I get asked all the time, "What do you need?"
"My wife back" will always be the answer. The going on is harder than hell.
Up on KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "Under Lock & Skeleton Key" by Gigi Pandian https://kingsriverlife.com/04/30/under-lock-skeleton-key-by-gigi-pandian/
Moon Knight Vol 1.: Lunatic by Jeff Lemire opens with Marc Spector waking up in a mental ward where people claim he has never been Moon Knight and that he is just delusional. However, he quickly realizes that hiding behind the faces of these normal people are actually gods and monsters who want to keep him in prisoned in this “hospital.” If that was not bad enough, some of his friends are also imprisoned with him. It is up to him and his friends to fight their way out of this “hospital” and get back to the real world.
Filled with plenty of action, Egyptian mythology, and beautiful art, this is a fun read. The constant switching between the art of the normal world and a more surreal Egyptian stylized art is very interesting. I recommend Moon Knight Vol 1.: Lunatic by Jeff Lemire for readers who are okay with a bit more mind bending in their narrative than a lot of the more grounded stories.
My reading copy came from the Bachman Lake Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple ©2022
In addition to the normal policy of deleting all spam comments, I will now also be deleting any comments by folks listed as "anonymous." This applies whether or not the comment is on topic. This policy evolution comes because of the behavior of some folks.
So, unless you put your name to what you say, don't bother to comment as being anonymous is no longer going to work around here.
It is May 2059 as Betrayal in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries by J.D. Robb begins and Lieutenant Eve Dallas of the New York Police and Security Department is dressed to impress and attending an event in a hotel ballroom. Nearly six hundred million dollars worth of art, jewelry, and memorabilia connected to the legendary actress Magda Lane is on display. The point of the massive display is that items from it will be soon auctioned off. Security and everything involved with the event is being done through one of Roarke’s many companies as he has known Magda Lane going back years. It also means that his is an important social event with a lot of coverage. That means it is important for Dallas, aka Mrs. Roarke, to attend in a non-police capacity.
Despite her misgivings and her long-standing hatred of such deals, Dallas is enjoying herself until Roarke tells her of a death on the 46 floor in the south tower of his hotel.
22-year-old Darlene French is dead in a room checked out to a James Priory from Milwaukee. She was a housekeeper at the Roarke Palace Hotel and weas liked by everyone. Savagely beaten, then raped, she then was strangulated to death by a wire around the neck. From looking at security discs it appears it took the killer only thirty-two minutes to beat, rape, and kill Darlene French. Not only was he fast, he also cleaned up and left leaving very little behind of his presence other than the images on the security discs and the dead body on the bed.
It is also soon becomes clear that this killing was not his first.
What follows is a highly entertaining read as Dallas and her team chase a killer and are dealt numerous obstacles along the way. As almost aways in this series, there are links to Roarke and his criminal past of long before he met Dallas as well as links to Dallas’ abusive childhood. Of course, even with this being the twelfth book of the series, there are still abrupt head hopping POV shifts in paragraphs. Murders and sexual encounters are graphic as one expects in the series.
Once again, after a while, the reader stops noticing the flaws in construction and is soon turning the pages lost in the story. Which is proof, as many would argue, that the story can often outweigh the sentence construction errors along the way. The twelfth book in the long running series, Betrayal in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries by J.D. Robb, is a fun and highly entertaining read.
The series to this point and my reviews:
Naked in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 1) March 2021
Glory in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 2) April 2021
Immortal in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 3) May 2021
Rapture in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 4) June 2021
Ceremony in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 5) July 2021
Vengeance in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 6) September 2021
Holiday in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 7) October 2021
Conspiracy in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 8) October 2021
Witness in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 10) March 2022
Judgement in Death: Eve Dallas Mysteries (Book 11) April 2022
My reading copy came from the Dallas Public Library System through the Overdrive/Libby app.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2022
It is April as Movieland begins and Sheriff’s Department Detectives Eve Ronin and Duncan “Donuts” Pavone are dispatched to Malibu Creek State Park on a homicide call. A scenic location used by both movies and television programs over the decades, it is now the scene of at least one murder with a second victim in critical condition.
The survivor is Zena Faust, a well-known local writer and activist blogger who is a harsh critic of the Sheriff’s Department, developers, and politicians of all types, as well as others who deserve her attention. She has been hit by a shotgun blast and very seriously wounded. Somehow, she managed to crawl out of the nearby pond and get herself to where a couple found her and called for help. Zena’s girlfriend, Kim, took the brunt of a shotgun blast and is very much dead. Zena’s anguish over the death will turn to rage when she realizes that they were not the first targets of a maniac.
Somebody has been shooting at things as well as people. This is the sixth shooting that Duncan knows about as he was working the case months ago before Eve Ronin moved to the Lost Hills Station. Political issues with those running the Park as well as elected officials have kept most of the cases quiet because of fears of scaring away tourists. Duncan tried to pursue things internally, but got stonewalled by the upper brass.
Now what Duncan suspected and long feared has happened. They have a dead woman and one gravely injured thanks to the shotgun sniper back at work after a long hiatus. Unfortunately, those running the park and those at the top levels of the Sheriff’s Department are far more concerned with politics and keeping things quiet, than actually solving the case.
They forgot to factor in a blogger who is not going to let the death of her friend go off the front pages and vanish from the media cycle. They also never considered what Detective Eve Ronin will do, with and without the steadying guidance of her partner who has decades on the job.
Movieland is the fourth book in this very good series and is another fine installment. Politics, inside and outside the department, continues to play a significant role as does the ongoing hatred of Eve by some in her own department. Those two issues, which are almost main characters in their own right, is part of an intense mix that features a complicated murder case that has links to many other cases and situations. A complex and engrossing read, Movieland, is highly recommended as are the previous books in the series. Best to read in order.
Movieland is currently scheduled to be released on June 21, 2022. My reading copy was an ARC via NetGalley.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2022
Guilty Crime Story Magazine: Issue 4, Spring 2022 is billed as The Detective Issue and opens with “Poor Little Rich Man: A Sam Harrigan Story” by Editor Brandon Barrows. P.I. Sam Harrigan is awakened in his office by somebody at his door. That man was Mark Cole who as an actor. Now he is dead having made it his last act on stage to appear at the door of his office. Why and who killed him are two questions that private investigator Sam Harrigan intends to answer.
He used to be a detective who did some things that crossed the line. Some of those things pushed him out of the job. There is still time to atone for a thing he should have handled long ago in “Badge” by Michael Grimala.
Solving the puzzle was always the attraction for Dick which is why he left the police force and opened his own agency. It is a one-person agency as he prefers working alone to connect the dots. In “See The Signs” by Craig Terlson, he is looking for a missing kid. Simon seems to be a bit young to be a runaway. The mom, Mrs. Jackson, wants no police involvement. That is the first of several oddities with this one.
Harry McLean has had enough of Caleb as “Caleb’s Cannon” by M.E. Proctor begins. The pay for information dance is familiar, but Harry has had enough. It has been a rough few days in the heat of South-East Texas on a stakeout and now a new case is in his lap due to a recent incident. Something is up with insurance agent Jerry Walden and Caleb might have an answer or two if he just got on with it.
“Lucy’s Inferno” by Robb T. White comes next where Lucy is sent out by the jerk boss, Elliot Schwartzbach III, to a strip-mall in Northtown on Lake Erie. It burned and now the owner is in a rush for insurance to pay up. Lucy is an investigator and is very good at catching scammers, fraudsters, and the like. It isn’t the first time Lucy has had to go to Northtown so this trip is not going to be fun for a variety of reasons.
Just because the dead person was homeless and found by a dumpster does not mean the person was trash. Eddie Redmond certainly was not trash. He also was not a drug user so the needle still in his arm means it was a murder. Joe Moncrief intends to make sure everyone knows that fact and to catch the killer in “No One’s Trash” by Luke Foster. This story brings the entertaining issue to a close.
The Detective Issue of Guilty Crime story: Issue 4, Spring 2022 is a solidly good read. These stories are not light fluff. Instead, they have a whiff, and sometimes a much stronger scent, of noir running through each one. Detectives, with different styles and perceptions of what is right and wrong, are working in each case in a pursuit of what they see as justice. A lot is packed into each tale. No cardboard character cutouts need to apply. Well worth your time as are the previous issues of this magazine.
The previous issues and my reviews:
Guilty Crime Story Magazine: Issue 2, Fall 2021 (September 2021)
Guilty Crime Story Magazine: Issue Three, Winter 2022 (January 2022)
My reading copy was a purchase of the eBook earlier this month by way of funds in my Amazon Associate account.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2022
Please welcome back author Neil S. Plakcy to the blog today. When he was last here back in late January, he discussed how his story, "Cabbage Key," came to be in the anthology, Cupid Shot Me: Valentine Tales of Love, Mystery & Suspense. Mr. Plakcy is back today to explain the background of his tale in the Groovy Gumshoes: Private Eyes in the Psychedelic Sixties anthology. Edited by Mr. Michael Bracken and published by Down & Out Books, Mr. Plakcy is the sixth author in the read to appear here regarding this book.
The Idea of Cuba in Heir Apparent
When I moved to Miami in 1986, Miami Vice was in the middle of its run. I was working on the construction of a new festival marketplace in downtown Miami, and nearly every day I saw something that reminded me of the show—whether it was a taping going on as I drove past, or the iconic Brickell Avenue building with the hole carved out, or an evening out on the decaying deco streets of the beach.
I quickly learned about the Cuban flavor of Miami. Our receptionist had been born on the island and raised in Miami, and she kept us up to date on all the current telenovelas (whether we wanted to know or not.) One of our construction managers was a Juban. His grandparents were Ashkenazi Jews who hadn’t been able to emigrate to the US, so had settled for Cuba instead. He’d been born there, but his family left the island soon after Castro’s rise.
We ate lunch at a Cuban café we nicknamed “Carbon monoxide and flies,” because it was open to the street. Sometimes we got dinner at Versailles, pronounced ver-SIGH-ez, a Cuban icon in Little Havana with crystal chandeliers and a diner menu. When we were off site, we stopped at ventanas, walk-up windows serving tiny cups of strong Cuban coffee.
I learned about the Cubans who had left the island as soon as Batista fell, to preserve their wealth. Much of what we call South Beach, south of Fifth Street, consisted of decaying buildings holding those who fled the island through the port of Mariel in 1980. Then there were regular reports of rafts washing up on the shores of Miami Beach, islanders so desperate to escape that they trusted their lives to flimsy boats and homemade constructions of used automobile tires and a sheet for a sail.
So when Michael Bracken asked if I’d be interested in contributing to an anthology of stories about private eyes in the swinging sixties, I immediately thought of the Cubans I’d met and how varied their stories were.
My friend Elisa’s doctor father was an early anti-Castro activist, and he barely escaped by traveling to a medical conference in Florida in 1960. When his pregnant nineteen-year-old wife returned to their apartment after seeing him off, carrying my one-year-old friend in her arms, she discovered the apartment had been sealed off by the Cuban police. Her mother’s escape was an amazing story involving the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and a stopover in the Bahamas.
My grad school classmate Richard Blanco, the inaugural poet, says that he was conceived in Spain, born in Cuba, and raised in the US. I met people who had lost great wealth to Castro, and those who had sold everything to pay smugglers for a way out of the country.
|Lincoln Road Mall (1960)|
I wanted to understand what it was like to be gay in the middle of the 1960s counterculture. 1968 was a year of great sexual freedom and national change, from the Tet Offensive in Vietnam to the landmark Civil Rights act.
I’d heard so many stories about Miami Beach that I had to put George Clay there, in an office with a malfunctioning air conditioner, over a Chinese restaurant. I knew that as a straight-appearing Navy veteran, he’d be disdainful of an over-the-top client who looked and dressed like Liberace. But he was starved for clients, so he overcame that feeling to determine if the older man’s boyfriend was cheating on him.
That led me into the city’s Cuban connections, and a noirish plot involving wealthy emigres and a nascent plot to overthrow Castro. If you’re interested to see how it all works out, I hope you’ll read “Heir Apparent” in Groovy Gumshoes.
(And yes, the title of this essay is a nod to Wallace Stevens and “The Idea of Order at Key West.”)
Neil S. Plakcy ©2022
Neil S. Plakcy is the author of over fifty mystery and romance novels, including the best-selling golden retriever mysteries and the highly acclaimed Mahu series, a four-time finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards. A Lefty winner, his stories have been featured in the Bouchercon anthology Florida Happens, Malice Domestic’s Murder Most Conventional and the 2022 MWA anthology Crime Hits Home and others.He is a professor of English at Broward College in South Florida, where he lives with his husband and their rambunctious golden retrievers. His website is www.mahubooks.com.
I bought the electronic version of The Extraditionist (Thomas & Mercer, 2017) days before it was officially released. That I just got around to reading it a few days ago speaks volumes about the state of my Kindle and my TBR list. The author Todd Merer is a career criminal defense attorney whose clients were cartel chiefs extradited to the United States for prosecution. His protagonist Benn (two Ns) Bluestone is also a criminal defense attorney who defends drug cartel kingpins who have been arrested and deported to the United States.
Bluestone earns a lot of money that he spends almost as fast as it comes in. He is tired of the life he’s leading and the people with whom he’s associating and wants to retire. All he wants is one last major-league crook with deep pockets to defend. While he searches for him, he undertakes three separate cases, one of which he hopes will turn into Mr. Big.
This is far from the traditional sort of legal thriller that takes place largely in front of a judge. Bluestone’s work involves flying back and forth to Miami, Central America, and South America; visiting the New York jails where his extradited clients are held pending plea bargains with the Federal district attorney; and juggling incredibly large cash payments, all of which come from tainted drug money. He actually spends very little time in a courtroom. His goal is to keep his clients out of a trial they can’t possibly win and to minimize their jail sentences while staying out of legal trouble himself.
The characters are the worst sort of criminals. Bluestone’s willingness to deal with them speaks volumes for his own sense of morality. Typical for organized crime, the body count in this story is easily in double digits and no one can trust anyone for a minute. Despite the overriding themes of corruption and deceit, this book is mesmerizing. The author’s experience gives every scenario credibility and realism. He clearly knows of what he writes. I do wish an editor had taken a sharp red pencil to it, as it’s too long, but fans of cartel crime fiction and legal thrillers will love it.
· ASIN: B01N7RWWW4
· Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (November 1, 2017)
· Publication Date: November 1, 2017
· Language: English
· File size: 3680 KB
Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2022
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Before there was my short story collection, Mind Slices, there was Carpathian Shadows Volume 2. The anthology, published several years ago by BooksforaBuck.com, contains a number of stories, including mine.
The gist of the setting is that deep in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains, in Transylvania, lies a castle. This castle was once home to a nobleman who, it is claimed, warred with the church, bound his servants with a curse of silence, and ruled his lands with a grip of iron. Fortunately for modern-day visitors, Lord John Erdely has been dead for centuries and his castle now a haven for tourists. Or so, at least, is the claim.
Each visitor to a local hotel receives a fancy invitation--they're invited on a free tour and paranormal investigation. When a freak storm hits, forcing the visitors to overnight in Lord Erdely's castle, the tourists learn that Erdely's power is not limited merely to ancient fairy tales.
My story, "By The Light Of The Moon," explains what happens to those who learn too much of the Carpathian castle's secrets. If you are intrigued by the sample below ordering is easy. Available in print and e-book forms at the publisher, Amazon, and elsewhere.
“By The Light Of The Moon”
"Is he here?"
"How is he?"
What he was asking was whether or not the suspect had made it alive into his station. He should have but sometimes accidents happened in the field. The young officer stepped a little ways into the room. New to his job, he was working hard to impress, which is why the Commander had chosen him. Things had to be contained, and he knew he could keep the man, more like a boy at twenty, in line.
"Typical American." The young officer couldn't keep the scorn out of his voice, "Very emotional. Fits of screaming and crying when we placed the cuffs on him. He's sitting quietly in Interrogation 4 now."
"Good. That will be all."
The young man saluted, swiveled in his black spit-polished boots, and strode confidently out of the office. The Commander sat back and smiled to himself while he listened to the pleasurable sound of the boots striking the floor fade away down the long hall. To be young again and so sure of righteousness, of purpose. Not that it really mattered, as fate ordained everything. His die was cast long ago, as was my own, he thought, and the idea depressed him as it had the last few months.
He stood and stretched, feeling his spine pop before he walked down the same hall. Unlike the young man before him who had turned right so that he could pass the front desk and go back out on patrol, the Commander turned left and, with a few steps, began to feel like the walls were closing in on him. The truth was, they were as he journeyed deeper into the old section of the garrison. This part had been built into the mountain long ago, and the Commander secretly suspected that there had to be a tunnel from here up to the castle far above. He suspected it but had never tried to find out because he knew that in such matters, a lack of knowledge was safer than knowing the truth….
Kevin R. Tipple ©2008, 2022
Up on KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "The Finalist" by Joan Long along with an interesting interview with Joan https://kingsriverlife.com/04/23/the-finalist-by-joan-long/
And a review and giveaway of "This Little Piggy" by Amy Lillard https://kingsriverlife.com/04/23/this-little-piggy-by-amy-lillard/
We also have a review and giveaway of a new Sherlock Holmes story, "The Strange Case of the Dutch Painter" by Timothy Miller, along with an interesting Sherlock Holmes guest post by Timothy https://kingsriverlife.com/04/23/the-strange-case-of-the-dutch-painter-by-timothy-miller/
And a review and giveaway of "Murder Take Two" by Delia Pitts https://kingsriverlife.com/04/23/murder-take-two-by-delia-c-pitts/
And the latest Queer Mystery Coming Attractions by Matt Lubbers-Moore https://kingsriverlife.com/04/23/queer-mystery-coming-attractions-may-2022/
For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast directly on KRL, here is the player for our new episode which features the mystery short story "A Confluence in Time" by Reavis Wortham, read by actor Ian Jones https://kingsriverlife.com/04/23/mysteryrats-maze-podcast-a-confluence-in-time/
Up during the week we posted another special midweek guest post this one by mystery author Carole Beers about her new book "Granny Gets Her Gun" and how she came to write it. You can also enter to win a copy of the book https://kingsriverlife.com/04/20/spin-offs-seniors-and-sure-shot-fun/
And another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Nancy Herriman about inspiration and about her new book "No Refuge From the Grave"
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and ebook giveaway of "Mardi Gras Murder" by Leslie Langtry https://www.krlnews.com/2022/04/mardi-gras-murder-by-leslie-langtry.html
And a review and giveaway of a signed copy of "Argyles and Arsenic" by Molly MacRae https://www.krlnews.com/2022/04/argyles-and-arsenic-highland-bookshop.html
Superman Action Comics Vol 1: Warworld Rising by Phillip Kennedy Johnson comes out of the events in Dark Nights: Death Metal. Superman has a secret. He is not as super as he was. He has lost some of his power. After a damaged battleship carrying refuges, who may be Kryptonians, trying to escape the forces of Mongul the warlord leader of Warworld crashes into the ocean, a race is on over recovering the power source of the battleship. Also at stake is how best to deal with the refuges and also prepare for the invasion by Mongul. Jon (Superman’s son) has a secret fear. While he was in the future, he found out that the records of this time period indicate that Superman goes missing at some point. He is not ready to be Superman or lose his dad, but life may have other plans.
This book has Superman, Lois, their son, Supergirl, and various members of the Justice League. Mongul is an alien warlord from a family of alien warlords where tradition in the family business means each one kills their father and takes their place as leader. Each one leads the gladiator slave society where they all love in a giant death star that they call Warworld. Mongul is cruel, intelligent, and powerful. Mongul is responsible for using “Black Mercy” on Superman as it is a plant from Krypton that traps people in a dream world while it feeds on them. He did it to him on Superman’s birthday. That caused Superman to dream of a perfect world where Krypton never exploded. When he got free of the plant, Superman had to fight through the pain of losing his family all over again. As result, Superman hates Mongul and is not about to allow him to do anything to anyone ever again.
This book also has minor ties to Superman and The Authority by Grant Morrison. This particular saga is continued in Superman Action Comics Vol 2: The Arena which is currently scheduled to be released in August. Some of the events here in this book lead to what happens in Superman: Son of Kal-El Volume 1: The Truth currently scheduled to be released at the end of May. In that book, Superman’s son, Jon, is trying to live up to his father’s legacy.
Featuring plenty of action and drama with great art supporting it, Superman Action Comics Vol 1: Warworld Rising by Phillip Kennedy Johnson is well worth your time. Recommend.
My reading copy came from the Pleasant Grove Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple ©2022
Today is publication day for the new anthology, Back Road Bobby and His Friends . Edited by Colin Conway and published in print and eBook fo...