Author BJ Bourg has announced that, in honor of Mother's Day and all mothers everywhere, he has made THE SEVENTH TAKING: A Mountain Mystery free for the week.
"THE SEVENTH TAKING is the chilling tale of a young man’s journey through
harsh mountain country in his search for the girl he loves, and the two
friends who dare to brave the dangerous elements—both human and
natural—to support a friend.
When Joy Vincent disappears in the Blue Summit Mountains of
Tennessee while vacationing with her family, park rangers begin an
intensive search for the Louisiana high school junior. Seven weeks
later, the search is abandoned and authorities conclude that Joy
voluntarily ran away because of a fight with her father.
Unwilling to believe it, Abraham Wilson makes the long drive to the
mountains and sets off on a journey that will change his life--and the
lives of his friends, Brett Lester and Charlie Rickman--forever. Will
they discover the secret behind Joy's disappearance, or will they meet
with the same fate?
(NOTE: Originally published on April 5, 2015 by Amber Quill Press, LLC)"
Kaye George starts us off on this first Monday in May with another Thriller Monday. Instead of being manic, read a book.
Wicked Liesby Lisa Jackson
This suspense thriller, written by
sisters Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush, is the fourth in their series dealing with
The Colony. Called Siren Song by the Oregon locals, or sometimes just 'the
cult,' The Colony is a fortified compound where a group of half-sisters live
under the strict rule of Catherine, their aunt. Some of the sisters have
escaped into the real world.
Among them is Laura Adderly. She's gone
through nursing school and married a doctor. She would be a success story,
except that she's divorced from Byron, the doctor, and has just found out that
she's pregnant by her ex as a result of a last minute reconciliation attempt.
She's also finding out that her demented half-brother, Justice Turnbull, who
wants to kill all the sisters, is now able to smell her. It seems he can easily
detect the presence of pregnant relatives. Laura had immediately grown attached
to the small life inside her and is determined to defend herself and her baby
against the monster that Justice has grown to be.
Laura is armed with something more than
her determination. All the sisters have been born with different 'gifts' and
Laura has two. When Justice's thoughts invade her mind, she can put up a mental
wall and block him out. The converse of that is that she can send her thoughts
into his mind. Her second gift occurs sporadically, but has been a help in her nursing career. Sometimes she can
touch a person and diagnose medical disorders, even predict fatal conditions
Justice is incarcerated from brutal
murders that happened twenty years ago, but his ego-maniac, know-it-all psychiatrist
is tricked by the wily killer and allows Justice to escape prison after
severely wounding him and a guard. Now Justice is free to rampage through the
Deception Bay area, killing as he goes, and threatening to annihilate every
relative, every sisssterrrr, as he hisses into Laura's mind. A disgraced
reporter, Harrison Frost, bent on redeeming himself by getting the story on
Justice, through Laura, gets more involved with her than he intends. This excellent
tale will keep you reading on the very edge of your seat. Be prepared for some
late nights since it's over five hundred pages long.
Murder On Wheels: Eleven Tales Of
Crime On The Move features short stories where various
wheeled modes of transportation past and present serve as a key part of each
tale. The tales come from six authors known as the “Austin Mystery Writers” as
well as two award winning authors outside the group, Earl Staggs and Reavis Z. Wortham.
Edited by Ramona DeFelice Long, the short stories that follow a brief
introduction by Kaye George feature a lot of variety in style and complexity.
The stranger in town has quite the
effect on people. While the men see him as trouble, that same quality is a
serious attraction for the fairer sex. That is especially for Rosemary, a fifteen
year old looking for a way out of her small town life. Whether or not Campbell
Reed is the answer to her dreams is the question in “A Nice Set Of Wheels” by
Running moonshine has gone on for
decades in the bottom lands of northeast Texas. In “Family Business” by Reavis
Z. Wortham illegal liquor has paid the bills as well as caused a lot of
problems and heartache. It is the business of the Caissen family and comes with
Fourteen year old stowaway Tim Brooks
thought he would hide on the merchant ship until it arrived in port in
Charleston. He picked the vessel Rota
Fortunae to hide aboard and that was a serious mistake in this tale of the
same name by V. P. Chandler. There is a secret in her hold and one that can’t
be explained easily. Out of all the tales in the book this one of adventure, and
the mystical was my personal favorite.
It is just after World War II in
Hollywood as “Mome Rath, My Sweet” by Gale Albright begins. Private Investigator
Grimm has a major problem as Joey Dormouse is dead and Grimm is being
blamed. He should have known the woman billing herself as “Miss Wonderland”
who claimed she wanted nothing more than her sister found would be nothing but
trouble. After all, Mome Rath is the biggest gangster on the west coast and
more famous in all the wrong ways than Al Capone.
The route from Knoxville to D. C. is
usually simple enough. The bus is one of those jumbo buses that have two
levels. People take the ride, look at the scenery, and have fun. A difficult
passenger can change things in “The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round” by Kaye
As the rest of the family has
repeatedly pointed out, Mary should have never married her Italian husband, Marco.
Her family is Irish and there are cultural issues. Then there is his behavior
and his insistence on joining the family business in “Buon Viaggio” by Laura Oles.
Faye and her husband, Fred, are at
opposite sides in their marriage. He loves riding his bicycles and is all about
fitness. He now even wants to go vegan. Faye understands they have grown older
and would prefer they stay home together and be cool and comfortable in their
house. In “Aporkalypse Now” by Gale Albright the situation is definitely not a
bicycle built for two.
Family stress also takes a major
role in “Have A Nice Trip” also by Kaye George. Prissy has a difficult, to say
the least, mother-in-law named Abigail. While Prissy’s husband, Trey, is aware
and agrees they should go on their long delayed honey moon, one wonders if he
truly understands Prissy’s needs.
There is an old adage about how one
should write what one knows. Early Staggs knows all about driving school buses.
One hopes he does not truly know about dead men on school buses. In his story
“Dead Man On A School Bus” being Police Chief in the suburb of Southlake was
supposed to an easy gig after thirty years of hard work on the police force
over in Fort Worth. The chief has seen a lot of dead bodies, but the one found
early this morning on a school bus is a new experience.
It is not a good thing when one
walks into the kitchen and finds elderly Mom stirring in ground glass in the
lemon meringue pie filling. Something has to be done to make sure Mom does not
get thrown into prison in “Hell On Wheels” by Kathy Walker. The family has to
have a plan and that means they have to work together.
Billy Ray Bryant always has one
thing going wrong or another and needs a favor from Red Clark. Such is the case
in “Red’s White F-150 Blues” by Scott Montgomery. Billy needs to hide his truck
in Red’s garage to keep it away from the local repo man, Jerry Coonts. Red has
been married long enough to know that the coming argument with his wife Britney
over hiding the truck will be shorter if the dead is already done before she
A two page biography of each author
brings the book to a close.
Slipping back and forth in time and
set in various locations in Texas and elsewhere the eleven tales in this book
are all good ones. Some are more adventure orientated than straight mystery and
at least a couple are very noir like in their situations. Murder On Wheels: Eleven Tales Of
Crime On The Move is a solidly good anthology from eight talented
authors and one that is well worth your time.
Murder On Wheels: Eleven Tales Of
Crime On The Move
And reviews & giveaways of 3 more April mysteries from
Penguin authors-"Crime and Poetry" by Amanda Flower, "Murder She Wrote: Design for Murder" by Jessica
Fletcher, Donald Bain and Renee Paley-Bain, and "Needle and Dread": A
Southern Sewing Circle Mystery by Elizabeth Lynn Caseyhttp://kingsriverlife.com/04/30/even-more-april-penguin-mysteries/
Back in July 2011 I wrote the below
review after reading and enjoying the anthology Shaken: Stories for Japan. In
the wake of the recent earthquakes that once again have rocked the island
nation it seemed a good idea to mention this book as part of Friday’s Forgotten
Books hosted by Patti Abbott.
As noted on the cover, this book is
“A Collection of Original Fiction for Japan America Society of Southern
California's 2011 Japan Relief Fund.” The authors involved have banded
together to create this e-book with all monies raised from sales given to the
Japan Relief Fund to aid earthquake relief efforts. The need remains great
in Japan and the aim of this book is to help in some small way while also
providing reading pleasure. The book seems to be meeting both goals quite well
based on the buzz it has generated.
After a brief message from Douglas
G. Erber, President, Japan American Society of Southern California followed by
a brief introduction to the book by Editor Timothy Hallinan it is on to the
stories. While some are mystery stories and others are fiction, they are all
stories of depth featuring complicated characters dealing with heavy burdens.
These are not the shallow characters of the latest maga Hollywood style
adventure. There are not any lightweight fluff stories in this book either.
It becomes quickly evident to the most casual reader that this is a book
of fiction with serious depth and meaning.
The book opens with “Matsushima Bay”
written by Adrian McKinty. The author briefly chronicles a previous trip
into the area, near the epicenter of the recent tragic earthquake and what the
region means spiritually to so many. While it is a work of fiction, it
reads as nonfiction in the style of a personal and heartfelt narrative.
Naomi Hirahara comes next with
“Chirigami” where a resident, Kenbo, of an apartment with very thin walls
located somewhere just outside of Tokyo has a new neighbor. All he knows
is that she is a woman and foreigner but she is not British or American.
Times have changed. Not only does Kenbo have an unattached female
neighbor, something unheard of before, but the business he works in is slowly
failing. Thanks to his unknown neighbor, Kenbo’s relationship with others
begins to change.
“Gift of the Sea” by Vicki Doudera
tells the tale of a daughter of a woman who was destined to die at sea.
The sea was her end but it was also her mother’s beginning in this touching
Japan isn’t the only place to suffer
major earthquakes that have been devastating. San Francisco has seen its share
and serves as setting for “Coolie” by Kelli Stanley. The earthquake has struck,
the heart of San Francisco is on fire and Alfred and his rescuer must navigate
through the chaos to Golden Gate Park. Alfred is blinded so he must rely
on his rescuer to navigate as well as tell him of the dead horses, the rubble
marking collapsed buildings and homes and everything else in this hell on earth
this April 18, 1906.
Editor Timothy Hallinan makes his
appearance with the powerful story “The Silken Claw.” It is September
1926 on a movie set where production of a Dr. Zo movie is underway. Shooting of
a pivotal scene is underway but the real drama is amongst the cast and crew.
Tom Hickey is 36 and a borderline
diabetic in “The Enemy” by Ken Kuhlken. He owns a supper club and hates
what he is doing and the madness of the world. That includes the shocking
shooting death of his bartender who was robbed on the way to the bank. Since
Tom Hickey also works as a private investigator he intends to find the shooter
one way or another.
It has been four long years and
finally Eunice Toyama is back home in San Pedro. Internment has changed her
home town as well as Eunice. It is 1946, she is 19, and very ready to do
business and take care of debts that are due in “The Emperor’s Truck” by Wendy
Unlike many of the stories in this
anthology that are set in the past, Cora Black chose present day Tokyo for her
setting with “Mosquito Incense.” Despite the initial modern day setting,
the past is the key point of the story where Tokyo in August means heat,
humidity and regret in large amounts in this tale rich with visual details and
depth of feeling.
“Dead Time” by Dale Furutani
powerfully tells the tale of a man in prison waiting to be executed.
Between 8 and 8:30 every day the warden comes to collect the prisoners to be
executed that day. In Japan the day of the execution is not known to the
condemned or the family so each day begins with the mounting terror of not
knowing if this is the day you die. Being forced to contemplate death
each day gives one time to think.
Reality is harsh for Miki in “Miki’s
19th Birthday” by Stefan Hammond. Her daily reality is living
in a cardboard nest in a tunnel with several other refugees. She has semi
bonded with two other teen girls in the wake of the earthquake/tsunami.
It’s time to find another empty house and get clean--what they call a “shower
Invasion”-- as well as take whatever the trio wants. The problem is the
place they picked isn’t empty.
Brett Battles turns in “The
Assignment” a tale where Orlando is supposed to pick up a married Japanese
national at the airport in ‘Los Angeles. It is supposed to be a
simple pick up, escort Mrs. Tomita to a certain location, and drop her off
job. But, Mrs. Tomita is not everything she appears to be and has her own
Faith Hasegawa and the narrator were
best friends from Junior High until Faith died at 40 from cancer. In
“Faith’s Secret” by Dianne Emley, the past is the theme in a tale that will
strike a chord in many readers that grew up in the seventies. Set in Los
Angeles this tale about teen issues works no matter where you grew up.
Working customer service from a
cubicle is no fun and it certainly isn’t in “Father Knows Best” by Hank
Phillipi Ryan. A difficult boss has to be dealt with and the options are
Blending in the local society is a
frequent theme of the stories in this book regardless of where they are set.
This is certainly true in “Borrowed Scenery” by Rosemary Harris. A
fixture in the neighborhood block, Goria Madison always knew what was going
on. At least, she thought she did. The quiet neighbor next door is a
With a name like Cynthia Goldberg,
people didn’t expect her to look the way she did. Thanks to her American
Jew father and her Japanese mother, her heritage is mixed and striking as she
walks near the tidal basin in March 1994. It is almost time for the
annual “Cherry Blossoms” in Washington D.C. The setting is more than
symbolic in this powerful tale by Debby Mack where the painful legacy of atomic
warfare lives on.
Jerri Westerson pens a tale of
forced marriage and much more in “The Noodle Girl.” Haruka has just
turned 13 and has been told she is to marry Masaru-Sama. She
unfortunately came to his attention because of her mom and their noodle/tea
cart. If the food had been bad, she could have been safe from him.
Mom is thrilled with her prospects but Haruka is not.
It has been twenty years since he
was back to his village. Now the man has an 11 year old daughter. Both
the man and his daughter are abducted in the chilling story “The Missing” by
Jeffrey Siger. Captured by North Korean soldiers they must do what they
have to do to survive while keeping secret exactly who they are.
“Enforcer No. 3” has been given his
assignment in this hard hitting tale by Gary Phillips. Tokyo may be
having power problems, the city of Sendai may be heavily damaged, but the
Yakuza carry on with normal business. He has work to do with blade and
Rebecca has her hands full with
three kids in “Dusty” by C. J. West. But instead of all three to see the
temple at Kamakura, Jessica plans instead to go to a friend’s home high in a
local apartment building. By doing so, she leaves her younger sister Lisa and
baby brother Stephen with Mom for the trip. Within minutes of her leaving
their car and joining up with her friend, the ground starts shaking and
seemingly won’t stop threatening everything and everyone.
Watanabe Wataru was born into the
right family at the right time. It may be the 11th century in
“The Kamo Horse” by IJ Parker, but nobleman Wataru is doing very well. If
he can win the great Kamo race, he can claim the prize of the Emperor’s new
horse. The emperor has selected him to train and ride the horse in the
great race but others think the horse is unlucky and dangerous. Wataru‘s
future in the court hangs in the balance but not because of the obvious in this
complex mystery tale that finishes the book.
At the very end of this enjoyable
book, there is a small explanation about the Japan American Society of Southern
California and their work. Throughout the book after each story and
author bio, there are scattered haiku from the book titled Basho: the Complete
Haiku translated by Jane Reichhold and published in 2008. Along with a brief
note about the passages cited, there is a brief note about the illustrative
work created by cover artist Gar Anthony Haywood.
The result is a complex and
imaginative work that spans the wide gulf between American and Japan while
telling tales that will resonate with many people. These are not fluff pieces
dashed off to meet a word count or loosely address a theme. These characters
are complex and deep and allow a glimpse into their lives for a few pages.
This is a book of soul and complexity of depth that just happens to
support a good cause.
Editor Todd Robinson has announced on the Facebook page for Thuglit that the market has closed. The final issue to come out, hopefully, by the end of May will be a larger than normal edition of stories as he winds things down.
look at the past, I find stories about people which fascinate me, particularly
those in which there is a curious mixture of fact, legend, and mysterious
uncertainty. In this series of articles, I want to explore some of those
stories. I think of them as mysteries swaddled in legend. While truth is always
desired in most things, truth easily becomes staid and boring. Legend, on the
other hand, forever holds a hint of romanticism and an aura of excitement borne
of adventure, imagination and, of course, mystery.
Born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko in San Francisco on July 20, 1938,
to Russian immigrant parents, she began acting at the age of four and soon
changed her name to Natalie Wood.In
1947, at the age of eight, she played Maureen O'Hara's daughter in the original
film version of the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street, a
role whichestablished her as one of the top child movie actors.As an adult, she starred in a number of major
films including , Splendor in the Grass
(1955), West Side Story (1961), Gypsy(1962), andBob & Carol & Ted &
By the time she was twenty-five, Natalie Wood, a strikingly beautiful and
talented actress, hadaccummulated three
Oscar nominations.That was a record
number of nominations for a young actress until2014 when Jennifer Lawrence accomplished the same featby the age of twenty-three.
At 8:00 on the morning of November 29, 1981, Natalie's body was pulled
from the water near Catalina Island, off the coast of California.
The previous night, she had partied on their yacht, Splendour,
with her husband, actor Robert Wagner.They were married in 1957, divorced six years later, and remarried in
1972.Also on board the yacht were
their friend, actor Christopher Walken, and Dennis Davern, the boat's captain.
The Los Angeles county coroner ruled her death an accident by drowning
and hypothermia and noted that a night of heavy drinking could have caused her
to slip and fall into the water.
Not everyone accepted that ruling.Lana Wood, Natallie's sister and a former Bond girl,accusedWagner of killing Natalie in a jealous rage over an alleged affair with Walken.
When it was suggested Natalie fell into the water trying to board a dinghy
alongside the yacht, Lana said Natalie was apoor swimmer with a lifelong fear of water, and for her to voluntarily
leave the yacht on a dinghy wasimplausible.All three men on
board said they thought Natalie had gone to bed and had no idea she was in the
The case was reopened in November 2011 after the captain of the boat,
Dennis Davern, published abook titled,GoodbyeNatalie, Goodbye Splendour.In his
book, he admitted he lied to police during the initial investigation and now
stated Wagner was responsible for her death.Davern appeared in a 1992 Geraldo Rivera special, a 2000 Vanity Fair
piece, and CNN interview in 2010.
Davern claimed Wagner pushed Natalie away after a drunken brawl and
she fell overboard.He said he wanted
tosave her, but Wagner said, “Leave her
there. Teach her a lesson.”
Wagner dismissed Davern's allegations as nothing more than an attempt
to sell books through tabloid headlines.
In his 2008 memoir, Pieces of My Heart,Wagner acknowledged he had a fight with
Nataliethat night after Walken went to
bed, and that both of them had been drinking heavily.As for what caused her to fall off the boat,
he wrote it was "all conjecture. Nobody knows. There are only two
possibilities: either she was trying to get away from the argument, or she was
trying to tie the dinghy. But the bottom line is that nobody knows exactly what
"Did I blame myself?," he wrote. "If I had been there,
I could have done something. But I wasn't there. I didn't see her. The door was
closed; I thought she was belowdecks. I didn't hear anything. But ultimately, a
man is responsible for his loved one, and she was my loved one."
After a fresh examination of the original autopsy report, the Los Angeles County Chief Medical Examiner in 2012,
amended Natalie's death certificate.The
cause of death was changed from“accidental drowning” to "drowning and other undetermined
The amended document also states:
. . .the circumstances of how Natalie ended up in the
water are "not clearly established;"
. . .some two dozen bruises on her body and an abrasion on
her left cheek may have been sustained before she went into the water;
. . .she may have been unconscious when she entered the
As of now, the case is still open and unsolved.Investigators have circumstantial evidence,
allegations, and suppositions, but no definitive evidence that Natalie's death
was due to foul play.
As for me, I'm undecided.Maybe
they hada physical altercation on deck,
and she went over the side accidentally or aided by an angry, drunken
husband.Perhaps she was so anxious to
get away from him, the amount of alcohol she'd consumed overwhelmed her fear of
water, and she braved climbing into the dinghy only to lose her balance and
wind up in the water.
One thing I'm certain of.I
don't believe we'll ever know for sure what happened on that ill-fated yacht on
that dark night off the coast of Catalina.
Earl Staggs earned all Five
Star reviews for his novels MEMORY OF A MURDER and JUSTIFIED ACTION and
has twice received a Derringer Award for Best Short Story of the Year.He served as Managing Editor of Futures
Mystery Magazine, as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars.
While there are power outages across the area and there is tornado damage to our north, we are fine. As the squall line hit here it had weakened a bit so all we got was a lot of rain and lightening with a little wind. Just a normal Texas thunderstorm and nothing more here. We are very glad about that.
I have not made it down the stairs to look at the car yet, but from looking down into the lot everything appears normal. That is a very good thing as we have a trip to the hospital today. Sandi has her IVIG deal and we should learn the MRI results.
I'm exhausted, but that is my normal state of being these days. Between the stress of the situation here and my worsening health, things are very hard. But, it could be way worse this morning and I am well aware.
Writer, Reviewer, Editor, and Professional Chair and Table Controller
Those interested in discussing editing and other writing projects can contact me at kevinrtipple at verizon.net
Donations Very Desperately Needed!!!!
Sandi's cancer fight continues. If you can help and would prefer to donate directly, please contact TEXAS ONCOLOGY in SUITE 220 of Building D at Medical City Dallas Hospital in Dallas, Texas and arrange your direct donation in Sandi's name with Debra, the financial counselor. We thank you for your prayers, thoughts, and support as the battle continues.