Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Dark City Underground: REVIEW: "HERO" BY THOMAS PERRY

 Dark City Underground: REVIEW: "HERO" BY THOMAS PERRY

Lesa's Book Critiques: ROSEMARY KAYE’S FAVOURITE READS OF 2023

 Lesa's Book Critiques: ROSEMARY KAYE’S FAVOURITE READS OF 2023

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Hit List: Top 10 Works of Detective Fiction That Have Been Lost to History

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Hit List: Top 10 Works of Detective Fiction Th...: Last time, I used the top 10 format to do a follow-up to my list of reprint suggestions, " Curiosity is Killing the Cat: Detective Nove...

SleuthSayers: BSF (Best Stories Forever) by Robert Lopresti

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George Kelly: WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #160: DEADLY SINS

 George Kelly: WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #160: DEADLY SINS

Patricia Abbott: Short Story Wednesday: "The Year of the Rabbit" Alice Mcdermott

Patricia Abbott: Short Story Wednesday: "The Year of the Rabbit" Alice Mcdermott

Monday, January 29, 2024

Lesa's Book Critiques: TO CONJURE A KILLER BY CLEA SIMON

 Lesa's Book Critiques: TO CONJURE A KILLER BY CLEA SIMON

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 1/29/2024

 In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 1/29/2024

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 72 Calls for Submissions in February 2024 - Paying Markets

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Markets and Jobs for Writers 1/29/2024January

 Markets and Jobs for Writers 1/29/2024

Aubrey Nye Hamilton Reviews: Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski


Duane Swierczynski writes crime fiction and comic books and has also written several works of nonfiction. His Charlie Hardie trilogy follows the former cop as he tries to recover from the death of his former partner and the partner’s family while hiding in fear of meeting the same fate. He decided moving around reduces the likelihood anyone can find him and he’s fallen accidentally into a plush house-sitting job which lets him drink himself senseless and watch movies all day while getting a free place to sleep with a salary.

His last gig in southern California ended when the wind changed direction with little notice and swept a wildfire toward the home he was in, giving him minutes to gather everything he could that he thought the writer owner of the house would value – manuscripts, laptops, folders of research. He bolted as ash was pouring onto his car. After that narrow escape, he worked on the East Coast for awhile.

The new assignment in LA for a sound track composer traveling to Russia seemed straightforward enough. He arrived at the house tucked away in the Hollywood Hills however and found no key waiting for him. Instead he found a minor actress hiding in the house, insisting that a group of people was trying to kill her. He assumed she was whacked out on drugs or alcohol until the same group made it plain that they had expanded their plans to include his demise.

Hardie’s defense against the putative killers is great, it reminded me of the old MacGyver show. Swierczynski’s expertise in comic books and action heroes shows clearly, as Hardie resists every attempt to subdue him. A stab in the chest with a microphone stand doesn’t stop him and a taser merely stuns him for a minute or two. The hysterical babbling of the actress about a murder for hire outfit sounds outlandish at first but it becomes so realistic that the story could easily trigger conspiracy-minded folks.

A fast-moving action-packed thriller with an original premise. Starred review from Publishers Weekly. 

 

·         Publisher: Mulholland Books; 1st edition (June 20, 2011)

·         Language: English

·         Paperback: 286 pages

·         ISBN-10: 0316133280

·         ISBN-13: 978-0316133289

  

The Amazon Associate Link: https://amzn.to/3OfqJI0 

 

Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2024 

Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Kathleeen Marple Kalb's Blog: So You Wrote the Book, Now What?: FOR FREE WE TAKE!

 Kathleeen Marple Kalb's Blog: So You Wrote the Book, Now What?: FOR FREE WE TAKE!

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers: 1-28-24

 The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers: 1-28-24

Little Big Crimes: The Best Justice Money Can Buy, by C.C. Finlay

Little Big Crimes: The Best Justice Money Can Buy, by C.C. Finlay: "The Best Justice Money Can Buy," by C.C. Finlay, in  The Reinvented Detective, edited by Cat Rambo and Jennifer Brozek, Caezik S...

Dru's Book Musings New Releases ~ Week of January 28 2024

 Dru's Book Musings New Releases ~ Week of January 28 2024

Lesa's Book Critiques: KEVIN’S CORNER ANNEX – OBEY ALL LAWS BY CINDY GOYETTE

 Lesa's Book Critiques: KEVIN’S CORNER ANNEX – OBEY ALL LAWS BY CINDY GOYETTE

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Lesa's Book Critiques: TOO LATE TO DIE BY BILL CRIDER

 Lesa's Book Critiques: TOO LATE TO DIE BY BILL CRIDER

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Headless Lady (1940) by Clayton Rawson

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Headless Lady (1940) by Clayton Rawson: Clayton Rawson was an American magician, magazine editor and mystery writer who wrote four novels and a dozen short stories starring his mo...

Scott's Take: Scott's Take: DC Dark Knights of Steel Vol 2 by Tom Taylor


Dark Knights of Steel Volume 2 by Tom Taylor is an action packed volume includes the last issues of this series plus tie ins set in the past which spotlight the young trio of Bruce Wayne, Zala (this universe’s Supergirl), and Kal-El. Like the first volume, this is an elseworlds read and is set up like DC Universe meets Game of Thrones. Make sure you read my review of the first book here before reading the below.

 

In the first story, Kal-El meets a young Jimmy Olsen and attempts to save him from being kidnapped. Bruce and Zala tag along and eventually help out.

 

A young Bruce Wayne, long before he is Batman, meets Bane in the second story.

 

In the third story, Harley Quinn takes Kal-El and Bruce out on Halloween to attempt to give them some fun in their life.

 

In the main part of the book, the three kingdoms are now at war because of the manipulations by the White Martians. Can our heroes prove that the war is based on lies and stop the fighting in time to stop the White Martians from conquering all?

 

This is an action-packed graphic novel featuring interesting versions of classic characters that while being similar to their main earth counterparts are quite different. New versions of heroes and villains are introduced here in the read. Because of the fact that this is an elseworlds read, the tales here are more graphic and feature plenty of violence, death, and loss. 

 

This version of Harley Quinn remains a delight while the main trio of heroes remain excellent. Bruce has to deal with the truth from the first novel that he is only half human and part Kryptonian. I love how quickly Kal-El accepts that Bruce is his biological brother. In a lot of stories, this situation would be played for drama, but not here as Kal-El just loves him and accepts him for who he is every day.

 

There is a vague teaser setting up much more in this universe that I hope comes to pass as I very much would enjoy reading the multiple ideas suggested.


 

My reading copy came by way of the Hoopla App through the Dallas Public Library System. Unfortunately, the library system caps patrons at 15 Hoopla items a month. I very much wish they would raise it significantly or take the cap off altogether as I can do that easily in graphic novels within a couple of days at the start of each new month.  

 

Scott A. Tipple ©2023


Friday, January 26, 2024

PW: Author J.D Barker Apologizes, Dropped by Agent After 'Creepy' BookTok Request

 PW: Author J.D Barker Apologizes, Dropped by Agent After 'Creepy' BookTok Request

Lesa's Book Critiques: FROZEN ASSETS BY QUENTIN BATES

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A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: NUMBER ONE PROXY BRIDE ACCORDING TO BOOK AUTHORITY

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: NUMBER ONE PROXY BRIDE ACCORDING TO BOOK AUTHORITY:   By Caroline Clemmons The historical western romance,  A BRIDE FOR GIDEON, is one of my favorites of the books I’ve written. Happily for...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

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Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 85 Writing Contests in February 2024 - No entry fees

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Jerry's House of Everything: FORGOTTEN BOOK: THE TALL DELORES

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Patricia Abbott: FFB: BEAUTIFUL LOSERS, Leonard Cohen (from 2011 reviewed by Deb)

 Patricia Abbott: FFB: BEAUTIFUL LOSERS, Leonard Cohen (from 2011 reviewed by Deb)

Happiness Is A Book: FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOK: THE CLUE IN THE CLAY BY DOLORES HITCHENS

 Happiness Is A Book: FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOK: THE CLUE IN THE CLAY BY DOLORES HITCHENS

Barry Ergang's FFB Review: THE CASE OF THE SLEEPWALKER’S NIECE (1936) by Erle Stanley Gardner


From the massive archive….

 

Before I ever read my first Perry Mason novel, I was familiar with the character from the TV series and from advertisements for The Detective Book Club on the back covers of some of the mystery magazines my father read.

 

 

There was a neighborhood sundries store my father, brother and I would occasionally go to after dinner a couple times a week if the weather were conducive, where we’d buy ice cream and/or candy, and where my father would purchase a paperback or two and I’d pick up some comic books. (I don’t recall what my brother bought.) As I mentioned in my review of a modern Hardy Boys book, Secret of the Red Arrow, I had begun at age 11 to read mystery fiction aimed at adults. So one evening at the aforementioned store, at the age of 12, I noticed a paperback copy of Erle Stanley Gardner’s The Case of the Vagabond Virgin and handed it to my father to pay for. Thus began my Perry Mason obsession, which resulted in my reading another dozen titles one after the other. It was a good lesson about the pitfalls of binge-reading a particular author and series, because I became so oversaturated with Gardner’s style and approach in the Mason novels that it was years before I could read another one.

 

Eventually I read quite a few more--spreading them out over time. When I recently came upon an electronic copy of The Case of the Sleepwalker’s Niece, I realized that it had been at least 20 years, probably more, since I’d read a Perry Mason mystery, so I decided to reestablish my acquaintance.


The eighth title in the series, it begins when Mason is hired by Edna Hammer to speed up the divorce of her wealthy uncle, Peter Kent. His estranged wife Doris has suddenly tried to demonstrate a kind of renewed affection for Kent, who wants the divorce so he can marry Lucille Mays. Because Kent once picked up a butcher knife while sleepwalking, Doris was certain he wanted to kill her.

 

Adding to the story’s complications are the presences in the Kent mansion of, among others, Kent’s shady business partner, Frank Maddox; Maddox’s pettifogging lawyer, John Duncan; Philip Rease, Kent’s hypochondriacal half-brother; Gerald Harris, Edna’s fiancĂ©; and Helen Warrington, Kent’s secretary.

 

When sometime around midnight--or was it later in the morning?--a figure is seen walking across a patio toward another entrance to the house where people are sleeping, and said figure appears to be holding a knife, and still later someone is found dead in bed, having been stabbed to death, the most likely suspect, and the party arrested, is Mason’s client. The questions confronting the lawyer: was Kent actually sleepwalking, was he pretending somnambulism to commit a murder, or was he framed by someone else? And if he was actually walking in his sleep, how to prove it.

 

Anyone with even a passing familiarity with Perry Mason knows the answer to some of those questions. I’m not going to answer them lest I spoil some of the book’s surprises, of which there are several. Having said so, I must also admit I found this one to be among the weaker entries in this classic series. Erle Stanley Gardner’s style in the Mason novels relies on lean narrative and an extensive use of dialogue to move the story along. But in The Case of the Sleepwalker’s Niece, there is too much talk and not enough action. It isn’t until Mason finally gets into the courtroom that the pace quickens a bit.

 

If you’re a Mason fan and have missed this one, you might want to read it for the sake of completeness. If you aren’t a completist, pass on it in favor of better entries in the series.


The Amazon Associate Link: https://amzn.to/3u5U7cM  

 

 

Barry Ergang ©2018, 2024

 

Some of Derringer Award winner Barry Ergang’s work can be found at Amazon and Smashwords.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange 1/25/2024

 In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange 1/25/2024

Dark City Underground Review: “On Texas Street” by Ernest Haycox

 Dark City Underground Review: “On Texas Street” by Ernest Haycox

Criminal Minds: The Secret Place Where Writers Find Their Ideas from James W. Ziskin

Criminal Minds: The Secret Place Where Writers Find Their Ideas fr...: Where do you get your ideas? No but seriously what do you use for inspiration: art, music, landscape, the news, dreams, family stories . . ....

Lesa's Book Critiques: WHAT ARE YOU READING?

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Wednesday, January 24, 2024

File 770: Hugo Controversy Hits Mainstream News; A Chengdu Vice-Chair Comments in Social Media

 File 770: Hugo Controversy Hits Mainstream News; A Chengdu Vice-Chair Comments in Social Media

The Guardian: Science fiction awards held in China under fire for excluding authors

 The Guardian: Science fiction awards held in China under fire for excluding authors

The Mary Sue: Nothing About the Hugo Awards’ Inexplicable Exclusion of R. F. Kuang’s ‘Babel’ Makes Sense

 The Mary Sue: Nothing About the Hugo Awards’ Inexplicable Exclusion of R. F. Kuang’s ‘Babel’ Makes Sense

Lesa's Book Critiques: MARGIE BUNTING’S FAVORITES OF 2023

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Bitter Tea and Mystery: Short Story Wednesday: "Chin Yong-Yun Meets a Mongol" by S. J. Rozan

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Short Story Wednesday: "Chin Yong-Yun Meets a Mong...:   I started reading S. J. Rozan's Lydia Chin and Bill Smith series in 2008 and by the middle of 2009 I had read all the books in the ser...

Jerry's House of Everything: SHORT STORY WEDNESDAY: BECKWITH'S CASE

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Mystery File: Locked Room PI Stories I’m Reading: BILL PRONZINI “Booktaker.”

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George Kelly: WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #159: EVERYWHRE AN OINK OINK: AN EMBITTERED, DYSPEPTIC, AND ACCURATE REPORT OF FORTY YEARS IN HOLLYWOOD By David Mamet

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Our Favorite Books Read in 2023: Rita and Tonia

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Patricia Abbott: Short Story Wednesday: Louise's Ghost, Kelly Link

 Patricia Abbott: Short Story Wednesday: Louise's Ghost, Kelly Link

Short Story Wednesday Review: Mystery Magazine: January 2024

 

The short stories take readers across countries and through time in Mystery Magazine: January 2024. The past is the primary theme as is deceit in many different ways.

 

Arend Smith’s tale, “Jake Brown’s Anomalies,” starts the issue off in a small town in Northwest Nebraska. In this tale translated from the Dutch by Josh Pachter, Jake Brown is one of those neighbors who spends his days watching comings and goings of others. He has a good vantage point to see everyone ad everything they are doing. He keeps detailed records. Those records and his observational skills will help to help clear him of murder charges.

 

The idea was that he would know her when you see her in “Spinning Monkey Thriller” by Martin Hill Ortiz. The handler told him he would and not to worry about it. Three spoken words, and her three-word response, will confirm that she is the right woman. Those three words should also help him from getting caught.

 

Rein Werner is having a hard time staying positive in “Something Like Happiness” by Joslyn Chase. His brother is dead. His brother’s bar is falling apart. After his brother died, the police force booted him from the payroll. Now all Rein does is run a slowly dying bar as the fortunes of others are also declining. But, one night, a bar patron named Dimas Klossner suggests a high risk business proposition that involves stealing gold bars from Adolf Hitler.

 

Phobe and the narrator are locked in a panic room in a house. The homeowner promised to come back in a few minutes as “What The Boy Said” by Wynn Quon begins.  The cellmates are waiting for the down payment for a possible job. In the meantime, things need to be said and clarified.

 

Lyle and Pooter Floyd had a plan. Go around, steal stuff, and sell those items for big cash. They used that TV show, Antiques Roadshow, as inspiration and research. It was a good plan as far as it went in “Freezer Burn” by April Kelly.

 

He was her neighbor many years ago. Now he thinks he has seen her in Berlin. Is it really her? Will she remember him? Much is going on in “The Good Neighbor” by Martian Rosenstock.

 

The “You-Solve-It” mystery this month is “Orange Cones and Alibis” by Kate Fellowes. Grace Chang and her friends are reporting that several storage locker tubs that they won in m auction the day before have been broken into and opened. Officer Klieforth is asking questions. He also suspects one of the ladies. The answer will be revealed in the next issue next month.

 

The issue closes with the solution to the December 2023 “You-Solve-It” story, “Saved By The Belle” by John H. Dromey.

 

Mystery Magazine: January 2024 is another fun issue of mystery. The tales are complex, the characters interesting, and on occasion, the story ends in a positive note. A fact this reader much appreciated as he worked through these tales set in a variety of locations and time periods. The issue is a good one and continues the long history of this publication and their quality reads.

 

My Amazon Associate Link https://amzn.to/3UbuQIG

 

For quite some time now I have been gifted a subscription by the publisher with no expectation at all of a review.  

 

Kevin R. Tipple ©2024

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Lesa's Book Critiques: RANDOM IN DEATH BY J.D. ROBB

 Lesa's Book Critiques: RANDOM IN DEATH BY J.D. ROBB

Crime Review: January 2024

 Crime Review: January 2024

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 15 Fabulous Writing Conferences and Workshops in in February 2024

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Beneath the Stains of Time: Three Card Murder (2023) by J.L. Blackhurst

Beneath the Stains of Time: Three Card Murder (2023) by J.L. Blackhurst: Jenny Blackhurst is a British crime-and thriller novelist who debuted a decade ago with How I Lost You (2014) and has since written seven ...

SleuthSayers: I Have First-Line Envy

SleuthSayers: I Have First-Line Envy: I've written before about a Facebook group I belong to in which we celebrate good first lines (sometimes first paragraphs) in books and ...

Review: Harbor Lights: Stories by James Lee Burke


Harbor Lights: Stories
by James Lee Burke opens with the title story. It was in 1942, the narrator and his father were out in the Gulf south of Louisiana, when they saw the bodies floating in their life vests. His dad called it in without identifying themselves or their boat. Despite Mr. Broussard’s attempt to not draw evil into their lives, it soon arrives anyway.

 

Nobody believes one could drive across the floor of a lake, but he saw it happen in “Going Across Jordan.” He rode the trains with Buddy Elgin and worked jobs hardly anyone else would do. Drifting the way they did was a good life until they wound up in a place where things went sideways. Communists are a societal concern, but they are more worried about a certain bully and his connections.

 

“Big Midnight Special” comes next and takes readers from the Northern Rockies to Summertime in the South. Prison Life to be specific and one man trying to get through each day by keeping to himself.  Inmate Jody Prejean has other plans for our narrator, Arlen, and intends to get his way.

 

It was just a few days after Pearl Harbor in Yoakum, Texas, as “Deportees” begins. Aaron and his mother have shown up at the deep south Texas farm of his grandfather. A hard man on his family, he will go the extra mile for those who show up on his land after having crossed the border. Giving aid to those who crossed the nearby imaginary boundary for this nation puts him crosswise with others who can use their position to bully.


Delbert Hatfield always keeps his head down and focuses on his goal of getting tenure. Unfortunately, his daughter got herself into trouble in “The Assault.” Her situation and his own start going downhill in more ways than one.

 

He works the oil fields and likes to go to Hungry Gator and drink when off. He isn’t looking for anything other than a steady flow of booze. The Hungry Gator is where she met him in “The Wild Side Of Life..” Loreen Walters is pretty, married, and trouble in a way all bored married women are. Elmore is warned off as word got out about what went on in the bar though all they had were drinks together. Elmore should have listened as her and his past both come back to bite him.

 

He and his son are lost with a broke down car in “A Distant War.” Fortunately, they broke down near some sort of nightclub or diner. For Francis and his son, Morgan, the place is an oasis on this November evening. Or is it really?

 

He tries to keep his loneliness and depression at bay in “Strange Cargo.” He tries to keep his mind on the current state of things while knowing his way of life and the beauty of the land is slowly rotting away. He tries to live quiet and private, but Sheriff Jude Labiche won’t leave him alone. He just wants what he wants, but the Sheriff won’t abide that.

 

Harbor Lights: Stories is a short story collection full of tales that don’t rest easy on the reader. Each one is highly atmospheric, dark, and frequently tells of bullies rejected and otherwise, using their power to make things harder than they have to be for folks who just want to live in peace. The tales here span the country and the decades and frequently are populated with characters that can see the dead and hear their messages to the living. Escape is not possible as every little thing digs one deeper into the dark pit of the evil one will do to another human being. Nothing is straight forward in Habor Lights: Stories other than that regardless of time and place, weak people will always use whatever power they have to try and control others. Resisting them will have rippling consequences.

 

Harbor Lights: Stories is not a cozy read or one that makes the reader feel good about others. This book is dark, often very grim, read of very good short stories. One that burns into your brain and linger on after the read is finished. 


Amazon Associate Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3vMC9fS  

 

My reading copy came by way of NetGalley and the publisher, Grove Atlantic, with no expectation of a review.

 

Kevin R. Tipple ©2023 

Monday, January 22, 2024

Kathleeen Marple Kalb's Blog: So You Wrote the Book, Now What?: JOIN UP

 Kathleeen Marple Kalb's Blog: So You Wrote the Book, Now What?: JOIN UP

Lesa's Book Critiques: RADIANT HEAT BY SARAH-JANE COLLINS

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THHS: Tools Provide the Public with a View of Diseases Affecting the State

 THHS: Tools Provide the Public with a View of Diseases Affecting the State

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 1/22/2024

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Our Favorite Books Read in 2023: Jenna and Nena

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Aubrey Nye Hamilton Reviews: The Mayors of New York by S. J. Rozan


The Mayors of New York (Pegasus Crime, 2023) is the fifteenth title in the excellent Lydia Chin and Bill Smith private investigator series by S. J. Rozan. Chin is a first-generation American-born Chinese whose battle with her traditional mother’s expectations runs through each book. Kentucky-born Smith is a prototypical private eye, rumpled, cynical, world-weary. Their partnership is unconventional and successful.

I was delighted to win the character name that Rozan donated to a charity fundraiser a couple of years ago and was especially pleased to see what a fat role she gave my name in this book.

In this case Smith is approached by a former girlfriend who works for the mayor of New York. The mayor’s teenage son Mark has disappeared. He has run away before and his mother believed that he would turn up after a day or two but he hasn’t this time. Since the mayor is deep in negotiations for the new police union contract, she does not want to ask the police to search for him. She fears she would appear beholden to the group she is supposed to be standing firm with. She wants Smith to quietly search for her son and bring him home. Smith doesn’t like Madam Mayor and feels no compulsion to take the assignment and he really doesn’t like the former girlfriend. He agrees to look for Mark because he was a teenage runaway too.

Mark’s parents are divorced and do not co-parent. They barely parent individually. Neither of them really knows what Mark has been up to. His twin sister doesn’t know much more as she’s deeply involved in her own life. The member of the mayor’s household who does know Mark is the chef, with whom Mark spends time. He describes Mark’s interests and activities and gives Chin and Smith far more insight than his family did. It sends the pair across New York, where they meet neighborhood leaders, unofficial mayors who watch out for their patch of the city. Each of them proves helpful.

This series is about New York as much as it is solving crime and this book showcases the city more strongly than ever. It also delivers a great plot twist, revealing unexpected sinister motivation for what seemed to be an innocuous minor character. The final confrontation scene is spectacular.

Starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly. Highly recommended.

 

·         Publisher: Pegasus Crime (December 5, 2023)

·         Language: English

·         Hardcover: 288 pages

·         ISBN-10: 1639365257

·         ISBN-13: 978-1639365258\

 

The Amazon Associate image system is not working, still, so please go to https://amzn.to/422O1GF  to pick it up.

 

Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2024 

Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Little Big Crimes: Hitman Walked Into A Romance, by Roberta Gibson

Little Big Crimes: Hitman Walked Into A Romance, by Roberta Gibson: "Hitman Walked Into A Romance," by Roberta Gibson, in SoWest: Wrong Turn, DS Publishing, 2023 . This is apparently one of those an...

Lesa's Book Critiques: SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT – KAYE WILKINSON BARLEY – CONCLUSION

 Lesa's Book Critiques: SUNDAY SPOTLIGHT – KAYE WILKINSON BARLEY – CONCLUSION

2023 Critter's Poll Results: Kevin's Corner wins "Best Review Site"

 

After finishing in first place for the last three years, I made the decision last year not to enter Kevin’s Corner. As some knew at the time, I was planning to shut down the blog within the next few weeks and pretty much quietly go away. The reaction to my not entering the blog was massive in public and private. People were very upset with me. I heard from many folks who were most displeased with the fact that I was not entering the blog in the annual poll.

 

I was very surprised. I have a hard time conceiving of the idea that anything I do, especially with the blog, really impacts other folks. Apparently, there is a huge impact even if I don’t really see it happening.

 

So, after keeping the blog going through the year, primarily with a lot of help from my friends and guests, I decided to enter again this year, and roll the dice.

 

Sandi made me promise shortly before she passed that I would write my own stuff and keep the blog going. She had far more faith in me than I ever did in myself. Friday was her birthday and it was a very hard day. I spent most of the day offline as I tried to lose myself in a book. It seemed like some sort of sign Friday evening when I surfaced and checked my email and got the news that the blog had won.

 

Kevin’s Corner finished FIRST.

 

This year, we were the only place reviewing mysteries and crime fiction. We were also the only site that was not one of the big guns with book giveaways, special events, and the like. I am honored and stunned how things have turned out.

 

On behalf of myself, Scott, Barry, Aubrey, Jeanne of the BPL, and numerous other folks who have been a part of things here for another year, Thank You. If it was not for all the guests who contribute to this blog every month, this award and the recognition, does not happen.

 

A massive and heartfelt thank you goes to you, the readers, who come by here and read this blog. If it was not for your support over these past months and years, especially after Sandi passed and my word crashed in flames, this blog never would have continued or been around for this to happen today. You have showed your support in public and in private, and by voting this blog number one again.

 

Thank You. It truly means a lot. 

 

Kevin

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Dru's Book Musings: New Releases ~ Week of January 21, 2024

 Dru's Book Musings: New Releases ~ Week of January 21, 2024 

Lesa's Book Critiques: HERO BY THOMAS PERRY

 Lesa's Book Critiques: HERO BY THOMAS PERRY

Beneath the Stains of Time: Terrarium Nine: "Murder in the Urth Degree" (1989) by Edward Wellen

Beneath the Stains of Time: Terrarium Nine: "Murder in the Urth Degree" (1989)...: Earlier this month, I revisited the short-lived Dr. Wendell Urth series of short stories, " Earth is An Armchair: The Wendell Urth Quar...

SleuthSayers: Doing Its Zone Thing by John Floyd

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SleuthSayers: Managing Time

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Our Favorite Books Read in 2023: Andrew & Jeanne's Non-Mysteries

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Lesa's Book Critiques: A PEEK AHEAD

 Lesa's Book Critiques: A PEEK AHEAD

Scott's Take: Spider-Man’s Social Dilemma by Preeti Chhibber


Spider-Man’s Social Dilemma by Preeti Chhibber is the first book in a trilogy of books focused on Spider-Man as a teenager. This read has multiple plotlines and includes one where Sandman is trying to steal a lamp powered by alien matter. He is also balancing a school project with MJ, his feelings for her, his other Spider-Man activities, working for The Daily Bugle, and more.

 

The novel is told through multiple perspectives so the reader is seeing story from multiple points of view. The read features action, humor and plenty of character relationship building. I enjoyed these versions of Spider-Man and Mary Jane. I really enjoyed the novel even if it ends on cliff hanger for the next novel in the series. That book, Spider-Man's Bad Connection, was released last September and is on my hold list at the library.


https://amzn.to/3S8dIkt 

 

My reading copy came from my branch, Lochwood, of the Dallas Public Library System.

 

Scott A. Tipple © 2024

Friday, January 19, 2024

Writer Beware: Peak Fake: A Scam Website Impersonating Macmillan Publishers

 Writer Beware: Peak Fake: A Scam Website Impersonating Macmillan Publishers

Sandi's Birthday


Today is Sandi's 64rth birthday. One of the way harder days of the year in the never ending grief sea. Nothing is getting any easier.  Maybe it isn't supposed to and this is just the way it will always be as long as I am around.

 

I have explained this before, I am going to indulge myself again today, as this was and still is a very big deal. She had worked so very hard to get here and here we were..... the picture is from May 15, 2010, which was her graduation day at TWU. She was back on her feet, had walked at graduation, and doing pretty well after collapsing while student teaching about two months prior to this day. She had been air ambulanced from the parking lot of a school in Frisco down to Medical City Dallas Hospital where they determined she had several small strokes as well as some sort of heart attack,. While they could see damage on the MRI and the CT Scans, she never had the blood markers for either, so they were sure she would be fine long term. We would learn over a year and half later that not having the blood markers was meaningless because you could be full of cancer and have no blood markers at all for it.

 

We would also learn that this event was probably a warning sign of cancer that was never caught or diagnosed. All we knew this day was that she had graduated and had to pass the state boards to finally be cleared to teach. She had a classroom full of supplies and gear in storage and was so thrilled to have graduated. Sandi was worried that she might not pass the state boards  as she knew she was not the same person she was before this had happened. But, she was sure that given enough time, things would work out.

 

On this day, we had no idea what was to come. We thought the future was bright. The sun sure was as it kept busting through the overhead cloud cover. It happened to punch through and nailed us as the picture was taken all those years ago.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Lesa's Book Critiques: GLEN DAVIS’ FAVORITES OF 2023

 Lesa's Book Critiques: GLEN DAVIS’ FAVORITES OF 2023

Dark City Underground: REVIEW: "CAUSE OF DEATH" BY PATRICIA CORNWELL

 Dark City Underground: REVIEW: "CAUSE OF DEATH" BY PATRICIA CORNWELL

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Our Favorite Books Read in 2023: Kristin

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MAKE MINE MYSTERY: Back to the Grindstone

MAKE MINE MYSTERY: Back to the Grindstone: by Janis Patterson  For those of you who don’t know, my mammoth 22 novel republishing blitz ended on October 25. Thank Goodness! Re-releasin...

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Short Story Wednesday: Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson

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George Kelly: WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #158: COLLECTING MYSELF: THE UNCOLLECTED STORIES OF BARRY N. MALZBERG Edited by Robert Friedman and Gregory Shepard

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Jerry's House of Everything: SHORT STORY WEDNESDAY: SOLD TO SATAN

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Patricia Abbott: Short Story Wednesday' DANCE OF THE HAPPY SHADES-title story

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Short Story Wednesday Review: Under Investigation: US Grant Short Mysteries by Jeffrey Marks

 

From the massive archive... 

 

Author Jeffrey Marks has put together an interesting and very enjoyable collection of previously published stories featuring Ulysses S. Grant. Each story occurs during the Civil War and before the time of the first US Grant Mystery Novel, The Ambush of My Name. The stories portray Grant as a detective bringing his skills to bear on cases where the Civil War is a backdrop.

 

The book opens with “Under Reconstruction.”  Ulysses S. Grant likes to start his day with as belt of whiskey. His wife, Julia, as well as many others expect him to be President in about three years. In the meantime, he has to put up with nonsense like the planned meeting this morning with Stanton who is Secretary of War.

 

Too bad there is a dead man in Stanton’s office. In Grant’s opinion, it is a real shame that the dead man is not Stanton. Not only does Grant need to find the Secretary of War, he needs to find out who killed the dead man as quickly as possible to deal with the politics involved.

 

“Under Siege” follows and moves the action from the White House to the war. Grant has a new regiment from Ohio and they are not ready for battle. Not only are they not remotely ready, but in Grant’s considered opinion, the new troops don’t even know which end of the gun to point at the enemy.  Contrary to Grant’s opinion, apparently at least one did.

 

Because the shot Grant just heard over the flapping of the tents was the shot that killed Private Walters. According to Captain Turner, a man Grant respects even if he is soft on the recruits, it is a suicide. Turner wants Grant to see for himself. The problem with that is that once Grant takes a look he realizes this death was no suicide.

 

It’s late in 1863 and the various desserts cooling in the kitchen in “Under Cooked” are creating an intoxicating smell. What isn’t so pleasant is the sight of the dead woman bleeding into her own dough. Vicksburg is behind him and the manor home on Lookout Mountain in East Tennessee was supposed to have been a tranquil headquarters for Grant. Now Jenny Rowe is dead and the assumption by everyone else is that she was killed by a stray round fired during drills. If you aren’t hungry for desert when you start reading this story you will be by the end as there is a recipe from 1862 for “Green Apple Pies.”

 

Shifting the perspective considerably is the story “Under Hoof.” Written from the prospective of a horse, Cincinnati that General Ulysses S. Grant rode during the war, it tells the tale of a death.  Since the humans all look so much alike to the horses involved it is hard for Cincinnati and the other horses to know which specific humans were involved. That fact and the fact Cincinnati is going to have to somehow explain the real truth to the General are just two of the complexities in the story.

 

General Ulysses S. Grant was supposed to be out on one of the Federal boats, dry and comfortable. Instead, as “Under Water” opens, Grant is standing over a corpse that lies in the muck next to the bank somewhere along the Mississippi River. Somebody has caved in the man’s skull and most likely it was a shovel. Shovels are everywhere as Grant plans to divert the Mississippi to leave Vicksburg dry and vulnerable to attack. Who the man was, what his purpose was, and who killed him are just a few of the questions Grant needs answered as fast as possible.

 

Ulysses S. Grant has had men in his command, men he trusted, commit murder and other acts dishonoring themselves and their units. So, the fact that Private Jones says he didn’t do it in “Under Suspicion” does not mean that much to Grant. Plans for the campaign after Vicksburg are missing with the fate of the war hanging in the balance. Private Jones was the last person known to be in the room with the documents. If he didn’t take them, then who did?

 

Major General Abner Doubleday needs Grant’s help in “Under Hand.”  Doubleday has a reputation that is not at all positive. What happened at Gettysburg and Doubleday’s role in it no longer matters but it does to Doubleday. He claims to now have proof for what he has said all along. He wants Grant to meet a witness who is now finally coming forward more than a year later after the events in question. Grant knows that the whole deal is suspect but has no idea how messed up things will become before the deal is finished.

 

War takes a toll on all. Some die. Some live. Of those that live a significant number will be forever broken. That reality is true today just as it is true in “Under Sedation.”  Grant is going to visit those broken men in the hospital in Washington. It is his duty and his responsibility. The fact that somebody killed a patient while Grant was at the hospital won’t be tolerated. Before long, Grant is investigating to make sure the guilty party is caught.

 

Cyrus Williams disappeared just after the Army of Tennessee took Jackson, Mississippi. Captain Lee, no relation at all to the southern general, has a picture from one of those new-fangled camera things showing what might be Williams as a ghostly apparition in the picture. While some believe Williams deserted, Captain Lee believes the ghostly figure in the picture is Williams pointing out his killer. Then the body of Williams turns out proving he wasn’t a deserter in “Under Developed.”

 

These ten stories are full of rich history and scene details that all invoke a bye gone era. In story after story, General Grant finds the truth with or without the help of man or beast. War is easier than investigation and yet Ulysses S. Grant manages to be incredibly successful at both while excellently entertaining the reader with his brand of truth, honor and justice.

 

You can pick the read up here at Amazon.

 

Material supplied quite some time ago by the author in exchange for my objectivereview.

 

 

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012, 2016, 2024