For the full list of reading suggestions for this Friday in September 2019, head over to Todd Mason's Sweet Freedom Blog.
The third in the
series, Parker Field: A Willie Black Mystery begins in April and with a
gunshot. The weather cuts like a knife and feels more like the middle of March so
nobody really should have been sitting on a bench in Monroe Park. Yet, somebody
was out there and was shot. That park is just across the street from Willie’s apartment
building. As he is the reporter for the crime beat, one of his several
bosses at the paper sends him over to cover the story.
It isn’t until he is on scene and sees the victim that Willie realizes
the man that was shot is Les Hacker. For all intents and purposes, the man is his
father as he has had such a huge presence and role in his life in recent years.
Not that they are related by blood, they are still family and he has been the
best thing to ever happen to Willie’s mom, Peggy. Les Hacker has no enemies and
yet somebody has deliberately shot him.
Answering the question as to who shot him and why seems to be a
police matter so Willie is more than content to let them figure out the case as
he spends time at the hospital. As many contacts and family friends begin to
show up at the hospital, one is Jimmy Deacon, better known to all as “Jumpin’
Jimmy.” A man of nervous energy with a nearly constant ability to speak in the
third person about himself, the man is intense. He is also a reservoir of
knowledge regarding minor league baseball in Richmond, Virginia, and the
surrounding areas. So, he knows a considerable amount of history regarding the
last team Les Hacker played for, the 1964 Richmond Vees.
As Jumpin’ Jimmy explains it, Les Hacker isn’t the only one on the
team to be shot. Fellow players Lucky Whitestone and Phil Holt were both
victims of gun violence as well in recent years. They are not the only players
who are dead before their time either.
The more he learns from Les when he is awake enough to talk and
from Jumpin’ Jimmy, the more it seems that the shooting has to be connected in
some way to that 1964 team. Many of whom who have died in the years since and
often in violent ways long before their age and health issues would have
naturally struck them down. Pitching the story to the newspaper bosses as a follow-up
to the members if the 1964 team—a where are they now type piece--- gets Willie
the freedom to chase leads as he starts trying to identify the motive of the
shooter as well as that person’s identity. Hopefully, chasing the story won’t
get Willie Black killed.
Third in the series behind Oregon
Hill and The
Philadelphia Quarry, Parker Field: A Willie Black Mystery
is another very good read. All the established characters make return appearances.
Some of those appearances result in discussions of past events. Plenty of
mystery and the frequent flashes of sarcastic humor prevalent in the previous
books are also present here. Parker Field: A Willie Black Mystery
is another very good read in a series that should be read in order.
I miss a lot of stuff in Plano, but I don't miss the insane rent and fees paid to American Community Properties or the fact that we always had to wait a month or longer to get something in the apartment fixed. The market in the neighborhood has turned down rental price wise or we would have been here back when my Mom was alive and I was desperately trying to get us as close as possible to help her. After trying to raise the rent on our former neighbors, the family moved, and the house next door that has been vacant for a month is now back on the market. All the details are here.
Magazine: June 2019 opens with the cover story of “Squeezer and Bongo” by Terrie
Farley Moran. Mr. Bongorelli, a corporate attorney, is less than thrilled when
Squeezer Markhum shows up at his office. They both are a long ways from High School and
for Bongo a lot of those memories are not necessarily positive. While Bongorelli,
aka “Bongo” does corporate law these days, Squeezer works as a garbage man. Squeezer
wants and insists on Bongo’s help as he is in real trouble with the cops. That very
morning Squeezer and his partner, Mikey, found the body of Squeezer’s ex-wife,
Lisa Gasper, placed in a chair outside a derelict Victorian on their pickup
route. With the chair as well as the body covered by a sheet they had no idea
what they had until they had stopped and pulled the sheet off the chair. Obviously,
Squeezer is the obvious suspect. The last thing Bongo wants to do is help
Squeezer. Yet, he keeps getting pulled in deeper and deeper as things become
increasingly complicated in this very good tale.
Evan showed up at Randy’s place in “The Calm” by Ken Hueler and
nobody was home. He drove away and tried to stay awake as he pondered where to
go next. That was before he saw her on the other side of the road. She is a
hitchhiker, dressed for the heat of summer, and all alone on the rapidly
darkening and otherwise empty highway. He does the gentlemanly thing and offers
her a ride. That may turn out to be yet another serious mistake he has made in
“Interdiction” by Michael A. Clark follows where Justine is
creating a trail so that no one goes after her husband. Her diversion tactic is
designed so that her husband can make his escape with their money. They will
rendezvous somewhere a half a world away. All the watcher is supposed to do is watch
and report. Things are going smoothly until they are not and it is a good thing
the watcher has a support team.
Pleasant Lane is a street of many houses in the typical suburban neighborhood
where things are so tranquil people can leave their front doors unlocked and
live life in a sort of Norman Rockwall fantasy life deal. Gladys Farrow is the
neighborhood snoop in “The Other Woman” by Michael Thomas Smith. She knows damn
near everything about everyone on her street and her friend Betty does not
approve. Undeterred by the criticism, Gladys wants to know more about what has
been going on at the Peterson house as there has been a strange red car that
keeps showing up there around dusk for an hour or so before leaving. The
gorgeous woman driving the car is certainly not Mrs. Peterson. The game is a
foot and Gladys is determined to learn the identity of the mystery woman and
It began in Russia in 1979 and has tentacles that reach into today
in “Russian Dolls” by Eliot Hudson. Anatoly Moskvin was nine then and all alone
in the playground when the men came and made him go to a cemetery with them.
What happened that day has become his life’s work and obsession. You can’t
judge until you know all the fact of this dark and twisted tale.
“Buick” by Bob Tippee features a car that has been well taken care
off by Seth Townes before being passed on to this son, Ralph. At first, seventeen
year old Ralph is not exactly thrilled with the Buick LaCrosse. As he thinks
about it more, he realizes the potential of the spacious backseat. A backseat
that makes Sienna very comfortable and willing when the mood strikes them. It does
frequently and on one such occasion makes them the target for auto theft.
The plan had been to try to get the mayor’s support for the
Waterview Housing Co-Op. He would come out and take a tour and shake a few
hands. If things went right, he would publicly support the building as part of
a push for affordable housing. Now the mayor, Fred Drover, is dead in “A Locked
Co-Op Mystery” by Merrilee Robson and all heck is going to break loose.
The issue closes with the solution to the “You-Solve It” in the May
2019 issue titled “For the love of wine” by Tatiana Claudy.
Mystery Weekly Magazine: June 2019 is another solidly
good issue. Mystery, as it has been since the start, is defined widely in this
publication. Mystery Weekly Magazine is not a niche magazine catering to only a
small part of the mystery community. This issue, as do the previous issues,
features a mix of storytelling styles, crimes, and well developed characters in
tales that are sure to appeal to just about any reader.
For quite some time
now I have been gifted a subscription by the publisher with no expectation at
all of a review. I read and review each issue as I can. To date, I have never
submitted anything to this market and will not do so as long as I review the
Before Victoria Houston wrote about fly-fishing in fictional
Loon Lake, Wisconsin, and Keith McCafferty gave us Sean Stranahan, a fly fisherman and private investigator in Montana,
Philip Craig created J.W. Jackson, a retired policeman eking out a living via
fishing and odd jobs on Martha’s Vineyard, and William Tapply invented Brady
Coyne, a lawyer in Boston who practiced just enough law to pay for his fishing
trips. Tapply was also a committed fisherman in his real life, publishing some
15 books about the sport and serving as a contributing editor for Field
and Stream and a special correspondent for American Angler.
Tapply let his love of fishing spill over into his mystery
writing even further when he began a new series featuring Stoney Calhoun, a
fisherman and part-owner of a fishing supply store in upstate Maine. Stoney’s
past is foggy; his memories do not go back further than waking up in a VA
hospital and being told he had been struck by lightning. He moved north to
start all over again in the fishing country of Maine. Every so often an
unidentified man shows up, clearly from Stoney’s forgotten past, to see if Stoney
has remembered anything. He doesn’t say why he wants to know, and Stoney
doesn’t like it at all. However, the man has the power to make Stoney’s life
uncomfortable and he demonstrates that power now and again, such as in Dark
Tiger (Minotaur, 2009), when the mystery man arranges to sell the
bait-and-tackle shop out from under Stoney and his partner if Stoney does not
agree to investigate the very odd death of an intelligence agent.
The agent had been staying at an exclusive fishing resort on
the northern edge of Maine, close to the Canadian border, so Stoney becomes a temporary
fishing guide there. Within 24 hours one of the guides is shot to death and
another one is arrested for the killing. Stoney feels certain the second death
is connected to the dead agent and looks for ways to investigate both without
blowing his cover while he fishes and admires the scenic lakes in the area.
Tapply’s books are a pleasure to read. His prose is crisp
and clear, his plots are convincing, the pacing never drags. The Stoney Calhoun
series will be of interest to C.J. Box and Nevada Barr fans as well as those
readers who follow Victoria Houston and Keith McCafferty or anyone who wants
mysteries mixed with nature.
·Hardcover: 288 pages
·Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition (September 29, 2009)
Been awhile since I mentioned this, but I am still an Amazon
Associate. So, every time you click through one of my links and buy something,
I get a few cents added to my account. I used to use those small funds to buy
some medical stuff I need and the occasional book.
By buying through one of my links, it does not cost you one
cent extra. I just get a few cents my way as a referral fee. So, if you are
inclined, please keep doing what you have been doing and buy through my links. It
was and still is very much appreciated.
For those who prefer to
listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast directly on KRL the player is up here for
the new episode which features the first chapter of "Spirit Wind" by
Marilyn Meredith read by local actor Julia Reimer
Winter In America Volume 1 by author Ta-Nehisi Coates with art by Leinil Francis Yu is very
typical of the work by Mr. Coates as it is a very political story. In this
story, the real Captain America has returned after being replaced by an evil
doppelganger that used his face and the people’s trust to overthrow the
American Government and betray the superhero community. While the real Captain
America was successful in his quest to overthrow and remove his evil
doppelganger from Hydra and regain the trust of the superhero community, the
people and the American Government no longer trust him. The country has fundamentally
changed thanks to the Hydra takeover and the real Captain America no longer
recognizes his country thanks to the changes that have come to pass. As is
Bucky, Black Panther, and Sharon Carter, Captain America is also trying to find
his place in the new America.
He is facing new
enemies from his past that have ties to his old lesser known enemies suck as
Taskmaster and others. Someone had managed to turn prisoners of war into Nukes
(America Super Soldiers that use a template of failed attempt--the original
Nuke-- to replicate Captain America) and is using them to attack the American
people. Captain America may not recognize himself anymore or his country or the
people, but he remains true to his driving core principal. If there are bad men
hurting people, Captain America is going to take them on no matter what anyone
else, including his own government says or wants him to do.
The art in Captain
America: Winter In America Volume 1 is great and the story itself is
very interesting. There are some twists toward the end of the issue that makes
the reader very interested to see where this story is headed. The story plays
heavily into Captain America’s past while still being new reader friendly.
Captain America has to use his brains, his leadership skills, and get help from
his friends help to win the day though it does seem possible that his action
may be exactly what his enemies want to finally destroy him and everything he
If you would like a
good place to start reading Captain America stuff, Captain America: Winter In
America Volume 1, is a good place as long as you do not mind very
political stories. I highly recommend this volume highly. Readers are cautioned
that this is tale has very strong political elements and tone and therefore may
offend some readers.
I have been ill all week as the mastoiditis which put me in the hospital a couple of months ago has been trying to do it again. So far, I have not had the extreme dizziness and have been able to treat it well enough with over the counter stuff to be able to stay home and in bed. The blog will continue to be a bit erratic as posting depeends on how I feel.
Dead Anyway by Chris
Knopf (The Permanent Press, 2012) is the first book about Arthur Cathcart, a
mathematics whiz who earns his living conducting mostly market research but
nearly any kind of research his clients might want. His wife Florencia owns a successful
insurance company. They are happily married and well off. All is right in
Arthur’s world, until the day a man shows up in their living room, holding a
gun on Florencia until she completes the answers to five questions written on a
piece of paper. When she takes too long, he shoots Arthur in the leg and then
threatens to shoot him again. After Florencia scribbles the answers down, the
goon shoots her in the head and then shoots Arthur.
Florencia died instantly, the bullet took a more indirect path through Arthur’s
skull and he survives after months-long coma. He convinces his doctor sister to
write a death certificate for him, since his ability to identify the murderer
places him in continued jeopardy. Then he cashes out his retirement funds with
his sister’s help and buys a collection of vintage guitars that he plans to
sell one at a time as a source of nontraceable cash. Arthur is going off the
grid to find his wife’s killer.
displays an impressive talent in hacking computer systems and more knowledge
than I would have expected from a research nerd in dealing with underworld
thugs, all while coming to terms with his own changed physical abilities.
loved this book. It received starred
reviews from the big four: Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Library
Journal. It was one of Publishers Weekly Top Twelve Mystery/Thrillers of 2012
and on the list of Kirkus Best Fiction of 2012. It also received the 2013 Nero
Award. I can see why: it is an original and entertaining story. Highly
Permanent Press (September 15, 2012)
It has been a tough week physically and emotionally, but I did manage to get a book read for FFB this week. Today I offer you my review of ...
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.
SMFS President 2016-2020
To be determined by surveying the vast print horde from the library and mail and waving a massive finger around....