Wednesday, August 31, 2022
George Kelly: WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #88: THE BIG BOOK OF SCIENCE FICTION Edited by Groff Conklin
From the massively magnificent archive…
As author Reed Farrel Coleman writes in the introduction, crime fiction these days has grown far beyond the private investigator. Not that PI novels no longer exist, far from it. But, these days the PI novel does not hold the preeminent position in the world of crime fiction as it used to back decades ago. The classic PI of yesteryear may be gone to a certain extent as no one walks around in trench coats while wearing a fedora these days. But the classic PI is still present in manner and action, though he or she appears in a far different form these days. That idea is very clearly illustrated in the excellent read The Shamus Sampler that features “new detective stories from around the world.”
This highly entertaining anthology begins with one of the hardest stories to explain while not giving away too much. “Mysterious Private Investigations” by Peter DiChellis is one very complicated tale. It involves a jewelry heist, a private investigator, a man in jail for a crime he did not commit, and a search for justice, among other elements.
Jake Diamond is up next in “One Hit Wonder: A Jake Diamond Short Story” by J. L. Abramo. If Darlene Roman had answered the phone like she should have instead of ducking across the street for a drink at the health food bar across the street, Jake would not have answered the phone. He did answer and the caller, who didn't give him time to speak, gave the instructions on how he wanted somebody killed. With little to go on, Jake has six hours to find the intended victim somewhere in the city of San Francisco.
“The Case of the Derby Diamond” by Jeffery Marks comes next with a classic style PI tale set just after World War II. Mrs. Van Hoskins is a very wealthy woman and exceedingly unhappy as her ring, a seven carat diamond surrounded by a jewel encrusted horseshoe, is missing. She wants it back. PI Donnelly has the chance to find the ring and make some money as The Van Hoskins want things keep very quiet.
Gypsy is a call girl and is about to get out of the life. She plans on making Nick Kepler her final client in “Gypsy's Kiss” by Jim Winter. Somebody is not happy with her, or her decision, and is making the point loud and clear. The Cleveland PI will have his hands full trying to keep Gypsy alive and well.
Sergeant Thomas Hamilton kept Harry Charters alive during the war and Harry knows he owes him a huge debt. It has been ten years since they saw each other and the passing years have not been kind to either man. Hamilton’s son is missing in “The Smell Of Perfume” by Graham Smith. Hamilton wants Chet found and wants Harry’s help.
Jim Wolf, private investigator, lives on a boat in a harbor in Oakland. When he isn't actively working he hangs out at a bar known as “Big Emma’s.” He almost never works for lawyers, but makes an exception for defense lawyer Sandra Jacobs. She needs his help on behalf of a client in “Rage: A Jim Wolf Mystery” by Tim Wohlforth. Wealthy psychotherapist Henry Platt was brutally killed at his outdoor pool. Sandra’s client, his wife Carol, has admitted to killing him, but none of it makes sense.
Set in Morris, Oklahoma in 1965 “The Patriot” by Sean Benjamin Dexter is right out of the Cold War with a tale of Russian spies, espionage, and life in small town, Oklahoma. One of the residents thinks he heard somebody who sounded like a “Ruskie” on his amateur radio talking about the local Dow Chemical plant. Local police can’t be trusted so the resident has come to local private investigator, Alex Taylor, for help.
He may not be a private investigator as such, but reporter Liam Michael Murphy who goes by the nickname of “Mad Mick Murphy” acts like one in “Drumstick Murder” by Michael Haskins. He is at the annual Key West Songwriters Festival and is supposed to interview the legendary Dallas Lucas. His interview subject is dead and it is very clear it was not a suicide. With Lucas murdered the planned interview feature will now be a piece on his murder--unless the local cops decide the reporter did it.
It is always a treat to come across a story from Texas author Bill Crider. Far from the East Texas stomping grounds of his Sheriff Dan Rhodes series, “A Matter Of Heart” is set on Galveston Island. The highly entertaining tale features a private investigator working the murder case of one Sue Traylor. It is a complicated case that has links to the past and the colorful history of Galveston when literally anything was possible on the island.
“Christmas Morning” by Stephen D. Rogers comes next where a man is sure his wife is cheating on him. He bases that on how she behaved at the recent holiday party they attended. He wants proof and will use that to convince her to stop. First up, the private investigator has to find proof that his client is right.
Keith Dixon takes readers over to the United Kingdom in “The Same Old Story.” Richie Downes is insisting that he be the latest client of a private investigator by the name of Sam Dyke. He is a big physically imposing man who insists that he is not looking for a divorce; he just wants to know who his wife is seeing. All he wants is the name of the person and does not want proof. He is willing to promise not to hurt anyone. Dykes needs the money and reluctantly agrees.
“Q” didn't want to have to give up a knife she liked, but considering she just used it to gut a man in the frozen alley, it seemed like wiping and dropping it was a good idea. That dead guy is just one of the many issues going on in the complicated “The Dutch Connection” by Kit Rohrbach.
Fred Zackel is next with his tale set in San Francisco titled “Mario and Cheryse.” A streetwalker named Cheryse should lead to Mario Rosales. His grandmother wants him found and convinced to turn himself in before the cops find him. She would much rather have Mario alive and in jail as opposed to being killed in the streets by the cops.
Editor Jochem Vandersteen brings the book to a close his own tale titled “Hired From The Grave: A Noah Milano Short Story.” Noah Milano is a security specialist/ investigator who got a phone call from a man named Mark Beck who wanted to hire him. He would explain why when Milano cane to his Burbank area apartment. When Milano arrived, he found Beck dead in what could be construed as an accidental auto-erotic asphyxiation. Milano doesn't buy it and soon is working the case as a murder.
Each of the fourteen stories in “The Shamus Sampler” features a small introduction to the piece that provides context to the story as well as an author bio at the end. Each of the author bios makes a point of mentioning titles of other works by the author as well as the name of the publisher. The tales in this anthology are not only very good ones, but are often very complicated and provide plenty of twists right up to the end.
Material supplied by a good friend for my use in an objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2013, 2022
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
Monday, August 29, 2022
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections by Eva Jurczyk
It’s the autumn of 1964 and Katie Barstow is a hot ticket in Hollywood. Everything she touches becomes box office gold, even the controversial movie in which she starred with a black man. She marries her brother’s childhood best friend and they honeymoon in Paris and then meet a group to go on a photography safari in the Serengeti. They include her brother and his pregnant wife, her publicist, her agent, her best friend and her husband, and the aforementioned black actor. Their chief safari guide led Ernest Hemingway on some of his African hunting trips. There are at least two dozen porters who carry their canvas bathtubs and who heat water for them every night so they can bathe, and they tote a generator to make ice for their gin and tonics. In short they leave Hollywood only to recreate the experience in the midst of a vast wilderness.
The Serengeti is in northern Tanzania, a country formed early in 1964 by the merger of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. To the west is the Congo where a bloody revolution had been ongoing for four years and in which the USSR was taking an active role. It seems to have never occurred to the group that a newly formed country next to a violent civil war might not be the safest place to be.
On the fourth day of their trip Russian terrorists overpower their guides and kill a few, taking everyone else prisoner. Their experience is narrated in nine different voices. Each of the nine sketches a quick background and how he or she came to be at that particular place at that particular time and then describes the present situation, advancing the plot. It can be hard to keep the names straight; I used the cast of characters in the front of the book more than once. The heading for each chapter is a breathless piece of fluff from a contemporary Hollywood gossip column about Katie and her companions, contrasting sharply with their current harsh reality.
The beauty, the danger, and the immensity of the land shine throughout the entire intense, violent narrative. The vivid and realistic depiction of the wildlife, predators and prey, is chilling. I will be checking for a hungry leopard lurking in the maple tree in my back yard the next time I step outside. An absorbing and hair-raising historical thriller.
· Publisher: Doubleday (May 10, 2022)
· Language: English
· Hardcover: 336 pages
· ISBN-10: 0385544820
· ISBN-13: 978-0385544825
Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2022
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, August 28, 2022
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 70 Calls for Submissions in September 2022 - Paying Markets
Saturday, August 27, 2022
Up on KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "The Paper Caper" by Kate Carlisle https://kingsriverlife.com/08/27/the-paper-caper-by-kate-carlisle/
And reviews and giveaways of 5 mysteries, all of which have some connection to either food or pets-"A Cold Nose for Murder": A Chatty Corgi Mystery by Jennifer Hawkins, "A Hint of Mischief": A Fairy Garden Mystery by Daryl Wood Gerber, "Five Belles Too Many": A Sarah Blair Mystery by Debra H. Goldstein, "Death of an Ice Cream Scooper": A Hayley Powell Mystery by Lee Hollis, and "Gone But Not Furgotten: A Cat Café Mystery by Cate Conte https://kingsriverlife.com/08/27/food-pets-mystery-catchup/
And a review and giveaway of “Movieland” by Lee Goldberg https://kingsriverlife.com/08/27/movieland-by-lee-goldberg/
We also have a review and giveaway of "The Wedding Plot" by Paula Munier along with an interesting interview with Paula https://kingsriverlife.com/08/27/the-wedding-plot-by-paula-munier/
And the latest mystery Coming Attractions from Sunny Frazier https://kingsriverlife.com/08/27/coming-attractions-early-halloween-edition/
And reviews of the latest seasons of "Endeavour" and "Grantchester" and a heads up about "Magpie Murders", all on MASTERPIECE Mystery! https://kingsriverlife.com/08/27/detectives-for-free-on-pbs-grantchester-endeavour/
We also have a Q & A with local actor and Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast actor Amelia Ryan https://kingsriverlife.com/08/27/q-a-with-local-podcast-actor-amelia-ryan/
For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast up on KRL you can find the player here for our latest episode which features the first chapter of "Slightly Murderous Intent" by Lida Sideris read by local actor Casey Ballard https://kingsriverlife.com/08/27/mysteryrats-maze-podcast-featuring-slightly-murderous-intent/
Up during the week, another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author D. P. Lyle about the main characters in his series and about his new book "Tallyman." You can also enter to win a copy of "Tallyman" https://kingsriverlife.com/08/24/who-are-bobby-cain-and-harper-mccoy/
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week, we have a review and giveaway of "A Perilous Pal" by Laura Bradford https://www.krlnews.com/2022/08/a-perilous-pal-friend-for-hire-mystery.html
And a review and giveaway of "Bidding for Revenge" by VictoriaTait https://www.krlnews.com/2022/08/bidding-for-revenge-by-victoria-tait.html
Up on KRL News and Reviews this morning a review and ebook giveaway of "A Medium Fate" by Lynn Cahoon https://www.krlnews.com/2022/08/a-medium-fate-haunted-life-cozy-mystery.html
The Bladed Faith by David
Dalglish is the first book in a new fantasy revenge series. Cyrus was 14 when
his country was invaded, one of the gods was killed, and his parents, the royal
family, were killed by the invaders. After a few years being held captive as a
royal hostage, he escapes through sheer luck, and manages to find a group of
rebels who have been fighting the invaders. The rebels have a plan to train him
in secret and give him the identity known as “Vagrant.” Their idea is to make
it appear that Vagrant is a supernatural masked assassin who is invincible. They
believe his actions, his very presence, will inspire the people to rise and revolt.
This book has multiple trigger warnings including suicide, homophobia, anti-transgender points of view as expressed by characters, etc. Since the bad guys are a group of religious worshipping invaders who have very strict views on how people should live their lives and be married to, among other things, there are multiple times where they commit heinous acts while trying to force their world view on others. This is an action-packed violent revenge novel with some dark moments.
The Lion god of a rebel country was one of my favorite characters because of his complex qualities and his duality. It is not often in a book that the same character can be extremely kind, but also incredibly ruthless. A lot of the characters have a duality to them.
There are multiple character POVs at work in The Bladed Faith by David Dalglish including several of which are people of non-straight view. All the characters are very different and have unique personalities. I highly enjoyed this book.
I am looking forward to the sequel which comes out next year titled Vagrant Gods. The first chapter of that book was included in my library print copy and has one heck of a twist opening I did not see coming at all.
My reading copy from the branch we use, Lochwood, of the Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple ©2022
Friday, August 26, 2022
It is the summer 2059 as Imitation in Death by J.D. Robb begins and the September heat is just as bad as August was. It is too hot, even for sex work, as Jacie Wooton has found out in recent days. She is a licensed companion and longs for her recent past where she had the same job, but better clients as they were rich and lonely. She has a plan to stay clean, be professional, and get back where she belongs in six months. Her plan did not involve being murdered by a psycho.
But, that is what happened. She is very much dead and her case is the latest for NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas. Jacie Wooton had her throat slit by somebody in the alley. The crime scene is blood bath. Much of that is due to what he did to her afterwards. If there was any mercy, she never felt it. The scene is so bad that even Peabody is shaken to the core and spends some time losing whatever was in her stomach. She is not alone as at least two other officers are going through the same thing.
Dallas got through the scene and thus found the note on the body personally addressed to her. The note used a fancy font on expensive paper and is a calling card taunt by a killer who sees it all as an elaborate game.
A sick and very twisted game where he begins duplicating famous serial killers across history. With each one, he dares Lieutenant Dallas to catch him. While she sees the end game as he envisions it playing out as well as a couple of possible potential kills if he continues the patter, she can’t figure out who he is or where he will strike next. Identifying the killer and stopping him is going to take a team effort.
Book 17 of the long running series has all the usual flaws of the previous books. It also again plays with the idea that a killer is working his way to the ultimate prize of killing Dallas. At the same time, though we have seen it all before, the read is fun and well worth your time.
My reading copy came by way of the Libby/OverDrive app and the Dallas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2022
Thursday, August 25, 2022
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
Crime Reads: ALMOST TWO CENTURIES OF IMPOSSIBLE CRIMES: LOCKED ROOMS IN DETECTIVE FICTION by Katharine Schellman
Patti Abbott: Short Story Wednesday "A Bruise the Size and Shape of a Door Handle" from FEN Daisy Johnson
Short Story Wednesday Review: The Mysterious Bookshop Presents the Best Mystery Stories of the Year 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. The book is currently scheduled to be released on September 13th.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2022
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Monday, August 22, 2022
First and foremost, thank you to the dozen or so folks who reached out to make sure we are okay. We are and it was good that we did not have to go out today.
When I was a kid, the old timers used to say you end a drought with a flood. Well, the floods came today as rains of anywhere from six inches to more than a foot hit last night and today. A couple of the nearby city run rain gauges have clocked in more than 15 inches and more than 12 inches. It absolutely poured.
Rain is in the forecast all week, but the chances of rain are low and nothing like what we just went through is in the forecast. I have a doctor appointment early tomorrow afternoon and am hoping for dry pavement for my feet and my cane as wet surfaces cause bad things to happen for me.
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Artemis Fowl and Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer .
Song Ying is a is an award-winning author in China. He has published five bestselling novels and 15 nonfiction books. Apricot’s Revenge (Minotaur, 2016) seems to be his only book translated into English. This contemporary police procedural was translated by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-Chun Lin, who have translated the work of virtually all the major Chinese novelists of the post-Mao era--more than 50 books. They have received three translation awards from the NEA as well as other prizes.
Hu Guahao was the ruthless CEO of the largest property development corporation in southern China. The discovery of his drowned body on the beach of a fashionable southern resort rocked the Chinese real estate world. The discovery that he was murdered put the Y District Criminal Division on high alert. All eyes would be on them until they solved the crime. His senior staff, his competitors, and his wife, the obvious suspects, all had unshakable alibis, but the investigation pressed on, looking for someone with motive and access.
The journalist who conducted Hu’s last interview made inquiries on his own, sharing his discoveries with the investigative team. While a reporter would not normally have access to police files, this one happened to be the son of the President of the Southwest Advanced Police University, a Police Commissioner First Rank. His son was not above using his father’s status to his own advantage. He was responsible for discovering the link to the Mao-era movement that took teenagers from their families and sent them to work in rural areas. This group of rehomed young adults were called zhiqing, “sent-down youth.” The story discusses this social experiment in some detail. It was far enough in the past that memories were beginning to fade and the reporter had to delve deeply to find the clue that unraveled the motive for the murder.
While the plot is similar to Western mysteries, the narrative is distinctly not. I found it cumbersome and hard to follow in places. In the case of a translation, it’s hard to know if the author or the translator is the cause of unwieldy writing; in this case I suspect it’s the author. The translators have a good deal of experience and I suspect they simply translated the author verbatim to let his style shine through. The fact the author writes more nonfiction than fiction has something to do with the book’s expository style.
In addition there are a dozen or more characters and each character has a nickname, so there are many names to sort out. I found it a challenge. In short, the plot is good but the writing didn’t showcase it to its fullest advantage. Nonetheless an interesting read.
Starred review from Library Journal.
· Publisher: Minotaur Books (February 16, 2016)
· Language: English
· Hardcover: 320 pages
· ISBN-10: 1250016444
· ISBN-13: 978-1250016447
Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2022
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, August 21, 2022
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Up on KRL this morning a review of "The Fragrance of Death" by Leslie Karst with a giveaway of the first book in the series "Dying to Taste." There is also a fun guest post by Leslie about traveling to Santa Cruz where her books are set https://kingsriverlife.com/08/20/the-fragrance-of-death-by-leslie-karst/
And a review and ebook giveaway of "Red Letter Slay" by Tonya Kappes https://kingsriverlife.com/08/20/red-letter-slay-by-tonya-kappes/
We also have a review and ebook giveaway of "Death on a Cliff" by Rosalie Spielman along with an interesting interview with Rosalie https://kingsriverlife.com/08/20/death-on-a-cliff-by-rosalie-spielman/
And a review and ebook giveaway of "Death in The New Land" by Kaye George https://kingsriverlife.com/08/20/death-in-the-new-land-by-kaye-george/
And the latest Queer Mystery Coming Attractions from Matt Lubbers-Moore https://kingsriverlife.com/08/20/queer-mystery-coming-attractions-september-2022/
Up during the week we posted another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Harini Nagendra about her new book "The Bangalore Detectives" which she knew from the beginning was going to be a food mystery https://kingsriverlife.com/08/17/south-indian-filter-coffee-meets-a-double-shot-espresso/
And another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Sue Hinkin about her new book "The RX For Murder" and using personal experience in your books https://kingsriverlife.com/08/17/using-personal-experience-to-kickstart-plot-for-mysteries-and-thrillers/
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "The Lemon Man" by Keith Bruton, published by Brash Books https://www.krlnews.com/2022/08/the-lemon-man-by-keith-bruton.html
And morning a review and ebook giveaway of "Dogs Honest Truth" by Neil Plakcy https://www.krlnews.com/2022/08/gods-honest-truth-by-neil-plakcy.html