Wednesday, November 30, 2022
George Kelly: WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #101: MISTLETOE MYSTERIES: TALES OF YULETIDE MURDER Edited by Charlotte MacLeod
Patti Abbott: Short Story Wednesday: "Girl with an Ax" i(John Sanford) FROM SEA TO STORMY SEA and BEST MYSTERY STORIES of 2020
From the magnificently massive archive…
Hackett has a serious problem and his therapist by the name of Loebner is not helping at all. Hackett has told him again and again that his dream every night is always the same. Hackett dreams that a mysterious caller rings him up and tells him he has to drive to Cleveland. In his dream he gets dressed and goes out to his car where a briefcase is waiting for him on the passenger seat. He drives the briefcase to Cleveland and then drives back. Since the very real drive takes four hours to get there and four hours to get back it is exhausting.
Hackett needs help and Loebrer isn’t doing much to help him. Telling his dream over and over again isn’t doing any good. Something has to change.
This is one of those short stories where one thinks it is going to go one way and instead it goes in a far different direction. Once that is accomplished author Lawrence Block ups the ante by throwing in a couple of more twists. Cleveland in My Dreams is a fast and ultimately very funny read.
This short story e-book also includes Chapter One of the new book, The Burglar Who Counted Spoons.
Material was picked up during the author’s recent free read promotion for my use in an objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2013, 2022
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 15 Literary Magazines Open NOW - SFF, Horror, Essays, Poetry, Genre Fiction, and more - Paying Markets
Racing The Light by Robert Crais
Ladies and Gentlemen, Robert Crais is BACK!
Now, you can take this a couple of ways, and they’d both be accurate. Our last encounter with both Crais and his fictional counterparts Elvis Cole and Joe Pike, was 2019’s A Dangerous Man.. And there are folks out there who would claim that the last few Cole/Pike entries were perhaps showing some creakiness.
To both, one empirical, one subjective, I say, THE DUDE IS BACK.
Racing The Light is fast paced with high stakes and the razor-sharp plot and dialogue you expect from someone who is, at this point in the game, just plain better than almost anybody at the art of Crime Fiction storytelling.
Elvis is hired by Adele Schumacher to find her son, semi-notorious podcaster Josh Shoe. Seems Josh is out a bit over his skis on a story, and Mom is worried for his safety.
Motherly instincts matter, folks.
Elvis starts to dig, and soon enough is finding a matrix of Chinese spies, porn people, corrupt political weasels…and maybe aliens!
But wait, there’s more! Racing The Light also features the return of Lucy Chenier! She is visiting with her son Ben, who we know, as he checks out a film program at UCLA. Their conversations are deep in the heart of this story, with BIG stakes for the future, and it’s great to have them both back in the mix. Soon enough, however, fists, and more than a few bullets start flying, and we’re plunged into a consequential adventure that talks about what really is truth in this new communication model we live in.
Crais wants us to get re-acquainted with Elvis here, so Pike is, along with Jon Scott, on board for support and assistance. This REALLY is an Elvis Cole novel, and it’s one of the reasons Racing The Light hits so hard. It’s in the upper tier of Crais’ entire oeuvre, and is one of the best crime books of 2022!
Don Crouch ©2022
Monday, November 28, 2022
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 102 Calls for Submissions in December 2022 - Paying Markets
Dana King is
another of those authors whose books deserve more attention than they receive.
He has two series characters, Chicago private investigator Nick Forte and Penns
River police detective Ben Dougherty. His short fiction has appeared in ,
, , , , and as well as a range of
Worst Enemies (Down & Out Books, 2016), the first of seven books about Penns River, an economically fading suburb of Pittsburgh, starts with what looks like a residential break-in complicated by murder. A second homicide takes place a week later. Detective Ben Dougherty has nothing but unanswered questions while the town council and the local media become increasingly critical about the sudden spurt of major crime in their backwater community and local law enforcement’s failure to deal with it.
The Pittsburgh mob boss, who lives in Penns River, becomes involved, as do a local drug dealer and a couple of abandoned kids who have escaped their foster home. An ex-spook turned PI who is not above a spot of blackmail turns up. The politics of the small town and the police department are at issue, as the deputy police chief maneuvers with the city council for promotion. The encroachment of big city crime on rural areas is an underlying theme, as in the Quinn Colson series by Ace Atkins. And Dougherty’s mother wants to know if he’s dating anyone nice. Multiple story lines and lots of fully realized characters make the narrative complex, yet highly readable.
King didn’t have to look far to find a model for his fictional town; industry loss in western Pennsylvania created many communities just like Penns River. And can he plot! The various threads are spun with detail and then carefully gathered by the end into a cohesive whole. A police procedural and social commentary rolled into a fine piece of crime fiction that will also be of interest to fans of regional mysteries and of small-town detective stories. Recommended.
· Publisher: Down & Out Books (October 15, 2016)
· Language: English
· Paperback: 400 pages
· ISBN-10: 1943402426
· ISBN-13: 978-1943402427
Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2022
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, November 27, 2022
Saturday, November 26, 2022
Thoughts From the Mountain Top: Book Review: Florida Roadkill by Tim Dorsey – Florida Quirkiness Overkill
Beneath the Stains of Time: So Great a Distance: "The Riddle of the Whirling Lights" (1935) by Stuart Palmer
We have a mini KRL issue this weekend due to the holiday. Up on KRL this morning reviews and giveaways of 3 Christmas Mysteries perfect for your holiday reading-"Bones of Holly": A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery by Carolyn Haines, "A Dark and Snowy Night": A Seaside Knitters Society Mystery by Sally Goldenbaum, and "Blackmail and Bibingka": A Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery by Mia P. Manansala https://kingsriverlife.com/11/26/christmas-mysteries-for-your-holiday-tbr/
And the latest mystery Coming Attractions column from Sunny Frazier https://kingsriverlife.com/11/26/december-coming-attractions-homicide-for-the-holidays/
We also have the November video game news column from Jayce Ham, just in time to provide some ideas for your Christmas shopping list for the video gamer in your life (or yourself) https://kingsriverlife.com/11/26/jays-video-game-news-november-2022/
Up during the week we posted another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Linda Lovely about mixing real-world and fictional settings and about her latest book "Neighbors to Die For"https://kingsriverlife.com/11/22/why-novels-mix-real-world-and-fictional-settings/
And another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Brenda Stanley about writing what you know and about her latest book "The Still Small Voice" published by Untreed Reads (watch for KRL's review of this book) https://kingsriverlife.com/11/22/when-your-story-takes-you-back-home/
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week a review and giveaway of "Trapped on Cedar Trails" by KL Abrahamson https://www.krlnews.com/2022/11/trapped-on-cedar-trails-by-kl.html
And a review and ebook giveaway of "A Doggone Death" by SA Kazlo, published by Gemma Halliday https://www.krlnews.com/2022/11/a-doggone-death-by-sa-kazlo.html
I am Superman by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Ehiopoulous, is part of the Stories Change The World series for young readers. In this cute little artbook which is a fictional biography, the life of Superman is detailed and how what he learned as a child helped him become the hero he is now.
The art is really fun and features a who’s who of villains and heroes in Superman’s life. There is plenty of heart and stuff for kids to learn. I enjoyed this fun little book.
My reading copy came from the Hapmton-Illinois Branch of the Dallas public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple ©2022
Friday, November 25, 2022
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, & The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote
Thursday, November 24, 2022
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Good Medicine Hard Times, Meadowlands, Codebreaker's Secret, On the Rooftop
From the magnificently massive archive…
Resume Speed by Lawrence Block is a quirky stand-alone novella. The stranger with little more than the clothes on his back gets off the bus in the small town of Cross Creek, Montana after seeing a help wanted sign in a local diner. He goes by the name Bill Thompson. He keeps to himself and slowly begins a quiet existence in the small town.
He does that by taking the job as a fry cook. He takes a room in a local boarding house, gets a library card, and gradually begins to assume an identity among some of the locals. They know him to be a quiet and unassuming man who may or may not have suffered a great loss. While it is not clear to them it is clear to the reader that Bill Thompson is running from something though he seems like a good guy. There are the occasional hints that make the reader wonder what happened before he came to town.
Currently only available as a kindle single e-book this sixty page read is a good one. Not all questions are answered in this highly entertaining read and that is more than okay. A whisper of mystery begins the tale and a gale of mystery ends it. In between there is plenty of complexity and details/allusions to ponder before one can Resume Speed.
Material was provided by author Lawrence Block in response to a comment I had made on Bill Crider’s review. You can, and should, read Bill's review and the many otehr good things on his blog. Don't forget his books too!
Kevin R. Tipple ©2016, 2022
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 5 Distinctive Writing Conferences and Workshops in December 2022
For professional cat groomer Cassie, life is pretty sweet
right now. Her business is thriving and
her personal life is going well—she’s still dating handsome veterinarian Mark. A
date is interrupted when Mark is called to the clinic because of a break-in. An
employee is injured and drugs are stolen from the clinic. It seems to be part of a pattern: several
clinics have been hit. There has also been a rise in reports of a date rape
drug being used: ketamine, a drug often used to sedate animals. It can also be
deadly, and a young woman has died recently because of it.
With his staff under suspicion, Mark is stressed and unhappy. Cassie is anxious to help him clear his employees and also wants to catch the people who distributing the drugs. Can the cat groomer help the police once again?
This is the sixth in the Cat Groomer Mystery series, but you don’t have to read them in order.
These books always have stunning covers and this time is no different. A magnificent black smoke Maine Coon graces the cover and does indeed play a part in the book. A subplot has Cassie helping with a pet photo contest of non-canines for a were-wolf lookalike competition. The idea was inspired when Cassie is hired to look after Maine Coon Quentin, named after the were-wolf in the old TV show “Dark Shadows.”
That’s one of the things I really enjoy about this series. Each book has spotlighted a different cat breed, and Watkins seems knowledgeable about them all. There are some books with cats that leave me wondering if the author has ever actually interacted with a cat. I don’t have any such concerns here. Also, while the cats may not always be center stage, they do always play a role in the story. They aren’t just on the cover to sell books.
I also like that Watkins takes up a different problem each time as part of the plot, offering a little education with the entertainment. Previous books have taken on such things as community cats and TNR (Trap, Neuter, and Release), animal hoarding, and unscrupulous animal breeders; this time, it’s theft of controlled substances from vet clinics and the rise in the use of ketamine (usually a drug used to sedate animals) as a party and date rape drug.
The books in the series are:
The Persian Always Meows Twice
Gone, Kitty, Gone
Claw & Disorder
Night of the Were-Cat
Monday, November 21, 2022
Raymond Benson is a Chicago-based Renaissance man. He is the author of more than 40 books, including thrillers, suspense, and several titles in the continuation of the James Bond franchise. His The James Bond Bedside Companion (Dodd, Mead, 1984) was shortlisted for an Edgar. Dark Side of the Morgue (Leisure Books, 2009) was nominated for a Shamus Award. In addition, he’s a computer game designer, a music composer, and a college lecturer in film.
His latest book The Mad, Mad Murders of Marigold Way (Beaufort Books, October 2022) is an interesting, if somewhat annoying, experiment in novel structure. Told chronologically day by day, it describes the events of a week or so in May 2020 in a northern suburb of Chicago. Scott Hatcher, a former television writer and now a struggling novelist, along with everyone else in that first spring of COVID, is anxious and isolated and apprehensive. He awakens one spring day to find his wife gone. They hadn’t been getting along especially well, so he assumes she’s off for a long walk. Or something. Finally, after he checks with her friends who haven’t seen her and he finds her purse and billfold in the kitchen, he calls the police to report her missing.
The police ask how well his wife knows the Bergmans across the street. It seems Rachel Bergman reported her husband missing that day. The police believe that the two have eloped. Until their bodies are found in an empty house along with cases of the personal protective equipment that was in such short supply in 2020.
The plot itself is original and the characters are striking in their realism. The neighborhood teenage troublemaker, the weird loner, the perennial gardener, and the busybody neighbor. Hatcher is likable if naïve; I found myself hoping he would work through the chaos of the murders and the pandemic. Those early days of the virus when we had no idea of what we were dealing with are re-created in painful detail.
What makes the story offbeat is the unseen and unidentified omniscient narrator who says he is similar to the Stage Manager in the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder. This narrator inserts himself into the story and editorializes liberally. When the police arrive at a resolution of the murders, the narrator steps in to relate to the reader a few scenes that were omitted in the original telling. This “oh and another thing” follow-up is bothersome even if it does provide key information.
I liked the story line, the setting, and the characters, and I really disliked the structure. Reviews on Goodreads and Amazon are mixed. Starred review from Publishers Weekly.
· Publisher: Beaufort Books (October 4, 2022)
· Language: English
· Hardcover: 350 pages
· ISBN-10: 0825309913
Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2022
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, November 20, 2022
With over two million page views and
climbing by thousands more each week, my award-winning blog is popular. These
days, a slow month in page views is just about 10K. Most months have more than
12k. A month where I have a lot of new content--- guest posts of all types and
reviews by me--- will come in above 15K in page views. I have been doing the
review thing over two decades now so I am a known commodity.
I get a lot of emails about being a guest on the blog. Guests are more than welcome. Unlike some folks and their places, I don’t have a lot of forms to fill out or hoops to jump through so I have made the process as easy as possible. Most questions you may have are already answered below so read the post before reaching out.
The open days are currently Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. I usually run excerpts from published or about to be published works on Sundays as they seem to work best on those days.
Topic--pretty much anything goes. While my blog is mainly aimed towards items of interest for readers and writers of mystery and crime fiction, I am open to pretty much anything. I do ask that folks avoid the topics of religion and politics unless either or both directly relate to the work being discussed or promoted. I also am not going to run anything that advocates big pharma is hiding the cure for cancer. Folks that come up with that stuff deserve a special place in hell.
Before contacting me, please have an actual idea in mind. I absolutely do not assign topics. That means I am NOT going to tell you what to write about. This is your opportunity to write what you want to write about. You know your books, your expertise in topics, etc. I do not. Your idea does not have to be set in stone. It does need to have some detail. Have at least a couple of things that you know you want to have in your piece and tell me that in your pitch.
Word Count: Totally up to you. I do not set a maximum or a minimum word count.
When your piece is ready, you send it to me by email and include a 100 word or fewer bio. Also send any pics that you think should be included in the piece. While some guest posts are super heavy in pictures, I think it works best to have two or so. While I can and do lift author photos and book covers from Amazon and author websites, it is easier if you just send it from the start as well as any other pics you believe should be included.
This is, as always, a nonpaying opportunity. Yes, I absolutely value your work. I also have no income other than SSD (and that is just a few hundred each month) and am supporting myself, my adult son, and this old house on what little I inherited when my Mom passed. The bank account is steadily shrinking and I am doing the best I can to hang in here as inflation and other issues are making it even harder.
While I have no funds to pay you, I can promise to promote the heck out of your appearance. You will be seen. I can’t promise a certain number of sales, but most guests do see a spike in their sales. Guests who are on the blog on a semi regular basis do far better than one off appearances, but everyone does see an impact.
Questions/ pitches should be sent to me at Kevinrtipple AT Verizon.net
I hope you choose to be a part of things here. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Saturday, November 19, 2022
Up on KRL this morning a review and ebook giveaway of "Trappings, Turkeys, & Thanksgiving" by Tonya Kappes https://kingsriverlife.com/11/19/trappings-turkeys-thanksgiving-by-tonya-kappes/
And we have reviews and giveaways of 3 food mysteries for your Thanksgiving feast of reading-"Bake Offed": A Five-Ingredient Mystery by Maya Corrigan, "Death by Spiced Chai": A Bookstore Cafe Mystery by Alex Erickson, "Soul of a Killer": A Books & Biscuits Mystery by Abby Collette https://kingsriverlife.com/11/19/food-mysteries-for-your-thanksgiving-feast-3/
And a review and giveaway of "Death on a Deadline" by Joyce St. Anthony along with an interesting interview with Joyce https://kingsriverlife.com/11/19/death-on-a-deadline-by-joyce-st-anthony/
We also have the latest Queer Mystery Coming Attractions from Matt Lubbers-Moore https://kingsriverlife.com/11/19/queer-mystery-coming-attractions-december-2022/
For those who prefer to listen to Mysteryrat's Maze Podcast directly on KRL you can find the player here for the latest episode which features the Thanksgiving mystery short story "They Shoot Pumpkins Don't They?" by Margaret Hamilton, read by local actor Donna Beavers https://kingsriverlife.com/11/19/mysteryrats-maze-podcast-featuring-they-shoot-pumpkins-dont-they/
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "The Case of the Amorous Assailant" by Terry Ambrose https://www.krlnews.com/2022/11/the-case-of-amorous-assailant-by-terry.html
And a review and ebook giveaway of "Murder Under A Bridal Moon" by Abigail Keam https://www.krlnews.com/2022/11/murder-under-bridal-moon-by-abigail.html
Happy reading and Happy Thanksgiving,
Thursday, November 17, 2022
Wednesday, November 16, 2022
From the magnificently massive archive here at Casa Tipple and Home Eatery Library…
It is a very familiar plight for just about any writer. James “Jim” Trevathan wants a raise and after twenty years he doesn't think it is unwarranted. He is a writer for a magazine edited by Warren Jukes. Jim has been placing stories nearly every month for over twenty years and still gets only 5 cents a word. He wants and deserves more.
Editor Warren Jukes isn't prepared to pay more. In his mind there is no need. If Jim wants more money, he better produce more stories each month. Or, he can just hit the road as Warren isn't about to pay more no matter how much he likes the guy.
What Jim will do to get his raise is what drives the second half of this simple, and yet complicated at the same time, story. Sure to touch a nerve with any writer, One Thousand Dollars A Word, is way too real. It is also a very good crime story that first was published in 1978 in AHMM.
The book also contains chapter one from Lawrence Block's latest book, The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons.
Material was picked up during the author’s free read promotion for my use in an objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2013, 2022
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Ricki James-Diaz has been through some hard times of late, going from riches to rags some might say. She was married to a man who made a living doing crazy stunts for social media, until a stunt went fatally wrong and he died. She worked as a book curator for billionaire with an astonishing collection of first editions, but then it turned out his financial advice was more Ponzi scheme than true investments.
Hoping to make a fresh start, Ricki has come back to New Orleans, the city of her birth—although right after her birth she was abandoned by her teenaged mother. A nurse at the hospital took the baby (dubbed Miracle) in and gave her a good and loving home, moving to California.
New Orleans, Ricki is finding out, is a whole new world but she’s excited about her employment opportunity: operating a gift shop at the Bon Vee Culinary House Museum. Using her book background and her love of cookbooks (but not cooking), she plans to stock the shop with vintage cookbooks and accessories.
Her arrival is met with some acclaim and some consternation. Not everyone is happy to see her and even less happy when the shop begins to succeed. She catches a popular tour guide pilfering and calls him out on it, much to the annoyance of Theo, one of the museum’s directors and nephew of the owner. Other staff members whisper that the guide was not the most trust-worthy person, but that doesn’t help Ricki when she opens a trunk of donated books to find the guide’s body inside—and the murder weapon looks very much like a can opener from Ricki’s stock.
This was my first book by Ellen Byron, though I have read several in the Catering Hall Mysteries, a series she writes under the name Maria di Rico. I enjoyed the humor, so I thought I’d give this series a try.
As with many first in series books, this one has to spend time in setting up the characters and location. I loved the description of New Orleans and the culture. California bred Ricki has a little trouble acclimating at first, both literally (her air conditioner goes out) and figuratively. The characters are well drawn, and Ricki is both sympathetic and believable. I also enjoyed the bits about the cookbooks, especially those that draw from the 50s and 60s, when Jell-o was an important ingredient in a lot of dishes and nobody spared the butter—or the Crisco. I also liked the “behind the scenes” look at how such museums operate, having toured a few private ones such as Hemingway House.
While not as funny as the Catering Hall series, this is a solid cozy with a strong setting and well done characters. The second title is Winedand Died in New Orleans, and is due out February 7, 2023—just a couple of weeks before Mardi Gras. Let the good times roll!