Saturday, February 29, 2020
Up in KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "The Lucky One" by Lori Rader-Day along with an interesting interview with Lori
And reviews and giveaways of 3 more fun mysteries-"Claw Enforcement": A Second Chance Cat Mystery by Sofie Ryan, "Last Licks": A Lickety Splits Ice Cream Shoppe Mystery by Cynthia Baxter, and "Poppy Harmon and the Hung Jury": A Desert Flowers Mystery by Lee Hollis
We also have an interview with another fun mystery podcast-the first in a series of interviews with mystery podcasters-this one with the team behind "It Was a Dark & Stormy Book Club"
And the latest mystery Coming Attractions from Sunny Frazier
We also have reviews of the 2 latest mystery movies from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel-Picture Perfect Mysteries: "Dead Over Diamonds", and Martha's Vineyard Mysteries: "Riddled with Deceit"
For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast directly on KRL, the player is now up here for the latest episode featuring the first chapter of "Five Manners of Death" by Darden North, read by local actor Ariel Linn
Up this week in KRL News and Reviews we have a review and giveaway of "Microphones and Murder" by Erin Huss, Author
And a review and ebook giveaway of "Dark Rum Revenge" by Nicole Leiren and Elizabeth Ashby, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing
Book of Sith: Secrets From The Dark Side by Daniel Wallace is an expanded universe novel from before Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise and threw the canon into the trash. This book collects various pictures, documents, journals and more by various Sith members throughout their history. If one would like to read the original history of the Sith or would like to see how things were before Disney blew it all up, this is a good read for that.
Book of Sith: Secrets From The Dark Side answers questions like how did the rule of two begin? How were the Sith originally formed? How did the Sith go from being thousands to two? How did Palpatine plan the clone wars? What was the first war between the Sith and the Jedi like?
This book answers those questions and more. There is also commentary provided by Mace Windu, Luke Skywalker, Yoda, and more, in the margins of the page refuting the points the Sith writers argue. It is just a fun varied read that covers various points in Sith History. I recommended it for Star Wars fans, especially ones who would like to know more about the Sith and their history. At hundred fifty nine pages Book of Sith: Secrets From The Dark Side is not a very long read, but it is an interesting one.
My reading copy came from the Downtown Branch of the Dallas Public Library.
Scott A. Tipple ©2020
Friday, February 28, 2020
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters: Reviewed by Laura As I was reading this novel, I thought that I had figured it out before I was halfway through ...
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 44 Calls for Submissions in March 2020 - Paying ma...: Monet - Wikimedia T here are more than three dozen calls for submissions in March. All of these are paying markets, and none charge subm...
For this final Friday in February 2020, it seemed like a good time to blow the dust off of this review which first ran back in 2014. After you read his review of Drum Beat-Madrid by Stephen Marlowe. Make sure to head over to Todd Mason’s Sweet Freedom Blog where he will have the roundup of the FFB reviews for this week posted as soon as possible.
DRUM BEAT--MADRID (1966) by Stephen Marlowe
Reviewed by Barry Ergang
His primary office is in
but private detective Chester Drum has also opened one in Washington, D.C.
because his cases so frequently take him out of the Geneva, Switzerland . One of his most
prominent clients, and a recurrent character in several books in this series,
is Axel Spade. As Drum explains, “Axel Spade gives professional advice to black
marketeers and smugglers. His going rates for an interview are a hundred bucks
a half hour, and if you need the kind of advice Spade gives, a half hour of his
time is the best investment you can make.” Spade has homes in United States and New York City , but must be careful about traveling
elsewhere. He’s wanted in more than twenty countries. Geneva
When Drum Beat--
and Drum are driving to Madrid ,
specifically to the ranch of Captain General Don Santiago Sotomayor, retired
commander of the Guardia Civil. The purpose of the trip? Spade is going to
marry Sotomayor’s niece, Luz Robles. Drum is to be his best man and, because he
has a fair number of enemies, his bodyguard. Spain
The Sotomayor family, the reader soon learns, is as dysfunctional as any outside of a Ross Macdonald novel. Don Santiago’s brother Hernando was a Loyalist during the Spanish Civil War. Don Santiago turned him in, and Hernando was executed. His son José was raised by Don Santiago. His wife and daughter went to
The wife died there, and Luz was raised by the Robles family. Son Ramón was
adopted and raised in Caracas, Venezuela by Hernando’s closest
friend. He’s now in the American Army, stationed in Baltimore,
Maryland , and calls himself Ray
Moyers. He clearly has more than a platonic interest in his sister. Spain
The schedule calls for José, who hasn’t seen his sister since they were children, to fly Luz from
to Don Santiago’s
ranch. When he lands and Luz is not with him, he explains: “We met in Madrid in the Ritz bar
at . She had some
shopping to do, she said. We were to meet later at the airport. I waited. She
did not come. Still I waited. And then, at last, she sent a note saying she was
afraid to fly with her señorito of a brother and had decided to take the train
A ransom note arrives at the ranch the next morning demanding fifty thousand dollars for Luz‘s return, leaving Drum and Spade to wonder why the ransom amount is so low, since Don Santiago can afford a great deal more. Drum spent two years with the FBI before going private, and has more experience handling kidnappings than the Guardia Civil. But Spade is initially unable to persuade Don Santiago to keep the two of them in the loop, let alone to permit Drum to investigate. It’s only after the kidnappers fail to appear at the designated ransom site they send Don Santiago to that the old man grudgingly agrees to let Drum take over. Take over he does, heading immediately to
to try to retrace Luz’s steps and get a line on her current whereabouts--and
those of her kidnappers. In doing so he encounters his share of colorful and
well-delineated characters; surprises and revelations, not the least of which
is the secret of the Sotomayor family treasure; some moral and ethical issues;
and plenty of action, especially in Madrid
during the running of the bulls. Pamplona
According to Marlowe’s obituaries in The New York Times and The Boston Globe, he was well-traveled and lived in
, France and Spain . To anyone who has read
any of the Chester Drum novels, this will come as no surprise: Marlowe’s sense
of place and its culture was always meticulously and vividly rendered. Drum
is no exception. Madrid
Barry Ergang ©2014, 2020
Among other works, Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang's own impossible crime novelette, The Play of Light and Shadow, is available at Amazon and Smashwords as is his recently released book of poetry, Farrago, and other entertaining reads. For more on Barry’s books as well as his editing services, check out Barry’s website.
Thursday, February 27, 2020
Beneath the Stains of Time: Death and the Professor (1961) by E. and M.A. Radf...: A year ago, Dean Street Press reissued three detective novels by a British husband-and-wife writing team, Edwin and Mona A. Radford , wh...
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 52 Writing Contests in March 2020 - No entry fees: Pixabay This March there are more than four dozen contests calling for every genre and form, from poetry, to creative nonfiction, to...
Maddie James’ life seems to be well on track. Her cat café, JJ’s House of Purrs (named for her beloved cat JJ) is doing well, as is her love life. She’s been building up a steady clientele, folks who enjoy a treat while communing with adoptable kittens and cats. Recently, a man has been coming in with his laptop who seems more intent on working than interacting—which is fine, of course, but just a little unusual. After all, he’s paying $15 an hour when he could be going somewhere else (his local library, to use a totally random example) for free. As it turns out, he probably has a reason for avoiding libraries full of alert readers: the man is Jason Holt, a best-selling author of thrillers whose books have been turned into blockbuster movies. Rumor has it that he’s trying something new, a non-fiction book about an unsolved case. Maddie’s mother, an aspiring writer, is an avid fan and anxious to meet Holt and get tips.
But while Maddie can already envision the marketing campaign she can spin out of Holt’s patronage, she has something even more important on her mind: the strange woman who showed up and announced that JJ was her cat, and she wants him back.
As if that isn’t enough to worry about, a body turns up in a canal and Maddie finds herself in the middle of murder investigation.
This is the third in the Cat Café Mystery series. The characters and setting are in place, though readers who pick up this one first shouldn’t have any problem keeping up. I felt the plot was more complex than in the first two books, which I like; one of the supporting characters played a more prominent role and readers learned about his past. This is a light, enjoyable series with an adorable cat, and offers enough entertainment to keep me walking (and don’t underestimate the importance of that!)
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Bitter Tea and Mystery: Short Story February: English Country House Murder...: This month I read all 22 stories in English Country House Murders , a short story anthology edited by Thomas Godfrey. The volume begins with...
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Run Away, Sarah's Key, Big Magic, We We...: Reported by Laura The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton, set in 1936, focuses on one woman’s efforts to transport children...
Stewartville is a “vortex of weird”. It is a place where urban legends overlap with the very real fear that comes from the town’s isolation and the fact that there are prisons nearby. Blaring sirens indicating a prisoner is on the loose overshadow people’s daily lives. It seems like everyone in town is headed towards those prisons. They’ll either work there or be sent there. That is, perhaps, the closest one will get to the real truth of the town.
Or is it? When a group of teens dare to visit the site where several children died, one spots muddy fingerprints on the back of the car, and yet the road had been empty. Then a strange car follows them and fear sets in.
Two of the boys also find a tunnel connected to a basement. Their easy friendship starts to sour as Denny’s obsession with the tunnel grows. His mom has changed since their move to Stewartville, and tensions are rising in his home.
His friend is being raised by his brother—their mom is locked up —is surrounded by people who aren’t acting normally. His brother fixates on keeping him straight and clean so that he can make something of his life, but that same brother now seems to be using drugs. The house is messier, the food supplies dwindle.
Then people snap. One shocking murder is only the beginning. Is it the ley lines? The tunnels? Something crawling out from beneath the town to wreak vengeance for prior wrongs?
Author Shannon Felton does a great job of creating and building tension throughout this story. She provides just enough info to keep you guessing about what’s really going on, and then still manages to pull the rug out from under your feet with unexpected developments. The town feels all too real, with a lot of people lacking direction and succumbing to their unwelcome fate. There’s a hopelessness that permeates every page, and has you feeling like the characters are under constant pressure to surrender to the pull of the prisons. Whether the curse is real, whether some other evil force is at work, is for you to decide.
Sandra Ruttan ©2020
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 29 Great Writing Conferences in March 2020: Conferences are not only the best way to meet agents, get tips from other writers, and learn about the publishing industry, they make you ...
Monday, February 24, 2020
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters: Reviewed by Christy In 1991, Heather Cole and three of her friends formed the Dead Girls Club. In this club, they ...
Beneath the Stains of Time: Original Sin (1991) by Mary Monica Pulver: Back in December, John Pugmire, of Locked Room International , published the long-awaited Locked Room Murders: Supplement (2019), edited...
Gravetapping: THE WOLF IN THE CLOUDS by Ron Faust: The Wolf in the Clouds is Ron Faust’s second published novel. It was originally published as a hardcover by Bobbs-Merrill’s Black Bat My...
TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: Texas Literary Calendar Feb. 24-Ma...: Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of February 24-March 1, 2020, compiled exclusively for Lone Star Literary Life by Texas Book Love...
Lesser Evils by Joe Flanagan (Europa Editions, 2016) is an astonishing piece of noir fiction. Bill Warren, its protagonist, is surrounded by corruption in his small Cape Cod town of 1957, yet he remains convinced of the need to be an honest, fair, and upright human being. Bill is the acting police chief in Barnstable while the police chief is on medical leave. He is the sole support of a disabled son since his alcoholic wife wandered away years ago; he’s trying hard to care for young Mike while doing his best on the job. His rectitude backfires on him sometimes, as when he discovered the antique store owned by a gay couple is being robbed but no one on his force responds to the reports. He investigates himself and finds the thief to be the son of one of the selectmen, who threatens him with his job if he doesn’t close the case. While he damages his standing with the very people who can give him the chief of police position permanently, he is able to return the latest stolen items to the store owners, much to their surprise and gratitude.
Someone is killing young boys on Bill’s turf. His team turns out in full force only to have a publicity-hungry State Police captain sweep the case out from under them. Another family disappears after they reported violent treatment by a local group of gamblers in an attempt to collect money. An investigation of the bar that fronts the gambling den links the group to organized crime in Boston. Bill organizes a raid on the place, only to find it cleaned out and the pigeons flown – someone within his own team is feeding them information.
There are some great characters here. The local politicians are deliciously seedy. The pedophiles pulled in for interviews are skin-crawlingly creepy. A doctor trolling for patients to try his new drug on betrayed every ethic of his job. A prominent subplot involves Father Boyle, a sad priest who believes he’s lost his faith and his calling but he continues to carry out his duties at the local hospital and the school for disabled children run by a group of nuns. Father Boyle has a confused past; his grasp on reality doesn’t seem to be firmly in place. He’s deeply committed to the children in the school, where they are delighted to see him on his visits. I held my breath waiting for him to be accused of the murders. Like Bill Warren, he would have been unable to defend himself. Instead the subplot resolves unexpectedly in possibly the most unusual way I can remember in crime fiction.
This book is deeply dark and violent, showing humanity at its absolute worst at moments. I nearly stopped reading midway. The writing and the story became so compelling I was driven to learn how it all ended and a wonderful ending full of optimism it is. Publishers Weekly starred review.
- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Europa Editions; First Edition (March 1, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1609453107
- ISBN-13: 978-1609453107
Aubrey Hamilton ©2020
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, February 23, 2020
The Authors Guild Rehashes Bogus Author Income Survey as a "New" Report | The Digital Reader: Earlier this week The Publishers Authors Guild released a report that 'explores the factors leading to the decline in the writing profession. Alas, this report is based on the flawedContinue reading
Mystery Fanfare: MARDI GRAS and CARNIVALE CRIME FICTION // MARDI GR...: Mardi Gras aka Carnivale . Whatever you call it, it is a great setting for Murder ! Busy streets, crowds, costumes, drinking .. mix ...
Saturday, February 22, 2020
Up in KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "Careless Whiskers" by Miranda James
And a review and giveaway of "Buried to the Brim" by Jenn McKinlay along with a fun pet related guest post by Jenn
We also have reviews of the newest seasons of "Midsomer Murders" and "Murdoch Mysteries" up on Acorn TV
And a review and giveaway of "Death Bee Comes Her" by Nancy Coco along with an interesting interview with Nancy
And an article about "Bakersfield Boys Club" by Anne Da Vigo based on a real murder case. You can also enter to win a copy of the book
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "Theater Nights Are Murder" by Libby Klein
And a review and giveaway of "A Field Guide to Homicide" by Lynn Cahoon
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Lost Are the Last to Die By Larry D. Sweazy: Guest reviewer Kevin Tipple is back with his take on this Larry Sweazy novel. Check out his blog Kevin's Corner for more book re...
House of X, Powers of X by Jonathan Hickman collects two miniseries that set up the current status quo for the new X-Men titles under the umbrella title of Dawn of X. This book collects twelve issues- six for each miniseries.
Professor X no longer believes in coexistence with humanity. He no longer believes that the X-men should fight for a world where humans and mutants live in peace side by side. Someone has changed his mind and he no longer thinks the human race is worth saving or can be saved. Professor X is no longer the man X-men fans have known. His idealism is gone. He is now a cold cynic when it comes to the human race. Professor X will protect mutants and his X-men at all costs and is not at all concerned about the fate of humanity. Alongside Magneto and the X-Men, Professor X has set out to create his own nation for all mutants. This book features nearly everyone in the mutant realm along with cameos by the Avengers and the Fantastic Four.
This book is mostly about Professor X, Magneto, and one other character that can not be named here without spoiling some of the book. Wolverine, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Nightcrawler, Jean Grey and many more have their moments in this book. This book features nearly everyone in the mutant realm along with cameos by the Avengers and the Fantastic Four.
As should be clear from the initial premise, there are lots of radical changes made in this tale to do something original that has not been done before. If you are a long term reader of the X-Men comics, you know that for the last ten or so years the writers have been playing with the same themes and utilizing mostly the same set of ideas. While some of that has generated great writing, there has been a ton of mediocre writing because it is hard to do something different when everyone is doing the same sort of themes.
House of X, Powers of X by Jonathan Hickman is a radical change in the X-men status quo which may or may not work for you. Personally, I enjoyed because it was something different and I am a fan of Hickman’s writing. For the most part I like his stuff even though it often seems that he makes things so complicated that it can be hard to keep things straight.
If you are familiar with Hickman’s previous work you know he loves to utilize time travel or multiple timelines, alien civilizations, flawed heroes with huge plans, complicated world building, and more. Hickman loves to write heavy sci-fi. He loves to write how the decision made by one or more prominent leaders on a team can change everything in a world. All of his usual elements are very apparent here.
Hickman has written the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and is now doing the X-Men. That means that thing, the normal status quo, is over for the foreseeable future for the X-Men. These X-men are similar to the ones most fans know but the change to Professor X has rippled across the X-Men group and they all look at the world far differently than the past way most folks understood.
House of X, Powers of X by Jonathan Hickman is not for fans who can’t accept widely different interpretations of a character. If you are not okay with having stories where both the “good” and “evil” side are correct in their views from their perspectives and therefore are doing morally grey things that make sense from their perspectives, this is not the book for you. If you have an open mind and are an X-Men fan who likes a heavy dose of science fiction, you should enjoy this book. The art is amazing and the story is epic. Another cool aspect of the book assuming you like world building is all the charts, maps, documents that help support the tale and set up the new world for the X-Men.
I highly recommend House of X, Powers of X by Jonathan Hickman.
My hardback reading copy came from the Central Downtown Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Alexander ©2020
Friday, February 21, 2020
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 Helen Sedgwick in the Countdown hot seat:
We’re on Twitter at:
Crime Review: @CrimeReviewUK
Linda Wilson: @CrimeReviewer
Sharon Wheeler: @lartonmedia
This week’s reviews are:
HITLER’S SECRET by Rory Clements, reviewed by John Cleal
Cambridge-based American history professor Tom Wilde is asked to smuggle a mysterious package out of wartime Nazi Germany – something so secret, even Hitler doesn’t know what it is!
KNIFE by Jo Nesbo, reviewed by Viv Beeby
Detective Harry Hole's life is in chaos and when a deranged and vengeful enemy strikes at the very heart of it then Harry must face his darkest hour.
ACTION AT A DISTANCE by Ben Aaronovitch and Andrew Cartmel, reviewed by
The death of an old friend takes both Nightingale and Peter Grant on a trip down memory lane.
THE GIRL WITHOUT SKIN by Mads Peder Nordbo, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
The discovery of a mummified body on the edge of an ice sheet in Greenland leads to the re-opening of an unsolved case from 1970s. Danish journalist Matthew Cave and a young woman released from prison after serving a sentence for killing her family delve into the shocking and brutal past.
GI CONFIDENTIAL by Martin Limon, reviewed by Chris Roberts
The US Army CID agents Sueno and Bascom investigate a South Korean bank robbery which has all the hallmarks of military involvement.
STONE MOTHERS by Erin Kelly, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
Marianne’s husband has bought a convenient pied-à-terre. But it’s the key to a dark past that should have remained buried.
MAIGRET HESITATES by Georges Simenon, reviewed by John Cleal
Chief Inspector Maigret receives a series of anonymous letters threatening murder in the household of an eminent lawyer.
BETWEEN TWO EVILS by Eva Dolan, reviewed by Linda Wilson
When a doctor at an women’s detention centre is murdered, there are no immediate suspects but plenty of people who seem to be putting roadblocks in the way of the latest investigation for Peterborough cops DI Zigic and DS Ferreira.
THE LAST WOMAN IN THE FOREST by Diane Les Becquets, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
Marian is offered an opportunity to work with rescue dogs on environmental projects and falls under the spell of her mentor Tate. Several months later after Tate’s tragic death she realises that he might have been responsible for the unsolved murders of at least four women.
NO PLACES OF REFUGE by Ausma Zehanat Khan, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty travel to a Greek island where a friend working to aid refugees has disappeared.
THE VANISHED BRIDE by Bella Ellis, reviewed by John Cleal
When the three Brontë sisters hear that a young women has gone missing from her home leaving no clue but a pool of blood, they decide to investigate.
THE WHISPER MAN by Alex North, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake are making a fresh start away from the grief associated with the house where Tom’s wife died. Tom doesn’t expect to be plunged into another nightmare when Featherbank proves not to be the safe haven he’s expected for a boy of Jake’s age.
AT YOUR DOOR by JP Carter, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
When DCI Anna Tate looks down on the body of the brutally murdered girl, she cannot know people on high will soon be looking down on her every move.
MR NOBODY by Catherine Steadman, reviewed by Chris Roberts
A man is washed up on a Norfolk beach with only vestiges of memory. Neuropsychiatrist Emma Lewis is asked to help, but returning to Norfolk will bring her face-to-face with a past she is keen to forget.
TIGHT LIES by Ted Denton, reviewed by John Cleal
Daniel Ratchet, a rookie golf agent, discovers that the Russian gas company sponsoring the tournament and fixing results is also on the verge of tying up a mega deal with the British government. Lone wolf ex-SAS man Tom Hunter must save him.
WIDOW’S WELCOME by DK Fields, reviewed by John Barnbrook
In the United Realms there are no elections, instead each year the leading group is chosen by picking which of them tells the most compelling story. This year, one of the storytellers is murdered and fear /and suspicion grows.
TROUBLE IN NEW YORK by Sylvia Bishop, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Jamie Creedon doesn’t just want to deliver the news, he wants to write about it, and not just in his school newspaper. When he gets the chance to visit the offices of the Morning Yorker, he doesn’t realise quite how dangerous his life is about to become.
BLOOD ON THE LAW by William A Graham, reviewed by John Cleal
PI Allan Linton is hired by his former wife, a top lawyer, to help prove the innocence of his boyhood friend – now the city’s major drugs dealer – found with £2 million worth of cocaine in his car.
HOLLYWOOD GODFATHER by Gianni Russo with Patrick Picciarelli, reviewed by
The autobiography of Gianni Russo, who lived as a gangster both in real life and in the movies, and rubbed shoulders with the cream of Hollywood.
SOMEBODY’S MOTHER, SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER by Carol Ann Lee, reviewed by Kati
True stories from victims and survivors of the Yorkshire Ripper.
Sharon and Linda