Less Than a Moment: A Posadas County Mystery by Steven F. Havill is
the latest installment in a series that began long ago with Heartshot.
This is a series where characters age, relationships evolve over time, and
always present is the stark beauty of Posadas County, New Mexico. That aspect,
a distinct and deep appreciation of setting, is always raised to a level that
is its own constant presence in the series. The setting is a character in its
own right. Sometimes the desert country is front and center in the tales and
other times it is more of a backdrop to the mystery and the crimes that are
In this case, the desert country is very much in the forefront of
the read as is the legendary “NightZone” development. Designed to bring
tourists as well as scientists to an astronomy based scientific installation in
the New Mexico desert, it is home to various telescopes aimed at the wonders of
the heavens above. There are frequent detailed references to the events in Come Dark: The Posadas County
Mysteries published in 2016. Readers are encouraged to, at the very least, read
that book before embarking on this read.
Undersheriff Estelle Reyes-Guzman has a lot going on this Friday
morning in late May. That includes a meeting out at Night Zone with Miles Waddell,
owner and financial backer of NightZone. That meeting will also include
Frank Dayan, publisher of the local paper, and Kyle Thompson. Kyle Thompson,
through a development company, has purchased a massive amount of acreage that
abuts the NightZone project and rumors are swirling as to what will be
built on the property. Thompson is not a local and no one knows what his
intentions are which is causing stress among the locals. That includes the many
folks who now rely on the NightZone project for good jobs.
What will be built is very important to Waddell as he has spent
millions and millions of dollars on the project. His entire development is
designed to avoid all outdoor lighting of any type on the mesa it sits on or on
the surrounding land. Everything has been meticulously designed to preserve the
dark night skies. If the rumors of a planned housing development are true, this
would be devastating to NightZone which is now fully embraced by all in
That meeting is the launching pad for the main mystery of the book
that soon features a murder, several suspects, and a complicated case with several
interesting angles. While family certainly takes a role in the primary
storyline, family is a far more major player in the two secondary storylines.
One of which is the fact the kids are back in town and Undersheriff Estelle
Reyes-Guzman is again having a hard time finding time to spend with them as
various local events and the schedule of the kids work against her. One does
not want to be an obtrusive grandmother, but one does not want to miss out on
everything either and crime stops for no one.
The second of the two secondary storylines involves the no
nonsense Sheriff, Robert Torrez, and his nephew, Quentin Torrez. As anyone who
has read the latest edition of the local newspaper, Posadas Register, already
knows, the young Quentin Torrez was arrested in recent hours for his third DUI.
If that was not bad enough, he soon finds himself the target of an angry Sheriff
who also suspects he might have been the culprit behind some vandalism. Then a
murder happens and soon he is one of several potential suspects as law
enforcement works hard to identify and apprehend a killer.
As always in this series, things are complicated, and they
certainly are in Less Than A Moment: A Posadas County Mystery. Billed
as the 24th in the series, this latest one has all the elements
that have made this entire series so very entertaining. Less Than A
Moment: A Posadas County Mystery by Steven F. Havill is another great
read and is strongly recommended.
Big time thanks go to Lesa Holstine who mentioned late last week
this book was out. Big time thanks go to my son, Scott, who able to figure out
what to do to get the eBook through our closed Dallas Public Library System and
make it all work so that I could happily read the tale on my iPad and escape
reality for a few hours.
Joe R. Lansdale is a prolific and diverse writer,
publishing nearly 50 novels and stories in a range of genres including mystery,
suspense, horror, science fiction, Western, and comics. His stories have won an
Edgar Award, a Raymond Chandler Lifetime Achievement Award, ten Bram Stoker
Awards, a British Fantasy Award, a World Horror Convention Grand Master Award,
a Sugarprize, a Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature, and a Spur Award. His
series about Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, unconventional PIs in eastern Texas,
was adapted for television on the SundanceTV channel and ran for three seasons.
Hap and Leonard’s latest adventure The
Elephant of Surprise (Mulholland Books, 2019) is a rock ‘em-sock ‘em sequence
of skirmishes between our heroes and a group of racketeers intent on ridding
the world of these two PIs who have stumbled into the mobsters’ path. Hap and
Leonard are driving home in a pounding rain storm after a long stake-out, when
Leonard glimpses the figure of a woman staggering across the road. They take
her, drenched to the bone, into the car and learn she’s seriously wounded. They
head to the nearest hospital, only to be confronted on the road by an oversized
thug who wants the victim they’ve rescued and doesn’t mind killing Hap and Leonard
to get her. From that point forward, between the hoodlums and the rain, wind,
and tornadoes, the momentum seems unrelenting. For authors wanting to learn how
to write shootout or fight scenes, this book is a great primer.
I enjoyed this story, more of a thriller than a
mystery, a lot. What little mystery there is to begin with is soon sorted out
when the mobsters’ original victim, the woman on the road, is well enough to
talk. The rest of the suspense lies in watching to see how the bad guys will be
brought to justice, and how Hap and Leonard will manage to save their skins. While
it doesn’t hurt to have read earlier books in the series, enough backstory is
provided along the way to make previous acquaintance with the characters
unnecessary. Crackling action, snappy dialogue. Recommended.
·Hardcover: 256 pages
Books; First Edition/First Printing (March 19, 2019)
The latest COVID 19 zip code map posted moments ago on twitter by County Judge Clay Jenkins based on the two testing sites set up by the City of Dallas. That little white area on the NE side next to LBJ (635) with no official cases is our zip code.
We also have reviews and
giveaways of 2 fun mysteries for your Spring reading list-"Murder in an
Irish Cottage": An Irish Village Mystery by Carlene O'Connor and
"Murder Makes Scents": Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery by Christin Brecher
Highfire: A Novel by Eoin Colfer is the latest adult book from the creator of The
Artemis Fowl Series. The Artemis Fowl Series is a great series
that I highly recommend. Highfire: A Novel is an adult spin
on the classic tale of boy meets dragon and they become friends. Vern, the
dragon, is the last dragon on the planet as far as he knows and is bitter and
lonely. He is wasting his life drinking vodka and watching Netflix as he waits
to die in his hideaway somewhere in the swamps of Louisiana. He needs to hire
somebody to act on his behalf as a go between him and society.
After all, a dragon can’t exactly go
into to town and do his own grocery shopping. Thanks to a chance encounter and
in exchange for his life, a young kid by the name of Squib offers to provide
this service. Vern reluctantly agrees to trust the human despite his hatred of
all humans for killing his family and friends. Of course, things do not stay
simple when one is working for the last dragon on the planet. Add in a dirty
cop named Regence Hooke who thinks it is a good idea to go after Squib, despite
the dragon, and the novel becomes quickly complicated.
If you are familiar with Eoin Colfer,
you know his books usually include references to Ireland, a weird sense of
humor, deep characters who are complicated individuals, and a unique way of
telling a story. His writing style is very different than most writers. I like
it for the most part. Sometimes one has to reread a paragraph for it to be
This is a very adult novel and not appropriate
for kids. There are a number of graphic
murders, sex jokes are made, implied rapes, a suicide attempt, lots of cussing,
and other adult orientated content. If you think the idea of a dragon wearing
clothes, hanging out in a Lazy Boy, drinking vodka while watching Netflix, is funny;
this could be the book for you. I enjoyed Highfire: A Novel by Eoin Colfer a
lot, but the writing style and sense of humor is not for everyone. Assuming you
are okay with very mature elements in your reading and you have a sense of
humor, I recommend it.
Scuffletown: A Willie Black Mystery by Howard Owen is the seventh book in The Willie Black Mystery Series
that began with Oregon Hill. For readers new to this series, this
is a series that is best read in order as the characters age, relationships
change, and much like in the real world, the past is always present and not
always in a good way.
It is a lovely afternoon in early
April as the book opens and Scuffletown Park is about to be in the news in a
big way. A small park surrounded by homes and apartments, it is where Willie
Black and the first of four wives started their lives as young married people.
Based on the amount of blood splashed across one of the brick walkways,
something did go down the night before. The cops had been called out around
midnight for a fight of some sort. Upon their arrival, there was nobody in the
park. They certainly did not find a body in the dark park and never saw the
blood on the bricks. With no body and no signs of a struggle or anything amiss,
they soon packed up and moved on to other crimes in the city.
It was not until this morning, a
Thursday, that it became clear something bad had gone down in the old park. A
jogger cutting through by way of the alley that runs down on side of the park
called the cops after he saw the massive amount of blood on the brick stones.
Despite a thorough search and spending hours at what clearly is a crime scene,
the police still do not have a weapon, a body, or any evidence of an actual
That soon changes when a video, taken
by a resident, suddenly turns up. A video that clears shows Willie’s friend and
roommate, Abe Custalow, clearly standing over what appears to be a dead man.
Almost everyone at the paper, on the police force, and at various local
watering holes, knows that Abe has a bedroom in Willie Black’s condo unit. Abe
is family and that has not changed. What has changed is that he is now a
suspect and the police are looking hard for him. Abe has a criminal record, one
that is far more complicated than it would appear from a dry read of the facts.
Willie is absolutely positive that Abe did not do this no matter what one can
see on a video.
Even though, from the start, Abe
wants nothing done on his behalf, Willie begins digging into what Abe has been
doing lately and what could have happened in the park. Even though Abe and
almost everybody else wants him to stay out of it, reporter Willie Black is not
about to stop in his quest to save Abe from himself. Before long he is risking
his job, his life, and even his friendship with Abe to prove that his old friend
did not do the crime. He does so because the past always matters.
This installment of a complicated
series is yet another very good read. While the primary storyline is the case
as outlined above, there are ongoing secondary storylines at work that continue
previous events from earlier books. The result is another complicated read of
complex characters, family drama, and plenty of mystery.
This is a really good series and one
that should be read in order. Scuffletown: A Willie Black Mystery
by Howard Owen is highly recommended.
Jane A. Adams is an active British mystery author
with some 30 or 35 novels to her credit. She has created five series characters
since 1995, all set in England: Mike Croft, a detective inspector; Ray Flowers, a former
police sergeant turned private investigator; Naomi Blake, a blind
ex-policewoman; Rina Martin, an actress who played a private investigator in a
television series; and Chief Inspector Henry Johnstone of Scotland Yard,
beginning in the late 1920s.
(Severn House, 2019) is the fourth title in the Johnstone series. Chief
Inspector Johnstone met clockmaker Abraham Levy on an earlier case, and now
Levy has come to him for help in locating his nephew. Joseph Levy was last seen
on 3 February 1929 boarding a train in Lincoln to return to his home in London.
On 20 February Levy approaches Scotland Yard, believing his family’s concerns
have been dismissed by the local police and that his nephew is dead. Johnstone
points out that he only works on homicide cases and a missing person does not
qualify but he and his sergeant Mickey Hitchens agree to review the file. About
a week after Johnstone asked the various police forces along the train line to
look again for any trace of the nephew, the clockmaker’s prediction turns out
to be right and Joseph Levy’s body is found near where he was last seen.
The subsequent investigation is hampered by
Joseph’s family, who are evasive about their business affairs, and the
inexplicable interest of the leader of the gang who runs the area where the
clockmaker lives and works. Then Johnstone discovers Abraham Levy has something
of a reputation as a rabble-rouser, consorting with known Communists and union
organizers, which makes Johnstone wonder about his associates. An interesting
subplot involves Johnstone’s sister who tries to disentangle her husband’s
investments to protect them from the coming economic crisis.
A well-written, methodical police procedural that
speaks to the time and the place. I was particularly impressed with how subtly
Adams sets the stage. Less experienced authors reference newspaper headlines or
songs on the radio to evoke an historical period. Adams is far more indirect,
with a secondary character mentioning the names of Germany’s governing
officials in passing and another making a glancing allusion to how recent World
War I was. The train ride from Lincoln to London is described as long by more
than one character; however, the distance between the two is about 150 miles,
some three hours by automobile in 2020. The blatant anti-Semitism, the gangs
presiding over neighborhoods and demanding protection payments with the
compliance of the police, the anti-unionism, all are woven into the background
of the investigation, describing the timeframe with a minimum of detail. For
readers of historical mysteries and police procedurals.
·Hardcover: 224 pages
·Publisher: Severn House
Publishers; first edition (September 3, 2019)
Up in KRL this morning reviews and giveaways of 3 fun food mysteries-"Death by Chocolate Frosted Donut": Death by Chocolate Mystery by Sarah Graves, "Egg Drop Dead": A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien, and "Pies Before Guys": A Pie Town Mystery by Kirsten Weiss
The Autumn Republic is the third and final book in the Powder Mage Trilogy by
Brian McClellan. The book continues the multiple perspectives of the first two
books in the series with the main characters being Inspector Admat, Field
Marshal Tamas, and Taniel. Field Marshal Tamas finds the capital Adro has been
conquered by a foreign army, his son is missing, and he has no idea who he can
trust. Inspector Admat finds himself drawn into another investigation to figure
out who the traitors are in Adran Army in exchange for finding his kidnapped
son taken by the Kez. Taniel finds himself behind enemy lines while being
hunted by the Adran Army who has declared him a traitor while only he and his
girlfriend know the identity of the real traitor.
If you liked the first two books you
will enjoy this final book in the series. The third book ends the series with
plenty of action, humor, magic, and mystery. My only complaint is the book
reads to me as if it was really supposed to be a book three and a book four and
the two books were forced together into one read. But, that is a minor
complaint since the book was so good. This book ends the series while also
setting up The Gods of Blood and Powder Series with book one being titled Sins
Campaign: Powder Mage Trilogy Book Two by Brian McClellan continues the epic
series. As noted in the jacket copy of the book, it was presumed that the Mad
God Kresimir was dead because he was shot through the eye with a musket ball.
However, he is not dead. He seeks revenge on the person who shot him. That was
Taniel who, as a result of their brutal battle, has been living in a drug
induced haze due to his injuries and mental health issues. Kresimir does not
know who did it, but he wants that person dead as well as to seek vengeance on
everyone in Adro for trying to kill him.
Taniel, who believes Kresimir is dead,
is forced to return back to the front lines with his companion Ka-Pole (his
quasi-girlfriend who is a witch from another country) after Tamas’ (Taniel’s
Father) invasion of Kez fails leaving Adro vulnerable to a counter attack by
the Kez Army. Tamas and his men are cut off behind enemy lines with dwindling supplies
and enemy forces closing in on them. They must evade capture and work their way
back to the front line and their own people.Meanwhile, Taniel must not only work against the Kez, but deal with the problem
of the surviving Generals of the Adro Army who seem determined to lose the war
for whatever reason.
The third main story line is the
continued investigations by Inspector Admant. His children and wife remain in
the clutches of the Evil Lord Vetas. They were taken as part of an elaborate
blackmail scheme and Admant is still trying to find them and rescue them as
well as identify all involved.
There are a lot of aspects I like
about this series. One prominent aspect I like is how both the good guys and
the bad guys have well thought out reasons for doing what they are doing. Both
sides have believable characters who engage in intelligent plans and make
reasonable decisions. These characters are complex and utterly believable.
I like a plot point that might annoy
some readers which I would describe as “the fog of war.” Several characters do
not know things because of the war going on and the limited technology of the
time means they only have access to out of date information. Tamas assumes his
son for all intents and purposes is dead since, as far as Tamas knows, his son
is still in a coma after his fight with Kresimir. At the same time, Taniel
assumes Tamas is dead after his army is presumed killed after being cut off
during the failed invasion.
Both father and son have to work
through their estranged relationship while dealing with the grief of their
assumed loss. I could see how some readers would be annoyed by this plot point
since neither is actually dead. I also liked one minor subplot of Tamas
is still hurting after breaking his leg last book. Most of the time in fantasy
series and even more so in television or movies, the injury a character sustains
has zero impact on them long term. In this case, the leg injury he suffered is
still very realistically causing issues.
This sequel to Promise of Blood is just
as good as the first book. The Crimson Campaign continues the
mix of action, drama, mystery and magic that was done so well in the first
book. I very much enjoyed the sequel. There is a lot of character development,
death, and interesting developments as this book builds people and events to
the final book in the series, The
Because the library did carry a print
copy, I used Libby through the Dallas Public Library System to borrow the eBook
I have always have had it and the last three years plus have been a total block. Those who do not know what it is like and deny its existence do not know how lucky they are. In my case, I know what a major part of it is: grief. Writing a review is a major struggle. Doing anything else writing wise--certainly my own fiction--is just brutal. The Smart Set: When writer’s block strikes by Matthew Duffus
cop-turned-PI Jack Taylor is pitted against a trio of young assassins who all
have reasons to hate him and who are targeting Gardai as a means to destroy
Deep by James Oswald, reviewed by Linda Wilson
McLean must cope with a missing member of staff, a multi-agency operation with
a silly name and bodies galore.
Home by Attica Locke, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Ranger Darren Matthews is sent to Caddo Lake where a nine-year-old boy is
missing, the son of an imprisoned white supremacist.
Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler
Galloway has a new job and a new life in Cambridge. But a murderer’s confession
drags her back to north Norfolk to work again with DCI Harry Nelson, the father
of her young aughter.
for Two by Anne Holt, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
lawyer Selma Falck has lost everything because of her former client Jan Morell,
and her own recklessness. Now Morell wants her to clear the name of his
daughter Hege, an elite cross-country skier accused of doping. Selma has no
choice but to search for the truth.
Accomplice by Joseph Kanon, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Wiley visits Argentina to track down a Nazi in hiding who bears responsibility
for the death of many in his family.
Summer by MW Craven, reviewed by Linda Wilson
supposedly dead woman turns up at a police station, an old case comes back to
haunt Washington Poe.
Measure of Malice edited by Martin Edwards, reviewed by John Cleal
collection of 14 short stories illustrating how crime fiction reflected – and
in some cases predicted – the use of science in crime detection.
Slay by Brittney Morris, reviewed by
By day, 17-year-old Keira Johnson is
one of only three black students at Jefferson Academy. By night, Keira is
Emerald, queen of the universe she has created in the online multi-play game
SLAY. When a boy is killed in a dispute originating in the game, Keira must
fight to preserve the world she has created from those who want to see it taken
The Silent War by Andreas Norman,
reviewed by Chris Roberts
Bente Jensen, head of Swedish
Intelligence in Brussels, is passed information by a whistle-blower from the
local MI6 office. The threat of serious embarrassment generates a determined
effort at retrieval.
Come a Little Closer by Karen Perry,
reviewed by Viv Beeby
Is Anton a callous murderer or was he
wrongly convicted? And is his friendship with his young neighbour Leah genuine
or something altogether more sinister?
Wild Harbour by Ian Macpherson,
reviewed by John Cleal
Pacifist couple Terry and Hugh flee to
the Grampian wilderness to avoid Hugh being called up for a war with which they
do not agree.
Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia, reviewed
by Kati Barr-Taylor
The reappearance of Lucas Blackthorn,
who has been missing for ten years, could be the death of speech therapist Maya
Firewatching by Russ Thomas, reviewed
by Linda Wilson
When a body is found bricked up in the
basement of a dilapidated old house, DS Adam Tyler gets involved in a cold case
that suddenly starts to get very hot to handle.
The Boy in the Headlights by Samuel
Bjørk, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
Detectives Holger Munch and Mia Krüger
are in search of a serial killer who targets random ordinary people. The pair
struggle to predicts his next move but must deal with their own demons to stop
Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose,
reviewed by Sylvia Maughan
Daisy, a young woman, is attacked in
the street, but fights the attacker off. Others are not so lucky.
A Death in the Medina by James von
Leyden, reviewed by Chris Roberts
During a hot Ramadan in Marrakech, the
body of a Moroccan girl is found dead, dumped in a handcart. Despite
distractions, local detective Belkacem persists with an investigation.
Under Occupation by Alan Furst,
reviewed by John Cleal
Spying and subterfuge in occupied Paris
inspired by the true story of Polish prisoners in Nazi Germany, who smuggled
intelligence to Britain through the French resistance.
The Nowhere Child by Christian White,
reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
The stranger is just about to rewrite
history – Kim’s history. And her entire life.
The Adventures of Maud West, Lady
Detective by Susannah Stapleton, reviewed
by John Cleal
Maud West ran a detective agency for
more than 30 years. Her exploits grabbed headlines, but did she tell the truth?
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 somethi...
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 medical supplies for me. Some of it goes to the purchase of various short story anthologies and collections which eventually are read and reviewed here.