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.
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.
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
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.
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)
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
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
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.
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.
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
copy came from the Grauwyler Park Branch of the Dallas Library System and was picked
up thanks to “Curbside to Go.”
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
(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.
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.
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.
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
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"
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
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
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.
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.
Big time thanks to the voters as well all the folks here like my son, Scott, Aubrey, Barry, and the many guests and other folks who have k...
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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.