of revenue-generating employment. This chronic need for work sets him up beautifully to be sent undercover by his police friends into a long-established gentleman’s club to learn why the secretary of the group seems to have committed suicide in a very public, very messy way in full view of several members. That the secretary was attempting to bring order to the outdated and eccentric operations of the club, to the dismay of some of the members, only heightens police suspicions.

Amiss discovers that members of the ffeatherstonehaugh (pronounced Fanshaw) club live about 100 years in the past, consuming gargantuan meals and drinking exquisitely expensive wines while paying a pittance in membership fees. Where is the money coming from? And where is it going? He has begun to quietly sort through the club’s finances and to establish alibis while working as a live-in waiter when another board officer is killed. There is no question about suicide this time, and the police swarm the club looking for answers.

It would be all too easy to overlook the soundly contrived mystery amid the snickers and chortles that erupt as Dudley Edwards’ incisive wit pokes and prods London’s clubs, public schools, the English language, pomposity, and posh accents. I particularly enjoyed the joke about The Economist, Dudley Edwards’ former employer. Yet focusing only on the humor does this well-plotted amateur detective story a great disservice. Mystery readers unfamiliar with the series will find this title a good place to start.

·         Hardcover: 190 pages
·         Publisher: St Martins Press (September 1, 1992)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 0312081634
·         ISBN-13: 978-0312081638

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

Sunday, November 19, 2017


This has been a tough weekend. After perking up a little bit yesterday morning, by early afternoon Sandi was sliding back downhill and that has continued today. She might be worse tonight than at any point since she came home. Hard to tell.

It has suddenly hit me tonight that if you have Sandi's cell phone number, you may not be aware that her phone has been broken for a couple of months and does not work. If you have our old apartment phone number, you may not know that the number has not worked for weeks. So, if you had either number and want the landline phone number here at the house, email me for the number.

Lesa's Latest Contest: Christmas Mystery Giveaway

This week, I'm giving away copies of David Rosenfelt's The Twelve Dogs of Christmas and Emily Brightwell's Mrs. Jeffries and the Three Wise Women. Details on my blog at Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine 

Jerry's House of Everything: FORGOTTEN BOOK: THE MAGIC MIRROR

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sweet Freedom Blog: Fridays's "Forgotten" Books: The Links to the Reviews and More

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A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: INTERVIEW WITH LAUREAN BROOKS!

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Do Some Damage: My Big Ol' Texas Book Tour by Eryk Pruitt

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KRL This Week Update for 11/18/17

In honor of Thanksgiving we are mostly focusing on food mysteries this week in KRL-check out this article about the food mysteries written by Alexander Campion
Also in KRL this week a review & giveaway of "Secrets & Pies" by Jenny Kales, & a fun Thanksgiving guest post by Jenny which includes a recipe
And reviews & giveaways of a Thanksgiving feast of food mysteries-"Asking for Truffle": A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery by Dorothy St. James, "Dead and Ganache": A Chocolate Whisperer Mystery by Colette London, "The Secret, Book & Scone Society" by Ellery Adams, "Assault and Buttery": A Popcorn Shop Mystery by Kristi Abbott, "The Great Chili Kill-Off": A Fresh Baked Mystery by Liv Washburn, and "The Quiche and the Dead": A Pie Town Mystery by Kirsten Weiss.
Also a review & giveaway of "Fixing to Die" by Miranda James, Author
We also have a review & giveaway of "Dipped" by Elaine Macko and a fun holiday guest post by Elaine
Also up a review of "The Party Line" by Karen Alkofer. While it is a YA novel, it also is a bit of a spy novel with a different kind of twist
On KRL News & Reviews we have a review & giveaway of "Cold as Ice" by Julie Mulhern and the book involves Thanksgiving!
And a review & giveaway of "Skeletons in the Attic" by Judy Penz Sheluk, along with a fun holiday guest post & recipe from Judy
Happy Thanksgiving

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

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller

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Mystery Fanfare: Thanksgiving Mysteries: A List

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Hospice Update

The first of what will be many visits by hospice staff just finished. The nurse spent an hour and a half with us assessing Sandi and our needs. The meds that were supposed to be here this morning won't be here until Monday or more likely Tuesday as they were not ordered yesterday as promised. Fortunately, most of the drugs she is still on I already have and the nurse had some stuff to give us in their "comfort kit" for pain and support.

The nurse also showed me a couple of tricks to make moving Sandi a little easier while she helped me change her and clean some things up. That should help as I had really been hurting myself trying to do things the way I was used to doing them.

It appears right now she will have an aide here four times a week to help with a shower and other things. Nurses will be here twice a week.

I am still overwhelmed, but not as much as I was last night.

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 11/14/17

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 11/14/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange for 11/16/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange for 11/16/17

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sandi Is Home

Sandi came home at just after six tonight and is now sleeping. This picture was taken by Scott in our den just after she arrived and the very nice ambulance crew had left. Hospice at home has begun and a DNR order is in place. I am beyond upset and feeling completely overwhelmed.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Today has been hell. She spiked a fever of 101 last night and was experiencing severe pain in the buttocks and tingling in both legs. They believe it is all caused by disease progression.  Rehab  made the decision late yesterday, before all this happened, they absolutely would not take Sandi as medically there was no point to rehab at the hospital. There was some discussion of trying to move her to a nursing home/rehab place for 20 days as allowed under medicare when you don't have a supplement so she could get maybe an hour a day of rehab. But, in the end it was decided, with lots of tears from both of us, that she will move to hospice for however long she has left.

She will be doing hospice at home as she wanted. As of now, we are to meet with a hospice coordinator tomorrow morning to put things in motion to deliver a hospital bed to here at the house as well as other supplies and start coordinating aides and medical staff. The goal at this point is to have her come home sometime Friday.

I think the last 24 hours brought it home to her what was happening and she decided enough was enough. Everyone on her medical team, including two nurses that have been absolutely wonderful with her the past two weeks, all told her in private conversations when Scott and I were not around that there really was nothing more that could be done to stop all the damn cancer.

I knew this was coming and it was still a brutal and devastating day.

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: John Rabe, Night Ocean, Long Black Veil...

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Guest Post: Jeanne and Treadmill Books: Magical Cats Mysteries by Sofie Kelly

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

Treadmill Books:  Magical Cats Mysteries by Sofie Kelly

When Kathleen Paulson moved from Boston to accept a temporary job as librarian in Mayfield Heights, Minnesota, she had no idea that her life was going to change forever.  For one thing, she ended up adopting two Houdini-esque cats who excel at escaping confinement … almost as if they had special powers.  Ahem.  The temporary job turns permanent, she makes a lot of friends, and –this being a mystery series—becomes involved in a lot of murder investigations.

Kathleen is a sensible heroine, possibly because her actor parents were the ones in charge of drama.  Her family looms largest in the earlier books, fading in importance as new characters are introduced and developed. (They do make appearances and are sometimes invoked in conversation, just not as often—which is only natural.) She has a number of friends of various ages and backgrounds as well as a love interest in one of the local cops.  The cats are adept investigators, even if Kathleen is hesitant to credit them with solving any crimes.  It’s just luck.  Really.

I had gotten behind and hadn’t picked up one of these titles for a couple of years, so I wondered if I’d remember enough about the characters and situations. I needn’t have worried.  Kelly’s style flows smoothly and she’s very good at getting readers up to speed without dragging things out.  I particularly enjoy the way that she handles relationships, especially female friendships which seem natural and fun instead of stilted and self-conscious as they are in some books.  I also appreciate that there is some effort to give readers a little sense of what working in a library entails, though I have to say that the library ends up closed a lot so Kathleen can continue her sleuthing.

There’s also a reasonable sense of place and a good assortment of supporting characters.  Besides the aforementioned female friends and beau, there are a few “local color” types and, of course, the cats.

Owen and Hercules are charming and full of personality.  They don’t talk, but are quite good at getting their messages across.  There’s also a bit of sibling rivalry going on between the two, especially when one of the funky catnip chickens is involved.

The mysteries are well done, but for me it’s the characters that make this series. They do keep me walking, so I give this series a treadmill thumbs up. I don’t think the books need to read in order, but I generally prefer to do it that way. I’m still two books behind, but it’s turning cold and rainy so I anticipate I’ll be doing a lot of treadmill trudging.  Good thing I have books for the journey.

Note:  This series has just made the leap into hardcover for the first time with A Tale of Two Kitties.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Review: Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue 3 Edited by Eryk Pruitt and Michael Pool

The third issue of Crime Syndicate Magazine features ten stories as selected by guest co-editor Eryk Pruitt and owner/editor Michael Pool. This latest issue ties right into the previous issues that established what readers should expect when reading this magazine. This is a magazine of short crime fiction, often noir in style, and as such, these tales are not of happy dogs cavorting in fields while the owners dance with butterflies. The short stories that make up this issue are ales of pain, loss, and expectations that are that things will always get worse. 

Mr. Pruitt’s story, “The Deplorables,” begins the issue and does so with powerful imaging and pain so real on the page you can taste it on your tongue. With a husband that has the name, “Trigger Raywood” you know life is going to be hard. It is and not just because your child has Asperger’s. There is not much food for the family and you are barely holding everything and everyone together. But, there might be a solution in the odds and ends drawer in the kitchen if you can just get everybody to do what they should.

We have all seen the videos shot by folks as they are stopped by police. One of those videos is at the heart of “Good Cop Bad Cop” by Kevin Z. Garvey. Mr. Alex Austin is the driver and like his BMW, his mouth just won’t quit.

Tommy probably wouldn’t be robbing places if Nikki wasn’t pregnant. But, she is and that means he has to do what he has to do in “Below The Angels” by Max Booth III. That robbery at a drug store is just one small piece of this multi pov story were all the characters are linked together in some way and are experiencing some sort of personal crisis.

It is pouring when Doc and the narrator roll into the gas station in “Schmuck” by Dennis Day. The guy working at the station might be worth a few bills from the till. Until the big guy driving the Caddy comes in presenting a far more difficult challenge with a higher payday.

Waking up with blood on your t-shirt is not a good thing even if murder had been the reason for the trip from Nashville to New Orleans. Arti wanted to put a knife into the man who cheated on her and freshman Callisto went along for the ride. Artie is a sophomore transfer student from LSU and she wants Brice dead. Callisto had become a part of her plan as she would need help getting rid of the body afterwards in “Gods And Virgins In The Big Easy” by Nina Mansfield.

Tron and Day-Day went to the house looking for Trucky as “Slit The Belly” by S. A. Cosby begins. They have a plan, but all they find is an old man who is more than willing to invite them in to talk a spell.

We have all seen the twenty something guys with the man buns walking around. Rick and George have seen them as well. The difference is that Rick and George actually try to do something about it on the streets of Deep Ellum in Dallas. In “Hipster Pantsin’” by Travis Richardson, the guys attempt to answer the question and settle a bet in a story that is very funny as well as a commentary of the power of social media these days.

Ron is waiting outside the prison for the bus when the car rolls up. Scab and Toksvig are there to take him to Bowers to settle some things in “The Whitest Boy On The Block” by Paul Heatley. Survival in prison comes with a cost and there are bills due and payable when one gets out.

Meachy had sent the two guys to the house in Austin to deal with a problem. But, the guys found a complication in the form of a seventeen year old girl by the name of Angel in “Dirty South Of Heaven” by Allen Griffin. Her presence changes everything for all involved.

Rico Garcia is casing the place in his role as a fireplace inspector. His partner in crime, Carlos, is doing the same thing as they work through the condominium complex. It should be an easy score though, so far, they have not found that much good stuff in “The Contractors” by David A. Anthony.

Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue Three continues the fine work that readers consumed in issues one and two. Complicated characters, stories with twists, and plenty of atmospheric details make these ten tales of crime fiction mighty good reads and well worth your time. As these are crime fiction tales, these stories are not for everyone as frequently there is graphic language and graphic violence in these works. Dark in overall tone with occasional flashes of twisted humor, Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue Three is another very good read. 

Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue 3
Edited by Eryk Pruitt and Michael Pool
Short Stack Books
September 2017
eBook (paperback available)
95 Pages

Review copy provided by Michael Pool for my possible use in an objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

Monday, November 13, 2017

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 11/13/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 11/13/17

Mystery Fanfare: Guy Fawkes Night Crime Fiction

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Thread the Halls by Lea Wait

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Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 11/13/17

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TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 11/13-19: Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of November 13-19, 2017:  Special Events: Odessa Shakespeare Festival , November 17-18 2017 Wiza...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward

A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward (Minotaur, 2016) is the second in a promising new contemporary British detective series set in Derbyshire in central northern England. Ward reviews crime fiction on her blog Crimepieces (, and she has reviewed for Euro Crime and CrimeSquad. She is a judge for the Petrona Award for Scandinavian crime novels. 

DI Francis Sadler and his team in Bampton are called to the site of an abandoned World War I mortuary where the body of Andrew Fisher lies with a large gunshot wound, leaving no question about the cause of his death. Sadler recognizes the victim as an old high school classmate and is deeply shocked, because Fisher’s wife Lena Gray was convicted of Fisher’s murder more than 10 years previously.  The subsequent investigation immediately becomes complex: Who was the man Lena Gray confessed to killing? Where has Fisher been for the past 12 years? Who killed him less than 24 hours before the discovery of his body? In addition, an internal police probe is initiated to learn how the inquiry into the first killing failed to establish identity conclusively. Many of the individuals involved in the first investigation are still actively serving on the police force, and demotions and dismissals over the monumental foul-up hang ominously in the air.

The elaborate unusual plot has multiple threads that come together in the end without a dropped stitch. I had some trouble keeping the supporting characters sorted. Some were associated with the initial investigation, some with the current one, and some turned out to be linked with both.

DI Sadler and his minions DC Palmer and DC Childs make a good team, with Sadler’s boss Superintendent Llewellyn juggling oversight of the investigation into the recent murder while doing damage control with his superiors on the earlier bungled one. The interactions of Sadler, Palmer, and Childs foreshadow plot lines in future books. Sadler and Childs are single whereas Palmer is recently married and having second thoughts about it. Sadler’s sister keeps introducing eligible women to him; Childs realizes she’s attracted to Sadler and Palmer but wants to focus on her career and recognizes she can’t have both. I hope Ward is astute enough in future books to continue to concentrate more on plot than on relationships.

In light of recent events in this country I was particularly intrigued with the way an unlicensed World War I Luger was viewed by the unsuspecting civilians who found it. 

This story is not a fast-moving action adventure. Rather, it mimics quite well the drudgery of a real-life investigation with its attendant false starts and unproductive lines of inquiry. A welcome addition to the never long enough lists of British police procedurals.

·         Hardcover: 384 pages
·         Publisher: Minotaur Books (September 27, 2016)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1250069181
·         ISBN-13: 978-1250069184

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

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sandi Update Saturday 11/11/17

Today was tough as Sandi was very much out of it. She knew who we were when we came to visit, but little else. She has no memory of calling me three times late last night sure stuff was missing from her room nor does she remember how upset she was with me or anything else. There were times today when she used the wrong word for something (using "shoe" when she meant "telephone" for one example) and other times she started a sentences and stopped after four or five words. What little she said she repeated over and over again over many minutes interspersed with baby talk. When the kids were little she never did that much baby talk so hearing so much today was very disconcerting.

Her blood work is still coming back with no signs of infection though that does not mean much as that has happened before when she had a raging infection. The most recent episode of unexplained fevers seems to have inexplicably stopped again. They have added a different antibiotic and taken her off the IV versions of various antibiotics. They have also changed her BP med again to deal with an ongoing issue of her blood pressure soaring.

Scott and I plan on staying home Sunday to give me a day of semi rest. Having fallen twice at UTD Friday evening and having stumbled and nearly fallen several times today, it is clear that I need to stay home and take care of myself a bit.

Lesa's Latest Contest: Holiday Giveaway

This week, I'm giving away copies of The Usual Santas by Soho Press authors, and How the Finch Stole Christmas by Donna Andrews. Details on my blog at Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine  

Jerry's House of Everything: VETERAN'S DAY

Jerry's House of Everything: VETERAN'S DAY: Let us honor our veterans today, and every day.  Not by mouthing words like "Thank you for your service" or by displaying a "...

In Reference To Murder Blog: The 'Zine Scene for 11/9/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: The 'Zine Scene for 11/9/17

KRL This Week Update for 11/11/17

Up in KRL this morning a review & giveaway of "Body on Baker Street" by Vicki Delany, a fun mystery series with a Sherlock Holmes connection
And a review & giveaway of "The Question of the Absentee Father" An Asperger’s Mystery By E.J Copperman & Jeff Cohen, and an interesting Behind the Book interview with Jeff
Also a review & giveaway of "Sleep Like a Baby" by Charlaine Harris
And a review & giveaway of "The Woman in the Camphor Trunk" by Jennifer Kincheloe
Also,  perfect for a cold fall day, a review & giveaway of coffee mystery "Murder Over Mochas" by Caroline Fardig, along with a fun coffee guest post from Caroline which includes a coffee recipe
And a review & ebook giveaway of "Highland Peril" by Amy Reade
We also have a review of "Pampered to Death" by Diana Orgain & a giveaway of an ebook boxed set of the first 3 books in the series
And on KRL News & Reviews a review & giveaway of "Cat Got Your Secrets" by Julie Chase 

Happy reading,


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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: In the Woods by Tana French

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: In the Woods by Tana French: Reviewed by Christy H.             Detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox had an instant bond when Cassie joined the Dublin M...

Friday, November 10, 2017

My Killer Nashville Review: The Ghosts of Galway by Ken Bruen

It has been quite awhile since one of my reviews graced the pages of the Killer Nashville site. With everything going on here, it is only tonight that I have discovered I am back on there. Back on October 17th my review of The Ghosts of Galway: A Jack Taylor Novel by Ken Bruen went live as the "Book of the Day."

If you are interested, you can read what I thought by going here.

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity Blog: 20 Great Podcasts for Writers

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 20 Great Podcasts for Writers: Podcasts are perfect for people who commute, or who spend a lot of time in a car, subway, or train. (Airplanes! Boats!) There are a lot ...

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 11/6/17

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 11/6/17

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 Lynda La Plante in the Countdown hot seat:

We’re on Twitter at:
Crime Review: @CrimeReviewUK
Linda Wilson: @CrimeReviewer
Sharon Wheeler: @lartonmedia

This week’s reviews are:

THE BALTIMORE BOYS by Joel Dicker, reviewed by John Cleal
Three brilliant young men from different branches of a Jewish family all
have dazzling futures until their close world collapses amid lies, jealousy
and betrayal.

WARLORD by Chris Ryan, reviewed by Linda Wilson
SAS trooper Danny Black leads a covert team with orders to take down a
Mexican drug lord.

PARADISE VALLEY by CJ Box, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Cassie Dewell has spent years tracking a serial killer known as the Lizard
King. An attempt at a trap goes spectacularly awry so Cassie must find
another route to finally bring him down.

THE CONSTANT SOLDIER by William Ryan, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
It is 1944 and Paul Brandt, a German soldier, is returning home from the
Russian front, disfigured and having lost an arm. He has no idea what his
future will be once he has recovered from his injuries.

RESISTANCE by Val McDermid, reviewed by Linda Wilson
When festival goers start falling sick, journalist Zoe Beck sets out to
clear the name of the man whose sausage sandwiches are being blamed for the
outbreak of the mystery disease.

BUTTERFLY ON THE STORM by Walter Lucius, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
A young Afghan boy is found in the woods outside Amsterdam, apparently a
victim of a hit-and-run. Journalist Farah Hafez realises that he speaks her
native language and decides to investigate the events that led to the

CAMBRIDGE BLACK by Alison Bruce, reviewed by John Cleal
A young woman sets out to prove her father’s innocence of an arson blaze in
which two people died and her inquiries lead DC Gary Goodhew to two more
connected crimes, including the death of his own grandfather.

EYES LIKE MINE by Sheena Kamal, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
A girl is missing. And it’s Nora Watts’ daughter – the one she gave up at

THREE DAYS AND A LIFE by Pierre Lemaitre, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
Antoine Courtin is 12 years old and lives alone with his divorced mother.
Something of a loner, he has developed a deep love for the neighbours’ dog
and when it is hit by a car and has to be put down he is devastated.

BUFFALO JUMP BLUES by Keith McCafferty, reviewed by Chris Roberts
PI Sean Stranahan is hired by the beautiful Ida Evening Star to find an old
flame who knows something about a small herd of bison that went over a

HOFFER by Tim Glencross, reviewed by John Cleal
Suave William Hoffer is a fixer for the super-rich. When a girl is found
murdered in his flat, his past seems to be catching up with him – and he
must revive old instincts to survive.

EXQUISITE by Sarah Stovell, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
What could be wrong with a spark of chemistry between a mentee and her
mentor – other than everything …

THE LEGACY OF THE BONES by Dolores Redondo, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Inspector Amaia Salazar returns to the valley of her birth in Spain to
tackle a chain of murders linked by the severed arms of the victims and the
one-eyed mythical tarttalo.

THE LONG ARM OF THE LAW edited by Martin Edwards, reviewed by John Cleal
CWA chairman Martin Edwards introduces 15 short stories by some of the
great novelists from the golden age of crime writing.

THE BEST KIND OF PEOPLE by Zoe Whittall, reviewed by John Barnbrook
George Woodbury is a respected and much-loved teacher who saved his school
from the attack of a gunman. He is a pillar of the small community of
Avalon until the day he is arrested and accused of inappropriate sexual
behaviour with several of his students.

NEW GUARD by Robert Muchamore, reviewed by Linda Wilson
In one last highly dangerous and highly deniable operation, CHERUB mission
controller James Adams has to plan and execute the rescue of two kidnapped
oil industry workers from war-torn Syria.

THE FORTUNATE BROTHER by Donna Morrissey, reviewed by Chris Roberts
The Now family are crushed by the loss of the eldest son and thrown into
confusion when a local man is killed, a man who nobody had reason to like.

FALSE HEARTS by Laura Lam, reviewed by John Barnbrook
Tila and Taema are sisters who used to be conjoined twins. They moved from
an isolated cult to live in San Francisco, and here they were separated and
given new artificial hearts. Tila is in serious trouble and Taema agrees to
go undercover to save her.

LIGHT TOUCH by Stephen Leather, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Spider Shepherd is sent undercover to report on whether another operative
from a different agency, also working undercover, has gone rogue. In
addition, he’s dragged into the hunt for a possible rogue SAS soldier.

CONTINENTAL CRIMES edited by Martin Edwards, reviewed by Sylvia Wilson
A collection of stories from the golden age of detective fiction, all set
in continental Europe.
Best wishes


Sandi Update 11/10/17

The roller coaster is going downhill a little bit today as she is rather out of it, though is able to move to the bathroom with assistance and do what needs to be done. the first results are in on the blood cultures and they don't show anything. that does not mean much of anything as it usually takes 48 to 72 hours before anything starts growing in these deals. Her fever is down today, but most mornings and through the midday it tends to be down.

Her last radiation treatment is next Tuesday. After that she will move across the hospital to rehabilitation. If they hold her as long as they usually do, that means she will be in rehab for around ten days. It also means that if something blows up with her, they can scoot her back across the hospital to the main cancer floors.

They were also able to juggle her room assignment and move her back to the top floor late yesterday so she is now back with her fellow cancer patients. That is good for her and, if she turns out to be infected with another bacterial blood infection, much safer for all involved as they have dealt with that before with many other cancer patients. Even if not infected, the nurses up there all know her, know me, and know how to handle her situation as they have seen her almost nonstop since Memorial Day.

While her cellphone is still very dead, she does have her iPad with her and we got it back up and working for her today. So, from time to time, if you are on Facebook, you may see her appear for short intervals of time.

FFB Review: The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping

With the recent news of a fifth helping of holiday mayhem, The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fifth Helping of Chaos, it seemed like a good time to blow the dust off the first book in this series that I read and reviewed back in early December 2012. Make sure you check out the full list of reading suggestions over at Patti Abbott's blog.

Thanks to the success of the first anthology, J. Alan Hartman of Untreed Reads decided to do it again. As a result the anthology “The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping” was born. The book features 17 short stories by 17 authors set around Thanksgiving in some way. After a short introduction by Jay Hartman about the books, this one in particular, it is on to the stories.

The book opens with “Reign Check” by Arthur C. Carey where George Simmons is out in his barren Iowa cornfield on a mission with his dog, Lucy. The field has been picked clean, but his wife, Emiline, wants some ears of corn for a Thanksgiving decoration.  Emiline, his grown daughter, Alma, and the grandkids are back at the house working on getting the Thanksgiving dinner ready.  George can’t wait to get back, but things are going to conspire against him in this twisted and very funny tale.

“Thursday Night at Pins and Pub” by John Weagly follows next with Waylon Preston complaining to Billy Weston that there never is enough gravy. About the only thing Waylon does not put gravy on is pumpkin pie as he really likes gravy.  In the small town of Currie Valley there just is not a lot to do. The local bowling alley having some beers is the only place the brothers have to be on Thanksgiving. Everybody knows everybody which makes the suddenly missing tip at the bar even more important.

Sheriff Mollie Goodall is back in “Justice for Elijah” written by two time Derringer winner Earl Staggs. It’s Thanksgiving Day and Sheriff Mollie is covering the office while everyone is off.  Her husband, Lilburn, is at home cooking which is very good thing as he loves to cook and is good at it.  Elijah Curry is not only one very dirty boy in appearance; he also has a complicated tale of murder that crosses the Watango, Texas county lines. 

For some strange reason Mary had to go and marry a vegan. That makes Thanksgiving complicated, but folks have to try and be civil to each other. Maybe he wouldn’t be so thin and cranky in “All in the Family” by Amanda Lundberg if he actually ate some meat. Messing with the Thanksgiving turkey was not cool in this often funny tale that touches on several Thanksgivings and some serious holiday stress.  

For the Miller Clan Thanksgiving is the time to celebrate politics and PACs and the entire election process. Politics and collecting power is the life blood of the family. They start them young in “Campaign Seasoning” by Betsy Bitner and skills for their corner of upstate New York. The traditional meal and accompanying jokes were always the same until Alexa came along after marrying into the family. Helen doesn’t trust her one bit.

S. Furlong-Bolliger is up next the often funny story “The Over the Hill Gang.” Back in the day the Hill Gang was a force to be feared. These days there are just a few of them left and that made Deputy Dalton decide there was no need to round up posse. After having Thanksgiving dinner earlier in the day, Deputy Dalton set out in pursuit in this western treat. Even at their worst, the gang never murdered anyone. That has changed as the sheriff dead and Deputy Dalton is going to bring his killer to justice. The question is – which aged criminal did it?

Stan is going to Thanksgiving dinner in “Good Times” by Steve Shrott. He does not think it is any big deal though his red headed receptionist Mindy clearly disagrees. 

“’Look, I’m just going to a Thanksgiving dinner, that’s all.

“Yeah, with guys who kill people just cause they slurp their soup too loud.’” 

She thinks it is bad idea, but Stan, the dentist, needs to keep all his patients happy as times are hard. Easier said than done at this dinner where paranoia can kill.

Andrew MacRae is up next with “Felony at Farquhar Farms.”  It really puts a damper on the festivities when the cook runs from the kitchen screaming. It gets worse when the cook drops to the polished oak floor in the foyer. Apparently, someone is dead and Constable Pratt will have a number of suspects once he arrives by bicycle. Constable Pratt is going to be busy in this often funny tale of romance and mystery.  

Thanksgiving dinner at Mickey’s Grandmother’s house in Camden, Maine is always potluck because she can only make on dish.  She can only make Waldorf salad in this tale titled “Secret Ingredients” by Zoe Burke.  Unfortunately, neighbor Margaret Langenfeld is dead and the mayonnaise in the salad may have done it. Annabelle isn’t so sure.

Ella and Emma Mullen are twin sisters in “Green Beans & Murder” by Arlen Blumhagen.  Opposite as possible the twins don’t get along at all. Now, Mullen’s twin daughters are missing.  A small town in Montana means somebody local had to do it and Sheriff Cody Gillen is stumped in this twisted story.

It is 1964 and a week before Thanksgiving as “Mashed in the Potatoes” by Lesley A. Diehl opens. There was an incident at Thanksgiving last year and Aunt Nozzie has a plan to prevent a repeat this Thanksgiving. Darcie, her boyfriend, Ken, and Barb will go and luck Ken will experience the Thanksgiving dinner at Aunt Nozzle’s house. No matter how much he is told, he has no idea what he is in for. Good thing Aunt Nozzle has a full bar.

“They eDone Him Wrong” by Gail Farrelly is next. If Uncle Ryan had just kept his mouth shut, except for eating, he would still be 74 and alive. Instead, he ticked everyone off and is now a 74 year old dead man. You could learn something here if you talk a lot in this tale told from the perspective of an e-reader.

Apparently Thanksgiving has been pretty rough for the Fillmore family the last couple of years in “I Yam What I Yam” by Herschel Cozine. First Grandpa Bert died and was laid to rest in the basement. Last year Uncle Lazarus died from arsenic poisoning and was shelved in the basement. Thanksgiving time again and the question is--can they all survive it?

“Talking Turkey” by Linda S. Reilly follows next with sisters Flo and Effie who are arguing over whether or not this is the year Tommy the turkey gets it. Flo wants the turkey dead and can almost taste it as she tells her sister over and over again. Effie is adamant that the turkey is family and has been since, as a baby, it survived the great storm in ‘08. But, as anyone in any family knows, the fight over the turkey is over bigger issues then the turkey or even sibling rivalry.

Frank wants to rob a liquor store on Thanksgiving as a family holiday tradition and wants his wife’s help in “Drumsticks Can be Deadly” by Stephen D. Rogers. After all, he never said word one when Laurie would visit her parents on Thanksgiving last year. It is a great plan too.  Neither one can testify against each other because they are married. Junior in his diapers can’t do anything beyond baby talk.  Old Man Gruber is the perfect target.  It’s a great plan even despite a possible curse.

Thanksgiving is going to be very different this year with Grandpa dead. Grandmother has come a long way in the funny “Murder a la Mode” by Barb Goffman.  But, her new lifestyle is way too revealing according to Felicity and as long as they stay in the car she and Thomas won’t have to deal with it. If they leave right away and never go to the door they can be back in Atlanta where they belong in 90 minutes.

“Perfect Pumpkin Pie” by Laura Hartman brings the anthology to a close.  Sharon isn’t at all happy that Mason went and invited his mother and Aunt Lilly over for Thanksgiving. Their dinners have always been perfect over the years and Sharon feels she can’t complete. The fact that her mother-in-law hates her won’t help things.

While Thanksgiving dinner is often the scene of crime, the reasons and the suspects vary tremendously in this often funny book of short stories. The 17 tales here are good ones featuring complexity and variety in styles and situations. Some tales are fairly serious while others start the reader laughing from the first sentence. The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping is a solidly good read.


The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping
Editor J. Alan Hartman
Untreed Reads
October 2012
Kindle eBook
(estimated print length 162 Pages)

Material supplied by Brendan Seibel of Untreed Reads for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2012, 2017