Saturday, June 12, 2021
Wolverine by Benjamin Percy Vol. 1 is the first volume of this ongoing series which collects the first two story arcs. In the first one, Wolverine is trying to find his place in the new mutant nation. He is sent out, by his fellow X-Men, on a mission to deal with the flower cartel who are making addictive illegal drugs off of flowers. In the second story arc, Wolverine is going up against a growing vampire threat. The obvious increasing threat of Vampires led by Dracula that has been building in the background in the Avengers books has to now be dealt with by Wolverine because it was not something the Avengers put at the top of their list of things they should handle.
This book follows up on various plot points from X-force and the Avengers books, but can be read without reading them. This book ties heavily into the history of Wolverine. Author Benjamin Percy writes a very good self-loathing, complicated, and loner Wolverine who prefers to handle things his own way. The X-Men finally have a place that they could truly be safe and Wolverine will do what he thinks he must to keep it that way.
Various characters are featured throughout the book for brief periods of time throughout the book. The spotlight is on Wolverine. Wolverine by Benjamin Percy Vol. 1 features a lot of action, character introspection, and some humor. The art is excellent in this very violent book. I look forward to Volume 2.
Wolverine by Benjamin Percy Vol. 1
Paperback (eBook available)
My reading copy came from the Central Branch aka Downtown Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple ©2021
Friday, June 11, 2021
Cop Hater: An 87th Precinct Novel by Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter) is the book that started the 87th Precinct Series. Originally published in 1956, it was republished by Thomas and Mercer in 2012. Back in the fall of 2019, Amazon made several in the series, including this one, free and I took advantage.
After an intro from the author explaining how the first book and the series came to be, the read opens with the weather and how the summer heat has its grip on the on “The City.” (I always thought this series was set in New York City, but as explained by the author in his intro, it is not and could be any major fictional city anywhere in the country.) Detective Mike Reardon gets up at 11:00 PM and goes about starting his day as he has the Midnight shift in the detective squad. By 11:41 PM, his walk to work is interrupted as two bullets entered the back of his head and punched out the front.
It was 11:56 PM when another citizen found him dead and made a call to the police. It is just after midnight and a new day and still hot as the Homicide Detectives from Homicide North survey the scene outside a boarded-up theater. It is close to 12:30 AM when Detectives Carella and Bush from the 87th Precinct arrive and roll the body over only to realize the murdered man is one of their own.
There were sixteen detectives assigned to the 87th precinct. The murder of Mike Reardon means there are now fifteen. It also means that they have another murder case to solve. That must be done while the other cases keep coming---the robberies, the rapes, the assaults, and all the rest of it—as the work never stops.
So too do the killings of cops as others are also murdered by a “cop hater.” Someone is targeting cops and has to be found and stopped.
While a little dated in spots, after all it was published in 1956, Cop Hater: An 87th Precinct Novel by Ed McBain is a solidly good read. The weather and the city are each their own characters as are the various folks in the tale. A solidly good read that lays the foundation for many books to come.
Cop Hater: An 87th Precinct Novel
Thomas & Mercer
Per Amazon, I picked this up in October 2019.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2021
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Moonlight & Misadventure: 20 Stories of Mystery and Suspense opens with a powerful tale by Joseph S. Walker titled “Crown Jewel.” Keenan Beech has brother issues. Specifically, twin brother issues. Xavier has now taken something that rightfully belonged only to Keenan. Xavier knew how to stick the knife in--figuratively-- and Keenan intends to restore balance by getting back what is his. At least, that was plan before everything got so very complicated.
Twins and their relationship are also a major part of the following story, “The Ballard of The Jerrell Twins” by Clark Boyd. Whether Darrell and Terrell really are or are not twins is not the question. The real question here is the accepted idea that two heads are better than one. In this case, they may not be as neither one is all that smart. That is apparent before the mystery, the nitrous oxide, and many other things come to light.
Tammy Lee Swanley sets up to watch Lombard’s Jewelry as “Tammy Loves Derek” by Bethany Maines begins. She has history with Derek Lombard. The same Derek Lombard coming out of the jewelry store as he is locking up for the night. She has a plan. In fact, she has a five-step plan to gain wealth. That plan is now in motion.
Lorretta Bremer with two little ones and an important job to do she has her hands full in 1921 as she rides a train from Camden to Atlantic City. You do what you do when you are a widow and on your own. Things are hard. Finding a body in her hotel room makes things so much worse. The fact that the body is of Roger MacNair who had hired her for dictation and typing at the convention is going to be a huge problem in “Moonset” by Jeanne Dubois.
After reading “Reunions” by John M. Floyd, you may think again about striking up a conversation on a plane. Larry Taylor did just that, helped out Roger Farnsworth by paying for his drink, and things went into motion.
Uncle Kenny has a plan, but Josh O’ Leary does not want to hear it. Uncle Kenny’s plans are never fool proof-- even when he claims they are-- and often result in long prison sentences. Uncle Kenny is sure his plan will absolutely work this time because they will keep it in the family in “A Currency of Wishes” by Kate Fellowes.
Gwen, as a child, started lifting items here and there. The barbie doll was the first treasure in “Cereus Thinking” by Tracy Falenwolfe. She lived with her grandparents, Don and June, who never leave the campground they run. Manatee Playground Campsite is her home and she lifts treasures from those folks who tick her off as they come through while on vacation. By the time she is of legal age, she has long since realized she needs to get out of there. Leroy Lafontaine might be her ticket out.
Readers go back in time to the early 1930s in the next tale, “Just Like Peg Entwistle” by Robert Weibezahl. In the time of the big studios and controlled access to movie stars, the sudden death of Peg Entwistle was huge news. Was it a suicide? Was the death of the young actress murder? What really happened is the subject of this tale.
The trio is out in the swamp hunting for a lost treasure in “Scavenger Hunt” by Michael A. Clark. It was lost in February 1958. All these decades later, the three are deep in the Wassaw Sound with the faint city light glow of Savannah far to their south. Lit by moonlight, the search is on.
It is back in time again with the next short story, “My Night with the Duke of Edinburgh” by Susan Daly. It is the fall of 1951 and Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Phillip, will soon arrive in Canada for a royal tour. The group of college students in Toronto want to make some sort of symbolic public statement regarding Canada’s sovereignty as a nation. Exactly what kind of statement and the repercussions of their act are the theme of this tale.
She had a pretty good idea of who her big brother was, warts and all, and now Oliver is “Dead on the Beach” by KM Rockwood. At least, she thought she knew everything. But, what she is being told regarding his death does not make a lot of sense. She starts asking questions. As any reader should know, not only do snitches get stiches, asking questions can get you killed.
Mom is dead and now Uncle Peter wants his share of what the daughters have coming to them. Not that there is a lot in “Madeline in the Moonlight” by Susan Jane Wright. Mom was an artist and a bit eccentric so pretty much what you see is what you get. Peter, being Mom’s baby brother, has no claim but he certainly is pushing things.
Murder is hard and messy work. Especially when you use a sledgehammer. It was well worth it in “Not a Cruel Man” by Buzz Dixon. Cleanup should be easy.
Angie Kritt is more than ready to shut down the old tavern for the night. It has been a long day and she is very much ready to go in “12 miles to Taylorsville” by C.W. Blackwell. Once she gets rid of the last few guys from the logging crew, she can do a couple of things and get home. That is until Meena shows up terrified and on the run.
Old Man Harper is some sort of creepy perv who likes teen girls. At least, that is what everybody at school says. Everybody knows what he is and want him gone. Katy, Ron, and Grace-Rose have decided to give him a push on to somewhere else in “Chicken Coops and Bread Pudding” by K.L. Abrahamson.
Peter Hayes puts in a lot of unpaid hours. In “The Promotion” by Billy Houston, that hard work is finally going to pay off. One way or another.
Just before the power went out, the police got an alert from the security system at the library. Officers Grabowski and Tyler are dispatched in “The Library Clue” by Sharon Hart Addy. A broken basement window means they have to check it out.
The plan is the thing in “Ill Met By Moonlight, Proud Miss Dolmas” by Elizabeth Elwood. Teaching Drama and English is hard enough due to the actions of some students who think they are entitled. Some want to ignore the rules. They seem to have found an ally in the new principal, Martha Dolmas, who has never taught a class in a day of her life.
Being a public health inspector is a hard job. Having an overbearing and incompetent boss, as was present in the preceding story, just makes things worse. In “The Moon God of Broadmoor” by M. H. Callway, Liz gets reminded that her job means she has to shovel some stuff. Figuratively and literally.
The last tale is “Strawberry Moon” by Editor Judy Penz Sheluk. All she wants to do is cross the border into the US. Unfortunately, she is dealing with a United States border guard that likes his power a little too much.
From the complicated and powerful opening tale to the twist ending in the last one, the twenty stories in the book are all good ones. Moonlight as well as misadventure in a variety of ways plays a major role in all of them. So does more than a hint of madness in many of the tales. In some cases, things happened as they always would because of the nature of the folks involved. In others, the plan failed sometimes in surprising ways.
Moonlight & Misadventure: 20 Stories of Mystery and Suspense is an anthology that features many complicated reads. Every tale selected is a good one and well worth your time.
Moonlight & Misadventure: 20 Stories of Mystery and Suspense
Editor Judy Penz Sheluk
Superior Shores Press
June 18, 2021
Editor Judy Penz Sheluk sent me a digital ARC of the book with no expectation or promise of a review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2021
Wednesday, June 09, 2021
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Dan Rather, Kitchen Front, Underground Railroad, Orphan's Tale, Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune
It is absolutely pouring down rain in Painters Mill, Ohio and the surrounding area as Disappeared: A Short Story by Linda Castillo begins. A call just before dawn awakens Chief of Police Kate Burkholder. An early morning call is never good and it certainly is not in this case.
A toddler is missing at the Kline Farm. The fact that the Kline family called for help, especially a family that follows one of the most traditional Amish sects, shows just how desperate they are for help. Little Joe is missing and the family is terrified that he is outside somewhere as the storm pounds down.
Neighbors have also come to help search and nobody has found a thing. Beyond the cold and rain, the nearby creek is pushing out of its banks. As the clock ticks, finding Little Joe alive is becoming increasingly impossible unless someone took him. It is an all hands-on deck situation and that includes her partner, John Tomasetti, with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
A fast and intense read, Disappeared: A Short Story gives one a glimpse of the Kate Burkholder series. Also included in this short read is an excerpt from the upcoming novel, Fallen, out next month.
Disappeared: A Short Story
eBook (also available in audio format)
Material was picked up last month by way of my funds in my Amazon Associate account.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2021
Tuesday, June 08, 2021
21 Immortals: Inspector Mislan and the Yee Sang Murders by Ruzlan Mohd Noor takes readers to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. An investigator with Major Crimes, he is sent to a murder scene that is going to prove to be unique as will be just about everything in the case. He has no idea what he is walking into, but the swarming media makes it clear word has gotten out.
Inside the wealthy home and at the dining room table there is a family of three who are all very clearly deceased. All three are fully dressed, sitting in their chairs, with plates and dishes of food before them. The traditional Chinese food eaten primarily during the Chinese New Year to celebrate the holiday, yee sang, is in abundance though there is certainly nothing celebratory here. While it is a murder scene, it is obviously not the primary murder scene.
With an absence of obvious body trauma, it is clear to Inspector Mislan and other investigators that Mr. Robert Tham, his wife, and their ten-year-old son, Lionel, were probably poisoned. They were then stripped, washed, embalmed, and perfumed before being dressed and arranged at the table as if to enjoy the holiday feast laid before them. All three have disturbing smiles as they are posed as if time froze during a happy moment.
Who did this, how, and for what reason are clearly the opening questions in a case that hits a roadblock from the start thanks to a lack of forensic clues. A hard case made harder by the fact that this is a wealthy family with secrets and connections that Inspector Mislan has to ferret out while also dealing with internal police politics, possible corruption in the department, and a host of other matters.
21 Immortals: Inspector Mislan And The Yee Sang Murders by Rozlan Mohd Noor is a complex and interesting police procedural. According to the book jacket copy, the author served as an investigator in the CID of The Royal Malaysian Police as well as other jobs before retiring and turning his hand to writing. This is book one that was first published in 2010 overseas and came out last year by way of Arcade CrimeWise. That life experience clearly shows through and one gets the sense that Inspector Mislan most likely shares quite a number of traits with the author.
There are numerous landmark and cultural references throughout the book as the read is deeply steeped in the culture of the region. No doubt much of that slipped by this reader who had no clue. Imagine trying to read a Bosch book by Michael Connelly with absolutely no frame of reference for the LAPPD, Los Angeles, the state of California, etc., and you have some idea what I was up against here. Additionally, most of the sentences are a bit stilted, making for a choppy read for this reader.
Complicated and very enjoyable if you like police procedurals, this is one to take a look at as 21 Immortals: Inspector Mislan And The Yee Sang Murders is a good one. I am glad I saw the review last month by Jeanne at the BPL as well as this short blurb about the book last month at Lesa’s Book Critiques. The second book in this series, DUKE: Inspector Mislan and the Expressway Murders, is now on the way to my local library branch.
You can also learn more about the author in this Publisher Weekly interview.
21 Immortals: Inspector Mislan and the Yee Sang Murders
Ruzlan Mohd Noor
Hardback (also available in eBook format)
My copy came via the Lakewood Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2021
Monday, June 07, 2021
Fiorella de Maria is the pseudonym of Fiorella Nash, an English bioethicist whose research focuses on life issues from a feminist perspective. She is a conference speaker and nonfiction writer dealing with abortion, gendercide, maternal health, and commercial surrogacy. Her novels are published under her nom de plume and include historical mysteries featuring Father Gabriel, a Benedictine priest. The first of these is The Sleeping Witness (Ignatius Press, 2017).
The story takes place in the village of Sutton Westford and the nearby St. Mary’s Abbey in August after the end of World War Two but before the end of sugar rationing. The war and the damage it caused is fresh in everyone’s memories. Father Gabriel serves as narrator. He is approaching middle age, with gray now appearing in his hair, aching joints, and failing close-up vision. The reader is left with the impression he came to the monastery after a career in the world, much like his predecessor Brother Cadfael. Certainly he is more willing to engage with the outside world than many of his brothers are, and Abbot Ambrose must routinely redirect his attention.
The local doctor and his wife are the subject of ugly rumors in the tiny community. She is quiet, pale, and fragile, and the doctor is always by her side. Large bruises on her arms lead observers to some natural but unpleasant conclusions. When she’s found in the cottage of a Danish artist visiting for the summer, both covered with blood and apparently dead with a gun lying nearby, suspicion falls on her husband who steadfastly denies that he hurt either of them. Despite the active discouragement of Abbot Ambrose and Inspector Applegate, Father Gabriel plunges headlong into investigating the crime.
This is an unusual mystery. Much about the characters and the setting, especially Father Gabriel, are implied rather than stated. There is no back story at all. I wondered what Gabriel was doing in the abbey, as he doesn’t seem quite suited for the monastic life. Nearly everyone has something in their past they don’t talk about. Abbot Ambrose for instance seems to have served in intelligence during the war. Other characters turn out to be other than who they say they are. As Miss Marple stated in A Murder Is Announced, anyone could show up in a village in post-war England with a new identity and background. The records were in such disarray, they were likely never to be challenged. An intriguing read. Recommended especially for fans of historical mysteries and of religious detectives.
· Publisher: Ignatius Press (February 10, 2017)
· Language: English
· Paperback: 176 pages
· ISBN-10: 1621640760
· ISBN-13: 978-1621640769
Aubrey Hamilton ©2021
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, June 06, 2021
Saturday, June 05, 2021
Up in KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "Deadly Ever After" by Eva Gates along with a fun guest post by Eva about going to your happy place in books https://kingsriverlife.com/06/05/deadly-ever-after-by-eva-gates/
And a review and ebook giveaway of "Upstaged by Murder" by Grace Topping. If you win, you can also choose a different book in the series if you prefer https://kingsriverlife.com/06/05/upstaged-by-murder-by-grace-topping/
We also have an article by Terry Ambrose about the Killer Nashville International Writer's Conference https://kingsriverlife.com/06/05/killer-nashville/
And a review and giveaway of "Jackal and Hide" by VictoriaTait, along with an interesting interview with Victoria https://kingsriverlife.com/06/05/jackal-and-hide-by-victoria-tait/
For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast directly on KRL, here you can find the player for the new episode featuring the first chapter of "Sprinkles of Suspicion" by Kim Davis read by local actor Karina Balfour https://kingsriverlife.com/06/05/podcast-sprinkles-of-suspicion-by-kim-davis/
We also have a guest post by mystery author Linda J Wright who shares about her work in animal rescue, and about some fun pandemic cat books that she created https://kingsriverlife.com/06/05/how-pandemic-cat-books-came-to-be/
During the week we posted another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Joe Cosentino about his new Nicky and Noah mystery "Drama Pan" you can also enter to win an audible copy of the first book in the series
And one by mystery author Molly MacRae where she shared about her favorite category of bookstores https://kingsriverlife.com/06/02/my-favorite-category-of-bookstore/
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "All That Fall" by Kris Calvin https://www.krlnews.com/2021/06/all-that-fall-by-kris-calvin.html
And a review and ebook giveaway of "Dead Sprint" by Caroline Fardig https://www.krlnews.com/2021/06/dead-sprint-by-caroline-fardig.html
Marvel Zombies Resurrection by Phillip Kennedy Johnson collects the prequel 2019 tale and the 2020 issues. In the prequel, the world ends and falls to the undead. The main heroes of the X-men, Avengers, and the Fantastic Four, answer a distress call from Captain Marvel who is off planet and needs help. This story features heroes such as Magneto, Wolverine, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and others.
There is a distinct difference in the cast of the first tale vs the second. The second tales focuses on Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four kids trying to survive in the new world. Along the journey, they are joined by other survivors who must not be named here as doing so would ruin the read.
This book features a wide variety of characters. While most of the heroes become infected, there are quite a few surprises as some survive despite the long odds against it. This book is action packed with plenty of horror. It does require some reader suspension of disbelief as the prequel makes the main heroes of the Marvel Universe to be amazingly stupid to work. Like going to the abandoned warehouse at two in the morning to meet somebody and never taking your gun with you kind of stupidity. Deadpool is also not in the book—at all-- despite appearing on the cover. I also wish there had been more discussion and explanation of events that happened in the large time gap between the two tales. Instead, those events are mostly glossed over and just barely mentioned at different points.
This book is good, but clearly suffers from being a miniseries and not being fully developed.
Marvel Zombies Resurrection
Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Paperback (eBook available)
My reading copy came from the Central Branch aka Downtown Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple ©2021
Friday, June 04, 2021
From the massive archive….
When Marquitta “Skeet” Bannion left family and her job as a Kansas City Homicide Detective for being the Chief of Police Chouteau University, she thought she would be able to leave all the bad stuff behind and make a fresh start. It hasn’t worked out that way as pulls back to Kansas City keep making their presence felt. She was sure that, at least, she would be able to leave violent death and murder behind. The fact that the editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, Andrew McAffe, is very much dead according to rookie Police Officer Dave Parker proves her wrong. Who killed him by bashing his head in and why he or she did it will be her focus of her investigation.
Figuring it out will be much easier said than done. The victim, who had recently been in a fight with his news editor, was certainly no saint. Not only was the victim accused of various thefts and at least one sexual assault, he had his fingers in a lot of areas. As Police Chief Bannion digs into the case no secret is safe and the list of suspects grows. So too does her frustration with those who are much more concerned about politics and alumnae fundraising than finding a murderer. A murderer that clearly isn’t about to stop.
For some reason there is a blurb on this book comparing this novel to the works of Nevada Barr and Sara Paretsky. One can only conclude that comparison is made because the lead character in all cases is a female fighting, among other things, male disrespect. While being compared to New York Times bestselling authors is nice, that comparison does not address the actual storyline, type of characters involved, settings, and other elements of the book that have nothing in common with the aforementioned writers.
The novel does remind one of the excellent Sheriff Rhodes series written by Bill Crider. Both feature small police departments led by non-political bosses who are straightforward, make pains to point out to suspects that all secrets eventually come out, and understand that behind the public façade a far different person often exists. Rhodes and Bannion ask lots of questions, expect dishonesty from those often trying to hide other things that have no relation to the actual case, and both use stress reliving tactics while thinking about the case. Sheriff Rhodes sits out on the back porch and plays with his dogs while ruminating on the case. Police Chief Bannion puts music on, picks up her knitting needles, and goes to work while ruminating on the case.
“Winner of the Malice Domestic First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition” Every Last Secret is a strong debut novel featuring an interesting main character as well as numerous interesting secondary characters. The characters involved are multi dimension and complicated, like people in real life, and it does not take long at all for these characters to become very real in the reader’s mind. The action moves forward at a steady pace while gradually the character’s back stories come into pay adding depth and nuance to the work. Just under 300 pages the read is over way too soon leaving the reader wanting more.
Every Last Secret
Thomas Dunne Books (Minotaur Books)
Hardback (also available as e-book)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2012, 2021