Friday, January 15, 2021
FFB Review: The Adventures of the Quinn Higgins Boy Detective: The Case of the Lost U-Boat by Douglas Quinn
I don’t know about you, but reading for me has been hard these past few days. It seemed like a good idea to remind you of a great series for kids. Today I am running my repeat review of The Adventures of the Quinn Higgins Boy Detective: The Case of the Lost U-Boat by Douglas Quinn. This is just one of a number of great books in this series. Make sure you check out the reading suggestions from Patti Abbott and Aubrey Hamilton. Have a great weekend!
Reggie, Vaughn, Demian, and the Boy Detective, Quinn Higgins, like to pal around at school and at home. They call themselves “Quinn and the Three Musketeers.” Thanks to Demian they learn that there is a new kid in school. The 11-year-old boy is from Chicago and just got to North Carolina and that means that Demian can happily give up his title of the “new kid.”
The new kid is Frederick Cullen and he is living with his grandfather out on Big Flatty Creek. Word is that his mom is dead and his father died fighting in Afghanistan. Since Frederick wants to learn how to fish and Quinn is good at it that becomes a natural way to start talking to Frederick. The plan is to make friends with Frederick and bring him into the group.
When Quinn and the others aren’t making instruments for the upcoming talent show the boys try to figure out ways to help Frederick as his rather rude grandfather makes it clear that no one is welcome at their home. The boys, who have been on more than one adventure, suspect that the elderly man is hiding something. It could be something very important and may have links back to World War II. A secret that boy detective Quinn Higgins is determined to discover in The Adventures of the Quinn Higgins Boy Detective: The Case of the Lost U-Boat.
From the first book The Case of the Missing Homework through this, the fifth book in the series, readers have been treated to Quinn Higgins, a fun-loving kid growing up in North Carolina. An active kid who would rather spend time with his friends outdoors than inside playing video games, Quinn has an innate curiosity which can put him in sticky situations such as in this book. For us readers of a certain age, these books are very reminiscent of the classic Encyclopedia Brown series.
This read is fast moving, solidly good, and engages the interest of kids and adults as do the other books of the series. While a mystery is at the core of the book, the read is also about exploring one’s own talents as well as helping others as relationships matter. Sometimes things don’t work out exactly as expected and this life lesson comes through clearly at the end of the story. This is a series that works for kids and parents.
This latest good book in the series is also complimented by four pages at the end of the book detailing how the instruments are made that the boys use in their talent show. The four instruments are things for the kid in all of us to consider making.
The Adventures of the Quinn Higgins Boy Detective: The Case of the Lost U-Boat
AAS White Heron Press (Via CreateSpace)
Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2013, 2021
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
These are the final hours to support Kevin’s Corner for consideration as Best Review Site. This year, we attempt to defend our crown as the Best Review Site. As always, we are up against a lot of sites that have teams of reviewers and are active in many genres across multiple forms of media. Most of them host book giveaways and other events as well. This site remains an underdog as always as we do not have all the bells and whistles use on a daily and weekly basis.
If you think we are worthy of your vote, please go cast your vote today. Remember, you have to respond to the confirmation email for your vote to count.
On behalf of Aubrey Hamilton, Barry Ergang, Jeanne of the BPL, and the numerous guests that have visited the blog during 2020, and myself, thank you for your support.
While I am not sure how much longer I am going to keep the blog going, I can assure you that this is the final year for me to enter the blog in this contest. So, let’s go out on top with a back to back crown as number one! Please and thank you.
Tampa Bay Times: Michael Connelly says goodbye to Amazon’s ‘Bosch,’ hello to Netflix’s ‘Lincoln Lawyer’
Thriller Shots: Murder Mystery Suspense by M. J. Newman is a collection of five short noir style tales and a sample of Violence In The Blood and offers of other books by the author. This read was originally published as 1054 Suburbia in 2016 and republished last year. The short tales make up a little more than half of the total page count making this a very fast read as this reader skips samples.
Thriller Shots 1 is subtitled “A Random Act” and is about a narrator who is out on parole. He saw her and it was clear she needed his help. So, he took her home and set her up with an IV. She is sleeping and he has time to think about how he got here and more.
Thriller Shots 2 titled “Let Him Go” revolves around the fact that the cop knows the guy did it. He has zero doubt. The evidence he has gathered is burned into his brain and he knows the guy did it. The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) says the evidence is circumstantial at best and to cut him loose. That cannot be how this case ends with this guy walking free and out there to do it and more again.
Thriller Shots 3 is subtitled “Long Time Coming” and is also is a tale of seeking justice. Kyle has it coming. The narrator has waited a long time to get his man. An evening in the pub will be part of the setup.
Thriller Shots 4 subtitled “The Homecoming” is also a tale of having to wait a long time. In this case, the narrator has been gone from home for fourteen years. Prison was the reason, but he is back home in Arizona and scores need to be settled.
Thriller Shots 5 subtitled “The Night Before” is about that night and the repercussions beyond the next day. He has planned to pace himself at the pub. Once the alcohol started flowing, the plan went out at the window. Now there is the aftermath.
The book concludes with a sample from Violence in The Blood: Crime Syndicate Book One and offers and info about various other books by the author. The author is a UK crime fiction writer and his tales feature that perspective even when set here in the states. An enjoyable read if you like noir or dark crime fiction as this is not a read where many good things happen unless you count getting even with folks who did you wrong and had it coming for a long time.
Thriller Shots: Murder Mystery Suspense
M. J. Newman
I picked this up earlier this month to read and review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2021
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 5 Paying Markets for Historical Fiction and Western Short Stories ...
It should have been a great day in the life of attorney Mickey Haller. He had truly had a television Perry Mason style moment that had destroyed a witness and ultimately won his case. The celebration at the Redwood on Second Street had been a fun time for all in attendance.
It was on to the drive home that things started to go wrong. First it was the traffic stop. Within a few minutes it was the handcuffs. Then it was the fluid dripping from the trunk. Then it was the clearly visible dead body inside the trunk. Halloween 2019 seemingly has come a couple of days early and Mickey Haller is in for quite a terror filled ride as his entire life is on the line.
Arrested for a murder he did not commit; Mickey Haller is incarcerated at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility. To get out of a nearly perfect frame job he is going to not only have to stay alive in the facility where he has few friends among inmates or staff, he has to build a credible -- somebody else did it -- style defense. Figuring out who he knows that could have done this will take time. Something he is in short supply of since he faces a looming trial and multiple threats including COVID-19.
The Law of Innocence: A Lincoln Lawyer Novel by Michael Connelly brings together nearly every character currently and previously present in this series. Haller’s defense that is ultimately presented in court as COVID-19 begins to draw public attention in early 2020 has numerous links to previous cases. This reader occasionally struggled to remember those cases before deciding to just read on and focus on the current story. The resulting read is complicated, intense, and pretty good. Because of the links in this book will invalidate pretty much any reason to read the earlier books, I suggest reading your way forward in the series to get to here. It will be worth it.
The Law of Innocence: A Lincoln Lawyer Novel
Little, Brown and Company (Hatchett Book Group)
eBook (also available in audio, hardback, and large print paperback)
My reading copy came in eBook format via the Dallas Library and the LibbyApp and the technical assistance of my son, Scott, who did some sort of magic to make things work.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2021
Monday, January 11, 2021
I decided to read Ruth Ware’s earlier psychological thrillers so I started with her second one over the holidays, The Woman in Cabin 10 (Gallery/Scout Press, 2016). It is everything the reviews claim it to be. Laura Blacklock awakens in the night to realize someone is in her apartment. The invader locks her in the bedroom. Her phone is in another room and she has no way to call someone. It takes hours to pry the lock loose. Dealing with the police and the damage to her apartment is so consuming that she forgets she is due to leave on a primo job assignment in two days, filling in for another journalist on a luxury ship cruise.
She manages to pack and meet the boarding deadline but she’s exhausted from little sleep and distraught over the break-in and has not prepared for the trip as she should have. She interacts briefly with the woman in the cabin across from her while scrambling to put herself together to rush to the main deck, where she is supposed to be reporting on the new opulent liner and its fabulously wealthy owners. Champagne flows freely as the yacht gets under way and Laura is more than a little drunk when she returns to her cabin.
When she’s awakened in the night by a scream and a loud splash, she realizes the noise came from next door and she reports it, fearing a passenger has fallen overboard. The security chief assures her no one is staying in that cabin but Laura knows better. Laura is steadfast in her conviction of what she saw and heard while the yacht personnel do their best to undermine her confidence and her credibility with the other passengers.
The suspense builds slowly in this book until the last third when it is positively nail-biting. Ware has a gift for creating tense and anxiety-provoking situations. Some scenes will trigger anyone with the slightest tendency to claustrophobia. Don’t try to read this at night when you are alone.
Starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal.
· Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press; First Edition (July 19, 2016)
· Language: English
· Hardcover: 352 pages
· ISBN-10: 1501132938
· ISBN-13: 978-150113293
Aubrey Hamilton ©2021
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Saturday, January 09, 2021
Up in KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "A Big Fat Greek Murder" by Kate Collins https://kingsriverlife.com/01/09/a-big-fat-greek-murder-by-kate-collins/
And a review and giveaway of "Fields' Guide to Dirty Money" by Julie Mulhern along with a fun guest post from Julie about armchair travel https://kingsriverlife.com/01/09/fields-guide-to-dirty-money-by-julie-mulhern/
We also have a review and giveaway of "Twice the Crime This Time" by Maggie Pill along with an interesting interview with Maggie https://kingsriverlife.com/01/09/twice-the-crime-this-time-by-maggie-pill/
And a review of the mystery TV show New Tricks streaming on BritBoxTV https://kingsriverlife.com/01/09/new-tricks-on-britbox-streaming/
Also up this morning KRL writer Sharon Tucker takes a look at a mystery scifi series of books by Martha Wells https://kingsriverlife.com/01/09/martha-wells-mysterious-murderbot/
Up during the week another special midweek guest post by mystery author Claire A. Murray about the mystery anthology "Peace, Love, and Crime." You can also enter to win a copy of the book https://kingsriverlife.com/01/06/peace-love-and-crime/
And another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Kelly Brakenhoff and you can enter to win an ebook copy of her latest book "Dead of Winter Break"
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "The Sea Glass Murders" by Timothy Cole https://www.krlnews.com/2021/01/the-sea-glass-murders-by-timothy-cole.html
And a review and ebook giveaway of "Deadly Bond" by Gemma Halliday https://www.krlnews.com/2021/01/deadly-bond-by-gemma-halliday.html
Titan’s Day by Dan Stout is the second book in the series that began with Titanshade. This book continues The Carter Archives which features Carter and Ajax who are a human and alien crime fighting duo that investigate murders on Titan. After the events of the first book, things should be way better for the locals. Except things are never as simple as they should be. Set six weeks after the first book Carter and Ajax have finally gotten off desk duty and back to work. Carter is still dealing with lingering problems thanks to events in the first book while there is a growing anti federal movement.
A young girl is murdered in an alley and her body is then horribly mutilated. It is up to Ajax and Carter to figure out who killed her while facing constant interference by the media, politics, and bureaucracy. Everyone has an agenda in this novel. The only ones who seem to care that a girl was murdered is Ajax and Carter. Everyone else seems to want to use the fact that Ajax and Carter are now considered heroes for their own uses and seemingly do not care about the murder. The city is on edge and Titan’s Day is coming up which is the biggest holiday for everyone on Titan.
One of the best parts of this book is that everything good about the first book continues here and is built upon in this read. There are connections between the first book and this one that cover big things as well as little things. Because so much is going on here based on events of the first book, it makes going into detail here problematic without creating spoilers. Suffice it to say, Carter is fundamentally changed by the first book and he is not the only one as characters evolve and relationships change. What remains constant across the series is the fact that there is plenty of action, humor, and mystery.
The third book in the series is titled Titan’s Day and is scheduled for publication on April 6, 2021.
Titan’s Shade (The Carter Archives Book 2)
Daw Books (Penguin Random House)
432 Pages (also available in eBook and paperback formats)
Material supplied by the good folks of our branch, Lochwood Library, of the Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple ©2020
Friday, January 08, 2021
After a break for the holidays, Friday’s Forgotten Books returns today with a repeat review. Today I am running my repeat review of The Troubleshooter by Austin Camacho. I am way behind on my reading of this very good series now billed as thrillers. The good news here is that unlike his short story I reviewed earlier this week, this read is still available in a variety of formats. Make sure you check out the reading suggestions from Patti Abbott and Aubrey Hamilton. Have a great weekend!
While third in the series featuring Hannibal Jones, the events depicted in The Troubleshooter predate the novels Blood And Bone and Collateral Damage. As such, it serves as a perfect introduction to the series for new readers and for those fans familiar with the series, explains how it all began.
Displaced by a fire in his apartment complex, Hannibal needs a new home, at least temporarily. With his new struggling business open less than six months and all records destroyed in the fire along with everything else he owns, Hannibal is devastated and contemplating a bleak future. Thanks to Cindy Santiago, daughter of his friend, Ray Santiago, he may get a new place fast.
Cindy works in a small law firm and one of the partners, Mr. Dan Baylor, has
recently branched out into real estate as a developer. Cindy is sure that she
can set up a meeting and Mr. Baylor will help Hannibal get a new place. They do
meet and after Baylor checks with his staff, he informs Hannibal that nothing
is currently available. The only possible exception and one that he is very
reluctant to reveal, is in a building across the river in Anacostia. Infested
with squatters and drug dealers, Mr. Baylor has been unable to get them out of
his building despite repeated requests to the Police. The property, which he
bought from the government and is intended to be developed for low-income
housing, is costing Baylor serious money every month and thanks to the
squatters and drug dealers, he can't recoup his investment.
A deal is struck for Hannibal to clean out the building and provide security so
that repair crews can go to work. Former government agent and now
"troubleshooter" Hannibal Jones figures he has the bases covered and
can have the building emptied permanently in less than a week. But, he is very
wrong and quickly puts himself and those he cares about in great danger as the
war for control between a neighborhood and the mob heats up.
Unlike the earlier two novels of the series, this novel is more of a character study and less a mystery. Little detective work is actually done since the dealers and other bad guys are quickly identified. As such, this novel shifts more into a vigilante style of justice work with Hannibal forced to repeatedly do battle at considerable cost to clear the building. Over the course of the siege, not only do we see how Hannibal came into being through insights into his character but we also see the beginnings of the romance between himself and Cindy Santiago. Several other recurring characters from the other novels make their introduction as well, explaining the tight bonds that exist.
Like the others in this series, this very enjoyable novel features tight writing, plenty of action, and intriguing characters. However, in so doing, some reviewers have mistakenly compared this author with Tom Clancy. Please do not be misled as this book and the others in the series have nothing in common with Tom Clancy novels. Both authors are writing books that do not share connections of style, character development, plotting, pacing, or anything else in common other than the fact they both release books printed on paper. Since Tom Clancy writes detailed techno thrillers making such comparisons meaningless and absurd, a better comparison might be made between Hannibal Jones to the "Lucas Davenport" character in the early books of the Prey series by John Sandford if comparisons must be made. Much like Lucas, Hannibal is an intense loner by his very nature and is very selective in his personal entanglements, romantic or otherwise. Much like Lucas, Hannibal does not tolerate evil in its many forms and is often conflicted as to the results and consequences regarding such confrontations. Much like Lucas, Hannibal is often pitted against forces that devalue human life at great personal cost.
Hannibal is fast becoming an old friend that this reader regularly looks forward to every time a new novel is released. This author and his three mystery novels to date are well worth the read and worthy of a place on your bookshelf.
Austin S. Camacho
ISBN # 1-890158-63-1
Large Trade Hardback
If memory serves me correctly all these years later, the read was provided by the author at that time with no expectation of a review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2004, 2012, 2021
Thursday, January 07, 2021
Wednesday, January 06, 2021
Review: The Sicilian Method: An Inspector Montalbano Mystery | Washington Independent Review of Books
Patti Abbott: Short Story Wednesday: "The Return of the Argentine Tango Masters" from The Lies of the Saints, Erin McGraw
Short Story Wednesday Review: Smoke and Mirrors: A Hannibal Jones Mystery Short Story by Austin S. Camacho
Again this week things have gotten away from me so I am running a repeat of a previous short story review. In this case, my review from January 2016 of Smoke and Mirrors: A Hannibal Jones Mystery Short Story by Austin S. Camacho. Unfortunately, it also seems to be out of print these days.
A Hannibal Jones short story is a treat and Smoke and Mirrors proves to be no exception. The wildfires in southern California have done a real number on the area. Hannibal Jones knows that after seeing the destruction from the air as his plane headed into San Diego.
What he didn’t know was arson was apparently involved. According to his friend, Mike Weaver, at least one fire was arson and that led to a death which is why he paid for private investigator Hannibal Jones to fly out from Washington. The two men have known each other for years and Weaver had no one else to turn too when local law enforcement turned him down. While Weaver things it was murder, local cops say it was just an accident thanks to shifting winds.
That would not explain why Gina Young died in a fire so intense that there is nothing left of her body. That wind issue would also not explain why Weaver found traces of accelerant in the debris. It also does not explain how her live in housekeeper, Elaine Chavez, escaped a fire that was going before the rest of the neighborhood evacuated. Nearly 1800 families lost everything in nearly seven counties so Weaver’s questions about one death are being lost in the aftermath.
With Weaver guiding him, Hannibal works the case in Smoke and Mirrors. A case that stretches far and wide with a number of suspects and witnesses. The result is a fast moving short story and another very good tale featuring Hannibal Jones.
Smoke and Mirrors: A Hannibal Jones Mystery Short Story
Austin S. Camacho
According to Amazon, I “purchased” this read back in November. I don’t know now if I did by way of funds in my Amazon Associate account or I got this by way of a publicized freebie offer by the author.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2016, 2021
Tuesday, January 05, 2021
Monday, January 04, 2021
Jane Stanton Hitchcock was initially a playwright and screenwriter, and then she turned to crime fiction writing. She is also an avid poker player who competes in the World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker. Her expertise in poker has a prominent place in her sixth crime story, Bluff (Poisoned Pen Press, 2019).
Maud Warner, born in New York to a wealthy family, wants revenge on the man who stole her mother’s fortune and left her destitute. She complained about Burt Sklar for years, while Burt refuted her accusations with calm condescension. He claimed Maud’s mother made bad decisions that he couldn’t talk her out of. Maud knew better but couldn’t prove it. The millions left by her stepfather simply vanished under Sklar’s skillful manipulation, leaving the family penniless. It was then that Maud discovered she had a knack for poker, and she made a steady income from outbluffing players who underestimated her.
Maud decides she will never bring Sklar to justice through legal means. She dresses in a Saint Laurent suit with designer heels, walks into The Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan, and fires the pistol she carried in her tote at the man and his lunch companion. She drops the gun and calmly leaves. No one thinks to stop her and once on the street she takes the train to Baltimore, where she goes into hiding with a poker buddy. Because no one notices older women, she moved around as if she were invisible. The police could not find a trace of her.
From there the story offers one surprise after another. Bigamy, fraud, and murder all surface against the backdrop of frenetic New York society and gossip. This book initially reminded me of the Miss Melville series by Evelyn E. Smith from the 1980s, but this narrative is far more complex than those entertaining tales and just as rewarding.
There’s more than a whiff of autobiography in this book. Hitchcock not only plays poker as does her protagonist, but she also successfully brought legal action against an accountant who defrauded her mother of her inheritance. She starred in an episode of American Greed which shows how she alerted authorities to the larceny of the celebrity accountant Kenneth Ira Starr. Starr was subsequently convicted and served time in a federal prison in New York.
Winner of the 2019 Dashiell Hammett Prize for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing.
· Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (April 2, 2019)
· Language: English
· Hardcover: 264 pages
· ISBN-10: 1464210675
· ISBN-13: 978-1464210679
Aubrey Hamilton ©2021
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, January 03, 2021
Saturday, January 02, 2021
Up in KRL this morning reviews and giveaways of 3 more fun mystery novels for your new year's reading-"A Deadly Edition": A Blue Ridge Library Mystery by Victoria Gilbert, "A Death Long Overdue": A Lighthouse Library Mystery by Eva Gates, and "Death by French Roast": A Bookstore Café Mystery by Alex Erickson https://kingsriverlife.com/01/02/mystery-catch-up-group-for-your-new-year-reading/