Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Beneath the Stains of Time: The Hog's Back Mystery (1933) by Freeman Wills Crofts: Freeman Wills Crofts was one of the earlier Golden Age mystery writers and he was among the first whose work was resurrected in the ear...
Monday, June 29, 2020
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix: Reviewed by Christy Amy works for a big box furniture store called ORSK that she considers a low-rate IKEA. A college dropout who ...
Jim Kelly is uniquely qualified to write detective fiction: His father was a chief detective superintendent in the London Metropolitan Police Force and his grandfather was a justice of the peace and a special constable. These unassailable credentials give him nearly a century of first-hand experience and history to draw from. He initially wrote for a number of newspapers and then turned to fiction. His first book, The Water Clock, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Award, and he has since won a CWA Dagger in the Library and the New Angle Prize for Literature.
His first series showcased a journalist in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England; the second is a police procedural set in Norfolk. His latest series is a historical set in Cambridge, England, during the first few months of World War II. Detective Inspector Eden Brooke is a nighthawk. Plagued with insomnia from injuries sustained during the first war, he often walks the streets of Cambridge, watching and listening to others who are abroad in the night. He is taking a forbidden swim in the River Cam when he hears a group of soldiers digging a pit. Why they are on maneuvers in the dark is a question he wants answered, since the countrywide blackout, the great darkness, is in effect. He asks questions the next day at work without receiving satisfactory answers.
His attention is soon diverted when a visiting American scientist, Dr. Ernst Lux, on assignment at the University, dies in what seems to be a bizarre accident involving the netting of a stray barrage balloon. Only Brooke notices that Lux’s shoes are on the wrong feet and becomes convinced the death is not an accident. This leads him to the clandestine group of young men known as night climbers, who indulged in a risk-laden practice of scaling chapels, towers, and other tall buildings. If discovered, they were sure to be expelled from the university, which appeared to only lend spice to their efforts.
While Brooke searches for answers to the death of Dr. Lux, he continues to ask about the soldiers on night patrol and is sidelined by the daily reports of new crime in the city. The war has taken every able young man, and the police force is woefully understaffed. Brooke juggles a workload meant for multiple people, just like everyone else left at home does.
Atmospheric portrayal of historic Cambridge and the general anxiety over oncoming war wafts off the page. Brooke is an engaging character, not the usual loner cop but one with friends and a strong family connection. A promising start to a series set in an intriguing time and place. Recommended.
· Hardcover: 352 pages
· Publisher: Allison & Busby; British First edition (February 15, 2018)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 0749021616
· ISBN-13: 978-0749021610
Aubrey Hamilton ©2020
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Beneath the Stains of Time: Food for Thought: "Dead of Winter" (2007) by Cathe...: Catherine Mambretti is a former college professor and, among other things, a scholar of 17th century literature and an expert in manuscr...
Mystery Fanfare: SUMMERTIME MYSTERIES: Summertime , and the living is easy. Or is it? So many mysteries taking place during Summer are filled with murder and mayhem -- on the B...
Saturday, June 27, 2020
Up in KRL this morning reviews and giveaways of 6 mysteries for your summer reading-"Death by Auction": An Abby McCree Mystery by Alexis Morgan, "Marshmallow Malice": Amish Candy Shop Mystery by Amanda Flower, "Murder She Wrote The Murder of Twelve" by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land, "And the Killer Is… "A Savannah Reid Mystery by G.A. McKevett, "Antiques Fire Sale": A Trash ‘n’ Treasures Mystery by Barbara Allan, and "Murder in Galway":
Home to Ireland Mystery by Carlene O'Connor
Also a review and giveaway of "Divide and Concord" by JC Eaton, along with an interview with J.C.
And the latest mystery Coming Attractions from Sunny Frazier along with a giveaway of "Still Knife Painting" by Cheryl Hollon
And to interview mystery podcasts, in honor of Pride we decided to interview Brad Shreve and Gay Mystery Podcast this week
For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast directly on KRL, here you can find the latest episode which features the mystery short story "Vengeance in Cadmium Blue" by Margaret Mendel read by Ariel Linn
During the week we posted another fun midweek special guest post, this one by mystery author Edith Maxwell where she talks about her new book, "Nacho Average Murder", research, and Oz. You can also enter to win a copy of the book
And another one by mystery author Maggie Toussaint where she talks about summer fun and her latest book "Seas the Day." You can also enter to win a copy of the book
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and ebook giveaway of
"Gossip in the Garden" by Kathi Daley
And a review and giveaway of "Killing Time" by Suzanne Trauth
And a review and giveaway of "Rigged" by DP Lyle
SleuthSayers: What Went Wrong – (and pass the Scotch): My friend and colleague John Floyd has inspired me many times, but this time for a singularly bizarre post: Things that go wrong in the lif...
Batman Universe by Brian Michael Bendis and Nick Derington is a hunt to recover stolen loot. The Riddler has stolen a Faberge Egg on behalf of the immortal Vandal Savage. Batman’s quest to recover the egg from The Riddler and his allies will require Batman to enlist the help of Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and others. As part of his quest, he must uncover the secrets of the Faberge Egg and that means he has to learn more about the original owner, the legendary gunslinger, Jonah Hex. Batman will travel across space and time to places such as Thanagar, Dinosaur Island (an island full of dinosaurs that exists in the DC universe), Gorilla City (a city ruled by super advanced Gorillas), and more.
There is plenty of action, mystery, and humor to be found in this book. As Batman moves forward in his quest, Alfred makes various witty observations with his usual sarcasm. The artwork is very colorful and varied and is a visual treat to look at as one reads Batman Universe.
My one criticism about this book applies to everything Bendis writes is that he writes dialogue in his own unique way of talking. For example, Character 1 “What is?” Character 2 “Bendis speak?” Character 1 “Yes, tell me about Bendis speak.” Character 2 “Bendis speak is when one person talks in short clipped sentences…” Character 1 “With interruptions that are supposed to.” Character 2 “Normal conversations.” Character 1 “That People have in real…” Character 2 “Life.” This can make some of the dialogue clunky and unnatural sounding. Hopefully, I did a good job of explaining the way Bendis writes. His dialogue is not for everyone, but this is one of his better books dialogue wise.
If you are looking for a fun Batman book that does not require one to be up to date on the status quo of the current Batman books this is the one for you. Batman Universe by Brian Michael Bendis and Nick Derington is perfect for new readers as well as long term Batman readers.
My reading copy came from the Grauwyler Park Branch of the Dallas Library System and was picked up thanks to “Curbside to Go.”
Friday, June 26, 2020
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones: Reviewed by Kristin Sunshine Vicram is about to have a very bad day. It’s her first day as sheriff of her hometown of Del Sol, N...
Thursday, June 25, 2020
Beneath the Stains of Time: Death for Madame (1946) by R.T. Campbell: Last year, I read Unholy Dying (1945) by Ruthven Todd, published as by " R.T. Campbell ," who penned a flurry of lighthearted,...
Ice Hunter: A Woods Cop Mystery by Joseph Heywood begins a series built around Grady Service. A former marine who served in Vietnam, these days he is a conservation officer working in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Specifically, an area known as the “Mosquito Tract” that his father also patrolled before he was killed. Like his father before him, the land and the creatures are everything to him, and he does not play well with others who do not have a moral code to live by. A complicated childhood has led to a complicated life in many ways.
In addition to the usual events a conservation officer has to deal with as he protects the land and all living things, he has to deal with strange things that are going on in the woods. Fires are being ignited by an arsonist who seems very careful to do so in some sort of controlled burn. The burns seem to be orchestrated to clear some small areas for an unknown reason. Then there is the unknown helicopter occasionally seen doing something in what seems to be some sort of grid like search pattern. Not to mention the fact somebody wants him to butt out of something and is making that point very violently. He has an idea what might have stirred things up, but with so much going on it is hard to tell.
Ice Hunter: A Woods Cop Mystery by Joseph Heywood is a good read though it takes quite a bit to get going. Originally published in 2001, it does not follow the current fad of starting with an action scene before doing a sort of informative flashback as seems to be required in every book published now. There is a lot of setting the stage as this read begins and the character as well as those in his life are slowly revealed.
The bigger issue for this reader, was the fact it read a bit different than most due to the lack of scene or transition breaks. Everything just runs into each other without any identifying characteristics of scene or transition breaks which results in the read being the equivalent of being tossed into the raging river just upstream from class five rapids.
In the end, Ice Hunter: A Woods Cop Mystery by Joseph Heywood is worth sticking with it as the multiple storylines coalesce into a high powered and intense finish. Convoluted and chaotic, the reader is shot through the rapids to find oneself slowly floating gently in calmer waters downstream in the wide bend of the river very much shaken and stirred as well as appreciative of the fact that was one heck of a ride.
Because of Aubrey Hamilton’s review from last March, I got this from the library just before they closed their doors back in mid-March. While they have most of the rest of the series, they do not have book two. I have put in an order for that and hope to hear something, one way or another, soon.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2020
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Gregory Maguire, Leon Uris, Sy Montgom...: Reported by Kayla Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire Set in seventeenth-century Holland, this story fo...
It has been a little over two years since the events in Charlie-316 happened as Never The Crime: A Charlie-316 Novel begins. Spokane Police Officer Gary Stone works on the seventh floor of city hall in a job that easily could be more dangerous to his long-term survival than being on a high-risk weapons team kicking in doors and chasing bad guys. Designated as a “Special Problems Officer” by the police chief, he serves as a sort of liaison between the mayor and the chief of police. Both are seeking to use him in various ways to gather intel and fulfill their own agendas. Much of that daily business is so routine, he does not think about it all that much.
Much of what Stone does is security and threat assessment. Politicians of all stripes get a lot of threats made against them. Some are meaningless. Others are not. Threats can be as dynamic and fluid as the politics behind every action.
One such situation occurs early in the read when Police Chief Robert Baumgartner gives him the letter he received from a seventeen-year-old girl by the name of Betty Rabe. She writes in her letter that she has been in some sort of intimate relationship with Spokane City Councilman Hahn. Not only is her married with two kids, his daughters are about his age. While legally, she was above the age of consent (16) when they became intimate and therefore, will probably dodge criminal charges on that aspect of things, politically his action will end his career should it become public. If all that was not bad enough, her letter goes on to imply that he, at some point more recently, sexually assaulted her.
The Chief says he got the letter from the Mayor who passed it on which means the Mayor knows as does the personal assistant of the Mayor. The Chief wants Stone to investigate the matter and to be very discreet about doing so. He wants Stone to, while telling no one including his direct superior, determine of an actual crime occurred or this is just a messy pollical problem. Stone is not to enter a report in the system or make any notes into the official records of the department. Instead, he is to handwrite a report and hand it directly to the Chief and only report to the Chief on the matter.
This is one of many political problems in this police procedural. Some problems are internal and not readily apparent. Others, like the case of Tyler Garrett, are out there for all to see even if not everyone really gets what happened then or is happening now.
Ultimately, this latest book in the series is far more about politics that surround police work than actual police work. Actual police work and actual crime take a bit of a backseat in Never The Crime: A Charlie 316 Novel. They are still there in significant ways at different points in the read, but not nearly as much as this reader expected. Repercussions in the short term and long term are a major focus here and can be more deadly than a dark street.
Never The Crime: A Charlie 316 Novel by Colin Conway and Frank Zafiro is a solidly good novel. Readers are strongly advised to read Charlie-316, the preceding novel, before this one as many of the same folks are back those events continue to shape people and events here in this read set more than two years later.
I received a digital ARC of this book from Frank Zafiro late last week with no expectation of a review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2020
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Humans and there ever advancing technology have always had an impact on the West. Often in unintended ways with major consequences. One of those who has noted those changes have been Author C. J. Box. He has done so in a variety of series, especially those that feature Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett. The same is true in his 21st book in this long running and evolving series, Long Range: A Joe Pickett Novel.
As the book begins, Pickett is astride a borrowed horse and in the Teton Wilderness instead of his beloved Saddlestring District. One of three game wardens that make up the newly formed “Predator Attack Team” they are on the hunt for a grizzly bear that has killed a local hunting guide. That is if one can believe the out of state hunter, Julius Talbot. The story he tells is bizarre and does not describe typical bear behavior. Going with the client and sole witness back to the site of the attack, will allow the Game Wardens to recover what is left of the body and verify the story.
That is the plan until the Director of The Wyoming Game and Fish Department calls on a satellite phone and orders Joe Pickett to board the arriving helicopter and get back to his district immediately. The legendary and notorious Judge Hewitt is enraged and calling in markers and favors. Someone took a shot at him, missed, and hit his wife, Sue Hewitt. She is now in the local hospital in critical condition. Judge Hewitt has demanded that all local law enforcement assemble for a meeting in his chambers. He is enraged, justifiably so, and wants to get all local law enforcement working the case his way.
At the same time, Nate Romanowski is also about to be an enraged husband as well. He has been trying to live on the grid and follow all the rules after finally having numerous federal charges dropped. That past of his, working in and out of the shadows, is something that will again he used against him in the here and now.
The latest in the long running series, Long Range: A Joe Pickett Novel picks up a few months after Wolf Pack. The events of that book play a significant role in this read. As has always been the case in this series, people age, relationships change, and for the Picketts, family is the center of everything. The marital dynamic between Joe and his wife, Marybeth, remains the heart and sole of this series that should be read in order.
Simply put, Long Range: A Joe Picket Novel by C. J. Box is very good and well worth your time.
My hardback large print reading copy came from the Kleberg-Rylie Branch of the Dallas Public Library System by way of the “Library to Go” curbside delivery at the Lochwood Library. Appreciate your libraries and librarians as they are all that stands between us and the twin demons of ignorance and hate.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2020
Monday, June 22, 2020
Beneath the Stains of Time: Cue for Murder (1942) by Helen McCloy: If Agatha Christie was the British Queen of Crime, then Helen McCloy was the First Lady of the American detective story. A first-class ...
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires...: Reviewed by Christy In Grady Hendrix’s novel My Best Friend’s Exorcism , Hendrix tells the story of two teenage best friends fig...
Looking for something new and different to read? By all means, consider Margaret Duffy’s books. Margaret Duffy has led an interesting life. She worked for the British Inland Revenue and for the British Ministry of Defense. She is also a garden designer. Somehow she has found the time to publish 29 novels, with the 30th set for release in March 2021.
A Murder of Crows (St. Martins Press, 1988; Lume Books, 2015) introduces Ingrid Langley and Patrick Gillard in a difficult to categorize story. Romance, mystery, and espionage coalesce in a fast-moving tale with unusual, quite human characters.
Ingrid Langley is a successful novelist, happily married to her second husband Peter Clyde, a policeman. Her acrimonious marriage to her teenage sweetheart Patrick Gillard ended with her throwing him out of her house years before. But Peter is murdered in questionable circumstances and Patrick was present when he died. Patrick, who is recovering from injuries received in the Falklands War, has been recruited by one of the secret service agencies. He needs a female partner to serve as his cover on an assignment and asks Ingrid, knowing she has no romantic interest in him and will focus on the job. Ingrid’s immediate reaction is to decline but she realizes Patrick can help her find out what actually happened to Peter.
Patrick is trying to find a mole in the British government, Ingrid is trying to finish her next novel, and they both gradually realize they have unfinished business with each other. Patrick’s search throws them into danger more than once, and he ends up hospitalized with serious consequences. They take refuge with Patrick’s parents to hide from their pursuers and give Patrick time to recuperate. His mother is wonderful, every woman’s dream mother-in-law.
I am not sure how I missed this series, the March 2021 title is the twenty-second, but it never crossed my reading radar until the great Lume Books ebook giveaway in April. (Dear Lume Books, Thank you. thank you, thank you!) It’s interesting that neither Booklist, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, nor Kirkus have reviewed this first book, so they missed it too. The characters are marvelous, there is enough action to suit any thrill seeker, and the mystery is wrapped up with a satisfying thud while leaving the door open for the couple’s future adventures. Highly, highly recommended.
· File Size: 1025 KB
· Print Length: 288 pages
· Publisher: Lume Books (October 6, 2015)
· Publication Date: October 6, 2015
· ASIN: B016AIIFGG
Aubrey Hamilton ©2020
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, June 21, 2020
Mystery Fanfare: FATHER'S DAY: Father's Day Mysteries; Fathers & Da...: Just an FYI, this is a repost. For some reason, probably because of the timelessness of being Sheltered in Place, I posted this Father&...
Beneath the Stains of Time: The Unreachable Past: Q.E.D, vol. 9 by Motohiro Katou: I ended my twofer review of Motohiro Katou's Q.E.D. volumes 7 and 8 with the promise to do another paired review of volumes 9 and 1...
Saturday, June 20, 2020
Up in KRL this morning LGBTQ+ mystery authors Kristen Lepionka, Neil Plakcy, Ellen Hart, Brad Shreve, and Dharma Kelleher, who have all been reviewed in KRL, recommended their favorite LGBTQ+ mysteries to add to your Pride reading list
And a review and giveaway of "All She Wrote" by Tonya Kappes
We also have a review and giveaway of "The Matinee Murders" by Jeannette de Beauvoir along with an interesting interview with Jeannette
And a review and ebook giveaway of "Sword of Shadows", the latest Crispin Guest mystery by Jeri Westerson. We are also giving away a cute little knight ducky
We also take a look at 3 of Scott Turow's mysteries
This week we had another midweek special guest post, this one by mystery author Julia Buckley where she shares some of the Hungarian connections to her last series which has a new book our, "Death of a Wandering Wolf"
And one by mystery author Margaret Lucke where she talks about the supernatural aspects of her new book "House of Desire"
Up in KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "A Call for Kelp" by Bree Baker
And a review and giveaway of "The House that Vanity Built" by Nancy Cole Silverman
Absolute Carnage by Donny Coates with art by numerous artists is an event graphic novel. Event graphic novels are cross over reads that include multiple teams and titles. This trade collects the main story while there are several more trades that collect the various tie ins. To read this tale one should probably read the current Venom series by this author as well, but one could start here and follow along.
In this book Venom and Spider-man have to again combine forces as allies despite their history of being enemies to deal with their mutual enemy, Carnage. For those unfamiliar with him, he is a serial killer that wears the child of Venom’s symbiont. Venom produced a child and the alien creature was driven insane by being bonded to such an unstable host. The human known as Cletus Cassidy became the host and he lived to kill people. That alien symbiont bonded to him and together they are known as Carnage.
The goal of Carnage is to kill anyone who has anyone who has ever worn an alien symbiont and extract DNA from them to free an evil alien god. If Carnage succeeds in recovering enough DNA to free the evil god he worships, the survival of mankind is next to impossible.
Carnage is a sadistic monster who is now even more powerful then he has ever been before. Carnage plans to kill Venom, Spider-man, Captain America, Wolverine, Deadpool and many others including Venom’s son as well as Spider-man’s godson. That is not going to happen if Spider-man and Venom can stop it. It is a race to save as many lives as possible from Carnage and stop his insane killing spree across the world.
This book is very violent. I do not know how this book got approved as being safe for teens and up. Obviously, it depends on the child, but I have a hard time accepting the idea that this suitable for twelve and thirteen-year-old kids.
Spider-man provides a lot of humor that contrasts nicely with Venom’s dry sense of humor. The book does a good job of exploring their enemies turned allies relationship. They are the key players alongside Carnage in this tale. There are a number of small roles for certain heroes which work very well. I especially liked the small role that Captain America plays. As a big fan of Captain America who appreciates when writers decide to use him outside of his other books, I enjoyed that Donny Coates did not have Captain America act out of character. Often the writers choose to have Captain America play an antagonist role in these event books, but instead he gets to play a mentor role. In other books, Captain America has recently been acting in the role of a hero that represents the broader hero community that is willing to give Venom a second chance despite his criminal past. That angle continues here where Captain America continues to be supportive and a mentor figure. There are a lot of villains and heroes that play a role in this event read, but most of their stories are collected in other trades and this are only briefly explored here.
This a good book for an adult that likes books with action, horror elements, and lots violence. This tale explores secrets and history and how these play a role in shaping a family then and now. Included in this trade paperback read are some variant covers, psych evaluations of certain characters, and a newspaper article that is written from this universe.
My one problem with this book is that it is event comic that clearly sets up another event comic in the future. This book sets up things for the future that will not conclude in this book. At the end, things are left far too open and are not tied off which make the conclusion somewhat unfulfilling.
Absolute Carnage by Donny Coates This book is really good despite that flaw. Carnage is expected to make his movie debut in the Venom 2: Let There be Carnage that is supposed to come out in October. Carnage is to be played by Woody Harrelson.
My reading copy came from the Central Branch of the Dallas Public Library by way of their just started “Library to Go” curbside pickup option.
Scott A. Tipple © 2020
Friday, June 19, 2020
Beneath the Stains of Time: Murder at Bayside (1933) by Raymond Robins: Raymond Rodney Robins was an American soldier with a distinguished military career and there were few officers, if any, who knew as much ...
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Giant by Mikael: Reviewed by Jeanne Set in 1930s New York, Giant is an impressive graphic novel about the workers (mostly immigrants) who were c...
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Robert Kennedy, Doris Duke, Tommy Oran...: Nevermore 5/19/20 Reported by Kayla All This Marvelous Potential By Matthew Algeo In All This Marvelous Potential, Algeo retraces Sen...
Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch is in Florida due to a background check on a new hire and a little more when he gets a phone call from Ora Stevens. She is very concerned as her husband, Charles Stevens, has not been in contact with her for over 41 hours. The legendary Game Warden is not answering his phone and he had left her a rather odd note while she was sleeping. Something has him stirred up and she thinks she knows when it happened though what happened is a huge question.
During a recent trip, while they were separated, she thinks something happened as when he was back with her his mood had changed drastically. She thinks that he might have bought something from one of the dealers though she did not see him do it. By the next morning he had left, and she has no idea where he went or what he is off doing. Ora is very worried and reached out to Mike as he is family and she is alone and worried about her husband. Charley is the father Mike Bowditch never had so there is no question he is dropping everything to come back and hunt for his mentor.
That hunt for Charley is what moves the plot and the action in One Last Lie: A Novel. Like the changing beauty of the Maine wilderness, the past is a constant theme in this series and it certainly is here. Whether it be the past in the form of his father, an old girlfriend, a cold case, or his history with Charley, among other things, looking back is a strong theme throughout the work. All those hooks into the past can make the present a bit shaky even before somebody tries to kill you.
Unlike many authors who has several books and then seen to have some reads that are not as satisfying, Paul Doiron continues to create intense and deeply moving installments in this series. One Last Lie: A Novel is no exception as it proves in more than one-way Charley Stevens is dead on right. He often is.
Publication day is June 30, 2020 when the book will come out in hardback, audio, and eBook formats. I received an ARC from the author with no expectation of a review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2020
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Blood-Red Pencil: Writing The Truth: Marketing experts have cautioned writers to be careful about being too political in writing blogs or in social media posts. The concern is t...
MAKE MINE MYSTERY: Who Are You Again?: by Janis Patterson As someone once said, it’s always something. After decades - centuries - of respecting proper grammar, pronou...