Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Monday, October 30, 2023
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 75 Calls for Submissions in November 2023 - Paying Markets
James D. F. Hannah is the author of six books in the Henry Malone series and two other novels, as well as a number of pieces of short fiction. Henry Malone is a retired state trooper and recovering alcoholic eking out an existence in the beautiful but impoverished state of West Virginia. He joins Rush McKenzie, Tom Bethany, Frank Quinn, Matt Scudder, and others in a long line of fictional unofficial and unlicensed private investigators.
In the third Henry Malone, She Talks to Angels (Down & Out Books, 2021) Malone is approached by local resident Katie Dolan, who wants Malone to re-investigate a murder that her brother Eddie confessed to years earlier but now from his jail cell says he didn’t commit. The victim was Meadow Charles, the popular daughter of the wealthiest man in Parker County. She was also a heroin addict; she and Eddie shared a drug habit. Prosecution postulated that Eddie killed Meadow in a drug-induced haze and that he was a danger to society. Eddie’s lawyer convinced him to plead guilty to escape a death sentence.
Malone’s queries don’t get much encouragement from anyone and before long, Meadow’s father calls him in and offers him a large sum of money to drop the probe. Malone needs the money badly enough that he intends to back away but then Meadow’s sister offers Malone more money to investigate. So he continued turning over rocks and asking objectionable questions, discovering a number of unsavory facts about the Charles family and about Parker County politics and arousing the ire of local luminaries along the way.
It’s impossible to talk about West Virginia these days and not talk about the opioid problem there. The issue is pressing and ongoing, and Hannah does not sugarcoat it or the grinding deprivation of the residents who live in one of the most beautiful states in the Union. He draws a sharp contrast between the two.
Malone’s AA sponsor Woody does double duty as Malone’s sidekick on the more active parts of his investigation. Their dialog is the wittiest I have seen in months and give me a reason to look for the rest of the series. Woody and Henry make a fine substitute for Spenser and Hawk. Readers who miss the incomparable Boston duo will want to add this series to their reading lists. A very fine piece of Southern noir. Recommended.
· Publisher: Down & Out Books (May 30, 2021)
· Language: English
· Paperback: 282 pages
· ISBN-10: 164396173X
· ISBN-13: 978-1643961736
Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2023
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, October 29, 2023
Beneath the Stains of Time: The Hit List: Top 10 Favorite Cases from Motohiro Katou's Q.E.D. vol. 1-25
Saturday, October 28, 2023
Batman/Superman: World's Finest Vol. 2: Strange Visitor by Mark Waid is a read where the duo team up to rescue Robin in a time travel adventure. Then a child from another Earth lands on the prime DC Earth and the child has strange powers. Superman decides to take the child in. The Key and Joker team up to cause chaos in Gotham. This action packed second volume also guest stars Supergirl and the original Teen Titans team and follows Batman/Superman: World's Finest Vol. 1: The Devil Nezha.
It’s always nice to see a villain like The Key return as it has been years since I have read anything including him. Joker is terrifying and Supergirl as well as the Teen Titans are proper heroes. This is a fun read with great art. Some of the covers are some of the best I have seen all year. Readers are also warned that there is a lengthy torture scene involving the Joker.
There is a twist at the end that many new readers will not understand why this is so important. I did not see this coming. This volume sets up the third volume which is currently untitled and a separate series about the original Teen Titans which includes the same creative team.
My reading copy came by way of the Hoopla App via The Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple ©2023
Friday, October 27, 2023
From the massive archive…
I’m pretty but not one hundred percent sure that I stopped reading juvenile fiction at around age eleven, because I am certain I read The Hound of the Baskervilles at that age, after which I moved on to the likes of Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner. I mention this for the benefit of those who might not recognize the name of the author of the book under consideration here—someone who, if his weren’t a “house” name, would be well into his second century.
That’s right, America: at a few weeks shy of 71 years-old as of January 2018, yours truly, unapologetic curmudgeonly old fart that I am, decided to read a new Hardy Boys mystery.
And new is the operative word, particularly with regard to its approach. The books I originally read, thanks to my mother having given me the first two in the series, The Tower Treasure and The House on the Cliff, when I was seven or eight, as well as those I acquired during the several years that followed, were published before I was born. They were written in an older style, and narrated in the third person. Published by Grosset & Dunlap, which also published the Nancy Drew, Tom Swift (junior and senior), Bobbsey Twins, and other series aimed at young and young adult readers, many of the original Hardy Boys titles were subsequently “updated" to appeal to readers born in the late Fifties and early Sixties. (This probably happened with the Nancy Drew series as well.) Some of this is explained at The Hardy Boys Unofficial Home Page, as is the fact that a court battle gave Simon & Schuster the rights to publish new Hardy Boys series. Secret of the Red Arrow is the first in the “Adventures” series.
There are some significant differences between the original and this new series. Instead of a third-person narrative, we now have alternating chapters by Frank and Joe Hardy told in the first-person, and in a very contemporary style which includes, among others, references to Quentin Tarantino, David Letterman, the war in Afghanistan, and the movie Halloween. Their father, Fenton Hardy, has retired as a private detective and now “writes books on the history of law enforcement.” In the original books, the boys lived with their father and their Aunt Gertrude. Mom’s absence was never explained, as far as I can recall, but I always suspected that she had died rather than divorced Fenton and moved on. In this series, Mom is alive and well, selling real estate and living with her husband. Aunt Trudy also lives with them.
As far as the local authorities in the town of Bayport are concerned, teenagers Frank and Joe have become subject to what’s known as “the Deal”: “Growing up, Joe and I would help him [Fenton Hardy] on his cases. We were proud of our successes. But after one too many close calls, things started to get a little out of hand, for reasons having to do with private investigators’ licenses (we didn’t have any), insurance (none of that, either), and the threat of being sued by every hoodlum we ever put under a citizen’s arrest….So with a few phone calls, including references from our principal and assurances to the police chief and state attorney general, we ‘retired.’” But as Frank later admits: “That cozy arrangement…lasted about a month before Joe and I started going crazy. Maybe being a detective is something in your blood….Since then, we’ve started taking the occasional case for a good cause or to help a friend, but we try to keep it confidential.” The potential consequence for violating the Deal is being shipped off to a behavior modification facility. Suffice it to say that the local police inevitably clash with them throughout the course of their “non-Deal” investigations.
Secret of the Red Arrow starts out with Frank being one of the many victims of a bank robbery which turns out to be a frightening but elaborate prank, courtesy of amateur film-maker and fellow student Seth Diller. It revs into high gear when Sharelle Bunyan implores the brothers to help them with what seems some kind of impossible crime: someone somehow breaking into the Bunyan family home to make a video recording of the boys’ schoolmate, Neal (star linebacker known as “Neanderthal”), while he’s sound asleep and after he’s begun receiving strange e-mails. Subsequently, two masked figures break in and assault him, and leave a red arrow painted above the bedroom door frame.
What is Red Arrow, a mysterious individual or a sinister criminal organization? As the boys investigate, putting themselves in danger of violating the Deal as well as in physical peril, they learn that Red Arrow has tentacles which extend to merchants and others in the town of Bayport.
I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed this visit with fictional characters from my boyhood. It moves swiftly—I read it in just a few hours—and nicely mingles mystery, suspense, and humor. My only disappointment was that the “impossibilities” were never explained. In spite of that omission, deliberate or otherwise, I can recommend Secret of the Red Arrow to adults who are feeling nostalgic, and who might be curious about a modern take on a classic series.
Barry Ergang © 2018, 2023
Thursday, October 26, 2023
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Jerry's House of Everything: SHORT STORY WEDNESDAY (HALLOWEEN EDITION): GREAT GHOST STORIES: 101 TERRIFYING TALES
George Kelly: WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #147: WITCHES: WICKED, WILD & WONDERFUL Edited By Paula Guran
Patricia Abbott: Short Story Wednesday-"The Pomegranite Seed" from THE NEW YORK STORIES OF EDITH WHARTON
From the massive archive …
Hoosier Noir: One is a crime fiction magazine aimed at Indiana. Published by First City Books, the read came on the market in recent weeks and looked interesting, so I picked up a copy. Available in print and eBook versions, I went with the digital file and bought this by way of funds in my Amazon Associate account. I knew going in that this was going to be crime fiction and expected tales with hard edges. That is exactly what I got and more.
The issue opens with “Dunn and Dunn” by J. Travis Grundon. Dakota Fisher saw the Dunn boys while he was out in the woods doing his own less than legal thing. Rodney and Wayne saw him and that is a disaster. The only chance he has to live is to run as far and as fast as he can through the woods. If they catch him, he is dead. No doubt about it.
That story is followed by an interview titled “Interrogating Rex Weiner.” His new project in his Skull Snyder detective series, the planned new Ford Fairlane adventure, Noir at the Bar, various publications that have his short stories, and more are discussed here in the wide-ranging interview.
“Author Spotlight: Alec Cizak” comes next and focuses on “Last Exit before Toll” by him. A night of partying is ending for two young ladies. At least it is for Jessica who is calling it quits. Emily plans to keep going as the DJ seems to be very interested and she may finally succeed in getting him.
There are people rolling through social media on a daily basis trying to set off judgmental firestorms on others. We have all seen it if we have not been arty to it in one way or another. That concept familiar to us all if the point of the next story. Brian Klein in “Destroyers” by Alec Cizak is one of those people who lives to rain judgmental social media fire down on others. What he does is the focus of this tale that says a lot about the state of the world today.
Preston Lang is up next with “Descent.” Mr. Kent’s report of his missing husband is not being taken seriously by Police Chief Lohta. Maybe he does not care for homosexuals. Maybe Chief Lohta and his police force are incompetent. Hal is missing and, at this point, nobody seems to care.
Sometimes you must shoot somebody twice. One so they understand the reason why. The second to end them. He did it in “The Iceman” by Les Edgerton. For good reason too.
Rebecca is in a justifiably bad mood “The Haunted Crave Knowing” by J. Rohr begins. The woman on the porch is looking for Doug Conover as she needs help. Too bad he is dead. Rebecca is her only option now.
The cleanup after a killing is the hardest part. That is, if you do not want to get caught. Bleach is very important in “It All Comes Out In The Wash” by N. B. Turner.
The first killing was sort of an accident. A thrilling accident. Travis figured out he liked it in “The Selfie Killer” by N. E. Riggs. The trick is to keep it going.
Bobby Conrad is one of those guys that names his own male anatomy. He brags a lot about that and other things in his small town of green apples, Indiana. A current murder case involving Jim and Molly Wagner might prove him wrong on some stuff. “Dick Pic” by Don Stoll concludes the issue.
Along with the crime fiction and the interview, there five illustrations and photographs to provide breaks in the reading. Also present are a few scattered ads for books and other short story publications. All of those present nicely in the eBook version and no doubt appear even better in the print version.
Hoosier Noir: One is an entertaining and well put together read. The stories are all crime fiction so things are graphic especially in terms of language. These tales are noir and that means they are dark. If you are looking for sweetness and light, this is not the read for you. Along with the quality fiction showcased in this first issue of what hopefully will be a series, the photographs and artwork are a nice added touch and fit well in context. Hoosier Noir: One is very much your time and money. Simply put, this is good stuff.
I picked up my copy back in February using funds in my Amazon Associate account.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2020, 2023
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 16 Notable Writing Workshops and Conferences in November 2023
Monday, October 23, 2023
Bookblog of the Bristol Library: A Haunted Road Atlas: Sinister Stops, Dangerous Destinations, and True Crime Tales by Christine Schiefer and Em Schulz
Mary Keliikoa writes two mystery series, one about private investigator Kelly Pruett and one about Sheriff Jax Turner in a small Oregon town called Misty Pines. Her Kelly Pruett books have been nominated for the Shamus, Lefty, Agatha, and Anthony awards. The first book in the Misty Pines series was a finalist for the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion and won the Ippy Silver Award. The second book in the Misty Pines series, Deadly Tides, is scheduled for release by Level Best Books on 24 October 2023.
Deadly Tides opens with FBI agent Abby Kanekoa searching frantically for her mother who has wandered away from the assisted living facility again. The facility staff weren’t quite sure when she had slipped out but everyone was confident she wasn’t dressed for the January temperatures in Oregon.
From this promising beginning a complicated story develops, including two missing men, a dead homeless man, lost designs for custom surfboards, two teenagers whose stories keep changing, and a host of suspects. Underlying the multiple investigations is Turner’s slow recovery from the death of his daughter and misery over his subsequent divorce from Abby. Strong psychological suspense begins to build midway as possible motives for murder start to unfold. Fans of character-driven mysteries and psychological thrillers will like this one.
· Publisher: Level Best Books (October 24, 2023)
· Language: English
· Paperback: 302 pages
· ISBN-10: 1685122795
· ISBN-13: 978-1685122799
Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2023
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, October 22, 2023
As always, remember to lift and throw with your legs and not your back. Make sure that you throw for distance and not height so that the short person has a softer impact. Helmets are suggested, but not required. Don't drink and throw!
Saturday, October 21, 2023
Up on KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "The Raging Storm" by Ann Cleeves along with a fun mini interview with Ann https://kingsriverlife.com/10/21/the-raging-storm-by-ann-cleeves/
And a review and giveaway of "Home at Night" by Paula Munier along with a Halloween guest post by Paula https://kingsriverlife.com/10/21/home-at-night-by-paula-munier/
And a review and giveaway of "Murder in the Fourth Position" by Lori Robbins https://kingsriverlife.com/10/21/murder-in-fourth-position-by-lori-robbins/
We also have the latest Queer Mystery Coming Attractions from Matt Lubbers-Moore https://kingsriverlife.com/10/21/queer-mystery-coming-attractions-november-2023/
Up during the week we posted another special midweek guest post, this one from mystery author ME Proctor about some great writing advice from Ray Bradbury, and their new book "Family and Other Ailments" https://kingsriverlife.com/10/18/the-eternal-wisdom-and-solid-common-sense-of-ray-bradbury/
Up on KRL News and Review this week we have a review and ebook giveaway of "Bake, Batter, and Roll" by Catherine Bruns https://www.krlnews.com/2023/10/bake-batter-and-roll-by-catherine-bruns.html
And a review and ebook giveaway of another fun Halloween mystery, "Monster Mash Murder" by Leslie Langtry https://www.krlnews.com/2023/10/monster-mash-murder-by-leslie-langtry.html
Scott's Take: Superman: Kal-El Returns by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Tom Taylor, Sina Grace, and Alex Segura
Superman: Kal-El Returns by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Tom Taylor, Sina Grace, and Alex Segura collects the ends of both the Son of Superman (Jon) series and the end of Clark’s title. It also sets up the new series that will be collected later at some point later.
Clark has finally returned back to Earth, but he is not alone. Along with his team, he has accompanying him all the refuges of Warworld. Superman showing up with thousands of aliens, of course, causes problems. Then in the Jon series, Superman’s son is dealing with a new nemesis, coming out as bi to his dad, and helping rebuild the Kent home.
This is a read that does a lot and has a lot going on with ending series and starting new ones. The involved artists are all good and have their own styles creating a lot of variety in imagery. Various plot points are setup for the next series. The authors do a great job of making sure Clark and Jon sections are really different and written to highlight their differences well. The villains are causing problems and setting up new ones for the heroes to deal with later. It is a good read even if the story is collected here is supposed to be in order, but is a little time skippy.
The new series will be collected later with Clark getting new writer, Joshua Willamson, and Tom Taylor continuing the Jon story in a new title.
My reading copy came by way of the Hoopla App and the Dallas Public Library System.
Scott A. Tipple ©2023
Friday, October 20, 2023
Treachery in Death by J.D. Robb opens with the murder of a shop owner before delving into a complicated case of police corruption. After winding up a case, Detective Peabody is alone in a little used bathroom at police headquarters when two people barge in. She is naked, having just had a shower, and far from her weapon as two officers come in and have a heated argument. Peabody realizes as she listens that the officers are corrupt and that is in deadly danger if they find her.
Eventually they leave, and Peabody is able to get dressed and get McNab, a fellow officer with whom she is living with, and they go to Dallas’s house to tell her what happened. Even though she is badly shaken, Peabody knows the best course of action is to tell Dallas and she does. With what Peabody learned, it isn’t too hard to identify the two officers and a possible murder scene.
Dallas and Roarke go checkout the possible murder scene and they find a body. A known junkie is very much dead. The scene is set up to be setup to be perceived as an overdose. Dallas would probably have caught it being fake anyway, if she had caught the case, but with Peabody telling her how the two she overheard were involved in the murder, Dallas knows that they have rot in the department.
You don’t tarnish the badge. You especially don’t when you come from a family that is legendary in the NYSPD. One of the officers did just that and Dallas plans on taking that person and everyone else involved down hard.
What follows is a complicated and fast-moving tale with Dallas determined to take down the two corrupt officers she knows about, thanks to Peabody, as well as the rest of the criminals involved. The rot extends to various departments. Once all are caught, the ramifications to the rest of the department and the legal system will be huge.
Another good one in the series that pulls you into the world of 2060 and reminds the reader that greed kills.
My reading copy came by way of the Libby App and the Dallas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2023
Thursday, October 19, 2023
Wednesday, October 18, 2023
George Kelly: WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #146: THE RIPPER OF STORYVILLE AND OTHER BEN SNOW STORIES By Edward D. Hoch
From the massive archive...
Sometimes you know that your foe of the moment has no future. That he is too far down the wrong road so you put him down because you have to end his misery. That and you can rescue the three young girls held in the back of the van. It is just part of the job.
The woman in his living room also has a job in mind. A far more personal job for the man who used to be Special Forces and now is a vigilante killer working out of Los Angeles. A job that is complicated and also very much needs doing in the short story Daughters by Nathan Walpow.
Told in the first person, this is a hard edged fast moving short story featuring a nameless and very interesting main character. Borderline sociopath with a touch of humor, our antihero is very much of the opinion that the world is a place that needs cleaning up after on a fairly frequent basis. One can’t reveal much about the short story without giving away too much, beyond what has been said above, but there are a couple of twists in this tale that help create a mighty good read.
I picked up this free read to read and review thanks to the author mentioning it on Facebook.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2015, 2023
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
As the blog rapidly closes in on three million page views, and since I have not mentioned this in some time, I thought I would remind you that I welcome guest posts here.
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 please 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.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2023