Friday, October 31, 2014

FFB Review: "Texas Vigilante (Ellie Taine Book Two)" by Bill Crider

Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. I believe Todd Mason is collecting the links this week. If not, I will be home much later today to adjust links as Sandi has a multi hour infusion of IVIG today at Texas Oncology at Medical City Dallas Hospital. For us, Fridays are not just about FFB as they are usually the days we are at the hospital for one thing or another with her cancer fight.

I’m partial to westerns. Probably because my dad was a huge fan of them and they were the first movies I remember seeing on the big screen. Dad was not such a fan of the books, but if it was a movie it was only a matter of time before we were there as a family. I had already planned to read and review this for today and had to laugh when I came across the Halloween reference.

May your Halloween be a safe one for you and yours and thank you for reading my effort today as well as this blog for the last ten years. Things are far different now than when I started all those years ago and the focus has expanded quite a bit by necessity as life has impacted me. But, books still matter and I think reviews do too.


Originally published in 1999 by Dell Books, Texas Vigilante is a sequel to Outrage in Blanco. Some of the events of the first book are mentioned in Texas Vigilante and, by necessity, in this review so you have been warned.

It has been a few months since Ella Taine took over Jonathan Crossland’s ranch after he died. These past months have not been easy. Ranching in Texas is difficult things were such that she had to go into debt to a bank in San Antonio. She didn’t like doing it, but she had and so far things are holding together. She has good help and that includes Lane Tolbert. She recently hired him as he was desperately in need of a job to support his wife, Sue, and his very young daughter. Ellie cares about Lane and his wife a lot, but she absolutely adores Lauire. That smart and beautiful little girl is the daughter Ellie never had and her presence is almost like she is her own child. One of the real pleasures is sitting down and reading with her.

Mr. Crossland had an office with a small library of books by authors such as Irving, Cooper, Melville, Hawthorne, Shakespeare, and others. Laurie is not quite ready for Shakespeare, but the other books she can handle. Their latest read features a skinny school teacher by the name of Ichabod Crane and a certain headless horseman. Neither Ellie, Laurie, or the others on the ranch have any idea that a real life horror is about to be visited upon them thanks to a prison escape and a certain prisoner bent on revenge.

Following the very good Outrage at Blanco isn’t easy, but Bill Crider does it masterfully in Texas Vigilante. Like in the preceding book, the theme of revenge is again a major part of this western as are the choices folks make as they move through life.  Ellie is, by necessity, not as much a part of everything as in the first book, but she makes herself well known in a novel that cracks with a gunshot every few pages. A mighty good western, Texas Vigilante is a good one and quite the sequel to “Outrage at Blanco.

Texas Vigilante (Ellie Taine Book Two)
Bill Crider
Brash Books
September 2014
E-Book (also available in paperback)
304 Pages

Using funds in my Amazon Associate account I picked this up to read and review awhile back.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lesa's Latest Contest-- Cozy mystery giveaway

As posted elsewhere earlier today....

 This week, I'm giving away copies of Elizabeth Lynn Casey's Taken In & Shear Trouble by Elizabeth S. Craig. Details on my blog, Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine  

Dallas Morning News Newspaper and Bad Customer Service

Just days after I paid my most recent error filled bill with the correct amount as their new billing system is an epic failure, the Dallas Morning News staff has made their final billing error. They closed my account without any warning or discussion. Having been a subscriber since 1982 as they have steadily shrunk the paper I guess I was no longer wanted or needed.

Via (My Wife) Lady Sandra: Fall Wreath

Lady Sandra: Fall Wreath: I am not a big Halloween fan; my oldest son says it is his favorite holiday. I let him do the decorations. I needed a new fall wrea...

Via The Five-Two: The Five-Two Vol. 3 Available for Amazon Kindle

The Five-Two: The Five-Two Vol. 3 Available for Amazon Kindle: Collects our third year of fifty-two poems. Featuring Austin Alexis, F.J. Bergmann, Tom Brzezina, Stevie Cenko, Ann Clark, Louie Clay, Ran...

Short Story Review: "Dead End" by Craig Faustus Buck

It isn’t the fact that Dr. Luke Vico drives a BMW worth more than 100 grand that makes him a scumbag. For ex-detective Beltran it is Vico’s public behavior this particular evening as well as what he did to Angela Landau. Vico got away with murder and nothing was right ever again. Maybe Beltran can now figure out a way to fix things.

There is quite a lot going on in this complex short story. Nominated for the 2014 Anthony Award for Best Short Story this material is currently free at the Untreed Reads Store. Dead End  is very good. Clearly, Craig Faustus Buck is an author to keep an eye on. 

Dead End
Craig Faustus Buck
Untreed Reads Publishing
16 Pages

Material supplied by Untreed Reads Publishing in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Via (My Wife) Lady Sandra: Donations to Texas Oncology

Lady Sandra: Donations to Texas Oncology: Well, I got total of 18 hats done for my Oncologist Office finished. One is what we call “Whimsical” hat which was made out of the small...

Via Writer Beware®: The Blog: Kindle Scout: The Pros and Cons of Amazon's New Crowdsourced Publishing Program

Writer Beware®: The Blog: Kindle Scout: The Pros and Cons of Amazon's New Crowdsourced Publishing Program

Review: "To Hell And Gone In Texas" by Russ Hall

Former Sheriff Detective Al Quinn is enjoying his retirement as well as his small home on the shores of a lake near Austin, Texas.  In some ways he misses his former job, but in others he is glad to be out as 25 years with the Travis County Sheriff’s Department was long enough even if he had a good boss.  His biggest annoyance these days at his isolated home is the drought.  If the unrelenting Texas sun keeps cooking the surrounding area forcing the lake level ever lower he will soon have to do some work to extend the boat dock.

The call from Sheriff Clayton of Travis County, his former boss, changes things. According to Clayton, Ali’s estranged brother, Maury, is in the hospital.  The homicide unit of Austin Police Department thinks it was a possible murder attempt. Sheriff Clayton does not know anymore more and that means Al is going to have to break the twenty year silence between them.

Al soon finds not only Maury in the hospital, but Detective Ferguson Jergens by his side. Al had known her back in High School, even taken her to the Prom, and a lot of years have passed. According to her, somebody gave Maury three tablets of Viagra, a drug he had no prescription for and should have never taken, and it almost killed him. He is still alive and is not out of the woods yet. Whether it happened at the assisted living center where Maury lives or by some other way has yet to be determined. Maury can’t talk.  It also has not been determined if, Maury, a ladies man possibly did it to himself or willingly took the pills offered by others.  According to Detective Jenkins everyone one is a possible suspect and that includes Al because he is the brother and their long history of conflict.

Al may hate his brother for good reason, but he certainly did not attempt to kill him. If he wanted his brother dead he would have done it years ago. He also may be retired and considered a suspect by the beautiful detective, but that is not going to stop him from going over to the assisted living center which is Maury’s home and start asking questions.  Before long a second attempt on Maury’s life is made, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are involved, and , and members of a notorious Mexican drug cartel are involved in a case that moves all over the Austin area as Maury, Al, and their friends battle to stay alive.

Well known for Bones In the Rain (Blue-Eyed Indian Mystery Series) and quite a few other books, award winning author Russ Hall has a really good book on his hands with “To Hell And Gone In Texas.” A complex action oriented mystery full of interesting characters, numerous suspects and plenty of clues, as well as lots of local color regarding the Austin, Texas area, this is a book that comes fully alive for the reader.  All of the above is a very long way of saying the book is very good and well worth your time.

To Hell And Gone In Texas
Russ Hall
Red Adept Publishing
August 2014
ISBN# 978-1-940215-33-4
Large Paperback (also available in e-book)
238 Pages

Material supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Via Ruthless Culture-- Don’t Attack Reviewers

Don’t Attack Reviewers

Review: "The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fourth Meal of Mayhem" Edited by J. Alan Hartman

In what has become a welcomed annual tradition, Editor J. Alan Hartman and Untreed Reads have a new edition of their annual crime filled Thanksgiving anthology. The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fourth Meal of Mayhem features ten stories, three recipes, and tales of chaos and mayhem often with a touch or considerably more of humor. Like the previous books in the series, all the tales are set on or just before Thanksgiving so there are plenty of mentions of food to make you hungry.

After a short introduction by the editor and a recipe by his sister, Lisa Wagner, for “Breakfast Pumpkin Bread” it is on to the stories. First up is “A Foolish Fowl’s Thanksgiving/Cranberry Murder Case” by Big Jim Williams. Heavy on the humor is this tale where an ongoing argument between Herbert and Myrtle Clapsaddle as they talk with a young newspaper reporter is interrupted by a member of the local constabulary. Police Detective First Class Sedgwick Segway has received a trip there is to be a murder at the Clapsaddle farm and is there to check it out.

Life was good as Thanksgiving approached in 1970. Darcie had her PhD, she had the position of assistant professor at a public university in upstate New York, and had gotten rid----by way of divorce---her lush of a husband. Then Aunt Nozzie called and there was no escape from having to go home for Thanksgiving in “Leave It  To Cleaver” by Lesley Diehl.

“The Tater Tot Caper” by Sandra Murphy comes next. Mary is already not thrilled with the stress of cooking and all for Thanksgiving and now their girls are playing lets meet the parents with their boyfriends. She would much rather sit and read some of her new books that arrived than deal with all the relatives and their dietary issues, the new boyfriends, and all the rest of it. Her husband Jim isn’t going to be any help as usual because only football is on his mind. At least she has wine to help her deal with everything though there may not be enough wine to handle this year’s chaos and mayhem.

A Sheriff Mollie Goodall story is always a treat. Thankfully Texas author Earl Staggs gives us another with the highly entertaining “Turkey Tuesday.” Thanksgiving is six days away and 800 turkeys destined for the tables of the less fortunate in the area have been stolen from Ashburn’s Grocery Store. They can’t be replaced at this late date. The missing frozen turkeys simply have to be found and the clock is ticking.

A recipe for “Easy Bread Stuffing” by Lisa Wagner comes next. This is probably not time to admit this family uses always stuffing mix out of a box. The gravy comes from a jar. The cranberry sauce comes from a can too.

“Bogged Down” by Barbara Metzger comes next. Last year’s Thanksgiving had been pretty bad so this year’s simply has to be better. It can’t be worse. At least this year she is staying home with her new dog, new friends, and hopefully a new tradition. That is until Jann talks her into picking cranberries in the nearby cranberry bogs. They got some berries and quite a more in Jann’s desire to avoid the canned stuff.

Stan the Dentist has gone to Thanksgiving dinner with Moe Sabatini and his fellow members of organized crime before. While receptionist Mindy is horrified in “More Good Times” by Steve Shrott that Stan would go to Moe’s mansion for Thanksgiving ever again, Stan sees the mobsters as just your average run of the mill patients needing dental work. It is just business and business has been slow. Stan likes to keep his patients happy and when they are good he gives out toys. The mobster guys really like bobbleheads.

Rob Chirico comes next with his highly entertaining homage “Murder on the Side (with apologies to Raymond Chandler). It was hot that November morning of 1952 in Los Angeles. It was a Wednesday beneath the smog-laden pall. The beautiful curves walked into his Marlowe’s office.  As beautiful as she is Mrs. Mary Jones should have a perfect life. Instead, she has a problem and she wants Marlowe’s help.

The next client is also beautiful when she trots into the private investigator’s office in “Talk, Turkey” by Laird Long. The face nobody would love, but they would love her body. Tina is not only a talking turkey, she has a presidential pardon. Whoever is after her cares about neither in this amusing tale.

Just in case you were not hungry enough by this point Lisa Wagner comes next with another recipe. This time it is one for “Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies.”

Joanie is at her Mama’s bedside in “It’s A Trap” by Barb Goffman. Mama wanted to die at home and she is about to get that wish as the time is near. Mama also wants Joanie to forgive Elaine. It is her final dying wish. That won’t be easy as there are numerous scores to settle from the past and present.

Having a wedding the same time as Thanksgiving has seemed to be a good idea according to her sister, Alicia. She has been married a few times before and plans on doing it again this year in “Thanksgiving in Moderation” by Debra H. Goldstein. Not that she has made good marriage choices in recent years, but the guy this year, Philippe, seems especially problematic in this final story of the anthology.

Author bios bring this entertaining installment to a close.

The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fourth Meal of Mayhem continues the fine tradition of recipes as well as short stories featuring crazed relatives, talking turkeys as well as dead and about to be dead ones, and mayhem during the Thanksgiving season. No doubt inspired by a few relatives the writer’s involved in this year’s anthology have done very well for themselves in crafting these word feasts. The reader’s only problem is how to get through the book without feeling hungry. 

The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fourth Meal of Mayhem
Edited by J. Alan Hartman
Untreed Reads Publishing
October 2014
E-Book (Paperback available)
145 Pages (estimated)

Material supplied by the editor in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

My review of the second anthology is here and the third one here.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Via (My Wife) Lady Sandra: More Breast Cancer applique Chemo Hats!

Lady Sandra: More Breast Cancer applique Chemo Hats!: I finished ten more chemo hats with the “Pink Garden” fabric. I did two different appliques and two different styles. Pictures are be...

Via Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

Short Story Review: "Twinkle Toes: Dev Haskell Short Mystery" by Mike Faricy

Dev Haskell was still asleep when his cellphone went off in the front pocket of his jeans where he had left them on the floor. He had much rather be back asleep in the bed next to Heidi, but the woman on the cell phone just keeps talking. She gradually makes inroads into his sleep fogged brain and he slowly realizes a girl he knew from high school long ago could be in real trouble.

Zoe Lawlor, who he knew as “Twink,” was his date for the Prom. A date that, all things considered, went surprisingly well and ended in an unexpected way. 48 hours later she was gone and he has not heard of or seen her since. He soon learns that she is wanted by the cops for another matter which means the police can’t be involved according to her friend.  Among other things, Twink was doing some modeling work for a guy who, though he paid well, was apparently into some shady stuff of his own. Collette is sure something is very wrong and Dev Haskell agrees to work the case. A case that will get more and more complicated as he moves around the St. Paul area.

This is a very good short story clearly written to interest the reader in the several Dev Haskell novels. It works for that as well as well as on its own as a solidly good read tale. Twinkle Toes: Dev Haskell Short Mystery features an occasionally slightly sarcastic private investigator, a damsel in distress, and plenty of suspects in a fun read.

Twinkle Toes: Dev Haskell Short Mystery
Mike Faricy
Credit River Publishing
October 11, 2014
26 Pages (estimated)

Material was picked up during author’s ongoing free read promotion.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Via Bibliodaze--- #HaleNo, Blogger Blackout and the Non-Existent War

#HaleNo, Blogger Blackout and the Non-Existent War

Via Little Big Crimes: Milk and Tea, by Linda Michelle Marquardt

Little Big Crimes: Milk and Tea, by Linda Michelle Marquardt: "Milk and Tea," by Linda Michelle Marquardt, in Prison Noir, edited by Joyce Carol Oates, Akashic Press, 2014. We are back for ...

Pulp Pusher: Guest Blog: Dave Zeltserman on The Boy Who Killed ...

Pulp Pusher: Guest Blog: Dave Zeltserman on The Boy Who Killed ...: By Dave Zeltserman The prolific Dave Zeltserman. When Tony offered me a guest spot on Pulp Pusher, I’d already done a number of inte...

Euro Crime Update-- New Reviews on Euro Crime: Cameron, Carson, Koch, McCreanor, McKenzie, Murray, Rowson

As posted elsewhere earlier today.....

 Here are seven reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today, two have appeared on the blog since last time, and five are completely new.

NB. You can keep up to date with 'Euro Crime' by following the blog and/or liking the Euro Crime Facebook page (

New Reviews:

Lynn Harvey reviews poet David Cameron's 'The Ghost of Alice Fields' set in Edinburgh;

Michelle Peckham reviews Paul Carson's 'Inquest' set in Dublin;

Lynn also reviews Herman Koch's 'Summer House With Swimming Pool' tr. Sam Garrett;

Amanda Gillies reviews  A J McCreanor's debut, 'Riven', set in Glasgow and which introduces DIs Ross and Wheeler;

Michelle also reviews Sophie McKenzie's psychological thriller, 'Trust in Me';

Terry Halligan reviews 'Blood of the Rose' by Kevin Murray, set in London, 1986

and Terry also reviews the latest in the DI Andy Horton series by Pauline Rowson, 'Shroud of Evil', set in Portsmouth. or via the blog:

Previous reviews can be found in the review archive (

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here ( along with releases by year. NB. Forthcoming releases by category for 2015 are now available.

best wishes,
Karen M

Via Lesa's Book Critiques-- "Wait for Signs" by Craig Johnson

Wait for Signs by Craig Johnson

Saturday, October 25, 2014

KRL This Week Update--- Winner of KRL's Halloween mystery short story contest & more this week

As posted elsewhere earlier today....

Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine the winner of our Halloween mystery short story contest, "The Black Cat" by Nancy Adams

Also up a review & giveaway of "One Potion in the Grave" by Heather Blake

We also have a review & giveaway of "Midwinter's Tail", a Magical Cats mystery, by Sofie Kelly

And we have the latest countdown to Bouchercon mystery Coming Attractions column by Sunny Frazier. With giveaways of books by Joyce Ann Brown & Triss Stein

We also have a review & giveaway of "Stages of Grey" by Clea Simon

And we have a review and giveaway of another perfect mystery for Halloween, "A Spirit of Fraud" by Barry Wiley. We also have an interesting guest post by Barry where he talks about writing mysteries involving spiritualists and mentalists

We also have a fun post on superstitions and her new book "Lost Under a Ladder" by mystery author Linda O. Johnston

Perfect for our Halloween issue, up in Kings River Life Magazine this morning a review of the vampire detective TV show "Angel"

Also perfect for Halloween check out a web series called "Horror Hotel" h ttp://

For our fantasy readers, we have a review and giveaway of "The Getaway God" by Richard Kadrey

Over on KRL Lite a review & giveaway of "The Corpse With the Platinum Hair" by Cathy Ace
Happy Halloween,

KRL is now selling advertising & we have special discounts for
mystery authors & bookstores! Ask me about it!
Mystery section in Kings River Life
Check out my own blog at

Via CNC Books Blog-- Giving Away Terry Shames' Newest

As posted elsewhere earlier today:
Looking for a good book? Aren't we all? Here's a treat you could win, a copy of DEAD BROKE IN JARRETT CREEK by Terry Shames---

This third in the series really is a good one and, as the reviewer notes, can be read as a standalone so don't pass up this chance to win it!


Lelia Taylor
Creatures 'n Crooks / Buried Under Books

Via The Passive Voice--- Class Action Suit against Harlequin by its Authors Moves a Step Forward

Class Action Suit against Harlequin by its Authors Moves a Step Forward

Lesa's Latest Contest-- British mystery giveaway

This week, I'm giving away copies of D.E. Ireland's Wouldn't It Be Deadly and M.C. Beaton's 25th Agatha Raisin mystery, The Blood of an Englishman. Details on my blog, Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine 

Senior News Newspaper Book Review Column--- October 2014

For my monthly newspaper book review column in the Senior News Newspaper, I usually make sure to choose one fiction and one nonfiction book in the hopes of interesting more readers. For September I went with Half In Love With Artful Death: A Dan Rhodes Mystery by Bill Crider. If you have not read his Sheriff Dan Rhodes series set in East Texas you are really missing out. For the non-fiction book I went with The Knitted Slipper Book: Slippers and House Shoes for the Entire Family by Katie Startzman. Seemed appropriate since winter is allegedly coming.  Longer reviews of both were run here on the blog earlier this year and can easily be found by clicking on the above book titles.

Included below are the relevant book covers for my October 2014 column…  

Half In Love With Artful Death: A Dan Rhodes Mystery
Bill Crider
A Thomas Dunne Book (Minotaur Books)
ISBN #978-1-250-03967-5
Hardback (also available in e-book form)
272 Pages

Burt Collins is just one of those difficult folks that Sheriff Dan Rhodes has to deal with on a daily basis. He has a very narrow view of the world and lots of complaints. He has also been known to do a few things. While it may not have been good enough for a court of law folks know he's behind some of the petty vandalism and crimes that have gone on in the area. So, after a number of paintings by the visiting artists are vandalized isn't surprising that Burt Collins in the number one suspect for nearly everyone.

It also isn't surprising that Burt Collins is soon very much dead thanks to having his head bashed in. It is also pretty clear that in all likelihood the murder weapon was a bust of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Find the bust and Sheriff Dan Rhodes might just find the killer.

Half In Love With Artful Death: A Dan Rhodes Mystery is another very good read in a great series. All the usual suspects readers love along with Rhodes are present in this latest tale set in East Texas. A member of the “Texas Literary Hall of Fame,” this award winning author has done it again.

The Knitted Slipper Book: Slippers and House Shoes for the Entire Family
Katie Startzman
Stewart, Tabori & Chang (imprint of Abrams)
ISBN# 978-1-61769-058-7
160 Pages

The Knitted Slipper Book: Slippers and House Shoes for the Entire Family is primarily organized in two parts--materials and the projects. Designed with projects for every member of the family and beyond the book represents the author’s lifestyle and how she views the world. As explained in the several page introduction, author Katie Startzman prefers to live life as simply as possible and to be as self-sufficient as possible. By following her directions and making your own footwear you can create something more special than store bought and maintain a low impact lifestyle.

After taking readers through by way of text and photographs how to choose a style, yarn, felting, sizing, shaping, and more it is on to projects. While the pictures as well as the typeface tend to be small, the information is extensive and detailed for the newcomer as well as the experienced crafter. The 160 page plus book provides plenty of ideas as well as detailed instructions so that you know how to go about creating some treasured footwear for your family.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014