Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
From a money standpoint with the medical issues I now I have going on and probably have going on as I await my double barrel scoping and confirmation on October 9, this was not a smart decision. But, I did this anyway for the mental health side of things as sitting outside is one of the few things left that keeps me sane. The grief remains tremendously strong and as we work our way deeper into the fall, I am reminded multiple times a day that this was when we started losing Sandi. Trying to go on without here is brutal and a daily struggle.
Those who have seen the pics from the backyard in weeks and months past, may have realized we were sitting in the grass. That tends to be messy when it rains and often very buggy regardless of the weather. So, I splurged and had a deck built by handyman Curtis Freeman and his team.
Monday, September 28, 2020
Murder in Mykonos by Jeffrey Siger (Poisoned Pen Press, 2008) is the first book in the Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis police procedural series. Kaldis has run afoul of his superiors in the homicide department in Athens and is banished to the island of Mykonos to serve as chief of the small police force there. He is trying hard to fly under the radar in what he considers a backwater until he can work his way back to Athens. Mykonos is an international resort with round-the-clock drinking and partying and an affluent tourist trade that provides the backbone of the island’s economy. Not much serious crime there to interest a homicide professional.
When a body is discovered in an abandoned church, the town authorities are only concerned about the effect on tourism, until another one turns up and then another. It appears that a serial killer has been operating under their collective noses for years, and blonde female tourists seem to be his target. Kaldis is required by protocol to report the crime to the Central Police Headquarters on another island. Their lead homicide investigator named Tassos and Kaldis team up to identify the killer while fending off the interference of the self-serving local administration. Since the murders display familiarity with the area, they are forced to look at island residents, another reason the mayor is unhappy. Mykonos is home to several eccentrics, some of whom can’t be accounted for during crucial times. Kaldis and Tassos investigate each one, knowing that the killer could be someone else entirely.
The island life is vividly depicted, showing the hedonistic present against the spiritual past. Siger lives part-time in Mykonos and his first-hand knowledge of the land and its people shows throughout. The setting is one of the best parts of the book. The two main characters were great, walking a fine line between commitment to their work and the need to appease a local bureaucracy full of nepotism. The culprit isn’t identified until the very end of the book, maintaining a consistent level of suspense. Siger released 10 more books in this popular series after this one with the twelfth due in 2021.\
· Hardcover : 288 pages
· ISBN-10 : 159058581X
· ISBN-13 : 978-1590585818
· Publisher : Poisoned Pen Press; First Edition (December 2, 2008)
· Language: English
Aubrey Hamilton ©2020
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, September 27, 2020
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Up in KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "Cat Me If You Can" by Miranda James along with an interesting interview with Miranda aka Dean
And a review and giveaway of "Checked Out for Murder" by Allison Brook aka Marilyn Levinson along with an interesting guest post by Marilyn about the ghosts in her books--perfect for the upcoming Halloween season
We also have reviews and giveaways of 5 more mysteries for your fallreading-"Booked for Death": A Booklover’s B&B Mystery by Victoria Gilbert, "The Falcon Always Wings Twice": A Meg Langslow Mystery by Donna Andrews, "Killer Kung Pao": A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien, "Paw and Order": A Dog Club Mystery by VM Burns (giveaway for this one is ebook), and "Little Bookshop of Murder": A Beach Reads Mystery by Maggie Blackburn aka Mollie Cox Bryan
And the latest mystery Coming Attractions from Sunny Frazier
For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze directly on KRL you can find the player here for the new one featuring the first chapter of "Revenge On Route 66" by Kris Neri read by local actor Jasmine Swalef
Last weekend I totally missed sharing this one--a look at the last 3 Spenser books by Ace Atkins
Up during the week mystery author Edith Maxwell shared her Top 5 Mysteries Read During the Pandemic. You can also enter for a chance to win a signed copy of her latest book "Candy Slain Murder."
Also, up during the week another Top 5 Mysteries I Read During the Pandemic, this one by mystery author Connie Berry
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review an ebook giveaway of "Halloween Moon" by Kathi Daley. Our first Halloween book of the season!
And a review and ebook giveaway of "Penned In" by Lynn Cahoon
Shotgun Arcana by R. S. Belcher is the sequel to the first book in the series, The Six-Gun Tarot. Mutt, Jim, Sheriff Highfather, and company are back in this wild west fantasy tale. In this read, the Deputies and the Sheriff face off against a rogue angel and his army of serial killing cannibal cultists who are searching for a magical skull. If they can get the skull it means the end of all life on Earth as well as every other word. If the heroes of Golgotha-- the Deputies and the Sheriff along with a few others-- fail to stop the cult, no one will survive.
The tale is told slightly different as each chapter from the perspective of the hero is followed by a backstory chapter focused on one of the thirty-two cultists. Each of the flashback chapter is used to explain the backstory of the cultist and why this horrible person needs to be killed. This book also includes several flashbacks from Golgotha local angel who now goes by the name Bick. Each one of those flashbacks is its own chapter as well. Somewhere more than a third of the book is therefore a flashback of one type pr another.
Shotgun Arcana is set a year after the events in The Six-Gun Tarot. This means those events and what has happened these past twelve months have further changed these characters. For example, Jim has gained confidence and has fully embraced his inheritance of the magical eye and is seeking to become the master of it. Another example is the fact that Bick no longer has faith in the goodness of men and seeks to control the citizens of Golgotha. There are many other changes which should be saved for readers and not revealed here.
The banter is as great as ever as they discuss and reference events that happened outside of this book. One example is where folks had to be evacuated after giant spiders came up the drains into bathtubs in tremendous numbers. When an event happens in this book that results in many people being forced to leave a building, one of the people starts screaming about hoping it is not giant spiders again.
Everything that I loved about the first book is included once again in this series that absolutely must be read in order. Shotgun Arcana is good, but there are a lot of plot points that are obviously included only to create the next book in the series. They serve no purpose in this book. That was a bit annoying as much of this book is used to create that third book titled, The Queen of Swords.
R. S. Belcher
Tom Doherty Associates (Tor)
Hardback (also available in digital and paperback formats)
My reading copy came from the Downtown Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple © 2020
Friday, September 25, 2020
As Lesa Holstine pointed out earlier this week, the new version of Blogger has issues. She was polite about it. The fact of the matter is that it very much sucks. Among other issues, it is not allowing me to add labels to the posts that went up today as I supposedly have past the blog total label limit of 15K labels.
I have no idea when the limit started. This place has been around nearly 15 years plus, so maybe I did. But deleting some very old posts and their labels earlier this afternoon in a desperation move, did nothing at all to fix the issue. And, of course, there is no point to linking or posting stuff if I can not use labels for the search engines to find.
Not sure what to do as they have really ruined things. Maybe this really is a sign to shut down the blog and stop reviewing.
Readers familiar with Aubrey Nye Hamilton’s reviews each Monday are aware that Aubrey is a fan of this series. Back in September 2017 she reviewed A Dead Liberty which is the twelfth book in the series. She reminded you of this series when she reviewed the twenty-second book in the series, Past Tense. After two reminders, it seemed like a god idea not to wait for a third. So, I went to the beginning with The Religious Body.
After you read the reviews, make sure you
head over to Patti
Abbott’s blog as well as Aubrey Nye Hamilton’s Happiness Is A Warm Book blog
and see what they suggest today. Todd Mason is back collecting links so you
will have even more suggestions om his Sweet Freedom blog later.
The Religious Body by Catherine Aird is the first book in The Calleshire Chronicles and is a good one. What initially presents as a locked room mystery set in a nunnery is far more complex than the initial set up would have the reader believe.
It is early November and before dawn at the Convent of St. Anselm as the book begins. Sister Mary St. Gertrude arises, and is her role each morning, goes about her morning duties. It is her duty this month and she moves through the building following the prescribed order of awakening all inside those walls. It takes a while with more than fifty people to awaken so that each may go about their day. As a result, it takes a while for the bloody thumbprint to gain attention and for the realization that Sister Anne can’t be found.
So, several hours have passed before Inspector C. D. Sloan and Detective-Constable William Crosby, a young officer and new to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Berebury Division of the Calleshire Constabulary, are dispatched to the covenant located a few miles away in Cullingoak village. Upon arrival, it takes additional time for them to be allowed into the inner rooms of the Covent and eventually to the body. Sister Anne is at the bottom of the cellar stairs and clearly died due to some sort of blow to her head that reshaped her skull. It is also clear, at least to C. D. Sloan, she did not die as a result of falling down the stairs.
To catch a killer, they have to work a case where normal witness behavior goes totally against the rules of the Convent and the faith and practice of the nuns. It is a good thing C. D. Sloan has the patience of a saint coupled with a touch of subtle humor and a knowledge of history. Not just helpful with the nuns, his skills also help him manage his boss.
A complex mystery full of clues and misdirection The Religious Body by Catherine Aird is a solidly good read. It moves fast despite the subtle observations about life and other things expressed by Inspector C. D. Sloan that are mixed in throughout the read. A solidly good foundation is laid here in the first book and I very much enjoyed it.
As my local library does not have this read in print, I was forced to go with the digital version via the library. While my copy from Open Road Media indicates the book is 210 pages, it was actually far less than that as there were ads for other reads as well as a long excerpt from the start of the next book in the series, Henrietta Who? That book is available in large print and is now on my holds list at the Dallas library.
The Religious Body: The Calleshire Chronicles Book One
Open Road Media
Material came by way of the Dallas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2020
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Mackenzie Almeida runs Mac’s Bikes in the small seaside village of Westham, MA where she is kept busy with bicycle repairs and rentals. She usually has help from her half-brother Derrick and a couple of other people, but they are suddenly proving unreliable. Things only get worse when the local handyman meets with an accident, if once can call being stabbed to death with a fishing knife an accident. The local police certainly don’t, and they find Mac a suspicious character because she argued with Jake not long before. Mac doesn’t really have any fears they’ll try to pin the murder on her. . . but that fishing knife looks very much like one owned by her brother Derrick.
And Derrick has disappeared.
This is the first in the Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery series. As with a lot of “first in series” books, a lot of ink is spent introducing characters, the layout of the town, Mac’s pet parrot, her baker boyfriend, etc. Also as is the case with many cozy mysteries, a colorful cast is required so Mac’s father is a minister from Cape Verde, her mother is an astrologer, and the police detective is half Wampanoag. Brother Derrick is a recovering alcoholic with a young daughter and Mac’s beau is a hunky baker. As the subtitle suggests, Mac is a member of a book group and they decide they will solve the mystery.
Day writes well and her characters are enjoyable. The plot—well, while the murder investigation goes on, the plot is more concerned with introducing characters and their problems. The solution is interesting but comes via info drops tucked in at the end rather that sprinkled throughout the story. As my tastes run more to the “fair play” mysteries where the reader has enough clues to solve it, I was disappointed. Those looking primarily for a nice visit with likeable characters will find this book to be a treat.
The second book in the series, Murder at the Taffy Shop is due out in March 2021. Day also writes the “Country Store Mystery Series” set in Indiana. (The last piece of information is relevant because I have a friend from Indiana who was interested to see there was a cozy mystery set there.)
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Badge Heavy is the third book in the Charlie 316 series and picks up shortly after Never The Crime ended. The Anti-Crime Team is up and running and working the streets of Spokane hard. Officer Gary Stone is on ACT along with Tyler Garrett as well as well with rookie Jun Yang and veteran officer Ray Zielinski. While the four officers are on the team and, in theory, working together, they are fragmented and have settled into a Stone/Garett and Yang/Zielinski pairing. Despite their internal issues, they are generating results in their pursuit of HPOs--High Profile Offenders.
It has been nearly two years since Garrett got away with murder and more. Captain Tom Farrell knows Garrett is dirty. Farrell just can’t prove it. The Anti-Crime Team was supposed to be a trap for Garrett, but it isn’t working out that way at all. If anything, it has allowed Garrett to further entrench himself in the Department and improve his status. Trying to catch Garrett and prove his criminal activities is slowly becoming an insurmountable problem. Farrell does have a couple of ideas though they could just as easily backfire. As readers familiar with the series already know, Farrell is not the only police officer on the hunt sure Garrett is dirty.
Badge Heavy by Frank Zafiro and Colin Conway is another rock-solid installment in this highly entertaining police procedural series. Politics and police work are heavily intertwined in real life and they certainly are in the series. The authors have managed to keep ratcheting the tension in each installment and then they rally blow the doors off with the end of Badge Heavy. This is a series that concludes with the November release of Code Four.
While it is always important to read any series in order, that absolutely is a must here. Relationships evolve and change over time and there are many changes, personally and professionally, for these characters as time passes. The crime problem and the pollical landscape play major character roles in this series and those issues change as a reaction to events and other factors. That ongoing aspect is a key part of this complicated series.
Badge Heavy: A Charlie 316 Novel is highly recommended.
Badge Heavy: A Charlie 316 Novel
Down & Out Books
eBook (available in print format)
I received a digital ARC of this read from author Frank Zafiro weeks ago with no expectation of a review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2020
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
We feature new 20 reviews in each issue of Crime Review (www.crimereview.co.uk), together with a top industry interview. This time it’s author DA Mishani in the Countdown hot seat: http://crimereview.co.uk/page.php/interview/8795
We’re on Twitter at:
Crime Review: @CrimeReviewUK
Linda Wilson: @CrimeReviewer
Sharon Wheeler: @lartonmedia
This week’s reviews are:
STORMBREAKER by Anthony Horowitz, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Reluctant 14-year-old spy Alex Rider is sent to Cornwall to investigate rich philanthropist Herod Sayle and his plan to install a new generation of computer in every school in the UK. Alex soon realises that there’s a lot more to the Stormbreakers than Sayle is letting on, and with that knowledge comes extreme danger.
MAIGRET AND MONSIEUR CHARLES by Georges Simenon, reviewed by Chris Roberts
In his last appearance, Maigret investigates the disappearance of Monsieur Charles, a wealthy lawyer well-known in Paris nightclubs.
POINT BLANC by Anthony Horowitz, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Reluctant teenage spy Alex Rider is sent undercover in an exclusive school for the rebellious offspring of some of the world’s richest people to find out what links two unexplained deaths to Point Blanc academy in the Alps.
THE MAN IN THE WOODS by Ilaria Tuti, reviewed by Viv Beeby
There is a creepy man in the woods; a bad man with the face of a skull. And if you don't watch out he's coming to get you …
THE CABIN by Jørn Lier Horst, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
Chief Inspector William Wisting is assigned to lead a top-secret investigation into the life of a recently deceased controversial politician. When he finds boxes full of foreign currency in his cabin, he also manages to unearth possible links to two 15-year-old cold cases, one of them of a missing young man.
HITLER’S PEACE by Philip Kerr, reviewer by Chris Roberts
In autumn 1943 the tide of war has turned and Germany is putting out peace feelers. But the response of the allies will be settled in Tehran.
THE STRANGER by Simon Conway, review by John Cleal
MI6 agent Jude Lyon must deal with past events which threaten the credibility of his agency – and a terrifying new threat to the whole of the British establishment.
FORGET ME by Andrew Ewart, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
Hannah wants to know the secret her husband can’t remember, whatever the cost.
THE NIGHT OF SHOOTING STARS by Ben Pastor, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Lieutenant-Colonel Martin von Bora is in Berlin in July 1944, directed to investigate the murder of a prominent clairvoyant, but the rumours of political conspiracy suggest that Bora himself is at risk.
KISS THE GIRLS AND MAKE THEM CRY by Mary Higgins Clark, reviewed by John
Investigative journalist Gina Kane receives an email describing the abuse of a woman by a well-known figure at a television news network that’s on the verge of a multi-billion dollar stock market flotation.
FAIR WARNING by Michael Connelly reviewed by Linda Wilson
When journalist Jack McEvoy finds himself a person of interest in the murder of a woman he dated once, he’s determined to clear his own name, as the police don’t seem to be making any moves in that direction.
WILD DOG by Serge Joncour, reviewed by John Cleal
Retired actress Lise persuades her producer husband to holiday in the wild hills of the Causse de Limogne. He must come to terms with his fear of nature and rediscover the basic instincts common to both man and animal.
THE STRANGER GAME by Peter Gadol, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
Rebecca’s boyfriend is missing. But she is unsure if he is licking his wounds, or if has he become another victim of an increasingly dangerous game sweeping Los Angeles and beyond.
HAMMER TO FALL by John Lawton, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Joe Wilderness spies for Britain in 1960s Finland and Prague and runs into several people with whom he shares a history.
BONE CHINA by Laura Purcell, reviewed by John Cleal
Nurse-companion Hester Why flees London for a position at the lonely Morvoren House on a desolate Cornish clifftop where she finds herself faced with a dark and dangerous situation linked to events of 40 years before.
THE LAST WIFE by Karen Hamilton, reviewed by Linda Wilson
After Nina’s death, her best friend Marie steps in to help her grieving husband with two children and a large house, gradually taking over more and more of her friend’s former life. But not everyone thinks that’s a good thing.
THE AOSAWA MURDERS by Riku Onda, reviewed by Chris Roberts
The poisoning of celebrants at a Japanese family birthday party is a mystery, even when the culprit admits responsibility. The true story takes years to emerge.
HAVEN’T THEY GROWN by Sophie Hannah, reviewed by Sylvia Maughan
Beth Leeson sees an old friend whom she has not seen for 12 years. Her friend has aged appropriately, but her children appear not to have aged at all. Is Beth mistaken about what she saw?
LAKE CHILD by Isabel Ashdown, reviewed by John Barnbrook
Eva Olsen cannot remember much about the last year of her life and is horrified that her parents are keeping her locked in an attic room with no contact with her old friends. And her parents are behaving oddly.
CORRUPT BODIES by Peter Everett, reviewed by John Cleal
When the author becomes superintendent of Southwark mortuary, he walks into a corrupt world of sales of body parts, theft, bribery and kickbacks.
Sharon and Linda
Monday, September 21, 2020
Vulnerable by Mary Burton (Pinnacle, 2016) is the fourth book in her series about the Morgans of Nashville, Tennessee. Georgia Morgan is the youngest of the family with three older brothers, all working in law enforcement agencies. She is a forensic technician in the Nashville Police Department, freshly assigned to a cold case. Five years ago, three teenagers went into a local park that covers 2600 acres and didn’t come home. Two days later one of them was found unconscious with a head injury and broken bones. She had no recall of the day, consistent with the severity of the concussion, and the other two teenagers were never located. Police thought the two had perhaps run away together but the wealthy father of one missing teen denied the possibility. He recently renewed his pressure on the police department to find his son, hence the assignment of the case to Georgia and homicide detective Jake Bishop.
The discovery of a murdered college student leads to a hidden cave in the park where the remains of the two missing teenagers were found. The likelihood that more than one murderer knew about the remote cave seems unlikely to the police, so they begin searching for links between the high school seniors and the college student and ways to identify someone they fear is a serial killer. They revisit the people who were around the missing teenagers in the last months before their disappearance and find that the passing of time has jarred some secrets loose.
On one level this story is a good police procedural with a lot of forensics. On another, it’s a predictable romance, which ordinarily would be enough for me to put a book down. In this case the investigation and the mystery kept me reading. Georgia’s side gig of singing in a bar adds a nice Nashville touch. The author is described on Amazon as specializing in romantic suspense, which doesn’t really apply to a story so heavy on law enforcement process and forensics. This seems to be another of those books that does not clearly fall into any one category. Recommended for readers who enjoy a romance along with their mystery.
· File Size: 430 KB
· Publication Date: March 29, 2016
· Print Length: 305 pages
· Publisher: Pinnacle Books (March 29, 2016)
· Language: English
· ASIN: B010ZZXWRW
Aubrey Hamilton ©2020
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.