Monday, September 26, 2022
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 37 Outstanding Writing Conferences and Workshops in October 2022
Safe by Jane Adams (Joffe Books, 2020) is the first book in the DS Petra Merrow and DI Toby Clarke series but the story really belongs to Lauren Sykes. The 17-year-old daughter of Kyle Sykes, the leader of a criminal gang in London, had been promised to the son of a rival gang leader in marriage. The gang leader in question had been moving in on her father’s business interests and Sykes thought joining the families by marriage would fend off a takeover. Lauren was not consulted and she knew she had nothing to say about marrying Charlie Perrin, an alcoholic 15 years older. That’s just the way these organized crime crews operated.
But Charlie decided to anticipate the wedding vows and Lauren was having none of it. She shot Charlie with his own gun and knew immediately that her brutal father would kill her in return. (Her father lacked basic parenting skills.) She grabbed all the cash she could find and Charlie’s car keys and went on the run. Her attempts to reach safety constitutes the plot of this nail-biting thriller that had me holding my breath.
DS Petra Merrow and DI Toby Clarke get pulled into the story line as a result of some of the action but the focus is always on Lauren.
It’s hard to say much about this hair-raising book without giving away critical plot points but I think it is safe to point out that it bears strong similarity to Edgar winner She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper (Ecco, 2017). This violent narrative has even more depth. There’s some insightful commentary about the dangers of undercover police work, as well as the way organized crime works, suborning vulnerable personnel within law enforcement to forestall prosecution.
Adams grabs the reader’s attention from the first page of this electrifying book. The action never stops, the tension is palpable, and the ending deeply satisfying. One of my best reads of the year.
· Publisher: Joffe Books (June 30, 2020)
· Language: English
· Paperback: 272 pages
· ISBN-10: 1789314534
· ISBN-13: 978-178931453
Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2022
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, September 25, 2022
Saturday, September 24, 2022
Up on KRL this morning reviews and giveaways of another fun group of mysteries for your fall reading-"A Poisonous Page": A Sweet Fiction Bookshop Mystery by Kitt Crowe, "Mint Chocolate Murder": An Ice Cream Shop Mystery by Meri Allen, "Murder at the Blueberry Festival": A Beacon Bakeshop Mystery by Darci Hannah, "In Too Steep": A Misty Bay Tea Room Mystery by Kate Kingsbury, and "Peg and Rose Solve a Murder": A Peg and Rose Mystery by Laurien Berenson https://kingsriverlife.com/09/24/end-of-september-mystery-catchup/
And a review and giveaway of "Steeped to Death" by Gretchen Rue along with an interesting interview with Gretchen https://kingsriverlife.com/09/24/steeped-to-death-by-gretchen-rue/
We also have the latest mystery Coming Attractions from Sunny Frazier along with a giveaway of "Deadly Verse" by Elizabeth Varadan https://kingsriverlife.com/09/24/coming-attractions-no-tricks-all-treats/
And the latest Video Game News from Jayce Ham-this one talks about video games perfect for Halloween! https://kingsriverlife.com/09/24/jays-video-game-news-halloween-edition-2/
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "Buttercream Betrayal" by Kim Davis https://www.krlnews.com/2022/09/buttercream-betrayal-by-kim-davis.html
And a review and giveaway of "The Case of the Disgraced Duke" by Cathy Ace. Be aware that this giveaway ends sooner than normal so be sure to enter by September 28! https://www.krlnews.com/2022/09/the-case-of-disgraced-duke-by-cathy-ace.html
Fantastic Four: Full Circle by Alex Ross has the Fantastic Four journey to the Negative Zone after parasites invades their home. This short tale sees them face various threats in the Negative Zone. Featuring colorful art and callbacks to earlier stories, this tale is a fun, but very short tale. All 4 members are featured here and characterized pretty well.
The art is a major highlight of this tale. Some of the art looks like something out of a drug trip but in a good way. There is great art and vivid colors that are not commonly used in comic books.
There is some implied nudity, some horror elements, and minor cussing in, his nice self-contained tale. Hopefully, Alex Ross will do more like this tale, but in a lengthier feature. This is more like a proof-of-concept short story. Still it was an enjoyable read.
My reading copy came by way of the OverDrive/Libby app through the Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple ©2022
Friday, September 23, 2022
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Hemingway’s Cats: A Novel about Cats and Other Forces of Nature by Lindsey Hooper
I had always had a strong skepticism of folks who claimed they could see things, whether it be visions of the future, or something else. Then I met Sandi. We had been married a number of years and with kids before she told me she had the ability to see things before they happened. Not during the event, but before it. It did not happen that often, sometimes more than a year would pass between such deals, but I learned that when she had a very strong dream of something that she believed would happen, I really should pay attention.
So, Lieutenant Dallas’s skepticism of such abilities reflected my own long ago as Visions in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries by J. D. Robb begins. This is the 19th book in the series. It is still September 2059 and just after recent events detailed in the last book. She has been out with Roarke, doing the corporate wife thing, and has survived the four-hour event without killing anyone. She counts that as a win and is looking forward to getting out of her dress and high heels. That is until her latest case begins.
Her and Detective Delia Peabody are dispatched to Belvedere Castle in Central Park. A young woman has been brutally assaulted and killed. It wasn’t bad enough that she was raped and strangled by way of a red ribbon wrapped around her neck. The killer set the body up as a presentation of what he done and finished the act by taking her eyes with him.
This poor woman wasn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last. Detective Peabody and Lieutenant Dallas are chasing yet another killer across the city from kill site to kill site as he works his own agenda. What that agenda is or why he is doing it remains a mystery to them both. That means Dallas is going to come up with a risky plan in Visions in Death.
All the usual caveats apply here in this read as they have been from the beginning. The former writer in me cringes every so often with all the head hopping shifts of POV in many paragraphs, awkward transitions, and all the rest of it. At the same time, this read, and the series in general, pulls you in from the start of the tale.
Which is ultimately why it works. The series characters you care about, the crimes are often twisted and gruesome, and the stories are interesting. While there might be flaws in the construction of the storytelling, depending on the eye of the beholder, there is no doubt the actual story is compelling. Every case, including this one, pulls the reader in quickly and weaves a complicated world with murder at the heart of it. Technology changes over time, but human emotions do not. These books work well and can become quite addictive. Visions in Death is another good one.
My reading copy came by way of the Libby/OverDrive app and the Dallas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2022
Thursday, September 22, 2022
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: My Name Is Red, Other Birds, This Will Not Pass, The Plot
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
Short Story Wednesday Review: The Girls On The Shore: A Detective Mathew Venn Short Story by Ann Cleeves
chance puts you in the right place at the right time to make a difference. Such
is the situation detective Matthew Venn finds himself in as The Girls On
The Shore: A Detective Mathew Venn Short Story by Ann Cleeves begins. If things had
not been quiet in recent days at the police station, if he did not have a lot
of time off accumulated, he would not have been taking the morning off and
hanging out at home. If he had not been at his kitchen window, as he was, he would
not have seen the two girls out on the beach.
But Detective Inspector Matthew Venn was home, and this was there to see the two very young girls out on the beach. It is January, cold and windy with ice on the ground, and the girls clearly are not dressed to be out there. They are dressed in school uniforms. They are doing nothing but staring out at the water.
Why? He has no idea. It is a school morning and he becomes increasingly concerned about them as he makes his way out to them.
Detective Inspector Venn eventually gets the young girls to come back to his house. It quickly becomes clear that something is going on with their mother who might be nearby. After getting his sergeant, Jen Rafferty, to come to his house and keep an eye on the girls, he goes back out to look for their missing mother.
What follows is an interesting 14-page mystery short story. A tale that becomes increasingly complicated and ends in an unexpected way.
Also included in the short read is a short preview of approximately the same number of pages of the new book, The Rising Tide. This book is the latest in the DVI Vera Stanhope series. (It was recently reviewed here by Lesa Holstine.)
About 10 pages of this 36-page read is title page, author bio, listing of books, publisher info, and other filler material. Something to keep in mind when considering the price of this short read. Fortunately, I was able to get my copy from the Libby/OverDrive app via the Dallas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2022
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
Monday, September 19, 2022
Michael Stanley is actually two people, retired academics Michael Sears and
Stanley Trollip. Both were born and raised in Africa and they both still live
there, at least part time. A Deadly Covenant (White Sun Books, August 2022) is their
latest book about assistant superintendent David Bengu of the Botswana Police Department. Bengu
is known as Kubu, Setswana for hippopotamus, an allusion
to his size as well as a reference to his personality, genial on the surface
but deadly when provoked.
This volume is another prequel to the first books in the series, which showed Bengu at the peak of his career. A Deadly Covenant and the previous book Facets of Death (2020) are intriguing looks back at Bengu just starting out as a detective, unsure of himself, learning from his supervisor who in turn was beginning to realize Bengu’s potential.
The village of Ncamasere has embarked on a project to bring much-needed water from the Kavango River inland to struggling farms. The backhoe operator is digging the pipeline in the sandy soil when he discovers unmistakably human bones. Bengu is sent to watch the pathologist examine the scene and conduct the autopsy. So he’s observing closely when the pathologist discovers the area is actually a mass grave of what appears to be bushmen, the indigenous people of the Kalahari Desert. Bullet fragments and injuries to the bones consistent with gunshots make it a crime scene, although one many years old.
The local police station commander tries to rush the investigation, anxious to have these outsiders gone. Bengu insists that the homicides must be looked into, his thoroughness and tenacity coming to the fore. He discovers strong opinions about the water project, some anxious to receive its benefits and others who resist change. This dichotomy of urge to modernize versus reluctance to abandon ancestral practices is an underlying theme in many of the mysteries I have read set in Africa.
Somehow word of the massacre reaches the media and they descend on the village, disrupting Bengu’s work, demanding justice for the murdered natives. A fascinating subplot with a bushman illustrates some indigenous beliefs.
Not much like Precious Ramotswe’s version of Botswana, the Botswana shown here is more realistic, with the intricacies and the contradictions to be expected of such an ancient land. The resolution is far more complex than I imagined, keeping me in suspense until the final pages. A fine addition to the series.
· Publisher: White Sun Books (August 28, 2022)
· Language: English
· Paperback: 352 pages
· ISBN-10: 0997968982
· ISBN-13: 978-0997968989
Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2022
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, September 18, 2022
Saturday, September 17, 2022
Up on KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "The Rising Tide" by Ann Cleeves https://kingsriverlife.com/09/17/the-rising-tide-a-vera-stanhope-novel-by-ann-cleeves/
And a review and giveaway of "A Deadly Covenant" by Michael Stanley https://kingsriverlife.com/09/17/a-deadly-covenant-by-michael-stanley/
We also have a review and giveaway of "Last Liar Standing" by Danielle M. Wong, along with an interesting interview with Danielle https://kingsriverlife.com/09/17/last-liar-standing-by-danielle-m-wong/
And the latest Queer Mystery Coming Attractions by Matt Lubbers-Moore https://kingsriverlife.com/09/17/queer-mystery-coming-attractions-october-2022/
And a review of the latest season of the BritBoxTV mystery show "McDonald and Dobbs" https://kingsriverlife.com/09/17/britbox-streaming-quirky-clever-gem-mcdonald-dodds/
For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast directly on KRL here is the player for the latest episode that features the first chapter of "Bait and Witch" by Angela M. Sanders, read by local actor Ariel Linn. This is the perfect story to start getting you in the mood for Halloween! https://kingsriverlife.com/09/17/new-mysteryrats-maze-podcast-featuring-bait-and-witch/
Up on KRL during the week we posted another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Angela Greenman about her new book "The Child Riddler" https://kingsriverlife.com/09/14/riddles-riddles-toil-and-trouble/
And another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Hazel Smith about the dog in her new book "Mystery Maid" https://kingsriverlife.com/09/14/god-knew-i-needed-a-dog/
And we also shared a post letting our readers and listeners know about the fun new bonus content on our Patreon, and a few other ways that you can help us be able to keep doing what we do. Hope you check it out! We are only able to do what we do thanks to all of you! https://kingsriverlife.com/09/14/latest-news-from-krl-mysteryrats-maze-podcast/
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "Last But Not Leashed" by Eileen Brady https://www.krlnews.com/2022/09/last-but-not-leashed-by-eileen-brady.html
And a review of "The Alchemist of Riddle & Ruin" by Gigi Pandian, along with an ebook giveaway of any one book in the series https://www.krlnews.com/2022/09/the-alchemist-of-riddle-and-ruin.html
Superman: Action Comics Vol 2: The Arena by Phillip K. Johnson picks up with the newly formed team led by Superman on the way to Warworld to overthrow Mongrul and free the slaves of Warworld. Of course, things do not go as planned. In the backups, separate story lines, Jimmy Olsen and the Guardian team up as well as in the other one, the Martian Manhunter is trying to find his place in the world and must face his past.
This is an action packed tale with great art and a writer who really gets Superman. This writer is doing a lot to flesh out Warworld and add to the mythos and he deserves all the praise he is getting. Most of the team get in the spotlight in this volume except for a couple of characters. One twist would have been more impactful if we knew the characters involved better. Besides Superman, Midnight and Manchester Black are two personal favorites in this volume. They provided a nice contrast to how Superman sees the world and they act more ruthless than Superman. The new minions introduced for Mongrul seem interesting if underdeveloped at this point.
A gripe I have is Superman displays a lack of planning in this volume which is atypical for him, but the writer does a good job of justifying it. Another gripe I have is that the backups do not seem to tie into the main plot of the Superman books, but maybe they will somehow be relevant down the line.
I highly recommend this read for Superman fans and I am eagerly looking forward to reading the third volume when it comes out. That volume is currently untitled and scheduled to be released in late February of next year.
My reading copy came by way of the Hoopla app through the Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple ©2022
Friday, September 16, 2022
It is a quiet and intimate night at home for Roarke and his wife, Eve Dallas. That is until Roarke’s administrative aide, Caro, calls in Divided In Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries by J.D. Robb. It is an emergency and it concerns Reva, her daughter.
Her daughter, Reva Ewing, is at a crime scene where the bodies of her best friend and Reva’s own husband in a bed are present. They have been brutally murdered. While Reva was enraged, and for good cause, as she had just found out about their affair, she is sure she did not kill them. She also can’t fully account for her time as she may have been drugged.
Reva Ewing is not only Caro’s daughter; she is an employee of one of Roarke’s many companies. A former secret service agent and a hero who nearly lost her life in an attack on a president of the United States, she is currently part of a team working on a top-secret security project for Roarke Enterprises. Said project has serious national security implications as there is a rising terror threat.
Caro and Reva are both very important to Roarke and it is clear from the start that he is going to be heavily involved. Either Reva did it and will need to be pulled off the project and sent to prison. If she did not do it, that top secret project might be why she was framed for the murder. That means Roarke is going to be involved.
Those two possibilities are not the only ones so Lieutenant Dallas and Detective Peabody of the NYPSD will each need to keep an open mind. That won’t be easy, especially for Dallas, when her past and her response to it once again creates a wedge between her and the man she loves with all her being.
While all the usual caveats with this series apply here, so does the fact that these are fun reads. While the flaws tend to grate on this writer, the reader soon does not notice them as one is ripped along in a complex and entertaining tale. Divided in Death, works well overall, and is another fun and enjoyable read.
My reading copy came by way of the Libby/OverDrive app and the Dallas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2022
Thursday, September 15, 2022
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Birds of America, Murmur of Bees, An Only Child and Her Sister, Circe
From the massively magnificent archive…
It is worth noting that many of the reviews give away most, if not all, of the details behind the story. This review absolutely does not. This review, unlike many others out there at Amazon and elsewhere, is safe to read without ruining this very good novelette.
Far different in style and tone from the Bruce Kohler Series written by author Elizabeth Zelvin is Shifting Is For The Goyim recently released by Untreed Reads. Emerald Love is a singer and a good one. Thanks to Michael, her boyfriend and fellow musician, she has had several number one hits. Immensely popular she is now one of those one name artists such as Cher, Madonna, etc. She’s come a long way from her home in Pumpkin Falls, New York.
With crowd leaving for their homes, she is now on the way to her family home for Passover. She’s missed the last five by way of being on tour, but there is no missing this one. For many reasons she will wish she had in this tale of the paranormal, death, faith, and family relationships.
This is a sometimes dark story of pain and loss for different from the often humorous Bruce Kohler Series. It is also incredibly good and features a complicated character, Emerald Love, who is very worthy of her own novel series. One hopes that such might be in the works based on this very complicated and very short mystery tale.
Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2012, 2015, 2022
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
The Mysterious Bookshop Presents the Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2022 is a roller coaster ride for the reader as some of the stories selected are very good and highly entertaining. Others, not so much. The digital arc via NetGalley that I received also had a very high number of formatting issues that got steadily worse as I worked my way through the read. That problem, far worse than most digital ARCs I get via NetGalley and elsewhere, certainly did not help with reading enjoyment
As the foreword by Otto Penzler makes abundantly clear, the tales that appear in the book are primarily his choices. Michele Slung culls the stories that are believed to have no chance as well as the nonmysteries, then the remaining pile of several hundred is read by Mr. Penzler. He culls that pile to fewer than fifty tales and turns that batch over to the guest editor. In this case, noted author Sara Paretsky, who selected the final twenty stories that are included in this anthology. Mr. Penzler goes on in his foreword to explain that his definition of a mystery is wide and includes thrillers, crime fiction, and suspense as well.
After some more remarks, including how to be considered for next year, Sara Paretsky comes next with her introduction. She addresses the old axiom of “write what you know” and spins it to how those who are good at writing know emotions. Everything else is research. She also points out that language as well as reader perception of authors and stories changes over time as does the world they inhibit and the tales that come from that world.
Then it is finally on to the stories. There are twenty short stories in the book, split evenly between men and women. Each story has a short background explanation to how it came to be and there is a short author bio as well. The stories in the book are arranged by author’s last name.
That means Doug Allyn gets the ball rolling with “Kiss Of Life.” Attorney Ray Beaumont is at the beach on Lake Michigan enjoying the mid July day with his lady friend, Marcy. They soon realize something is wrong as a woman nearby has walked out into the water and is apparently attempting to commit suicide. Ray pulls her out of the water, performs CPR, and is soon at the local hospital dealing with the strange situation his latest client finds herself in as she is still very much among the living.
Colin Barrett’s “A Shooting In Rathreedane” follows where Sergeant Jackie Noonan and the young officer, Pronsius Swift, are called out for a shooting at Bertie Creedon’s place. He has reported the shooting at his farm and claims he was trying to warn the person off as he was in fear of his life. But, instead of missing him, the warning shot hit him and the intruder is a bad way. Swift and Noonan go out to assist and investigate.
White Chocolate by Jerome Charyn is a tale of small-town life where nearly everyone is related to each other. For a local attorney, that includes his mother who apparently just stole a child from the local hospital. While his mom may run the town and everyone in it, she may have gone too far this time, even with a lawyer in the family.
There may be a killer on Catalina. L. A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Searcy saw the guy come off the ferry and wondered about him as the man seemed to be suspicious. After a conversation with FBI Agent Alex Cohen, Searcy thinks he might be the target and thinks it might be because of a trial starting in a few days. Things get complicated fast in “Avalon” by Michael Connelly.
It is a book club with a twist in “Better Austens” by Susan Firth. The ladies do read books as part of their book club. That is not all they do in a not-too-distant future where executions are privatized. This group of mothers provides the executions in the local area and do it while showing compassion to the legally condemned. A hard job becomes way harder when she realizes she knows the man she is supposed to execute from back when he was a little child playing with her own son.
Tom Larsen takes readers to Manta, Ecuador, in “El Cuerpo En El Barril where Sergeant Orlando Ortega has a new boss. Captain Juan Delgado is a big man and is not happy to be here in Manta where, as befits a coastal city, there is more than ample heat and humidity. Sergeant Delgado is not one to play politics, take small bribes, or go along to get along which is why he has been made the problem of another commander who is now stuck with him. Delgado is good at closing cases and soon will be working the case of a death near the local church.
The plan was to run away to Hawaii. Now, all the money they had in Bitcoin is gone in “October In Kauai” by Sean Marciniak. 15 and being abused by his cop dad, the money was a way out of a hellish life for him as well as Kayla and a friend of theirs. With the money gone, it is time for a new and far more dangerous plan.
Derek has done it. Again. Not something minor league stupid as he has frequently done before, but this time, something major league stupid. The money was supposed to last them for their stay down in Baja. Instead, all of the money, every last cent, is gone. Not only did Derek lose it all by gambling, he put them both in a bad situation as “Gun Running On Vacation” by Stefon Mears begins.
It was supposed to be an easy drug transaction a “Sleigh Bells For The Hayride” by Keith Lee Morris begins. He was waiting in the breezeway of some crappy condo complex courtyard. Good thing he knowns sign language even though he has been out of practice using it as the woman who was supposed to pay him for the drugs is deaf. She also does not seem to really want the drugs. She has a problem and a plan. He needs the money, so the drug sale is going to have to wait.
Red McClendon has not been facing the truth about his own son for a long time now. After all, on the surface, it appears that they are a perfect family. Not everything is as it appears in “Violent Devotion” by Gwen Mullins.
Dr. Meyer is well known for his hypnotism skills. He is not known for his secondary job in “Black Knight” by Jo Nesbo. That secondary job is soon ongoing to bring unwanted attention and a clear threat. While everything appears normal in the busy city of Milan, he is being toyed with in an elaborate game that befits his acknowledged skill in his secondary occupation.
When you are very used to taking one road from here to there the usual way all the time, a detour can cause all sorts of issues. It could also get you killed in “Detour” by Joyce Carol Oates. Abigail isn’t feeling herself this mid-March afternoon as it was before she arrived at the unwelcome sign. Being forced out of her normal way home will take her many miles out of her way and will take a lot of time, thus disrupting her normal routine as she savors the time when she is home alone after work and her husband is yet to arrive.
Bill Claymore wants the private investigator to follow his unfaithful wife in “Little City Blues” by Annie Reed. The private investigator may be home from Vietnam, but the war and what he went through in that hell is never far from his thoughts. He is willing to tail her and see what is going on as long as he gets paid. That does not mean he will do every single thing Claymore wants.
The next short story hit me pretty hard though my circumstances were quite a bit different. When a spouse passes, a lot of horrible people reach out to express their condolences and to try to take advantage of the death in one way or another. Most of mine were from women who claimed that Sandi had sent them my way as one of her last acts online or in person, which was obviously impossible, or others who wanted to personally help me with my grief according to their messages that included pictures of them naked or nearly naked. Some just needed plane ticket money. Some claimed to have messages from Sandi so I had to prove who I was by divulging some personal information. Nearly five years later now, it rarely happens by email. Instead, now and at a far lower rate, it happens via Twitter. One hopes that if there is a heaven and a hell, that such people have a front row seat in the hot zone.
In “Grief Spam” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, a widow has been devasted by her husband’s death. Now, just over two weeks later, she and others are receiving messages that seem to indicate Rob was doing and saying horrible things before he died in the single car crash. Lucca Kwindale has a private investigator company, Kwindale Investigations, and soon has a new mission and a compelling reason to get up and out of bed in the morning. Find out if Rob, the schoolteacher and the man she married and the father of their three daughters, was the man she though he was or if he was a scumbag and quite possibly even a criminal?
Paul Gates and his brother, Tristan, had been thought to be dead after the report by Kevin Delman. Mr. Delman had been lucky to survive the fall off the beach cliff several days ago. Authorities had found no trace of the boys and it was believed they had died and been taken out to sea. Now, four days after the accident, Tristian has pulled himself back up the cliff at a point a considerable distance from where he reportedly went over, and has been taken to a nearby hospital in “A Heaven Or A Hell” by Anna Scotti. The background of the situation with the boys and what really happened are major plot points in this complex tale.
The man is known as Marrick at the hotel in Singapore where he is staying. He gets a message to go to a certain locker at the airport in “Bang On The Money” by Ginny Stuart. He recovers the stored suitcase and changes his clothes and does quite a lot more as his latest job is underway.
Carol Clarke has a lot going on as “The Influencer” by Ellen Tremiti begins. Part of that is her job as a Detective. She isn’t really ready to retire, but her daughter and the grandbaby need her. She also has one last case to work as a favor to her boss. A missing person’s case that is hers because the mother of the missing young lady goes to her boss’s church.
After three weeks on the road doing his job, Ryan Vargas expected his wife in the house and waiting for him. She isn’t. Minutes after he arrives home, he gets a picture on his cellphone making it clear his wife is elsewhere and not by choice. Why she was taken and how he is going to get her back are two major pieces of “Give Or Take A Quarter Inch” by Joseph S. Walker.
It is an early taste of the blazing heat of summer in the neighborhood surrounding the bar known as Nightbirds when Ray Carney arrives. He certainly had no desire to be there as “The Theresa Job” by Colson Whitehead begins, but Freddie wanted to talk to him. Freddie knows about a job. Miami Joe is involved, as is a safe, and his cousin Freddie has been throwing his name around. So now, Ray Carrey is involved even though he wants no part of it.
Sam Kelson and DeMarcus Rodman have had a quiet night in where things in “Where There’s Love” by Michael Wiley. That is when Kelson was not talking as he pretty much talks nonstop these days. Especially when he is nervous. They knew there was something fishy about the overnight security job in the jewelry store. They might soon find out exactly what the deal is as they are no longer alone.
A “Bonus Story” titled “Jury Of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell brings the short stories to a close. In this short story, Mrs. Martha Hale is summoned, by the Sheriff, along with her husband, to go to a nearby house. Ostensibly, Mrs. Peters wanted her company. Why and what happened there the day before is the crux of this tale.
The book concludes with a listing of ten additional short stories of honorable mention. Among the notable ten are “An Ache So Divine” by S. A. Cosby and “Everybody Comes To Lucille’s” by John M. Floyd. Both stories can be found in the anthology, Jukes & Tonks: Crime Fiction Inspired by Music in the Dark and Suspect Choices, which was edited by Michael Bracken and Garry Phillips, and published by Down & Out Books in April 2021.
The Mysterious Bookshop Presents the Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2022 is an interesting anthology. It certainly fits Mr. Penzler’s stated definition of what constitutes a mystery and there are crimes galore. Diverse in terms of author styles and subject matter, it was also a book that was very much hit or miss for this reader. Some tales very much appealed to me. Others, not at all. Still, every reader should be able to find several stories they really like in the book.
As previously noted, my reading copy came by way of a NetGalley ARC.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2022