Saturday, September 30, 2023
Editorial Note: As it always does, the message today references the morning, but this did not arrive in my inbox until a couple of minutes ago and long after the noon hour had passed.
Up on KRL this morning we have reviews and giveaways of 4 more fun mysteries, one is set at Halloween, and one has a supernatural twist--perfect for the Halloween season-"A Clue in the Crumbs": A Key West Food Critic Mystery by Lucy Burdette, "A Shimmer of Red": An Odessa Jones Mystery by Valerie Wilson Wesley, "Mischief Nights Are Murder" by Libby Klein, and "Murder at the Elms" by Alyssa Maxwell https://kingsriverlife.com/09/30/end-of-september-mystery-catch-up/
We also have a review and giveaway of "Death 101: Extra Credit" by Kelly Brakenhoff: Author page along with an interesting interview with Kelly https://kingsriverlife.com/09/30/death-101-extra-credit-by-kelly-brakenhoff/
And the latest of the new version of Mystery Coming Attractions from Shawn Stevens https://kingsriverlife.com/09/30/mystery-coming-attractions-october-2023/
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 prologue and first chapter of "Secret Identity" by Alex Segura, read by local actor Cady Mejias https://kingsriverlife.com/09/30/mysteryrats-maze-podcast-featuring-secret-identity/
And we have a mystery short story with a big of spooky to it as we approach Halloween season--"The ESC Choice" by Chuck Brownman https://kingsriverlife.com/09/30/spooky-mystery-short-story-the-esc-choice/
And another local ghost story from Sarah Peterson-Camacho, perfect for the beginning of Halloween season! https://kingsriverlife.com/09/30/the-haunted-palace-wayward-spirits-of-a-bad-luck-bordello/
Up during the week we posted another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author J.M. Donellan https://kingsriverlife.com/09/27/threats-regrets-and-a-dante-themed-restaurant/
And another special midweek guest post, this one by mystery author Joe Cosentino where he interviews the voice actor for his new audiobook of "Drama Christmas" https://kingsriverlife.com/09/27/audiobook-of-drama-christmas-by-joe-cosentino/
Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "Darjeeling and A Deadly Disappearance" by Victoria Tait https://www.krlnews.com/2023/09/darjeeling-and-deadly-disappearance-by.html
And a review of a fun middle-grade mystery, "Drew Leclair Crushes the Case" by Katryn Bury, along with a giveaway of this book and the first book in the series! https://www.krlnews.com/2023/09/drew-leclair-crushes-case-by-katryn-bury.html
The Isles of the Gods by Amie Kaufman has four protagonists, but only two are included in the book jacket synopsis and for good reason. The first one is Sally, who intends to leave the ship she is being trained on to go find her father’s fleet. Her attempts to flee her current situation are stopped when a prince, a powerful magician, hires the ship Sally’s training on to escort him to the Isle of the Gods so that he can make a sacrifice to their country’s god.
While he is doing that a pleasure cruise of his rich friends is on a route to another country under public banner of being a diplomatic mission to prevent a war between the prince’s country and a nearby country. While they are supposed to be doing diplomatic stuff they treat it all like a party boat. Of course, things do not go as planned. The short voyage that they were supposed to embark quickly becomes a fight to survive instead.
If you are familiar with the books of Amie Kaufman, you know what you are getting. As expected here one has, excellent world building, complicated characters, and the usual slow burn romance where one character has major misconceptions of another and hates them on sight. Likeable characters who would be main characters in other works die horribly here. The good guys suffer a lot and there is surprising amount of dark content for a young adult series. The villains are interesting and have their own reasons for doing what they are doing.
The Isles of the Gods is a high seas fantasy novel. So, of course, ships, crews, and the weather, etc., play a huge role. There is strong LGBTQ representation if you care about that, but it is not overwhelming. The sexuality of a character is part of their character, but it is not their whole character. The sequel will come out next year and based on the ending here, that should be a better book than this good one as that ending sets up something incredibly interesting. At this time, the title of the sequel has not been announced.
My reading copy came from the Lakewood Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple ©2023
Friday, September 29, 2023
Burt Minnock is one of 4 partners in the business named U-Play. A small startup high tech computer company, they are working on cutting edge computer and gaming technologies. He loves the classic Star Wars movies and loves technology. He especially loves gaming. It is the year 2060 and he is wealthy and a three-level home. One level is a hologram room where he can run his own hologram program and try out video games. That includes his latest company project. It is also the locked room he will be found dead in hours later in Fantasy in Death by J. D. Robb.
As it happens, Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Detective Peabody get the case. Murder by way of hologram video game is a new one and sure to shock jaded New Yorkers once the news gets out in the media. As it also happens, Roarke knows Minnock and his partners. While he doesn’t own the company, but he gave them business advice, and liked Minnock a lot.
Like Dallas, he takes the murder personally for his own reasons, and helps her and her team work the case. In this instance, a game was used to kill, despite all the safeguards. That means that if it happened once, it could happen again.
Fantasy in Death is the 30th installment in the series and is a good one. All the usual caveats apply. One notes again that having wealth and success does not immune one in this series from dying the hard way.
My reading copy in eBook format came from the Dallas Public Library System through the Overdrive/Libby app.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2023
Thursday, September 28, 2023
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 92 Calls for Submissions in October 2023 - Paying Markets
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Like last week, there is not a short story Wednesday review from me today. I have not read anything the last two weeks that would qualify. I also decided not to search for an old repeat of mine as I did not want to take the time. Like always, I will link to other short story reviews as I see them later today.
I did not want to take the time as I have been busy with some things here. Not only was that the Longmire review you saw yesterday, but I have also been writing a new short story.
I recently was gifted a membership to the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter and the National group because a certain wonderful person in the leadership here decided she really wanted me to write something and submit it for the next Dallas anthology. I thought she was wasting her money and tried very hard to talk her out of it.
I have not written anything new since February of 2022 and that tale wound up in the Back Road Bobby and Friends anthology. What you have seen come out in Crimeucopia: Strictly Off The Record and will again in January in another Crimeucopia anthology, have been reprints. I just have not been writing and thought I was pretty much done.
Grief remains a major presence in my life and I struggle almost daily to deal with it. December 1st will mark six years since Sandi passed and I am still having a very hard time with it. Whatever muse I had, tat creative side of things, seemingly died with her as there just has not been any inspiration to do anything.
I tried to explain all this to my benefactor who insisted that she wanted me to have the chance to do something for it and understood that money is a serious issue for me. Money is a huge issue and I have been cancelling things and scaling back as best as I can as what little I have left from my inheritance after my Mom passed is like sand passing through the hourglass. Things are kind of grim.
Anyway, after several back-and-forth emails and Scott pushing me to say yes, I finally agreed, she did, and I became a very grateful member.
I still had no idea at all. I used to easily get ideas, but after Sandi passed, once I came out of the fog about six months later, and I started functioning a bit again and actually taking a daily shower and all the rest of it, the ideas were gone. I had nothing.
Coming up with something for Backroad Bobby and Friends was brutal and it did not happen until very last minute. That time I suddenly had an image in my head one morning and built a story around that image.
This time has been a little better and it has helped that they just moved the deadline back to October 18th.
About a week and half ago, I got up just before dawn to use the bathroom as one must once one gets to that certain age, and then went back to bed. I did not get back to sleep right away and was in that weird state where you are not asleep, but you are not awake. My mind tends to drift when I am like that and I started thinking about the anthology and the fact that I had zero ideas and the clock was ticking. As I laid there, trying to not think so I could go back to sleep, a gem of something drifted through.
That was it. Just a title for the story. A three word title.
It would not go away.
Instead of going back to sleep, the thing flickered to life like an ember in a cold fireplace. I lay there and mentally poked at it and gradually realized there was something to it. I think I dozed off a couple of times and yet kept walking back up and thinking about it.
Eventually, after about an hour, I gave up and got out of bed. Once I was dressed and had my morning pills in me, I went out on the back wooden deck outside my house with a pen and pad of paper. I do everything longhand whether it be reviews or my own fiction. Then it gets typed. Scott types my reviews, but for the fiction I do it as I edit and tweak as I go once the longhand first draft is written.
Things have fallen cooled off enough here that one can sit out there in the morning before the sun really gets going. That morning I wrote for about an hour and a half before Scott joined me out there. Over the next several days, I sat out there each morning and wrote a bit in the quiet of the morning. The story just unspooled every day. I would make a note or three about what was going to happen at the end of each writing session. The next day I would glance at the notes, though I usually did not need the reminder, and got to work.
It just rolled along as the entire thing came alive in my head with very little thinking effort.
It took about a week and then the rough draft was finished. That was last Friday.
I started typing yesterday afternoon and got a little over 1700 words down (about four pages of my horrible handwriting) before the body screamed enough and my hands started acting up too much to keep going. I hunt and peck so I am slow as it is. Even slower when I tweak things as I go. But, the words are getting down on the page and that is what matters.
So, in a few days, I just might have the second draft done.
I have no idea what this means for my ability to write going forward. Right now, I am just focused on getting this one done and off before deadline.
And now you know why I am not reading as much as normal. I am writing.
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
The Longmire Defense by Craig Johnson finds Sheriff Longmire thinking about the past and a future beyond being the good Sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. The next election is coming in a few months and Longmire might be done as Sheriff. Between the politics, the strain and stress of running for office yet again, and recent events, he could be working his way around to calling it quits.
He’s out at the family cabin in the Bighorn National Forest as the book begins and Cady, his daughter, inadvertently stirs up the past by cleaning the place. She came across an old picture of her great grandfather, Lloyd Longmire. Cady and his granddaughter are out at his place cleaning and keeping an eye on him as he recovers from recent events. She has questions about her great grandfather and Walt would just as soon not talk about him.
He might have been family in name, but he was a man that Walt had a rocky relationship with despite, or maybe because, of the family tie. He was a hard man with strong expectations and constantly passed judgement of others. That included his grandson, of whom he apparently did not think much of at all. The picture shows Lloyd Longmire and a group of others outside the Bank of Durant many years ago. That picture has started a line of questioning that Walt Longmire could do without as he lies in a hammock holding a book and his sleeping granddaughter.
Then Undersheriff Victoria Moretti shows up and drags him with her to go looking for a missing woman. The woman from Minnesota, who was following the navigation map on her phone and thus followed bad directions, got her car stuck on a relatively nearby Forest Service Road. She walked a bit, finally got cell service, called for help, and then instead of staying put and waiting for that help, left the area. Now she is missing and Undersheriff Moretti wants Longmire to come do a ride along with her to go check out a possible route the missing woman might have taken.
Recent events in Montana have a taken a toll and though he is physically healed, mentally and spiritually he isn’t, and he really doesn’t want to do it. But, with Cady pushing him as well, he goes with Moretti. and it isn’t long before the problem of the missing woman lost in the mountains.
Longmire finds Trisha Knox.
He also finds a rifle, a specially customized rifle, that could be tied into a killing from long ago.
The killing of Bill Sutherland, known as “Big Bill,” happened back in 1948 and was declared a hunting accident. Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t. But, Lloyd Longmire as well as Walt’s dad were involved. Finding the gun brings ghosts and more to life in a complicated tale of oil money, mercenaries, and politics in The Longmire Defense.
Much is going on in the read that spends most of the time looking at events in the past with a somewhat morose Walt Longmire more contemplative than usual. In the here and now, Walt is facing the possibility of big change in a couple of areas as well so that means he has a lot on his mind. Introspection is good and all that, but it does get to be a bit much here at times as it grinds the read to a near halt. This reader also gets the impression that the series might be ending fairly soon. One hopes not.
Despite everything, The Longmire Defense is a good read. The story keeps the reader engaged, even when it moves forward at a glacial pace, and we learn more about the Longmire family and their legacy. All in all, a good read.
My reading copy came in eBook form from the Dallas Public Library System by way of the Libby/OverDrive App.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2023
Monday, September 25, 2023
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: For the Love of Pawpaws: A Mini Manual for the Growing and Caring for PawPaws – From Seed to Table by Michael Judd
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 32 Outstanding Writing Conferences and Workshops in October 2023
Scott Blackburn is an English instructor living in High Point, North Carolina. His debut novel, It Dies with You (Crooked Lane Books, 2022), is also set in North Carolina.
Hudson Miller was scraping a living as a bartender and a bouncer in Greensboro while he waited out a suspension from his boxing career. His boxing wasn’t much above mediocre but he worked at it and thought he could go somewhere eventually. A call from the police of Flint Creek, where he grew up, changed everything: his estranged father had been shot at his salvage yard on the edge of the community.
Hudson returned to the small town to learn that his father was killed in what appeared to be a burglary. Then the police discovered a cache of guns hidden in the office. Leland Miller had supplemented his income from used auto parts with trading illicit weapons, which increased the potential suspects and motives for the shooting.
The next surprise for Hudson was to learn that his father had left the property to him, hoping that he would continue to run it. Hudson knew nothing about automobile parts or the salvage business; he struck a deal with his father’s sole employee to run the yard while Hudson learned the ropes.
Within a few days the discovery of a body buried on the lot put both Hudson and his part-time employee under suspicion. The local police seemed only too willing to pin the crime on one or the other or both, even though no evidence pointing to either of them was found. They were outsiders and therefore eligible scapegoats in the small insular town. In self-defense Hudson starts looking into both murders and uncovers long-hidden secrets.
A fine piece of Southern noir. Fans of authors like Brian Panowich, Ace Atkins, and Chris Offutt will especially be interested.
· Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (June 7, 2022)
· Language: English
· Hardcover: 304 pages
· ISBN-10: 1643859390
· ISBN-13: 978-1643859392
Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2023
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, September 24, 2023
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Up on KRL this morning a review and giveaway of the first in a new series, "Board to Death" by CJ Connor, along with an interesting interview with CJ https://kingsriverlife.com/09/23/board-to-death-by-c-j-connor/
Spider-Man: Animals Assemble! (A Mighty Marvel Team-Up) by Mike Maihack is a short graphic novel for kids and the first book in this new series. Spider-Man is babysitting the pets of various super heroes as they deal with a problem in Central Park in New York City.
The art is good and the humor is good. The biggest flaw, in my opinion, is that it is so short. The sequel is currently scheduled to be released in January 2024 and is titled, Spider-man: Quantum Quest (A Mighty Marvel Team-Up).
My reading copy came from the Dallas Public Library System through the OverDrive/Libby app.
Scott A. Tipple © 2023
Friday, September 22, 2023
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: But Have You Read the Book? 52 Literary Gems that Inspired Our Favorite Films by Kristen Lopez
Writer Beware: Cautions: Babelcube, Barnes & Noble Book Order Scams, Audiobook Order Scam (Featuring a Fake Non-Profit)
Before it happened, it seemed to 13 year old Lizzie Hood that the Verner family next door was perfect in every way. Lizzie had been friends with Evie for what seemed like forever and spent almost every waking moment in her company. Evie’s mom is bland and unassuming. Evie’s sister, Dusty, rules home and school where nearly every guy wants her and yet none can have her. Unlike lizzie’s own father who has left the house and moved on with his life thanks to the divorce, Evie’s father, Mr. Verner, is not only constantly around, he might be the most perfect father and man on earth. All is right in the world as school winds down and the two girls have a summer to look forward to before starting High School.
Then, the unthinkable happens and Evie vanishes one afternoon. Evie and Lizzie were going to walk home, but Lizzie’s mom picked her up instead so that they could go to the Mall. Evie was supposed to go on home, but never made it there. Now Evie is missing and the perfect world next door is starting to crack in so many ways.
As the days pass with Evie missing, author Megan Abbott skillfully weaves in clues, backstory, and tension to show characters that are evolving and changing in many ways while the story itself becomes much more complex. The disappearance truly does bring about The End of Everything in so many ways as Lizzie comes to grips with the idea that things next door were not so perfect after all. While the Verver family fractures in ways that one would somewhat expect as well as ways one wouldn’t, Lizzie’s whole world changes. Perceptions of what was real and what was fantasy, before and after the abduction, change as does her understanding of her own motivations and feelings. In a way, there is a certain coming of age aspect to this complex novel as Lizzie is forced to confront things that were, in some form, always there but far beneath the surface.
From a reviewer standpoint, this is a difficult book to review without sharing far too much. It is also one that is hard to explain concisely as the complex book goes in many different ways at the same time raising far more questions than it answers. Adult, and sometimes disturbing, themes are very strong in this book and will produce strong reactions from some readers. Much is implied or hinted at though how seriously to take it as actual character feeling/motivation is up to the reader.
As reviews elsewhere make abundantly clear while also often telling far too much, this is one of those novels that how the reader reads between the lines will determine much more about what the book means or says to the reader than what the author actually wrote. Deceptively short at 246 pages of actual story this is a very good book. The End Of Everything by Megan Abbott is a book packed with complex characters, deep emotion, and a complex mystery that will keep you thinking long after you close the book.
Material supplied by Patti Abbot via a contest on her blog several months ago with no expectation of any review.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2011, 2016, 2023
Thursday, September 21, 2023
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
George Kelly: WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #142: FOURTH PLANET FROM THE SUN: TALES OF MARS FROM THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION Edited by Gordon Van Gelder:
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Blessing of the Lost Girls: A Brady and Walker Family Novel by J. A. Jance is an engrossing read currently scheduled to be published on September 19th. One should make sure to read both of the afterwords as they are very important to the context of the story.
Readers are first introduced to Charlie Milton and it is clear very soon that he is a really bad guy. One of those guys that neighbors always say afterwards during media interviews that the guy was odd and just didn’t fit in right with other folks.
It is February 2019 as the book begins and Charlie Milton is in town for the Tucson Rodeo. Charlie Milton is a serial killer. He likes to hunt for the right victim. He has a type. He prefers women of color, especially those from Indian reservations. He counts on law enforcement arguing over which agency should handle the missing person case which means the case went cold long before it ever started. That works well for serial killers like Charlie Milton. Once he has killed, he soon hits the road in his RF and drifts to the next place.
What he didn’t count on was that fact that DNA from a kill he did several years ago would make its way into the system in 2022. It did. Field Officer Dan Pardee works for a new federal agency, Missing and Murdered Indigenous People’s Task Force. Known as “MIP,” they are part of the Department of The Interior. Their mission is to work cases involving the disappearances and deaths of Native Americans.
Dan Pardee, an investigator with a background in Border Patrol, is assigned the case of Rosa Rios. With the DNA match, it makes it clear to everyone that it was her charred body was found three years ago on a rancher’s land in the jurisdiction of Sheriff Joanna Brady of Cochise County. He is going to work the case. He will need Sheriff’s Brady’s help in bringing justice and, hopefully, a little peace to her family.
What follows is a complicated read. Dan Pardee is the focus, but Brady and her family make a number of appearances in this very enjoyable read. A tale that also, in addition to providing a complicated and enjoyable mystery, brings attention to what has been going on for decades for missing indigenous women. Complicated and fast moving, Blessing of the Lost Girls: A Brady and Walker Family Novel by J. A. Jance is well worth your time and attention.
My reading copy came by way of a NetGalley ARC with no expectation of a review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2023
Monday, September 18, 2023
Andrew J. Cartmel is a British script editor, author and journalist. He was the script editor of Doctor Who between 1987 and 1989. He also worked as a script editor on other television series, as a magazine editor, as a comics writer, as a film studies lecturer, and as a novelist. The Vinyl Detective, whose name is never revealed, is a specialist in old and rare vinyl recordings. His sidekicks are his girlfriend Nevada, who haunts the charity shops for vintage clothing, and Tinkler, a computer whiz and collector of vintage rock memorabilia. Their friend Agatha Dubois-Kanes collects vintage Penguin paperbacks. Their various hobbies engender a great interest in the thrift shops and estate sales of London.
In The Vinyl Detective: The Run-Out Groove (Titan Books, 2017) John Drummond and Lucy Tegmark approach the Vinyl Detective to hire him to help with the book on Valerian, a famous rock singer of the 1960s, that Lucy’s father, a journalist who followed Valerian’s band, had started but dropped after Valerian’s sudden death. Drummond is the singer’s brother who wants to find Valerian’s child who disappeared about the same time Valerian died. Drummond also wants a 45 single that was due to be released at the same time as his sister’s last album but in view of her death, the record company destroyed most of the copies. Tegmark has a wealth of original source material that needs to be verified and prioritized. Drummond thinks that the three lines of research overlap and that the Detective can assist with them.
Tracking down people who knew the singer proved to be more difficult than expected. The Detective did manage to locate the photographer who shot the big rock groups of the time, Valerian’s psychiatrist, and some of her friends. None of them have worn well. When the Detective manages to interview a few of them, he hears a different theory about the child from each person. The 45 single was a little easier to find but someone else wanted it too. The Detective’s apartment was thoroughly tossed, as was the shop of the record seller where they found it. They found themselves locked into a house set ablaze in one scene and under attack by a goose trained to guard her home in another.
The book is full of references to the English music scene of the 1960s with its personalities. It’s worth reading just for the social history. The complicated Drummond family story alternates between the preposterous and the somber. The antics of The Detective and his friends are entertaining and the ending was ingeniously plotted. The seventh book in this very good series is scheduled for publication in April 2024. Recommended.
· Publisher: Titan Books (May 9, 2017)
· Language: English
· Paperback: 320 pages
· ISBN-10: 1783297697
· ISBN-13: 978-1783297696
Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2023
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.