And reviews and giveaways of 4 fun food mysteries for your fall reading-"Dim Sum of All Fears": A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien, "Goodbye Cruller World": A Deputy Donut Mystery by Ginger Bolton, "Stabbed in the Baklava": A Kitchen Kebab Mystery by Tina Kashian, and "Premeditated Peppermint": Amish Candy Shop Mystery by Amanda Flower http://kingsriverlife.com/09/29/food-mysteries-for-your-fall-appetite/
Day One of this thriller starts with a crash-bang, whipping the
reader between North Dakota and North Carolina, propelling us, relentlessly,
into a breathtaking tale of death, greed, and fear. Days Two, Three, and the
rest keep us barreling along.
Cassie Dewell takes a new job and finds herself thrust into a
place filled with nasty, brutish people, some of whom live short lives. Besides
her tough new job as deputy sheriff in the aptly named town of Grimstad, she
has other problems. She is maybe the only person who can identify a serial
killer called the Lizard King, so she travels briefly to North Carolina to
interview him. He attacks her in the interrogation room, tries to strangle her,
and almost kills her. After she returns north, she learns there may not be enough
evidence to keep him in jail. If there isn’t, she’s in a great deal of danger.
Meanwhile, back in the cold north winter, a twelve-year-old boy,
Kyle Westergaard, is the one the reader fears for the most. He’s a true innocent,
a bit slow mentally and unable to speak clearly. He rarely does speak and only
a few people can understand him. But he knows everything that is going on. The
trouble starts the day he sees too much on his early morning paper route, the
worst route because it’s the farthest one out. When he sneaks over and picks up
a bundle from the site of a car wreck, he becomes the unwitting target of rival
factions who want that bundle, all of them vicious people.
The town of Grimstad is a real place and it did experience the
oil boom described here, which serves as background and impetus for dirty
deeds. The cold northern plains winter permeates these pages. You may have to
read this with a sweater on. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Barry Ergang is back to close out September with his new review of a
short story collection. For the list of what is suggested this week, make sure
you head over to Patti Abbott’s blog.
BEHAVING BADLY: A Collection of Short Mystery Stories (2015)
by John D.
The short stories in this collection all involve crimes and criminous
behavior, and can thus be subsumed under the mystery category in its broadest
sense, but they are not the kind of puzzle stories the term “mystery” implies.
That said, they’re a lot of fun.
He tells people who ask that his name is Joe, but the reader can’t be
certain this is true. Joe’s skill is looting mailboxes for checks and credit
card statements, which he sends on to associates who will use the information
thus gleaned to loot bank accounts and sell relevant data to identity thieves. After
pulling off such a theft in Unionville, he finds a note indicating he’s been found
out, and that the sender wants to meet with him. What seem to Joe “Easy
Pickings” remains to be determined.
Now living in a retirement community, Bill Sullivan has said hello to
fellow resident “Dumpster Rose,” prior to the arrival of the sanitation truck,
three times a week for the past two weeks. Today is like another, except that
now Bill invites her to breakfast, Rose’s acceptance of which leads to
excitement and revelations, including at least one of the latter Bill could do
Marco Mancini knew from age thirteen that he wanted to become a priest,
much to the pleasure of his grandmother and the displeasure of his parents. But
heed the call he did, and now serves with Father Bryan at “St. Anne’s Church in
crime-riddled Belleview parish. All those years of study and sacrifice at the
seminary didn’t prepare him for the evil he’s witnessed over the last five
years.” When an upset and very frightened young woman confesses to Father
Marco, he surprises her with a “True Confession” of his own in a potent story
that might leave readers pondering matters moral and immoral.
In “A Shoulder to Die On,” Brian Watson frequently forgets to remove
the contents of the pockets in his jeans before tossing them into the hamper,
so wife Dina makes it a point to check them before they become part of a
laundry load. When she discovers a matchbook from “the Wild Horse Club, a
singles bar which is best described as a meat market for horny souls,” she
finds a seductive note penned inside its cover. She decides to let the
discovery pass without comment to Brian, certain he’s not a cheater. But two
weeks later she finds a note to him written on hotel stationery, resulting in
confrontations which lead to catastrophic outcomes.
Experienced bartender Ace Miller has developed, from general necessity
and the specific need to retain his job, a capacity “to listen, sympathize and
keep the drinks flowing. Never offer advice unless asked to do so and never
argue with a customer.” Between Mrs. Marsalina and, especially, the very
demanding—and frequently inebriated—Ben Summerfield, he’s kept extremely busy.
While he’s all too familiar with Summerfield’s story, neither he nor
Summerfield can foresee the “Killer Karma” that’s coming.
Storefront medium Madame Simone has her latest customer initially
tagged as both well-to do and well-educated until he opens his mouth and the grammatical
errors pour out. But since he’s willing to pay her sizable fee for a reading, she’s
willing to overlook the linguistic ineptitudes of the man who says his name is
Tony. The reading starts out reasonably well, Simone having had only one
dissatisfied customer in her five years working her grift, but it’s unfortunate
she really can’t see the future or she’d know what happens when “The Auditor
“Jillian met Peter in the rooftop lounge on the 20th floor of the
Markham Hotel a year ago.” They developed an on-again/off-again relationship
“based on pure unadulterated lust, great sex and large quantities of alcohol.”
But now Jillian has asked Peter to join her at the hotel lounge for what,
unbeknownst to him, is her determination to make an irrevocable break. Their
discussion takes the kind of turn Jillian couldn’t have foreseen, and a more
radical turn when Will Denton shows up and demonstrates that “Falling is the
The nameless, highly imaginative first-person narrator of “A Matter of
Disposal” learns that eavesdropping on neighbors Monica and Howard Swartz, who
live in the apartment above his in a building with paper-thin walls and
ceilings, can have very embarrassing consequences.
Another nameless narrator relates “A Deadly Act of Kindness.” A
bone-breaker for his boss Mr. Genovese, he’s watching the home of accountant
Daniel Davis because “apparently Dan’s stupid enough to think he can siphon
funds out of Mrs. Genovese’s and some of his other clients’ accounts and get
away with it.” Davis has denied the accusation but Mr. Genovese doesn’t believe
him, so our narrator has been dispatched to send a message via the Davises’
eight-year-old daughter Molly as soon as they leave for the evening and Molly
is home with a babysitter.
When he arrives at his office at the News-Tribune very early in the morning, crime reporter Jason
Garrett finds an envelope with his name on it which was postmarked three days
earlier. The letter is from a Mildred Cruickshank, and details aspects of her
personal downfall from an opulent lifestyle to a far less substantial one—and
why. Now living in a rundown apartment complex includes Mildred’s having “Hell
to Pay” to contend with vicious juvenile delinquent sixteen-year-old neighboring
twins Randy and Teddy in a particularly potent tale.
For Donald Roberts, “Sorrow Point” is simultaneously a state of place,
a state of mind, and a state of retribution as he recounts his dysfunctional
relationship with his parents, with his fifteen-year-older brother Thom, and
with Thom’s wife Greta.
Henry Foster tries to discourage his stay-at-home wife Andrea from
watching the evening newscasts because they’re always full of grim stories. But
she does so anyway while he’s at work at “The Butcher” shop he’s inherited from
his father and grandfather. On this particular evening there’s another story
about a mass murderer of women. Mostly, however, Andrea is angry at Henry for what
she saw on the news concerning him in
this darkly comic tale.
Paul Santini is in deep financial trouble—and with the wrong people. He
owes three thousand dollars to Romano Sambucco after losing to him in a game of
pool, and—worst still—thirty-seven thousand dollars (plus interest) to crime
boss Guido Genovese, owner of the “Lucky Thirteen” casino. In the case of the
latter, Paul is given a painful warning by Genovese’s man Tony (a.k.a. the
Auditor) Deluso that he’s up against a deadline. When a lawyer named Walter
Michaels comes into his life with a fortuitous proposition, Paul figures he has
it made—if he plays his cards right….
Readers who are fans of crime stories, some of which contain macabre
twists, are advised to check out this quick entertaining read from an author
whose prose is competently wrought and whose sense of characterization is strong
and commendable. The one nit I have to pick is the one I mentioned in my
review of James Patterson’s I, Alex Cross
regarding “surprise” twists and violations thereof. Mr. Ottini has a
predilection for surprise endings in a number of the stories in People Behaving Badly, not all of which
are properly prepared for but which are less egregious than Patterson’s—if only
because Ottini is working in the shorter form. Then again, in recent years I’ve
read quite a few published short stories which violate what I was taught about
planting suggestions and implications, so this might be one of those “new
normals” we keep hearing about nowadays.
have read any of author CS DeWildt’s work, you know that there will be dark
times and maybe some humor. No humor is present all in his short
story, Corbin’s Dreams Take Flight: A Short Story. There is plenty of
darkness and pain.
Rutherford Scaggs broke his wrist when he fell of the roof of the single wide
trailer he shared with his mom and his older brother, Tommy. That break
resulted in five pins and a titanium plate by way of a surgeon who also wrote
him a script for Percocet. His brother took off again and this time took Corbin’s
pain meds.If he had just left a few
days earlier, Corbin never would have been on the roof in the first place and
therefore the fall would never have happened. He waited a month before moving into Tommy’s
Part of that
move requires Corbin washing the sheets for the bed. That process is
interrupted by Janie Myers inviting him outside to see what is going on. The
Davis brothers are, like the up and coming sociopaths they are, torturing a
small create. In this case, a pigeon that is now permanently blind and missing
a beak among other numerous injuries.
pigeon that Corbin intends to save in Corbin’s Dreams Take Flight. The
steps he takes and how that is accomplished is the focus in a dark tale that
does not end in the way one would expect. It is also a very disturbing one.
Corbin’s Dreams Take
Flight is certainly not for everyone. Especially if violence against
animals and birds bother you as the bird has a very hard go of it before and
after the rescue by Corbin. Well written, this is not a tale that makes you
feel good about anyone. Unlike his recently published short story, The
Louisville Problem, there is no mystery at work here. Other than
how do folks end up like this as adults are not present and are only vaguely
referred to a couple of times. Once could make an argument that this tale has
links to the Lord of the Flies albeit on a much smaller scale.
A slice of life
style piece set across a few weeks, Corbin’s Dreams Take Flight: A Short Story is
one of the toughest things I have read in a very long time. While it may be
only thirteen pages long, this is a tale that hits with the power of a
sledgehammer upside the head.
is a bit of a running joke on Facebook about working from home and wearing
pants. Whether or not one needs to even wear pants at home. Should there be a
special pair of pants set aside by the front door somewhere in order to answer
the door? It is one of those things that is funny if you see it and yet so hard
to explain to those who have not.
both Scott and I were definitely working from home and wearing pants today. While I can't prove my this picture that I was wearing pants, they were on.
However, I can prove Scott was wearing pants by the picture below. I can also prove that he can multi task with the best of them. Not only is he taking notes on a book he is reading for one of his grad courses where he has to write a paper on said book, he also is managing to check his Facebook status on his cellphone at the same time.
Only days left to win copies of 3 mysteries that all have a creative slant to their setting-"A Dark and Twisting Path": A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery By Julia Buckley, "Died in the Wool": A Knit & Nibble Mystery By Peggy Ehrhart, and "Shattered at Sea": A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery by Cheryl Hollon http://kingsriverlife.com/09/22/3-mysteries-with-a-creative-slant/
Menace of the Years: A River City Novel begins it is December 27, 1999.
The coming millennium means the threat of the Y2K phenomenon. For the men and
women who serve and protect the citizens of River City, they are expected to do
more with less. The budgetary climate is not only affecting morale, it is a
having a negative impact on their police work.
all begins with Officer Katie MacLeod on patrol at 3:26 in the morning. While her new in car computer system is
proving to be far more difficult than it is worth, the radios still work very well.
She and several other units are dispatched on a home invasion burglary call.
Katie MacLeod arrives first on the scene and due to violent circumstances
underway on her arrival, she is forced to confront the suspects on her own.
the wake of the aftermath, she is able to detain and arrest one suspect though
three others get away. Part of the reason they escaped was the weather which
slowed down some of the responding units as well as the ongoing manpower issues
on the graveyard shift. If their immediate escape into the night is not bad
enough, the fleeing suspects get an additional head start thanks to budgetary
procedures that mandate detectives are not immediately called to the scene so
as to avoid overtime pay. While the street patrol units will make every effort
to start the case against the other suspects, much of that work will have to
wait till normal business hours and the detectives that come on duty then.
case and the resulting investigation as well as several other issues and cases
are story plot points and the backdrop for The Menace of the Years: A River City Novel.
Fifth in the series that began with the very good, Under
A Raging Moon, the latest read continues
to chronicle the lives on and off duty of the men and women of the River City
Police Department. Unlike some of the other books in the series, the focus here
is more aimed towards their on duty situations with minimal detail given to
their private lives. As also goes on with the other books, some things are cast
through the lens of suspects as well as family members involved in various
cases. Readers see what the characters see and experience as the read shifts
across the last few days of 1999 into those first few hours of 2000.
of the “Old Hill Street Blues” television series, these books, as well as the
numerous short story collections, showcase the job and the lives of all those
involved. The author has a decade of experience as a police officer and uses
that knowledge to illustrate the issues that police officers face on daily
basis. Though the book is set in 1999, the same issues of budgetary problems,
racism, and the appropriate use of force, among others, are just as relevant to
the world of today. While The Menace of the Years: A River City
Novelis the fifth in the series
and does include some brief mentions of earlier events in the series, this book
could easily be read by those who have not experienced the previous very good
the Dark by Peter Robinson (William Morrow,
2013) is the 20th contemporary UK police procedural featuring Detective Chief
Inspector Alan Banks in a layered and complicated story of a missing girl, a
murdered cop, and human trafficking.
A crossbow is not a common murder weapon, yet that’s what was
used to kill DI Bill Quinn at St. Peter’s Police Convalescence and Treatment
Center, an isolated privately run in-patient facility for police personnel. Because
the victim was a police officer, Professional Services is assigned to monitor
the investigation to determine if the motive for the murder affected, or was
the result of, his casework in some way. Banks resents being assigned an
unofficial supervisor and is quickly at odds with his new team member.
Quinn was a recent widower and both of his
children are away at college, leaving no reason to believe something in his
personal life prompted his murder. No clues at the scene or at Quinn’s home or
office leave Banks drawing a blank. Sifting through his casework Banks keeps
coming back to the disappearance of an English girl on holiday in eastern
Europe six years earlier.Quinn was part
of the original investigating team and visited the city where the missing girl
was last seen. Banks can’t find concrete evidence that the two events are
linked but nothing else seems to provide a semblance of a motive.
In the meantime his usual sidekick DI Annie Cabot,
who recently completed a lengthy recovery from injuries sustained during her
last case, begins working on what turns out to be a wide-ranging case of human
trafficking and forced immigrant labor that covers most of northern England.
Robinson manages to keep this series fresh, partly
by using plots from current events. Human trafficking is receiving significant
attention by the authorities in the western world, who are trying to limit it
and the damage it does. Likewise, the disappearance of girls on vacation
overseas has filled the news headlines far too often in the past 20 years.
Although this is a long-running thread of stories,
I have read the books out of order or skipped some altogether and don’t have
any trouble in following the personal and professional lives of the main
characters. A strong entry in a strong series.
·Hardcover: 368 pages
·Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (January 8, 2013)
Up in KRL this morning reviews and giveaways of 3 mysteries that all have a creative slant to their setting-"A Dark and Twisting Path": A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery By Julia Buckley, "Died in the Wool": A Knit & Nibble Mystery By Peggy Ehrhart, and "Shattered at Sea": A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery By Cheryl Hollon
This racy, tense suspense novel is set in England and fraught
with nerve-wracking suspense. Make sure the edge of your seat is in good shape
because it’ll get a good workout.
Julia Plummer is part of a tangled family web that fills her with
regret, guilt, and sadness, and that’s before she learns of her sister Kate’s
death in Paris. She and her husband are raising Kate’s son, fourteen-year-old Connor,
and have had him since he was very young, due to Kate’s dissolute, unorganized
lifestyle. As children, they were left to fend for themselves and Julia,
the older sister, was always there for Kate. Until she had run away to Berlin
while Kate was still young. Until she took her son from her. Until, she feels,
she left her to die without her big sister.
Now, Julia wants to make up for everything and find Kate’s
killer. Exploring the online dating site Kate had been using before her murder,
has unintended consequences. Julia tries to pull away, but is lured by dark
urges. She sinks deeper into a situation that she knows she should put a stop
to, but is powerless. She’s losing sight of what she needs to do to protect
Connor, her husband, and herself. Buried secrets of the past can’t stay buried
now, she realizes.
This edgy mystery will keep you guessing and reading, and
guessing again, well into the night.
means Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. Make sure you check out
the full list over at Patti’s blog.
is January as Murder On Ice by Ted Wood begins. Murphy's Harbor is cold and
snowy as befits the area 200 miles north of Toronto. This second book in the
series finds police Chief Reid Bennett still dealing with some of the
repercussions from events in Dead
In The Water.
Long known for their summer tourism, one of the local business men
has created a new event, the winter carnival. While this is the second annual
event, for Chief Bennett this is his first though he is not that concerned.
While there have been a few strangers around, it, the event is not anywhere big
enough to have garnered much attention beyond the locals. Most are just
treating it as another excuse to get drunk so the local bar is doing a brisk
business. The highlight, over at the local Legion Hall, will be to select a
queen of the winter carnival. Chief Bennett along with his police
dog, Sam, are present to see a non-local resident and clearly the most
attractive young woman around, Nancy Carmichael, crowned queen. Seconds later the
lights go out, and Nancy is abducted and vanishes into the snowy night.
Bennett and Sam plunge out into the night in pursuit. The kidnappers might have
been able to get away with it if not for the heavy snowstorm that made travel in
the area nearly impossible. Those conditions also created a trail in the snow
that Bennett and Sam could follow. A trail that vanishes a little more every
minute as the snow comes down.
The result is a harrowing search and investigation that results in
more violence and death than clues. What at first seems to be a staged abduction
by a feminist group for publicity purposes clearly has serious undertones as the
bodies begin to stack up while the storm rages.
Second in the series, Murder On Ice is just as good
as the first book. Fact, it might be a slightly better book. In a sense, this
is a locked room mystery set outside as the weather keeps everyone bottled up
and Chief Bennett can’t receive assistance from outside law enforcement. While
little is done to further flesh out the Bennet character, the focus is on
plenty of action and the occasional references to how combat experiences in the
steamy jungles of Vietnam, help him stay alive in a nighttime frozen wilderness
half a world away. A mystery full of twists, Murder On Ice by Ted Wood
is strongly recommended.
Murder On Ice Ted Wood Charles Scribner’s Sons 1984 ISBN# 0-684-18134-7 Hardback (also available
in paperback and digital formats) 175 Pages
Material supplied by the
good folks of the Dallas Public Library.
Barry is back today for FFB with a review of a book that was not published in the distant past. Make sure you check out the full list of re...
Supporting The Blog
In my wife's memory and honoring a promise I made to Sandi, the blog continues...at least for now. If you would like to make a donation of support, you can do so at the links below. Most of the donated funds go to the purchase of various short story anthologies and collections which eventually are read and reviewed here.