Friday, July 31, 2020

Lesa's Book Critiques: Winners & a Book Club Giveaway

Lesa's Book Critiques: Winners & a Book Club Giveaway

Happiness Is A Warm Book FFB Review: Dead or Alive by Patricia Wentworth

Happiness Is A Warm Book FFB Review: Dead or Alive by Patricia Wentworth

The Rap Sheet: Telly Tidbits for 7/30/2020

The Rap Sheet: Telly Tidbits for 7/30/2020

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 7/30/2020

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 7/30/2020

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: That Affair Next Door by Anna Katharine Green

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: That Affair Next Door by Anna Katharine Green: Reviewed by Jeanne When a body is discovered in the house next door, Miss Amelia Butterworth takes quite an interest.   The family...

Bitter Tea and Mystery Review: Detour by Martin M. Goldsmith

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Detour: Martin M. Goldsmith: I believe I first heard of this book at the crime segments blog in 2016. I purchased the book in the next month or so, but it took me until...

FFB Review: Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue 1 Editors Eric Beetner and Michael Pool

Back a few months ago I stopped doing FFB Reviews because I felt bad that so many of the reviews were repeats from the archives. I am not reading/reviewing anywhere near what I used to do. That had led to a lot of repeat reviews. In recent weeks with all the pandemic stress that is part of our lives every single day, it has come to mind that maybe reminding you of good reads is not a bad thing. When this review came up on my memories deal on FB the other day, it seemed like a good place to start. So, for this final Friday in July 2020, I offer you my review of the first issue of a short lived and very good magazine that featured short tales of Crime Fiction.



Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue 1 certainly delivers on their idea of “A Magazine Of Crime Fiction.” From the distinctive cover to the eight short tales selected by Guest Editor Eric Beetner and Founder/Editior-In-Chief Michael Pool the first issue delivers in all aspects. As these are short stories and therefore it is not possible to say much without creating spoilers, the barebones descriptions below will have to suffice.

After a brief introduction from Michael Pool, the issue opens with “So Close” by Eric Beetner. He knew his wife, Shelly, was having an affair with a neighbor named Robert. Their affair has been going on for awhile now so he isn’t surprised to find them together at the house. He just never thought he would find them like this.

Suppose a family member died because of a crime. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a fully loaded clone ready to resume life and relationships if the worst happened? Reporters and other folks call the idea “victim replacement.” Those who work in sales prefer to call it “Restoration” in the tale of the same name by Art Taylor. No matter what you call it, sometimes customers have to have an additional incentive to make the sale.

One of the drawbacks of social media is that you can find out what others think about you. There are even a website that serves as the “premier consumer review site for mafia thugs, hitman, and muscle. Based in Hoboken, New Jersey the man known as Jackson “Jack the Hammer” Palmer isn’t getting good reviews. For Jack, an online diary helps him vent in “Jack The Hammer’s Online Identity Crisis” by Jeff Bowles.

Marco is always a bit of a jerk when the cards are going his way. For Darius they often don’t and the Berretta next to him isn’t helping with that. The poker game just the latest clash between the two in “On Tilt” by James Queally.

Danny needs a miracle in the form of 10k by next Tuesday or some very bad men are going to come to his airstream camper and do some very bad things to him. Tyler “The Plumber” Anderson is the bookie who most definitely wants his money in “Dee The Friendly Grizzly’s Little Miracle” by Nick Kolakowski.

Zeke is out and now Don and Jackson need to get to work in “God May Forgive You” by Paul Heatley. A score needs to be settled. 

The familiar theme of being cheated on is just one small piece of “Tuning The Old Joanna” by Tess Makovesky. Roy just needs to prove it by catching her in the act. To do that is going to require surveillance and that will not be easy.

Trooper Alvin Mags is working undercover in “The Line” by C. J. Edwards. The job is dangerous and that was before things got seriously complicated.

The first issue ends with an interesting interview with Eric Beetner. He talks about writing, upcoming projects, and quite a lot more.

Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue 1 was a mighty good read. The eight short stories selected are far more complicated than their brief spoiler free explanations above. These are reads of depth that will surprise experienced mystery readers. Notably very funny with “Jack The Hammer’s Online Identity Crisis,” each short tale has quite a lot going on. Simply put, there is not a bad one in the bunch. Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue 1 is a real treat for mystery and crime fiction readers. 



Crime Syndicate Magazine: Issue 1
Edited by Eric Beetner and Michael Pool
Short Stack Books
December 2015
ASIN: B01A1FRPXI
eBook (paperback available)
79 Pages


Kevin R. Tipple ©2016, 2020

Thursday, July 30, 2020

My Favorite Books of 2020 So Far

Recently, Lesa Holstine did a piece on her favorite books of the year so far. We talked about it a little bit and I quickly realized with the way my mind works—or more accurately does not work—these days, it would take some effort on my part to go back and try to figure out what my top five or six books would be. I had planned to do so, but then things here went whacky as folks know and I did not get around to do it.

With the month of July nearly over, it seemed to be a good time to come up with my favorite books read/reviewed from January 2020 thru June 2020. Therefore, the resulting list is below.


“Set in Mason Falls, Georgia, The Good Detective by John McMahon is a complicated novel of family history, legacy, southern tradition, and in one major way, redemption. In this intense police procedural, deals are made with the devils you know to get not just what you want, but what you need.” The rest of my review from last February can be found here. The sequel, The Evil Men Do, is also very ghood and my review from March can be found here.









“Among the Shadows: A Detective Bryon Mystery by Bruce Robert Coffin is the first book in a police procedural series. Set in Portland, Maine, and the surrounding area, it features Detective Sergeant John Bryon and his team of detectives. Internal politics and rivalries play a role in this complicated police procedural where former officers are dying a variety of ways.” The rest of my review from April can be found here. My review of the second book in the series, Beneath The Depths ran in May and can be found here.









“It is 1982 as The Off-Islander: An Andy Roark Mystery by Peter Colt begins. Andy Roark came home from Vietnam with more than a trace of post-traumatic stress disorder and an inability to easily fit back into the normal chaos of everyday society. He tried college, the police force, and these days works as a private investigator in Boston.” The rest of my  review in April can be found here.







“Imagine, if you will, the possibility of crossing from this plane of existence into another one built on a role playing game. Where the decisions you made in setting up your character and your abilities, as well as ones made by all of the players in your group, could have life and death consequences within moments of your arrival. That magic, vampires, goblins, and more are totally real as is your ability to fight as a warrior and maybe heal yourself and others depending on the severity of the injury and what you chose moments before here in this world. That is the world as it exists for the characters in Outpost: Monsters, Maces and Magic Book One by Terry W. Ervin II.” April was a good reading month and the rest of my review can be found here.





Sordid: Five Crime Stories by Harry Hunsicker is a collection of five previously published tales. As made clear early on, these are “Five Crime Stories about Amputee Strippers, Drifters, Meth Heads, and Other Lost Souls.” The read is exactly as advertised. This is not a cozy style read. This is graphic, often violent, and is a very good read.” The rest of  my May review can be found here.






“Throwing Off Sparks: A Riley Reeves Mystery by Michael Pool is the first book in what promises to be a highly entertaining series. There are numerous references to an earlier case which was the focus of the story, “Weathering The Storm,” in The Eyes of Texas: Private Eyes From The Panhandle To The Piney Woods anthology edited by Michael Bracken that came out last year.  While it is not necessary to have read that short story before reading this novel, it would not hurt as those events still have personal repercussions in this novel set more than a year later.” The rest of my review from last May can be read here.





There you have it. Six of my favorite books of the year so far for the first six months of the year. Eight if you count the sequels. Nine if you count the referenced anthology which is also really good. No matter how you count them, these books are some mighty good reading as I see them.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Gotham Justice


TerribleMinds: How To Novel: Pandemic Fun Times Edition

TerribleMinds: How To Novel: Pandemic Fun Times Edition

Lesa's Book Critiques: Jane Badrock, Guest Author

Lesa's Book Critiques: Jane Badrock, Guest Author

Crime City Review: The Missing American by Kwei Quartey

Crime City Review: The Missing American by Kwei Quartey 

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Waco, North Korea, Blackberry& Wild Ro...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Waco, North Korea, Blackberry& Wild Ro...: Reported by Kristin Our first Zoom Nevermore member started with A Place Called Waco: A Survivor's Story by David Thibodea...

Beneath the Stains of Time: Murder Jigsaw (1944) by E. and M.A. Radford

Beneath the Stains of Time: Murder Jigsaw (1944) by E. and M.A. Radford: So this was supposed to be a review of Todd Downing 's penultimate detective novel, Death Under the Moonflower (1939), but the poor,...

Review: Outsider: A Novel Of Suspense by Linda Castillo


She was lucky to have escaped with her life when the intruders came for her that cold and snowy night. She had been ready and had a plan, but as often happens with plans, things went sideways from the point her door crashed inward. She fled into the night and by sheer luck survived and got to the vicinity of Painter’s Mill, Ohio. There is one person there she knew long ago that might help her now: Kate Burkholder.

That one person is Chief of Police Kate Burkholder. Many years ago, Kate Burkholder and Gina Colorosa were friends. Good friends who first met by happenstance, bonded, and soon went through the academy and joined the force together. Once employed as police officers, their inner natures took over, and what had been a close friendship frayed and then broke irretrievably.

All these years later, Gina Colorosa is a wanted fugitive and in a world of trouble. She desperately needs Kate Burkholder’s help. Can Gina be trusted?

Outsider: A Novel Of Suspense by Linda Castillo is the latest in her long running series featuring Kate Burkholder. It is also a heck of a good read with a lot going on at different levels. Part mystery, part police procedural, and with a lot of reflection about how our inner nature as well as our experiences shape us to be the people we are now, the read powers along at a steady pace to the inevitable violent conclusion deep on a snowy winter night.

Even when you see it coming one hundred pages out, that final confrontation is very intense. Outsider: A Novel Of Suspense by Linda Castillo is an intense very good read and is strongly recommended.  Unlike earlier books in the series where it was best to have read the preceding books, this one can be read and enjoyed by readers new to the series.

For another take on the book, make sure to read Lesa Holstine’s review.



Outsider: A Novel Of Suspense
Linda Castillo
Minotaur Books (Macmillan Publishers)
ISBN#: 978-1-250-14289-4
ARC (available in hardback, eBook, and audio)
320 Pages

I received an ARC of this book by way of winning one in a Goodreads contest.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2020

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Criminal Minds: What You Should Be Reading by Frank Zafiro

Criminal Minds: What You Should Be Reading: Reading: Please recommend an author who may not be widely known to readers and tell us about them and their book(s). In addition, what books...

Lesa's Book Critiques: Paris is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay

Lesa's Book Critiques: Paris is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay

Review: One Day You’ll Burn: A Novel by Joseph Schneider


A coyote found the body first as it lay at the base of a pagoda in Thailand Plaza. Driven by the fires that had consumed Griffith Park moving her natural food sources away, the scrawny coyote took off a chunk of thigh before the flashing lights and sirens of the first officers to arrive on scene sent her scurrying off elsewhere this new day.


Paramedics and firefighters soon add to the scene further snarling traffic. Not only does that snarl of traffic make it harder for morning commuters, it slows down the arrival of Detectives Tully Jarsdel and Morales. Five years on the force and new to homicide, the death of a person who was possibly tortured and then cooked alive at high temperatures much like your Sunday dinner roast, becomes his case to solve as lead detective in One Day You’ll Burn: A Novel by Joseph Schneider.


This police procedural combines a horrific case full of mystery in with elements of history and philosophy to create a compelling and intense read. Jarsdel walked away from a very promising career in academia and did so with tremendous personal repercussions that continue years later. His background is going to play a major role in the case as events unfold. A role that may encourage Morales and others to lay off the jokes for a while.


In addition to the main storyline, there are several secondary storylines at work in this debut police procedural. One of which involves the killing of family pets and may disturb some readers. Intense and very complicated, very graphic at times, One Day You’ll Burn: A Novel  is a different read than a lot of the police procedurals you come across. It is also incredibly good and very much recommended.


For another take on the book, make sure to read Lesa Holstine’s review. I would not have read the book without this review by Lesa. The second book of the series, What Waits For You, is currently scheduled to be released on January 5th.





One Day You’ll Burn: A Novel
Joseph Schneider
Poison Pen Press
February 2020
ISBN# 978-1-4926-8444-2
Paperback (also available in audio and eBook formats)
336 Pages


My read came my way of the Downtown Branch and ultimately to me through the “Library To Go” curbside pickup program at the Lochwood Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.



Kevin R. Tipple ©2020

Monday, July 27, 2020

MysteryTribune: A List Of 50 Things That Don’t Make You A Writer by Gabino Iglesias

MysteryTribune: A List Of 50 Things That Don’t Make You A Writer by Gabino Iglesias

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier: Reviewed by Christy             Jane is a pregnant, 18 year old pizza delivery girl. A soon-to-be teen mom of a once teen m...

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 7/27/2020

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 7/27/2020

Lesa's Book Critiques: The Detective in the Dooryard by Timothy Cotton

Lesa's Book Critiques: The Detective in the Dooryard by Timothy Cotton

Markets & Jobs for Writers for 7/27/2020

Markets & Jobs for Writers for 7/27/2020

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: The Hook by Tim O’Mara


The Hook (Severn House, 2020) is the fifth book in the Raymond Donne series by Tim O’Mara. Donne is a former policeman in the Williamsburg, New York, area, who took up teaching after an injury. He teaches special education students at a school in the same neighborhood where he used to walk a beat. The story opens with the discovery of a body on the roof of the school. The victim is Maurice Joseph, a recovering drug addict doing community service at the school, showing the students how to grow plants hydroponically. His real job was with a small technology security firm start-up, owned by a friend of Donne’s.

What’s particularly eerie about this death is that the murder was committed by bow and arrow. The fatal shot had to have been delivered from one of the surrounding tall buildings, but determining which one is going to be a challenge. The autopsy report conveys the stunning information that Joseph was full of fentanyl. His wife and his friends are shattered a second time, as they believed he had fully kicked the drug habit.

Called to the scene is Detective James Royce, with whom Donne has a history. Royce has several caustic comments to make, comparing Jessica Fletcher and Cabot Cove to Donne. With Donne’s journalist girlfriend Allison, who uses a drone to take photos of the crime scene after being denied access, the three make a compelling set of characters. Allison’s thirst for her next big story and Donne’s need to protect privacy and information sources force the two to continuously seek a balance acceptable to them both.

The victim’s business partner finds out that he had accepted security work unknown to the partner, contravening their agreement. He asks Donne to sit in on the meetings with this unknown customer who says he is looking for his missing stepson but the ex-cop in Donne doesn’t think what the man is saying adds up. Donne feels compelled to become involved to help the partner and to justify his faith in Joseph.

Donne’s investigation takes him back to the rehab center where Joseph spent two years. His inquiries cross Allison’s latest story lead in a surprising way that creates a secondary story thread. It all wraps up nicely with a few loose threads that will no doubt lead to the next book. Tight plot, nicely sequenced action, engrossing read. Recommended.



·         Hardcover: 240 pages
·         Publisher: Severn House Publishers; First World Publication edition (March 3, 2020)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 0727889184
·         ISBN-13: 978-0727889188


Aubrey Hamilton ©2020

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

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Kindaichi Case Files: The Bloodthirsty Cherry Blossom Murder Case

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Kindaichi Case Files: The Bloodthirsty Cherry ...: The Bloodthirsty Cherry Blossom Murder Case was originally serialized in Weekly Sh ō nen Magazine in 2015 and collected, together with ...

Lesa's Book Critiques: Have You Heard? Avoidable Contact by Tammy Kaehler

Lesa's Book Critiques: Have You Heard? Avoidable Contact by Tammy Kaehler

SleuthSayers: With Social Media the Past is never Far Away by R. T. Lawton

SleuthSayers: With Social Media the Past is never Far Away: A few years ago, on this same blog site, I posted an article which briefly touched on losing a friend of mine by the name of Tom Whitehead....

Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Rap Sheet: Bullet Points: Screen Gems Edition for 7/25/2020

The Rap Sheet: Bullet Points: Screen Gems Edition for 7/25/2020

Lesa's Book Critiques: Lineage Most Lethal by S. C. Perkins

Lesa's Book Critiques: Lineage Most Lethal by S. C. Perkins

KRL Update: KRL This Week for 7/25/2020

Up in KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "Muzzled" by David Rosenfelt 

We also have reviews and giveaways of more mysteries for your summer reading-"Nothing Bundt Trouble": A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander, "Red Hot": A Red Herring Mystery by Dana Dratch (the giveaway on this book is an ebook), "Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody" by Barbara Ross, and "Still Knife Painting": A Paint and Shine Mystery by Cheryl Hollon

And a review and ebook giveaway of "Murder Under a Wolf Moon" by Abigail Keam along with an interesting interview with Abigail

And the latest mystery Coming Attractions from Sunny Frazier https://kingsriverlife.com/07/25/coming-attractions-beating-the-heat-edition/

For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast directly on KRL, you can find the player here for the latest episode which features the mystery short story "Crime of Passion" by Guy Belleranti, read by local actor Kelly Ventura 

We have another special midweek guest post that went up during the week, this one by mystery author Jean Rabe where she talks about the dogs in her books, and about her latest book "The Dead of Jerusalem Ridge." You can also enter to win a copy of the book 
  
And another midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Sally Carpenter where she talks about animals in espionage, and about her new book "Hippie Haven Homicide"

Up in KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and ebook giveaway of "The Wedding Plan" by Kathi Daley 

And a review and giveaway of "Dash Away All" by Christina Freeburn, published by Henery Press 

And a review and giveaway of "As the Crow Dies" by Kenneth Butcher

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Rotary Club Murder Mystery (1993) by Graham Landrum

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Rotary Club Murder Mystery (1993) by Graham La...: Graham Landrum was an American college professor of English and a school teacher in the Presbyterian Church, but more importantly, he au...

Scott's Take: The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher


The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher is the debut novel for this author and the first book of a planned series. It is a book that is considered a “weird western.”  Those are books where dark fantasy, occult, and various other paranormal type elements are part of the tale. That is certainly the case here as the read has fantasy, occult, and horror elements in this tale set in the old west. Because it is set in that time, some of the language used in the story is reflective of that period and would not be acceptable in our current society.

Deep in the desert in 1869 Nevada, there sits the town of Golgatha. It is a place that attracts the weird, the lost the outcast, and those who like to forget their past. While there are many unique characters in this town, there are three characters, heroes if you will, that the story primarily revolves around as it unfolds.

The Sherriff is a man who has been hung until dead three times. The mark of the noose is still vivid around his neck. Some say he is dead now and others say he can never fully die. His Deputy is “Mutt” and so named in reference to the fact that he is a half breed son of Coyote, the Native American Trickster God. Mutt is half man and half coyote and has the ability to transform between the two forms. The third is a young boy who is on the run from his past. In the present, he guards a magical eye that used to belong to his father before he died.

These unique heroes must combine forces to battle a coming evil that threatens to end the world. If the city of Golgotha falls, the world will not be far behind it. 

The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher combines action, humor, mystery, and more into a really enjoyable read. One of my favorite aspects of the book is how it really pulled me into that world. There are a lot of throw away lines between characters that reference lots of different events that show these characters have been working together and dealing with weird things for some time now.  For example, there is a debate between characters if what is going on could be caused by Rat People and as things progress, they start arguing whether there really are rat people or if other folks are faking things. It is funny when you read it in the book though it may not appear that way here.

The next book in the series is The Shotgun Arcana and I am on hold through the library for that one and the following book, The Queen of Swords.




My reading copy came to me from the Audelia Road Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.

Scott A. Tipple © 2020

Friday, July 24, 2020

Lesa's Book Critiques: Winners and a Going to the Dogs Giveaway

Lesa's Book Critiques: Winners and a Going to the Dogs Giveaway

Rough Edges: Forgotten Books: Little Sister - Lee Roberts (Robeert Martin)

Rough Edges: Forgotten Books: Little Sister - Lee Roberts (Robe...: I remember reading some of Robert Martin’s novels featuring private detective Jim Bennett many years ago and liking them quite a bit, ...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck: Reviewed by Jeanne Five strangers receive an invitation to a meeting:   The Fifth Avenue Story Society.   The invitation is ano...

Happiness Is A Warm Book FFB Review: The Youth Hostel Murders by Glyn Carr

Happiness Is A Warm Book FFB Review: The Youth Hostel Murders by Glyn Carr

Thursday, July 23, 2020

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 7/23/2020

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 7/23/2020

Writer Beware®: The Blog: Small Press Storm Warnings: Lethe Press, Seventh Star Press

Writer Beware®: The Blog: Small Press Storm Warnings: Lethe Press, Seventh S...: Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware® LETHE PRESS Founded by Steve Berman in 2001,  Lethe Press is an LGBTQ-focused independent pu...

Criminal Minds: Imagine Your Parents and Children Are Watching Everything You Do by James W. Ziskin

Criminal Minds: Imagine Your Parents and Children Are Watching Eve...: Writing is a lonely pursuit but the community is strong and supportive. There are many unsung acts of kindness and generosity going on behin...

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Real Reason For Masks


Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Turston, Secret Service, Appalachian Wo...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Turston, Secret Service, Appalachian Wo...: Reported by Kristin Nevermore revisited a humorous little book which made the rounds last year, An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good b...

Bitter Tea and Mystery Review: Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Bleak House: Charles Dickens: I feel ambivalent about this novel. I enjoyed reading much of it, but it was a difficult read, and seemed too long. It was first published i...

Crime City Review: HARD CASH VALLEY by Brian Panowich

Crime City Review: HARD CASH VALLEY by Brian Panowich

Lesa's Book Critiques: Of Bears and Ballots by Heather Lende

Lesa's Book Critiques: Of Bears and Ballots by Heather Lende

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Touching.....


Lethal Rabbit


The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 7/21/20

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 7/21/20

Lesa's Book Critiques: Blue Marlin by Lee Smith

Lesa's Book Critiques: Blue Marlin by Lee Smith

Beneath the Stains of Time: Murder on the Tropic (1935) by Todd Downing

Beneath the Stains of Time: Murder on the Tropic (1935) by Todd Downing: Earlier this month, I reviewed Todd Downing's The Last Trumpet (1937), a minor gem of the North American regional mystery novel, whi...

Monday, July 20, 2020

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Long Range by C.J. Box

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Long Range by C.J. Box: Reviewed by Kevin Tipple Welcome back guest reviewer Kevin Tipple! His blog, Kevin's Corner , is an award-winning source of reviews ...

Lesa's Book Critiques: Margaret Lucke, Guest Author

Lesa's Book Critiques: Margaret Lucke, Guest Author

Buried Under Books Book Review: Cherry Pies and Deadly Lies by Darci Hannah

Buried Under Books Book Review: Cherry Pies and Deadly Lies by Darci Hannah

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 7/20/2020

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 7/20/2020

Markets & Jobs for Writers for 7/20/2020

Markets & Jobs for Writers for 7/20/2020

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: The Blues Don’t Care by Paul D. Marks


The Blues Don’t Care (Down & Out Books, 2020) by Paul D. Marks is the first title in his new historical mystery series featuring Bobby Saxon. Set in Los Angeles during World War II, it is an absorbing glimpse of a time and place where Hollywood’s overriding presence pushed the ongoing international crisis to the back of daily consciousness. The sight of service members in uniform on leave or on their way to their next assignment, a gold star in a window, the headlines of the newspaper served as reminders but largely everyone is taken up with the entertainment industry and finding their place in it.

Bobby Saxon is no different. He loves big band music and considers a place in a band the most wonderful job anyone could have. He plays a mean piano and quite accidentally is offered a temporary spot in the premier black band of the time. He is in seventh heaven, even though being the only white member of a black band is not an enviable position in racially charged Los Angeles. His bubble of happiness explodes quickly, when a couple of suspected Nazis and known racists are killed at the club where the band is playing, and a member of the band is arrested. The police have no real reason to arrest the man, it’s just he’s black and there, and they can mark the case solved.

The leader of the band Booker Taylor tells Bobby he can have a permanent place with the band if he finds the real killer and Booker gets his sax man back. Bobby knows nothing about being a private investigator but jumps in at the deep end. He attends all of the private detective movie showings he can find to learn what his next steps should be. He meets the police detective in charge of the inquiry and researches the background of the victim. Along the way he meets the gangster Tony Leach who owns the club where the murder took place. Leach isn’t happy about being closed down due the police investigation and decides not to be offended by Bobby approaching him. Their interactions are entertaining. Bobby knows he’s sticking his head into an alligator’s mouth but he is convinced Leach knows something that could help him.

This story has a number of surprises in it and a complexity that is hard to convey in a brief review. It is redolent of the era and offers perceptive insights into race, gender and identity, all relevant to the present day. The mystery itself is well done with a clue here and a clue there as Bobby puts the pieces together. I know this book is supposed to be the first of a series although I don’t quite see how a sequel might be set up. However, Marks is clearly a creative guy so I will be happy to wait and see. In the meantime this atmospheric, well-crafted book is highly recommended.


·         File Size: 1688 KB
·         Print Length: 396 pages
·         Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
·         Publisher: Down & Out Books (June 1, 2020)
·         Publication Date: June 1, 2020
·         Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
·         Language: English
·         ASIN: B083H2T78G



Aubrey Hamilton ©2020

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