Saturday, August 31, 2019
Mystery Fanfare: LABOR DAY CRIME FICTION: Labor Union Mysteries: Another holiday, another list! Labor Day! I'm only aware of a few mysteries set during the Labor Day Holiday : Lee Harris&#...
Up in KRL this morning reviews and giveaways of some more mysteries for your end of summer reading-"Let’s Fake a Deal": Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery by Sherry Harris, "Killer in the Carriage House": Victorian Village Mystery by Sheila Connolly, "Knot on Her Life": A Quilting Mystery by Mary Marks, and Needled to Death: A Helping Hands Mystery by Annelise Ryan
We also have a review and giveaway of "Penne Dreadful" by Catherine Bruns along with a recipe from her book
And the latest mystery Coming Attractions from Sunny Frazier along with a giveaway of "Bite Club" by Laurien Berenson
And a review of the three new Aurora Teagarden movies that aired on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries in August
For those who prefer to listen to the podcast directly on KRL the player for the new one can be found here-This one features the mystery short story "Murderous Lies" by Peter DiChellis read by local actor Rene A Ponce
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of
"Haunting in the Hallway" by Kathi Daley
And a review and giveaway of "What Lola Wants" by Melissa Bourbon
And a review of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" on HBO
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 28 Calls for Submissions in September 2019 - Payin...: Pixabay There are more than two dozen calls for submissions in September. All of these are paying markets, and none charge submission fe...
Harley Quinn: Mad Love: A Batman Novel by Paul Dini and Pat Cadigan. This novel is adaption and expansion of the original Mad Love Comic. This novel makes several changes to the original comic and serves as a Harley Quinn origin novel. The book addresses such questions such as, what was Harley Quinn’s childhood like? How and why did she fall in love with the Joker and other questions. This novel helps explained why Harley Quinn behaves the way she does and answers things I never conceived.
It is an enjoyable novel adult novel that is told in multiple perspectives. Several of the perspectives are unreliable and clearly have biased interpretations of the events. I enjoyed this detailed look into Harley Quinn’s mind and the psychological analysis of various characters in the Batman mythos such as Joker, Poison Ivy, and several minor characters in the Batman Universe like Mad Harriet, Magpie and more.
The story is pretty good, but there is one major logical flaw in the novel. It requires the belief that people don’t use google to look at the background of people they hire. The book is set in current time, in our frame of reference, when everybody is looking at the backgrounds of everyone and yet the characters in this book never once examine the social media history of anyone else. This aspect is a huge problem that I can’t go into further without ruining the novel.
Despite that obvious flaw in the story I enjoyed it, even if the story lets Harley Quinn lets her off easy for her actions and does not delve very deeply into the her often toxic relationship with Joker. The ending is different than the original comic and is more consistent with how DC Comics is portraying the character now instead of then. DC comics is trying to rebrand Harley Quinn from being the “evil girlfriend” to an “abuse survivor antihero” type character that can also occasionally work with the Justice League. DC Comics would prefer these days to blame her crimes on the Joker and her own mental illness that have the fact that she was always depicted as willingly making her choices that led to bad things.
All in all, I enjoyed Harley Quinn: Mad Love: A Batman Novel by Paul Dini and Pat Cadigan.
Harley Quinn: Mad Love: A Batman Novel
Paul Dini and Pat Cadigan
Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library System. My copy came from the White Rock Hills Branch.
Scott A. Tipple ©2019
Friday, August 30, 2019
Crime Time : OREGON HILL – Howard Owen: Just because i t does n't take long to figure out whodunnit and whydunnit doesn't mean we can't call Oregon Hill a mystery....
Barry Ergang is back this week with another all new review. For the full list of reading suggestions, check out Todd Mason’s Sweet Freedom blog.
15 SECONDS (2012) by Andrew Gross
Reviewed by Barry Ergang
The premise is intriguing: successful plastic surgeon Dr. Henry Steadman (who, we eventually learn, has his share of emotional baggage) is pulled over by a cop for a minor traffic violation, a cop who refuses to listen to Steadman's side of events. Steadman has flown from
to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
to attend a medical conference and play a round of golf with a friend. The cop
treats him like a criminal rather than one guilty of a traffic offense, even to
the point of arresting and cuffing him and putting him into the back of a
police car. Several other police vehicles arrive and Steadman is questioned
about the whereabouts of his wife. When he explains that he doesn't know
because he's divorced, he's told he was seen driving around with a woman in his
car an hour earlier. Jacksonville
The police persist in questioning him, making additional accusations, and denying his protests of innocence of their various charges until they finally cease and depart—all except the one who initially pulled him over. This one tells him, "I'm going to write you up a warning...Just take a seat back in your car." Steadman complies, and a moment later another car pulls up alongside the police vehicle. Steadman hears two loud pops, after which the car takes off. When he gets out and looks into the police vehicle, he sees that the cop is dead from gunshot wounds.
When he recovers from the shock of both the cop's murder and the realization that he'll be the prime suspect, Steadman sets off after the murderer's car and kicks the rest of the novel into play. Besides Steadman, whose narrative is in the first person, we follow those in the third person of a "plucky" female cop (one with baggage), and the villain of the piece (who also has baggage—are you sensing a trend yet?).
In addition to trying to save himself and prove his innocence, Steadman must also save the greatest love of his life in what turns out to be a "sinister scheme" with him as the primary target.
Yes, it's all quite formulaic, and written and structured in a manner calculated to generate page-turning suspense. The problem—for this reader, at least—was the delivery, particularly the author's predilection for depicting his characters' emotional reactions to events via impossible bodily responses. When he discovers the cop has been murdered, Steadman tells us, "My heart surged into fifth gear." When circumstances put him close to one of the cops who interrogated him, he says, "My heart almost clawed its way up my throat as I vividly recalled what he had warned me of if our paths ever crossed again." Three paragraphs later: "My heart clawed its way up my throat."
Several chapters later: "I felt the sweats come over me and my insides slowly clawed their way up my throat." A good deal further on: "Carrie closed her eyes and let out a breath she'd been holding in for hours."
Carrie, poor oxygen-bereft baby, suffers still further: "She saw whom the bill was made out to, and her stomach fell like a ten-ton weight hurled off a cliff." Four paragraphs later: "Her breath felt cut in half." Somewhere along the way we also learn, "Her heart sputtered."
One of the most unintentionally comical moments, due to poor editing, occurs when Steadman comes upon a shed in a wooded area and gives us this: "My heart started to pound. It had a slanted roof and one window and what looked like a storage hut attached to it...."
Hmm...Did it make storing gardening tools and a lawn mower among the aorta and valves vexatious?
As you have doubtlessly surmised by now, 15 Seconds is not, in my estimation, a stellar example of a thriller. Yes, it will keep many readers turning the pages, but they'll have to forgive a predictable and formulaic approach while doing so, along with tolerating a great many lame passages that can render the intended drama fatuous. I've read books aimed at children and young adults whose prose is far more artful and evocative.
If the silliness described isn't a turnoff for some readers, the use of raw street language might be.
© 2019 Barry Ergang
Some of Derringer winner Barry Ergang's work can be found at Amazon and Smashwords.
Thursday, August 29, 2019
A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: SILICON VALLEY MYSTERY SERIES: Don't miss the giveaway at the end of the post! Chutes and Ladder A Silicon Valley Mystery Book 2 by Marc Jedel G...
Bitter Tea and Mystery: Death in Amsterdam: Nicolas Freeling: Death in Amsterdam is the first book of the Van der Valk series by Nicolas Freeling. The novel was originally published in 1962 in the UK w...
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Publishing... and Other Forms of Insanity Blog: 29 Writing Contests in September 2019 - No entry fees
Publishing... and Other Forms of Insanity Blog: 29 Writing Contests in September 2019 - No entry fees
Only days left to win a copy of "Grave Expectations on Dickens Dune" by Anna Celeste Burke
And to win a copy of "Claws of Action" by Linda Reilly
Also to win a copy of "Toxic Toffee" by Amanda Flower and while there check out a fun guest post by her about bunnies
And to win an ebook copy of "Two Sleuths are Better Than One" by Gin Jones and Elizabeth Ashby
And on KRL News and Reviews to win a copy of "Cliff Hanger" by Mary Feliz
And a copy of "Booking the Crook" by Laurie Cass
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Maisie Dobbs, Fly Away, Pachinko, Outs...: Reported by Christy Former World War I nurse Maisie Dobbs decides to set up her own private investigation firm. Her first case seem...
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Beneath the Stains of Time: The Army Post Murders (1931) by Mason Wright: Major Mason Wright was a public relations officer to General Joseph W. Stillwell during the Second World War and later became the head o...
Monday, August 26, 2019
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 Syd Moore in the Countdown hot seat:
We’re on Twitter at:
Crime Review: @CrimeReviewUK
Linda Wilson: @CrimeReviewer
Sharon Wheeler: @lartonmedia
This week’s reviews are:
IN THE GALWAY SILENCE by Ken Bruen, reviewed by John Cleal
Former cop-turned-PI Jack Taylor is pitted against a vigilante assassin who uses the name ‘Silence’ – and the clash quickly becomes personal.
THE LADY IN THE CAR WITH GLASSES AND A GUN by Sebastien Japrisot, reviewed
by Chris Roberts
Dany Longo borrows her boss’s Thunderbird to leave Paris for a trip south, but a liberating trip to the coast becomes a nightmare when strangers along her route assure her that they have already met.
MAIGRET’S PATIENCE by Georges Simenon, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
A series of daring robberies bring Maigret together with an old adversary.
HUNTED by Arne Dahl, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
Private investigators Sam Berger and Molly Bloom are on the run from the authorities, burned from previous investigation, and hiding in the depths of snowy north Sweden. But soon they are asked to follow up on the letter from a distressed and seemingly paranoid woman who knows secret details of a murder case from long ago.
LIFE RUINS by Danuta Kot, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
Becca is certain she knows the girl who was attacked so brutally that no one can identify her. But at best, the police think she is an unreliable witness.
THE LISTENERS by Anthony J Quinn, reviewed by John Cleal
Newly appointed Detective Sergeant Carla Herron is called to a psychiatric hospital after a patient confesses to murdering of one of the psychotherapists. His confession is detailed, but impossible, as he was in a secure ward under 24-hour surveillance.
GRAB A SNAKE BY THE TAIL by Leonardo Padura, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Havana detective Mario Conde is persuaded to take the case when an elderly Chinese man is found hanged, marked with arcane symbols and missing a finger.
LOST YOU by Haylen Beck, reviewed by Linda Wilson
It only took an inattentive moment to plunge Libby into every parent’s worst nightmare when her three-year-old son Ethan goes missing on holiday. And from some nightmares, there’s no waking up.
SINS OF THE DEAD by Lin Anderson, reviewed by John Barnbrook
In Glasgow a murderer is killing people in subtle ways and leaving the signs of a sin eater. It appears that this killer is well informed in the ways of forensic science, probably attending a course part run by forensic scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod.
THE FRIEND by Joakim Zander, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Jacob Seger, a new recruit to the Swedish diplomatic service in Beirut, meets Yassim at a party and falls under his spell. But is Yassim the photographer he claims to be, or is he mixed up in something far more sinister?
INBORN by Thomas Enger, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
The high school in a small Norwegian village becomes a double-murder scene. Immediately everyone points at 17-year-old Even who has been recently dumped by Mari Lindgren, a girl found dead after the school concert.
A DANGER TO HERSELF AND OTHERS by Alyssa Sheinmel, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Hannah Gold doesn’t understand why she’s been consigned to a secure mental facility. After all, it wasn’t her fault that her roommate fell from a window and ended up in hospital in a coma.
DATE WITH POISON by Julia Chapman, reviewed by John Cleal
PI Samson O’Brien is in deep trouble, framed by a gang out to destroy him. When his godson goes missing, accused of dealing drugs, can he persuade his estranged partner Delilah Metcalfe to help him find the boy?
THE CINDERELLA PLAN by Abi Silver, reviewed by Chris Roberts
James Salisbury heads a company pioneering autonomous vehicles in UK. When his car is involved in a horrific crash, lawyers Burton and Lamb come to his defence.
CITY OF WINDOWS by Robert Pobi, reviewed by Linda Wilson
A sniper is terrorising New York, preying on law enforcement officers. The FBI call in Dr Lucas Page, a man who sees the world in a different way. Unlike anyone else, he has a chance of working out where the killing shots came from.
GONE BY MIDNIGHT by Candice Fox, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
A boy has gone missing from the hotel. But with the clock ticking, former detective Ted Conkaffey doesn’t know if he’s looking for a child or a body.
DEAD POPULAR by Sue Wallman, reviewed by Linda Wilson
An illicit party at an elite boarding school ends in a death. Did the dead girl fall or was she pushed?
A KILLER HARVEST by Paul Cleave, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
Joshua will soon be seeing life through the eyes of his adoptive father – things that he will never be able to un-see.
30-SECOND FORENSIC SCIENCE by Sue Black and Niamh Nic Daeid, reviewed by
A quick-fire look at the fascinating and varied world of forensic science by two of the leading experts in the field.
CROSSING THE LINE OF DUTY by Neil Root, reviewed by John Cleal
An account of how senior CID officers fraternised with underworld figures, paid off witnesses and struck dodgy deals to imprison innocent men.
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Miniature Terrariums: Tiny Glass Container Gardens...: Guest reviewer Kevin Tipple is back with his review of a book on terrarium gardening. Check out his blog Kevin's Corner for m...
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 35 Fabulous Writing Conferences in September 2019: Pixabay With the change in seasons, writers are energized, and raring to go. This September there are 35 conferences, intensive worksho...
TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar August 26-...: Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of August 26 - September 1, 2019 compiled exclusively for Lone Star Literary Life by Texas Book...
The Ways of Wolfe by James Carlos Blake (Mysterious Press, 2017) is the fourth book by Blake about the Wolfe crime family whose business interests lie on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border. Axel Prince Wolfe, his father’s planned heir to the family law firm, decides to join his high school friend and a stranger in the theft of three-quarters of a million dollars’ worth of bearer bonds. Already married with a small daughter, he is planning to drop out of college and focus on the family’s criminal enterprises, despite the family rule that everyone must obtain an undergraduate degree before joining the company. [The Rules of Wolfe (Mysterious Press, 2013) goes into this requirement in more detail. I raved about this book in a post to DorothyL while attending the 2016 Left Coast Crime convention and still refer readers to it at every opportunity.] They successfully acquire the bonds but the getaway goes sideways, and his partners abandon him to save themselves. He refuses to give up the names of his cohorts to reduce his prison term, and he is sentenced to an onerous 30 years.
His relatives turn their backs on him, and he becomes fixated on the daughter who won’t visit him or write him. After 20 years in confinement he joins a young Mexican inmate with hidden ties to a cartel in planning a jail break, and they escape during a driving thunderstorm, leaving several bodies in their wake. After they manage to cross the river into Mexico, Axel is invited to join the cartel and helps them in an ambush of a rival gang. He desperately wants to see his now-grown daughter though, and off he goes.
Blake is an exceptional writer of fast-moving crime dramas. His grim descriptions of border desert crossings are meticulous in their hair-raising detail, and his depictions of shootouts and other action scenes are intense and pulse-pounding. While he’s received a good deal of recognition from critics, he is still not widely known among the thriller and mystery reading community, which is truly unfortunate for everyone.
Publishers Weekly starred review.
· Hardcover: 304 pages
· Publisher: Mysterious Press (September 5, 2017)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 0802125778
· ISBN-13: 978-0802125774
Aubrey Hamilton ©2019
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, August 25, 2019
Saturday, August 24, 2019
Sweet Freedom: FRIDAY'S "FORGOTTEN" BOOKS AND MORE: the links to ...: This week's books and more, unfairly (or sometimes fairly) neglected, or simply those the reviewers below think you might find of som...
Up in KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "Grave Expectations on Dickens Dune" by Anna Celeste Burke
And a review and giveaway of "Claws of Action" by Linda Reilly
We also have a review and giveaway of "Toxic Toffee" by Amanda Flower along with a fun guest post by her about bunnies
And a review and ebook giveaway of "Two Sleuths are Better Than One" by Gin Jones and Elizabeth Ashby
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "Cliff Hanger" by Mary Feliz
And a review and giveaway of "Booking the Crook" by Laurie Cass
Superman Action Comics Vol 1: Invisible Mafia by Brian Michael Bendis is a spin off from the Man of Steel miniseries also by this author. Superman is dealing with the gossip at work about why is wife left while dealing with the fact someone is setting fires across Metropolis. This is the work of a new group of villains called the Invisible Mafia. Their plan had been to get away with stuff while working by not drawing attention.
Instead, they have been dropping bodies because of the actions of “Red Cloud.” She is a meta-human who is young, arrogant, and believes she is powerful and smart enough to hang with Superman. She thinks she can fight and beat Superman because she can turn into a red toxic cloud. She also now has the attention of Lex Luthor.
This means Red Cloud and her origination, Invisible Mafia, have the attention of the two powerful people of Metropolis. Before now, neither dealt with them because they never noticed and never cared about them. They now do. Instead of leaving town, they double down on the stupid and start covering up what they are doing. That just makes their situation worse.
In addition to the great artwork, there are a lot of little jokes throughout the story. One example is when as Superman investigates a crime; his clue is that a bad guy who is bald did it. Some he checks his multi-page catalog listing of bald bad guy villains and does so with this oh so serious look on his face. Another funny moment is when he is question one criminal who claims he barely knows the other criminal he is with. The other guy shouts out about how the two are cousins.
A lot of new characters are introduced in this book and most of them will most likely be ignored by future writers because there just not that interesting and kind of stupid. One of the better parts of this story is Perry White, the Daily Planet Editor, who points out why people are stupid throughout the read. This is especially true in regards to the rumors the Invisible Mafia is trying to spread about Superman. They are pushing the story that Superman killed somebody though Superman has a perfect and very public alibi. At the time in question, Superman along with several other heroes, were fighting an alien invasion in Seattle and the whole deal was broadcast on live television. This was going on at the same time he supposedly was killing a low level criminal. Instead of killing Lex Luthor, Darkseid, Brainaic, and other powerful villians, he allegedly killed some random low level criminal. Yeah that makes sense… Lol.
This story is a good place to start for new readers and is fairly enjoyable. Red Cloud has the ability to turn in to a toxic red cloud and she thinks she can beat Superman who is busy shattering asteroids and stops an alien invasion from space. She seriously over estimates her abilities. What does not work so well is the fact that Lois makes some questionable parenting decisions that Superman is very cool with for some reason. While I can’t go into it without giving spoilers, it is clear to this reader that she is a pretty bad parent.
Despite the flaws, Superman Action Comics Vol 1: Invisible Mafia by Brian Michael Bendis is a funny story with original villains and interesting plot. This Superman story is not the best, but it is enjoyable and fun.
Superman Action Comics Vol 1: Invisible Mafia
Brian Michael Bendis
Hardback (also available in paperback and digital formats)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library System. My copy came from the Dallas Martin Luther King JR Branch.
Scott A. Tipple ©2019