Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. This week Todd Mason is collecting the links and will have them over on his Sweet Freedom blog. Also, please take the time to think about Patti and her husband, Phil, who is fighting cancer with everything he has. Things have been rougher than normal the last couple of weeks. Say a prayer, light a candle, do whatever works for you, as he needs all the help he can get right now. Science can and does do a hell of a lot, but I also know Sandi was here far longer becuase so many of you said prayers and more on her behalf. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my losing my everything. I am begging you to do whatever works for you for Phil and for Patti. Thank you.
The Inside: A Reid Bennet Mystery begins, newly Married Reid Bennett is
the mining town of Elliot on an undercover assignment. He should have been
away on his honeymoon with Freda. Instead, he is applying to be an officer on
the local police force in the hopes that he can substantiate the rumors of police
misconduct and corruption. It might have been more than a rumor, but the man
who contacted the Provincial Police Commission was dead the day after he called
to report the situation.
Whatever he knew
and was going to tell investigators died with him. It is possible that the guy
might have accidentally died as a result of drunk driving. Considering he had
14 years of sobriety, the crash could have just as easily been murder. Either
way, the PPC need the situation evaluated and with the Elliot Police Chief
accused by the dead man, they don’t know who else in that department they can
know what Bennett did in Toronto and what he has been doing in Murphy’s Harbour
the last couple of years. He is a good cop and one that can hold his own in
physical situations when needed. Thanks to media coverage about what happened
in Toronto a few years back and a couple of more recent cases in Murphy’s
Harbour, Bennett has ready-made reputation which should work in his favor on
the undercover assignment. Good thing Freda is willing to do what needs doing
and Sam can go too. It will be a family affair in more ways than one.
On The Inside: A
Reid Bennett Mystery is the 7th installment in a very good series that
started with Dead
In The Water. Published in 1990, the focus is on the mystery of
what is going on in Elliot. That mystery focus means, as always, there is
plenty of action in this one just like the other books in the series. This book
is also a bit more police procedurally as much of the book is Bennett is
actually working on shift duty with other officers.
other books in the series, On The Inside: A Reid Bennett Mystery,
is a good one.
On The Inside: A Reid Bennett Mystery
Charles Scribner’s Sons
Hardback (also available in paperback and digital formats)
Material supplied by way of an Interlibrary Loan filled by the
staff of the Tom Green County Library in San Angelo, Texas, and sent to the
good folks of the Dallas Public Library. My sincere and appreciative thanks
to all involved.
Only days left to win copies of a fun group of food and craft mysteries perfect for your holiday reading-"A Crafter Knits a Clue:" A Handcrafted Mystery by Holly Quinn, "How to Knit a Murder": Seaside Knitters Society Mystery by Sally Goldenbaum, "Purls and Poison": Black Sheep Knit Mystery by Anne Canadeo, "Forever Fudge!" A Candy-Coated Mystery with Recipes by Nancy J Coco, "In Cold Chocolate": A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery by Dorothy McFalls/Dorothy St. James, and "The Walking Bread": A Bread Shop Mystery by Winnie Archer http://kingsriverlife.com/11/17/food-mysteries-for-your-holidays/
Light by Matt Coyle (Oceanview Publishing, December
2018) is the fifth book in the Rick Cahill private investigator series. Years
ago Rick was accused of the murder of his wife but never convicted. The police
and the media believe he has gotten away with a murder he knows he didn’t
commit. This assumption of guilt puts him in the cross-hairs of any law
enforcement agency that finds him in the vicinity of a crime. He’s considered
leaving his home of San Diego but his attachment is strong enough to outweigh
the logic that tells him to start over somewhere else.
In this outing Naomi Hendrix is the voice of San
Diego’s late-night talk radio, where the sleepless and the lonely go to find a
friend. She has attracted the attention of a lunatic too, and the manager of
the radio station hires Rick to find the person who is stalking her. Rick is
appalled at the lack of security at the station and equally concerned about
Naomi’s reluctance to tell him about her background. Before he can delve deeply
into whatever she is hiding, one of the waitresses at the drive-in near the
radio station who might have seen the stalker disappears. Rick is overcome with
fear that the stalker has abducted her and searches frantically for her while
fending off the local police who would like Rick to back off.
At this most inconvenient of times, an old nemesis
from the local branch of the Russian Mafia decides to call in the favor that he
thinks Rick owes him. So Rick is simultaneously trying to protect Naomi, find
the missing waitress, and keep the Russian Mafia from killing him. He calls in
a few favors of his own to help out while he juggles far too many balls.
This is another series that deserves more reader attention
than it seems to receive. The plots are creative while observing the
conventions of the hard-boiled PI genre. Even the minor characters are strongly
developed. The individual titles in the series are well-regarded by Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and other major reviewing outlets, and a number
of them have been shortlisted for major awards. The first in the series won the Anthony
Award for Best First Novel, the San Diego Book Award for Best Mystery, and the
Ben Franklin Silver Award for Best New Voice in Fiction.
For fans of edgy, well-written crime stories.
This is a dark British tale of family relationships.
It’s Ava’s sixteenth birthday, but a school day. Her mother,
Lisa, contemplates the time Ava will fly from the nest, and it will be too soon
for her. The first hint of shadows as they’re getting ready for the day is
Lisa’s alarm—almost panic—at an unfamiliar car coming up the street. She has to
tell herself that she and Ava are safe to calm her racing heart. At work, her
unease continues as she gears up for a presentation for a potential client,
Simon Manning. She feels an attraction developing between them that she doesn’t
know how to deal with.
Ava is involved with a good swim team consisting of three other
girls she has known for only ten months, but has bonded with. She feels closest
to Jodie, who is much older but likes swimming with them. They compare their
weird mothers. Ava’s hovers and is overprotective, Jodie’s is mostly absent.
Lisa and Ava alternate telling the story as it deepens and darkens. Ava has
started getting involved with an exciting romance online. She knows about the
dangers, but she’s smart and aware, right? Nothing bad will happen. She has to
keep this secret from her mother, though, because she would flip.
Meanwhile, Lisa is struggling to keep her sanity as mysterious
signs start popping up, reminding her of a life she thought she shed, and
making her physically sick to her stomach. The worst thing that could happen
would be for the people from her past to find her and Ava. Even Lisa’s best friend,
sunny and outgoing Marilyn, has her own dark secrets.
Mother and daughter, separately and together, head toward
disaster, both of them trusting the wrong people as the reader cringes for what
could be coming; not knowing what it is, but knowing it will be disastrous.
The past and the present speed to converge on an awful event
bringing about the startling, defining moment in their lives.
Reviewed by Kaye George, Editor
of the Dark: Eclipse Stories, for Suspense Magazine
Thanksgiving was a good one. Barry Ergang is back today to help you cope with
your post turkey fog. Make sure you head over to Todd Mason and his blog, Sweet Freedom, for the full list.
WENCH IS WICKED (1955) by Carter Brown
by Barry Ergang
Detective Lieutenant Al Wheeler has a date with a blonde
singer named Goldie as soon as he’s finished his shift—which will end ten
minutes after the call he receives
from motorcycle patrolman Macey. Macey has discovered a body in a long-unused
gravel pit a mile past the Eldorado Roadhouse, a body entertaining three fatal bullet
holes. When Captain Parker insists that Wheeler investigate, he reluctantly
does so and learns from a corpse’s billfold that the victim is one Robert
Heinman from New York.
(Before we go further, this is definitively not a police procedural. Wheeler and
crew could pollute a crime scene faster than a factory stack.)
The billfold also contains an inscribed photograph of
alluring movie star Deidre Damour. It happens that a western starring Ms.
Damour is being filmed in the area. When he digs further, Wheeler learns that
Heinman wrote an exposé in the publication Dynamite
that did little to endear many to him in Hollywood, including a number of the
personalities in the local film unit.
There is something questionable about Macey’s report
concerning his discovery of the body that Wheeler wants to follow up on. Doing
so takes him back to the gravel pit where Macey is shot and killed, and the
murderer takes off with Wheeler’s prowl car. The result is a meeting with his
unhappy captain, the police commissioner, and a politically ambitious district
attorney—a meeting that results in Wheeler’s suspension. This, of course,
doesn’t deter him from investigating, and his probe entangles him with the
Hollywood crowd and several local personalities. It also nearly costs him his
life in the obligatory sock finish.
Readers familiar with the work of Carter Brown (real name Alan
G. Yates) know that he was a one-man fiction factory, grinding out hundreds of short,
very fast reads. The Wench is Wicked
is the first in the Al Wheeler series. I’ve read only one other, The Lady is Transparent, quite a number
of years ago. I’ve read titles in a few of his other series, my favorites being
those starring the ditsy Mavis Seidlitz. (If I had kept all of the various
Carter Brown novels my father bought and read, most of which I didn’t, I’d conceivably
own a minor fortune in collectibles.)
Barring a major disruption of the space-time continuum, it
is extremely unlikely that Brown will be remembered as a top-shelf literary master
of crime fiction a la Dashiell Hammett,
Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald or Jim Thompson, but he qualifies as a decent
entertainer. Having said so, however, I must add with greater specificity that The Wench is Wicked struck me as
middling—and that’s being generous. Its characters are not well-defined and, in
most cases, are stereotypes. Wheeler—via his creator—tries much too hard to be
funny and, for me at least, doesn’t succeed. Brown’s prose is relatively
pedestrian, although he sometimes tries to be clever and winds up with unintentionally
fatuous moments—e.g., “Goldie was there, all right. She was sitting facing the
bar, her chin propped up on her elbows” is worthy of mention in Bill Pronzini’s
wonderful Gun in Cheek or Son of Gun in Cheek.
I read this title, the first, in the electronic version of
Stark House’s collection of the first three Al Wheeler mysteries: The Wench is Wicked, Blonde Verdict, and
Delilah Was Deadly.
Thanksgiving these days has never been the same since 2011. It was back then, after a couple of weeks in the hospital with a collapsed lung and a ton of fluid withdrawals later, Sandi and I would learn she had cancer. It was on Thansgiving Day at around 2:30 in the afternoon when nine doctors and several nurses gathered around Sandi's bed at Baylor Plano to tell us she had two forms of Non Hodgkins Cancer. It was very bad and they were sure that she could beat it.
It was only later when the stem cell transplant failed and they moved her to terminal staus while moving her case to Medical City Dallas Hospital we knew that someday in the not so distant future it would all be over. Sandi made six Thanksgivings which was far longer than anyone expected after the stem cell transplant failed so quickly.
Anyway, Thanksgiving has never been the same and it really was different this year. It was our first one without her and happened just two days after my birthday. A day that passed without Sandi being in my life since the fall of 1980 when I met her all those years ago at Richland Junior College. I am 57 now with a widower withalmost one year under my belt and I am still as devestated and destroyed as I was when she passed on December 1st.
People keep telling me it will get better. It isn't. If anything, it is getting worse.
Today has been very difficult, but Scott and I focused on football and doing various things around here. Sandi always did a turkey with my job being to lift the bird where it needed to go as it moved from fridge to sink to oven and back out again. So, since I don't have a clue how to cook that, we had a ham which I cooked yesterday evening. Pumpkin pie awaits us later this evening for a late night dessert.
It has been a quiet Thanksgiving around here. We miss her, it massively hurts, and yet everything and everyone else goes right on doing whatever like nothing happened. We tried to do something different...to start something new as she would have wnted....but, I don't know that it took.
We feature new 20
reviews in each issue of Crime Review (www.crimereview.co.uk), together with a top industry interview. This time it’s
author Mike Hodges 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 FOX by Frederick Forsyth, reviewed by John Cleal
A retired Cold Warrior uses the unique skills of a 17-year-old
computer hacker with Asperger’s Syndrome to change the balance of world
THE RECKONING by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
A chilling message found in a school’s time capsule says that
six people will be killed. The threat has been written ten years ago.
Disgraced detective Huldar is assigned to investigate this seemingly
THE OTHER WOMAN by Daniel Silva, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
A long time ago an event occurred that had profound
consequences for the future, involving a young child who was brought up
with certain beliefs that practically determined the course of a life.
The consequences of that upbringing eventually become clear.
MAIGRET IN COURT by Georges Simenon, reviewed by Chris Roberts
When a woman and child are murdered, Maigret finds himself in
court, uneasy with the way human events are distorted through the prism
of official proceedings.
THE WELL OF ICE by Andrea Carter, reviewed by Linda Wilson
When the local pub burns down, the heart seems to have been
ripped out of the small Irish town of Glendara. Matters get worse when
local solicitor Benedicta ‘Ben’ O’Keefe and Garda Sergeant Tom Molloy
make a grim discovery on Christmas Day.
DID YOU SEE MELODY? By Sophie Hannah, reviewed by Sylvia
Cara Burrows needs time away from her family to think. At her
holiday resort, she thinks that she sees a young girl who had, according
to common belief, been murdered some years previously.
THE KILLING HOUSE by Claire McGowan, reviewed by John Cleal
When a puzzling missing persons case, possibly connected to
her own past, opens up in her home town, forensic psychologist Paula
Maguire can’t help but return.
THE FORGER by Cay Rademacher, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
Chief Inspector Frank Stave has decided to transfer from the
homicide section of Hamburg CID to Department S, which deals with
economic crime, mainly the black market. Even he’s not sure why he wants
IN THE CAGE WHERE YOUR
SAVIOURS LIE by Malcolm Mackay, reviewed by John Cleal
Young and naive private investigator Darian Ross is dragged
into a world where no one can be trusted when he investigates the
killing of a money launderer for his former partner, the fascinating
THE BOY AT THE DOOR by Alex Dahl, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
Cecilia Wilborg’s picture-perfect Scandinavian life is
threatened when a small, lonely and vulnerable boy enters her world.
She’s determined to protect her family and status in the wealthy
Norwegian town, and takes extraordinary measures to keep her dark
NO TIME TO CRY by James Oswald, reviewed by Linda Wilson
DC Constance Fairchild’s undercover operation ends abruptly
when she finds the dead body of her boss who’s been tortured and shot in
the head. Constance is determined to find his killers.
VERMIN by William A Graham, reviewed by John Cleal
When Scottish PI Allan Linton is hired to find a missing
young woman he finds himself in a world of gangsters, people traffickers
BROTHERS IN BLOOD by Amer Anwar, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Zaq Khan’s criminal record consigns him to a driving job and
things get worse when his employer directs him to recover an absconding
daughter, or else.
BAD APPLE by Zoje Stage, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
Hanna may only be seven years old, but she is a genius at
showing her love for daddy. And her hatred for mummy.
KILLER INTENT by Tony Kent, reviewed by John Cleal
What appears a failed assassination attempt on the American
president during a visit to London leads three strangers into a world of
political conspiracy, violence and murder.
GANGSTER NATION by Tod Goldberg, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Mob hitman Sal Cupertine escaped from Chicago in a meat truck
after killing three FBI agents, but hiding out in Las Vegas as a rabbi
has its problems.
KISS OF DEATH by Paul Finch, reviewed by John Barnbrook
The National Crime Group’s existence is at threat and so its
members are instructed to hunt down wanted criminals. DS ‘Heck’ Heckenberg
is charged with finding one of the most wanted men in the UK.
LIKE LIONS by Brian Panowich, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Sheriff Clayton, the last surviving member of the Burroughs
family which for decades ran drugs from Georgia’s Bull Mountain, comes
under attack from a rival clan.
DEAD LOCK by Damien Boyd, reviewed by Linda Wilson
The hunt for a missing ten-year-old girl intensifies when a
second girl of the same age disappears. The police believe the two are
connected, and DI Nick Dixon is called back from holiday to help the
IT ENDS WITH YOU by SK Wright, reviewed by Linda Wilson
When a murdered girl is found in woodland, suspicion
immediately falls on her boyfriend. The police think they’ve got the
killer, but others aren’t so sure.
Hardcover Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon (HarperCollins, 1992) is the first in the police procedural mystery series with Guido Brun...
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.