Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Bouchercon 2019

As many are aware, Bouchercon 2019 is here in Dallas this week. That makes it here and I am attending my first and only one. The blog will be dark the next few days as I am not taking my old laptop down to the Hyatt.

I will be representing SMFS for the Derringer award presentation at 11 AM Friday. Other than that, I plan on floating around a bit and trying to have some fun as I have nothing to plug.

See you all on the flip side.



Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Hunger by Whitley Strieber

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Hunger by Whitley Strieber: Reviewed by Christy             John is dying. His long time love Miriam expected it but not so soon because, after all, John ...

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 33 Calls for Submissions in November 2019 - Paying Markets

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 33 Calls for Submissions in November 2019 - Paying...: Pixabay There are 33 calls for submissions in November. All of these are paying markets, and none charge submission fees. Some accept re...

Sandra Ruttan Reviews: Beneath the Ashes by Dea Poirier

In her sophomore offering, Dea Poirier sends Claire Calderwell on her next big case. A girl's body has been found in a motel. There are ritualistic elements at the scene that hint at a murderer who has been killing girls for a long time, and when more bodies are discovered.

Meanwhile, Claire's boyfriend Noah is busy dealing with his own ghosts miles away. Claire misses him, but is struggling with whether or not to take their relationship to the next level. Meanwhile, she's assigned to partner with a young female officer who's never worked this type of case before, and finds herself in the role of teacher and mentor.

In her investigation, all roads seem to lead to the same hospital. The female administrator is heartless and there are plenty of reasons for suspicion, but the hospital is uncooperative and has enough influence to make it hard for Claire's investigation to advance.

There are plenty of discoveries along the way as Claire, and the reader, sort out what information is relevant and what isn't. One of the strengths of Poirier's approach is that she doesn't rush to quick fixes and simple solutions. Claire feels very real because she is damaged and solving her sister's murder doesn't automatically make everything better. She'll spend a lifetime working through the damage from that trauma, and no relationship, drink or life choice is going to change that. Claire wrestles with demons. She struggles with what she wants - Noah - and her fears about loss.

Poirier's stories are as much about the slow road of recovery from trauma and dealing with grief as they are about the murders Claire investigates. It's one of the hallmarks that sets her series apart, and readers leave Beneath the Ashes with the sense that whatever crimes Claire deals with next, she will continue to work through her personal issues as well as she heals, making her a relatable and compelling character to revisit with each new series installment.

Sandra Ruttan ©2019

Sandra Ruttan is the YA, sci fi, fantasy and horror acquisitions editor for Bronzeville Books and the managing editor for Bronzeville Bee Stay up to date via twitter @sandraruttan

Monday, October 28, 2019


Mystery Fanfare: HALLOWEEN CRIME FICTION // HALLOWEEN MYSTERIES: Happy Halloween! Halloween so lends itself to crime fiction ! Here's my updated 2019 list of Halloween Mysteries . Let me k...

SleuthSayers: Playing Fair, or the Death of Logic by Steve Liskow

SleuthSayers: Playing Fair, or the Death of Logic: by Steve Liskow A few weeks ago, I was reading a novel I'm supposed to review, and I encountered a dialogue exchange that brought me t...

Buried Under Books Book Review: Charity’s Burden by Edith Maxwell

Buried Under Books Book Review: Charity’s Burden by Edith Maxwell

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Spook in the Stacks: A Lighthouse Library Myst...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Spook in the Stacks: A Lighthouse Library Myst...: Reviewed by Jeanne Lucy Richardson loves her job at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, a real repurposed lighthouse.   Lucy ...

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Locked Room Reader XI: Locked Out

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Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 10/28/19

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 10/28/19

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar Oct. 28-No...

TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar Oct. 28-No...: Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of October 28-November 3, 2019 compiled exclusively for  Lone Star Literary Life  by Texas Book L...

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Jury Double by Edward Stewart

The fourth book in the Vincent Cardozo series, Jury Double, originally published by Headline Books in 1996, is an interesting mixture of a legal thriller and a police procedural. The complicated plot centers around Corey Lyle, a cult leader similar to Charles Manson and Jim Jones, who is believed to convince his followers to commit murder and other crimes while staying far removed himself. The New York City prosecutor thinks they have established a case against Lyle in the deaths of an elderly wealthy couple who left their considerable estate to Lyle. Called to jury duty is Kyra Talbot, who is enmeshed in a custody battle with her ex-husband. Her mother left a significant trust to her only grandchild, Kyra’s son, and whoever has the son has control of the money. Both Kyra and her ex-husband outspend their earnings, so the outcome of the upcoming custody hearing is crucial to them both.

Kyra doesn’t want to miss the custody hearing so she pressures her twin sister Anne Bingham to take her place on the jury, just for a day, she says, but it turns out for the duration of the trial. Because of the extreme publicity, the judge decides to sequester the jury: no contact at all with the outside world. Even though the hotel telephones are supposed to be blocked to external calls, Anne gets an outside call in her room telling her that her nephew has been kidnapped and if she wants to see him again, she must secure an acquittal for Corey Lyle. There are no phone records showing that the call took place and the judge thinks she’s trying to get out of jury duty. The judge is looking for a promotion so she has no intention of calling a mistrial.

In the meantime, a former supporter of Lyle’s turns state’s evidence in return for immunity for his own misdeeds, which is sending the police around the bend, as the supporter is far too interested in children for anyone to reasonably overlook it. One of Cardozo’s detectives disappears after following him and is later found murdered.

Multiple interwoven plot lines, all of which are resolved, perhaps not completely realistically, by the end of the book. Fast-moving, good escapist reading.

This review was based on the Kindle version of the book released a few years ago.

·         File Size: 1508 KB
·         Print Length: 384 pages
·         Publisher: Open Road Media (February 18, 2014)
·         Publication Date: February 18, 2014
·         Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
·         ASIN: B00I3TJIGM

Aubrey Hamilton ©2019

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

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Crime Review Update: 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 Alex Marwood 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 TURN OF THE KEY by Ruth Ware, reviewed by Madeleine Marsh

Rowan lands what seems to be her ideal job, a role as live-in nanny with a family in a remote village in Scotland, paying a generous salary, bonus and with all living expenses covered. But what should have been a dream turns into a nightmare.

SAVAGES 2: THE SPECTRE by Sabri Louatah, reviewed by John Cleal

France’s first Arab president is shot on election night. As he lies between life and death, riots explode, terrorist attack threatens and political factions battle for power. Caught in the middle is a third-generation French family whose roots are in the Kabyle region of Algeria.

NIGHT by Bernard Minier, reviewed by Ewa Sherman

Detectives Kirsten Nigaard from Norway and Martin Servaz from France join forces in search of a notorious cunning serial killer on the run. All clues point to Martin’s earlier personal painful history with the murderer, but this time the life of a five-year-old boy is also at stake.

THE PUPPET SHOW by MW Craven, reviewed by Linda Wilson

A serial killer is torturing men and then burning them alive, leaving their bodies in stone circles in and around the Lake District. Disgraced copper Washington Poe teams up with the brilliant but socially inept civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw in the hunt for the killer.

DIARY OF A DEAD MAN ON LEAVE by David Downing, reviewed by John Cleal

As war looms, a Soviet undercover agent faces a crisis of belief when he becomes involved with the German family he lodges with.

LADY IN THE LAKE by Laura Lippman, reviewed by Sylvia Maughan

Maddie Swartz, a respectable housewife, decides she needs a change, so she goes to live on her own and tries to get a job in a newsroom. A young girl is murdered and Maddie finds the body. This is just the start of Maddie’s troubles.

A VERSION OF THE TRUTH by BP Walter, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor

Joanne’s life will go into freefall the moment her son opens the file on his iPad.

KEEP HER CLOSE by MJ Ford, reviewed by Arnold Taylor

DS Josie Masters is on her way to see her mother in an Oxford care home when her phone rings and she is told to go immediately to Oriel College where a girl student appears to have gone missing. It soon becomes clear that she is not the only one.

WHISKEY WHEN WE’RE DRY by John Larison, reviewed by John Cleal

Seventeen-year-old Jessilyn Harney, orphaned and alone, is desperate to fend off starvation and predatory neighbours, so cuts her hair, binds her chest flat and rides to find outlaw older brother Noah and bring him home.

CALL HIM MINE by Tim MacGabhann, reviewed by Chris Roberts

When journalist Andrew and his photographer boyfriend Carlos come across a body in the street, Carlos pushes for answers and pays a terrible price. Andrew is determined to identify those responsible and exact some sort of retribution.

TAKE IT BACK by Kia Abdullah, reviewed by Linda Wilson

Former barrister Zara Khaleel is branded a traitor to her religion when she starts working with a white teenage girl who accuses four seemingly well brought up Muslim boys of rape.

THE CLOSER I GET by Paul Burston, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor

Tom never realised a moment’s politeness at one of his book signings would take him to the edge of hell.

THE RINGMASTER by Vanda Symon, reviewed by Chris Roberts

Detective Sam Shephard fights unfair criticism from her boss as the Dunedin police tackle the murder of a student in the Botanic Garden.

THE FATHERLAND FILES by Volker Kutscher, reviewed by John Cleal

When a drowned man is found in a freight elevator in a Berlin pleasure palace, Inspector Gereon Rath faces a case which leads him into confrontation with the rising Nazi party.

THE WREN HUNT by Mary Watson, reviewed by Linda Wilson

Wren Silke is sent undercover to the sinister Harness Foundation in an attempt to uncover its dangerous secrets.

DEATH AT THE PLAGUE MUSEUM by Lesley Kelly, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor

Mona and Bernard are called in after a secret meeting in Edinburgh, where two of the four attendees are dead and a third is missing.

JUDGE WALDEN: CALL THE NEXT CASE by Peter Murphy, reviewed by Chris Roberts

Resident Judge of Bermondsey Crown Court Charlie Walden introduces another selection of cases coming under his purview, together with more of the administrative complexities which complicate his life.

WHERE THE TRUTH LIES by MJ Lee, reviewed by Anthea Hawdon

An empty grave. An old murder. DI Tom Ridpath must find his way through new tasks and old loyalties to find the truth about a serial killer stalking the streets of Manchester.

HIS DARK SUN by Jude Brown, reviewed by Linda Wilson

The year is 2022 and the world is sweltering in the grip of a permanent heatwave. Nineteen-year-old Luke Spargo knows that he’s the only one who understands and can halt the inevitable. But Luke’s methods won’t meet with universal approval.

THE CORPORATION by TJ English, reviewed by Chris Roberts

The non-fiction story of exiled Cubans who contested Castro’s leadership from the USA, and of one who built a lottery-based organisation which moved into money-laundering, drug trafficking and murder.

Best wishes


Lesa's Book Critiques: Laughing with Obama edited by M. Sweeney

Lesa's Book Critiques: Laughing with Obama edited by M. Sweeney

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Rap Sheet: Bullet Points: Barbie and Bangor Edition

The Rap Sheet: Bullet Points: Barbie and Bangor Edition

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Trial of Lizzie Borden: A True Story by Cara ...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Trial of Lizzie Borden: A True Story by Cara ...: Reviewed by Jeanne It was a hot day in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892 when Adelaide Churchill looked across the way to see...

Lesa's Book Critiques: Why You Should Read Children's Books... by Katherine Rundell

Lesa's Book Critiques: Why You Should Read Children's Books... by Katherine Rundell

KRL Update: KRL This Week for 10/26/19

Up in KRL this morning a review of "Valleys, Vehicles, and Victims" by Tonya

Also up this week, a review of "Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House" which
airs on Acorn TV on October 28

And a Halloween mystery short story by Cindy Sample

We also have a review and giveaway of another paranormal mystery perfect
for Halloween reading, "A Golden Grave" by Erin Lindsey

And a review and giveaway of "Blackthorn" by Judy Nedry

For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast directly on
KRL, you can find the player for the new episode here. This episode
features the first chapter of "The Society" by C.G. Abbot aka Avery Daniels,
read by local actor Ariel Linn

And we have the latest mystery Coming Attractions from Sunny Frazier, with
giveaways of books by Alexis Morgan, Karen MacInerney, and Maya Corrigan

And for more books great for Halloween reading, we have an article about
the books of Ruth Ware

Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of
"Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper" by Ana Brazil

And a review and giveaway of "The Bodies in the Library" by Marty Wingate

And for those who also enjoy vampires, a review and giveaway of "Shattered
Bonds" by Faith Hunter

Happy Halloween,


Review: The Batman Who Laughs by Scott Snyder

The Batman Who Laughs by Scott Snyder has a Batman known as “The Batman Who Laughs.” This is a version of Batman that killed the Joker and was contaminated by Joker toxin. The result was that he morphed in an evil version that was part Joker and part Batman. This evil version proceeded to murder his Bat family by killing Robin, Batgirl, Alfred and others.

Also at work in this graphic novel is the “Grim Knight.”  This is a Batman that has become like “The Punisher,” but way worse. His version does not have a Bat family. He kills all criminals and is hunted by the police who he is also trying to kill.

Both bad versions of Batman come from the “Dark Multiverse” and have come to what is all intents and purposes “Our Multiverse” where they seek to wreak havoc and must be stopped by our good Batman. This won’t be easy as the bad Batmans (Batmen ?) have lived the same lives for the most part, had the same trainings, and know all the faults and weaknesses as well as tactics.

This horror/mystery graphic novel pushes Batman, Jim Gordon, and Alfred to their limits as they face off and combat the evil Batmans in The Batman Who Laughs. The result is a good read that is complicated and sets up another series where Superman and Batman team up.

The artwork in the book is good though, at times a bit confusing, as anytime the Batman Who Laughs talks his font is red on top of black to emphasize how messed up he is. That way of doing things makes it hard to read since the story is very dark as it is.

While The Batman Who Laughs by Scott Snyder is a good story with plenty of action as well as mystery and horror elements, there is a large body count and there are horror aspects to the tale. So, this is not a book for young readers unless you just feel the need to freak them out.

The Batman Who Laughs
Scott Snyder
DC Comics
ISBN# 978-1-4012-9403-8
Hardback (also available in digital format)
232 Pages

Material came by way of the “Central Branch” of the Dallas Public Library System.

Scott A. Tipple ©2019

Friday, October 25, 2019

TP&WD: Game Warden Field Notes for 10/25/19

TP&WD: Game Warden Field Notes for 10/25/19

Beneath the Stains of Time: Death After Evensong (1969) by Douglas Clark

Beneath the Stains of Time: Death After Evensong (1969) by Douglas Clark: Douglas Clark was an English author of twenty-seven traditional, puzzle-oriented detective novels of the typical, post-World War II polic...

FFB Review: Bloody Halls by Carl Brookins

I first told you about this book back in 2008. Anything by Carl Brookins is guaranteed to be a good read. He has had a lot more books come out since. For the rest of the reading suggestions today, head over to Todd Mason’s Sweet Freedom Blog. FFB Review wise, see you all after Bouchercon 2019!

As Director of the Office of Student Life at City College of Minneapolis located in a number of buildings scattered across downtown Minneapolis, Jack Marston knows dealing with older adult students is going to be different and a challenge. This isn’t the normal college experience just because it is a campus-less college. The student population demographic is of older students juggling busy lives and careers, family responsibilities, and other issues with a college schedule. Then too there have been serious problems in the recent past with the Office of Student Life and it is Jack Marston’s job to lead the office forward and through his staff provide strong support services.

Along the way he has found time to begin building a relationship with Lori, a young lady in another department. There are issues there as well and they are trying to keep things as quiet as possible. Not because they are doing anything wrong but because people will talk and gossip can kill your career in a heartbeat in the world of academia.

Jack Marston has also found the time to indulge in his desire to act on stage. The College will be presenting Ibsen’s play, “Enemy of the People” and as Ibsen is a personal favorite, Marston is hoping for some minor role after he auditions. Instead, the young bitter director from the University across town selects him for the major role as Dr. Stockman, the enemy of the people. Marston knows he is overmatched and he also knows he has absolutely no way of getting out of it.

The same is true when the President of the College, Arthur Trammel assigns him the role of police liaison after a student is found murdered and dumped in the lobby of the theater. While Jack Marston would have had some contact possibly with the media once the story gets out, President Arthur Trammel expects him to do far more. Tapped for being discreet and with a mandate to assist the police with their investigation any way possible so that they quickly close the case because there is a fund drive and other issues at stake, Marston has no choice and must accept his new role for however long it takes. When not working on his role in the play, Marston plays his other role of investigator. He starts with the troubling fact that the entire record of the deceased student has vanished from the computer system. The dead student no longer exists in the system. If he can figure out who did it and why that might point him in the direction of who committed the murder as opposed to the Police who seem to going in other directions. As the days turn into weeks and another death rocks the campus, Marston is led down a trail of lies, office politics, perversion and murder, until a violent confrontation in a snowstorm just outside his office puts everything he has worked for at risk.

Featuring some cutting humor about the joys of working at intuitions of higher learning, this cozy style mystery steadily ratchets up the suspense factor. Jack Marston has more than a cynical humor working for him and readers who work in academia will find themselves often nodding in agreement.

Couple that with an engaging writing style that quickly pulls readers into a world populated with interesting real life characters, a constantly changing mystery full of expected and unexpected twists, and plenty of action as Jack Marston gets out and gets his hands dirty investigating, this read is a real treat to start off the year. As in his other books and short stories, Author Carl Brookins, a member of the “Minnesota Crime Wave,” shows a real talent for story telling.

Bloody Halls
Carl Brookins
Echelon Press
Large Trade Paperback
ISBN# 1-59080-570-4
260 Pages

Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008, 2010, 2019

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Crime Time : LIBRA – Don DeLillo

Crime Time : LIBRA – Don DeLillo: This is not a book review, contrary to its appearance and what you may have been expecting. I will explain shortly why I cannot review Li...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Veronika, Plover, Dalai Lama's Cat, Onc...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Veronika, Plover, Dalai Lama's Cat, Onc...: Reported by Kristin Twenty-four year old Veronika looks like a successful young woman with much to live for, except that she fee...

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 10/24/19

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 10/24/19

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 29 Writing Contests in November 2019 - No entry fe...

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 29 Writing Contests in November 2019 - No entry fe...: Pixabay There are more than two dozen writing contests in November for short stories, poetry, essays, scripts, and books in every genre....

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Bird Box by Josh Malerman:  Reviewed by Damean Driven by an unknown force, people all over the world are killing each other before killing themselves. ...

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Case of the Dead Shepherd (1934) by Christophe...

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Case of the Dead Shepherd (1934) by Christophe...: Christopher Bush retired in 1931 from teaching in order to dedicate himself full-time to his writing career and his twelfth detective no...

Review: The Bitterest Pill: A Jesse Stone Novel by Reed Farrrel Coleman

If you have been paying any attention at all you know about the Opioid crisis and the fact that the war on drugs has been a colossal and expensive failure. Author Reed Farrel Coleman uses that common knowledge as the background for The Bitterest Pill: A Jessie Stone Novel.
The opioid crisis has made it to the coastal region of Paradise, Massachusetts. When the legal drugs run out, those desperate have to turn to heroin to get their fix. That can have tragic and disastrous consequences. Local student and cheerleader Heather Mackey has been found dead in the bedroom of her home thanks to a heroin overdose. Clearly, she had to have gotten the drugs from somewhere and the most obvious place would by way of somebody, at her school, Paradise High School.

The end user is just the tip of the iceberg. Somewhere and hidden in the shadows are the folks pulling strings and make money off of addiction and death. While Paradise Police Chief Jesse Stone and his team work to uncover the bosses, the bosses and others work to obstruct and kill off all venues of investigation by any means necessary.

The latest book in this series is another good if depressing read. Plenty of facts about the drug problem in this country are interwoven into the fictional storylines as work in The Bitterest Pill: A Jesse Stone Novel. For those of us who have battled our own addictions to pain killers and alcohol while dealing with chronic pain and more, much of this read will ring very true. As one would expect from this author, the book is another solidly good read well worth your time.

The Bitterest Pill: A Jesse Stone Novel
Reed Farrrel Coleman
Thorndike Press (Gale, a Cengage Company)
ISBN# 978-1-4328-6858-1
Large Print Hardback
475 Pages

Large print material came from the Lakewood Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2019