Monday, October 02, 2023
John F. Dobbyn taught law at Villanova Law School for over 40 years. He introduced Boston criminal trial lawyers Michael Knight and Lex Devlin in short stories published in Alfred Hitchcock’ Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine before giving them wider scope in longer adventures. Frame-up (Oceanview, 2010) is the second novel about the duo.
A legal thriller that is more thriller than legal, it opens with Michael Knight entering a parking garage a few minutes late to find his best friend John McKedrick waiting for him, pointing at his watch. McKedrick turns the ignition in his car and it explodes into flames. Knight had long been worried about McKedrick’s choice of employer, a lawyer serving the needs of the local mid-level Mafia soldiers. It seems Knight’s concern had been more than justified.
Knight learns that McKedrick had been preoccupied the week before the bombing but no one knew why. Knight continues to ask questions and before he fully realizes it, he’s dealing with members of the local Mafia, the Russian Mafia, his long-ago art professor at Harvard, and some European financiers who don’t ask awkward questions of their clientele. At the heart of the matter is a rare Vermeer painting known to have been stolen from a U. S. museum, millions of dollars, and a brewing revolution within the Boston branch of the Mafia. Just how McKedrick got involved with this imbroglio puzzles Mitchell throughout the story.
This book is a first-rate piece of escapism. Like many of his fictional legal ancestors, Mitchell spends far more time investigating than he does with his law texts or in a courtroom. His escapades take him to London and to Amsterdam where he plans and executes a hair-raising scam in Amsterdam, victimizing a Russian gangster who would happily slice him into bits with little provocation. Mitchell leads a charmed life, though, and skates through the con unscathed. He is blessed with friends who happily jump in to help with whatever he’s up to, including one who dropped what he was doing to fly to Amsterdam to help perpetrate the sting. (I think I have good friends, but I don’t know who I would call for something like that.)
A subplot in which Devlin’s unexpected ties with the local Mafia don are revealed rounds out a meticulously plotted and well written thriller. An excellent contribution to the genre. I am looking for the other five books in the series.
· ASIN: B003YFJ6G2
· Publisher: Oceanview Publishing; 1st edition (March 8, 2010)
· Publication date: March 8, 2010
· Language: English
· File size: 4193 KB
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 01, 2023
About noon Friday, after a wasted trip to the City of Garland Health Department that had no Covid booster shots for those with insurance (no warning on their website either) we got boosted at our local Kroger, where we get our meds down at NW Highway and Plano Road. They had the Pfizer version which is what we had last November the last time we had to do this.
Both Scott and I got it in the left arm and by Friday evening the arms were hurting pretty good. Same yesterday, with my arm also doing a little bit of swelling. Overall, we did not feel too bad though, we both were feeling generally a little rough.
While Scott has been pretty much the same today, I would like the freight train that drove over me arrested for attempted murder. This time has walloped me far more than the last time. I am wiped out and, since mid afternoon, doing the part time fever and part time chills portion of the program..
I have spent the day in bed watching football and a couple of other things. I am siting up using the laptop now and am not doing that very well.
But, no matter hard this things churns me, it is worth it to cut the risk that damn Covid raises.
If this runs the course of last time, tomorrow will be a wipe out, and Tuesday might be a slight improvement. Time will tell.
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