Saturday, February 13, 2016

Mystery Fanfare: Valentine's Day Mysteries

Mystery Fanfare: Valentine's Day Mysteries: Here's my Valentine's Day Crime Fiction list . Be sure and check out my other blog, DyingforChocolate , for Valentine's Day C...

Getting Disarmed The Hard Way (This should have been on Bill Crider's Blog first)

With author Bill Crider in the wilds of  Irving, Texas at ConDFW, I share yet another deal that should have been on his blog first. After all, when there is stuff like "'He technically did disarm him," a police source said" one simply has to share.

Brooklyn teen tries to steal Air Jordans, loses arm in Craigslist robbery gone wrong: police

Indie book blog: Guest post with Terry Ervin II

Indie book blog: Guest post with Terry Ervin II: Is Reading Necessary? In some variation it’s often said: An author needs to be a reader. Most writers are pressed for time, especially ...

KRL This Week Update

Up this morning in KRL some recipes from mystery authors Joanne Fluke & Staci
McLaughlin, along with a chance to win copies of their books "Double Fudge
Brownie Murder" & "Murder Most Wholesome"

Also up a review & giveaway of "Off the Books" by Lucy Arlington along with
an interesting interview with Lucy aka Susan Furlong

And up in KRL, perfect for Valentine's Day weekend, a review & giveaway of
"Happy Homicides 2", an anthology with 13 cozy mystery short stories &
crimes of the heart. You can also win a dozen roses from the authors!

We also have a review & giveaway of "For Cheddar or Worse" by Avery Aames

And we have a review & giveaway of paranormal mystery "Dead Before Dying"
by Kerry Schafer, along with an interesting Behind the Book interview with

Also a fun mystery short story by Guy Belleranti

And in case you haven't read it yet, don't miss this Valentine's Day
mystery short story by Jacqueline Seewald

We also have a review of "Sherlock's The Abominable Bride"

And over on KRL Lite we have a review & giveaway of "The Devil's Pawn," a
horror YA thriller by mystery author Marilyn Levinson

 Happy reading & Happy Valentine's Day weekend,

New Reviews at Flash Bang Mysteries

I have been tardy in sharing this news thanks to ongoing events here. More new reviews are now up at Flash Bang Mysteries courtesy of Bj Bourg. They are:



Review: THE CROSSING: A BOSCH NOVEL by Michael Connelly

Review: THUGLIT PRESENTS CRUEL YULE edited by Todd Robinson




Go take a look. Comments there or here always welcome.

THE WHO Review is UP at Winkbooks

Awhile back I wrote my first review for Wink Books on the new book, THE WHO: 50 Years: The Official History. The review went up earlier this week at their website. Go  take a look and please leave a comment.

A Bookseller Recommends: The Book of Phoenix (A Book Set in the Future)

A Bookseller Recommends: The Book of Phoenix (A Book Set in the Future): Pro: Vastly interesting and hard to put down Con: Strangely abrupt ending The Bottom Line: A very cool book with a ton of science fic...

FREE Book Alert--- After the First Death (The Classic Crime Library Book 1) by Lawrence Block

Author Lawrence Block is once again making several books free over the next five days as announced in his newsletter. Each book is free for 24 hours until midnight. His offering today is After the First Death (The Classic Crime Library Book 1). Amazon synopsis:

Alex Penn wakes up in a squalid Times Square hotel room. This is what he sees when he finally opens his eyes:

“The floor was a sea of blood. A body floated upon this ocean. A girl—black hair, staring blue eyes, bloodless lips. Naked. Dead. Her throat slashed deeply.

“It had to be a dream. It had to, had to be a dream. It was not a dream. It was not a dream at all.

“I’ve done it again, I thought. Sweet Jesus, I’ve done it again.”

Years before, Alex Penn woke up in similar circumstances, called the police, went to prison. A technicality freed him—and now there’s been another drunken blackout, another dead streetwalker.

But something nags at his memory, and he begins to suspect some other hand wielded the knife. And if he didn’t murder this woman, maybe he didn’t kill the other one, either.

So he runs, adrift in an urban jungle, hoping to steer clear of the police long enough to solve the crime.

AFTER THE FIRST DEATH is sure to appeal to fans of David Goodis and Cornell Woolrich. And, with its gritty New York setting and its undercurrent of alcoholism, it can be considered a precursor to Lawrence Block’s iconic Matthew Scudder series.

THE CLASSIC CRIME LIBRARY brings together Lawrence Block's early crime novels, reformatted and with new uniform cover art. This first volume in the series contains as a bonus the first chapter of DEADLY HONEYMOON.

Termination Fees in Publishing Contracts: Why They're Not Just Bad for Authors (Writer Beware Blog)

Termination Fees in Publishing Contracts: Why They're Not Just Bad for Authors  (Writer Beware Blog)

MysteryPeople Q&A with George Weir

MysteryPeople Q&A with George Weir

Friday, February 12, 2016

Crime Review Update

In our new edition of Crime Review ( this week we
have 16 reviews, together with Matt Hilton in the Countdown interview hot
We’re on Twitter at:
Crime Review: @CrimeReviewUK
Linda Wilson: @CrimeReviewer
Sharon Wheeler: @lartonmedia

This week’s reviews are:
EXPOSURE by Helen Dunmore, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler
It’s 1960 London, and Cold War paranoia is at its height – so someone is
going to have to shoulder the blame for a top-secret file going missing.

PRESERVE THE DEAD by Brian McGilloway, reviewed by John Cleal
Detective Sergeant Lucy Black and her reformed alcoholic DI Tom Fleming
become involved in a series of apparently unconnected events which
eventually lead them to corruption and murder.

LOCKWOOD AND CO: THE HOLLOW BOY by Jonathan Stroud, reviewed by Linda Wilson
London is in the grip of a terrifying plague of ghosts, stretching all the
psychic investigation agencies – including Lockwood & Co – to breaking

SMOKE AND WHISPERS by Mick Herron, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
Sarah Tucker finds out from the internet that the body of her friend, Zoe
Boehm, has been discovered floating in the Tyne. She is asked by the local
police to go to Newcastle and make a formal identification.

EUROPA BLUES by Arne Dahl, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
A gangster is eaten by wolverines in Stockholm Zoo. A celebrated professor
is executed in the Jewish cemetery. Eight East European women from a
refugee hostel disappear. The Intercrime Unit investigates how and why
these cases might be connected.

ONLY TO DIE AGAIN by Patrick Lee, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Sam Dryden doesn’t hesitate when he’s asked for help by an old friend, but
soon finds himself up to his neck in trouble.

ENOUGH ROPE by Barbara Nadel, reviewed by Chris Roberts
While his assistant investigates the parenthood of a baby once left in a
telephone box, ex-copper and PI Lee Arnold helps out a police
superintendent whose son has been kidnapped.

POST MORTEM by Kate London, reviewed by Linda Wilson
A young girl and a long-serving police officer fall to their deaths from a
London tower block. The only witnesses are a traumatised child and Lizzie
Griffiths, a rookie cop.

THE BODY SNATCHER by Patricia Melo, reviewed by Chris Roberts
A man out fishing is the sole witness to a plane crash, and relieves the
dead pilot of his watch, his phone, and a kilo of cocaine.

THE AFFINITY BRIDGE by George Mann, reviewed by Linda Wilson
The dashing Sir Maurice Newbury and his unflappable assistant Miss Veronica
Hobbes investigate the strange cases of a spectral policeman and an airship
crash in a steampunk re-imagining of Victorian London.

THE UNBURIED by Charles Palliser, reviewed by John Cleal
Academic Dr Edward Courtine visits a former college friend with whom he had
lost touch, but becomes involves in a 200-year-old murder mystery – and a
very modern killing.

THE SAVAGE HOUR by Elaine Proctor, reviewed by Chris Roberts
The death of an aged woman doctor breaks the long-established pattern of
relationships on the rural South African farm she owns.

BACKHAND SMASH by JM Gregson, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler
DCI Percy Peach and his sidekick DS Northcott investigate a murder at a
snooty tennis club

MANHATTAN MAYHEM edited by Mark Higgins Clark, reviewed by John Cleal
Seventeen short stories from members of the Mystery Writers of America to
celebrate the organisation’s 70th anniversary.

SARAH CANARY by Karen Joy Fowler, reviewed by John Cleal
A mysterious white woman appears in a Chinese railway camp in the winter of
1873. Ordered by his uncle to return her to the white world, a young
Chinese man begins a quest for right and good.

AND SHE WAS by Alison Gaylin, reviewed by Sylvia Maughan
Brenna Spector is a PI with a condition that gives her an enhanced memory.
She is hired to find the wife of a man called Nelson Wentz but runs into
trouble when she finds her body.

Best wishes


Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Speaks the Nightbird by Robert McCammon

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Speaks the Nightbird by Robert McCammon: Reviewed by Ambrea Matthew Corbett, following Magistrate Woodward as he duly devoted clerk, arrives in Carolina's Fount ...

FFB Review: "The Blacklin County Files: 5 Sheriff Dan Rhodes Stories" by Bill Crider

The below is a repeat FFB post as it first appeared in July 2013. Patti will have the complete list for FFB here later today.

From time to time Barry and I manage to have read the same book when it comes time to write a review. It has been a long time since this has happened, but now that Barry has read The Blacklin County Files it makes another one of our "Double Take Reviews" possible. Below is Barry's take on the book and then my own from February 2012. Enjoy the reviews and then go buy the book as it is a good one......


Reviewed by Barry Ergang

As far as I can remember, my first experience with Bill Crider’s work came when I read his marvelous, not-to-be-missed “Cranked” in 2007, when it subsequently won the Derringer Award for the best mid-length short story of 2006. Since then I’ve read a couple of other short stories under his byline and a western novella, Dead Man’s Revenge, that he wrote using the pseudonym Colby Jackson. A prolific writer, he’s the author of several different mystery series as well as horror, western, and young adult novels. His longest-running mystery series stars Texas Sheriff Dan Rhodes, who is featured in the six stories in the e-book under consideration here. (NOTE: the cover says it contains five stories, the title page six. The title page wins—and so does the reader with the additional story.)

It opens with “Buster,” which is the name of one of the elderly, idiosyncratic Miss Onie Calder’s forty or fifty cats. Miss Onie summons Sheriff Rhodes to her home in a once-
fashionable but now rundown section of the town of Clearview because Buster is dead. She’s certain that her neighbor, Ralph Ramsdell, whose cat has been set upon by one of hers, is the poisoner. When he investigates, Rhodes discovers that something much more sinister is going on.

The Stag BBQ is an annual event in Blacklin County. "It was a chance for the movers and shakers to get together and drink a lot of beer, eat some BBQ and homemade ice cream, tell a few dirty jokes, and do a little gambling....Women weren't allowed. Blacklin County was becoming more conscious of women's rights by the day, but Blacklin County was, after all, in Texas, where a great many men still believed that some activities just weren't appropriate for women." It's probably just as well, in this case, because even some of the men get sick when they discover the body of Gabe Tolliver, who has apparently been "Gored." Sheriff Rhodes doubts the killer was one of George Newberry's Brahma bulls and must figure out which of the many attendees wanted Tolliver dead.

A recipe for homemade peach ice cream, Rhodes's favorite, is appended to the story.

Reverend Alf Anderson helps to restore a community when he turns the stone building atop Obert's Hill into a nondenominational church and attracts a congregation of more than three hundred people. One church member, Ron Eller, does nothing to endear himself to his fellow congregants when he leases his land to Calame's Crusher, Inc., a gravel company that is mining the limestone on it. Between the the noise and dust from the rock crusher, and especially the explosions, Obert residents are sorely unhappy campers: "They claimed that they [the explosions] were destroying property values, which were already low, and driving the livestock crazy. They were driving the citizens crazy, too...." Dan Rhodes has to determine who among them crucified Eller in "The Man on the Cross."

Arrested for armed robbery, Charles Lathrop is a serious rival of Adrian Monk's when it comes to obsessive cleanliness. He even cleans his jail cell, doing a better job of it than Lawton, the jailer, does. The ditched gun Deputy Ruth Grady finds is probably the weapon Lathrop used to hold up convenience stores and a Texaco station, though he denies ever having had one, and it's been thoroughly cleaned. But, as Sheriff Rhodes senses, it's his obsession that will prove his undoing in "Under the Gun," a story lighter in tone than those that precede it, and whose solution reminds me of one of the greatest inverted detective stories I've ever read: Cornell Woolrich's "One Drop of Blood." (I daren't explain why lest I spoil both of them.)

Co-authored by Bill's wife Judy Crider, "Chocolate Moose" concerns the strange death of Mack McAnally at the Round-Up Restaurant. It appears to be a bizarre accident, but when Sheriff Rhodes gives the scene a careful examination, he realizes he has a murder to deal with—the murder of a man who might well have been the most hated person in Blacklin County. "McAnally was, or had been until only a short while earlier, a bully...He spent his time working in his yard and harassing any animal that happened to stray onto his property. He had a pellet gun that he used to shoot at dogs and cats and, rumor had it, even the occasional human. When he was driving, he would sometimes swerve out of his lane in an attempt to run over a squirrel or family pet." The list of his hectoring transgressions is a good deal longer, and many a county resident undoubtedly has a reason for wanting him dead. It's up to Rhodes to figure out who that person is.

A recipe for the "World's Best Chicken-Fried Steak" is appended to the story.

The last and longest story in the collection, "Who Killed Cock Rogers?" begins with manure and ends with murder. Janelle Tabor complains to  Sheriff Rhodes when she's splattered with cow manure from one of Ralph Claymore's cattle trucks. The trucks make their way through Clearview's main street every week on their way to the auction sale, and have caused problems for other residents as well as for some of the merchants. There is nothing Rhodes can really do because the law is on Claymore's side. Thus Mrs. Tabor decides to talk to Red Rogers about the matter. "Rogers, whose real name was Larry Redden, was the closest thing Clearview had to a local radio personality. He did just about everything at KVUE...." One of those things was to host a daily talk show that "dealt with both national and local issues." He thrives on controversy. When he invites Mrs. Tabor and two other locals to present their sides of the argument to Ralph Claymore and one of his truck drivers on the air, chaos erupts and Rhodes has to hurry to the station to break up a physical altercation. Two weeks later, Rogers is found shot to death at one of Ralph Claymore's feed lots, and Rhodes has a mystery to solve that doesn't lack suspects. 

As evidenced by the passages quoted above, Bill Crider's style is lean and straightforward. It's also leavened with some wonderfully dry humor. Because of the brevity of every story but the last in this collection, characterization is very sketchy. But these are not the kinds of tales in which characterization takes precedence. They're good old-fashioned short detective stories in which half the fun is trying to figure out from the clues given who the culprit is—with the exception of "Under the Gun," in which readers can try to figure out where the known culprit slips up and so give Rhodes the evidence he needs to turn the thief over for prosecution.

The Blacklin County Files, which I can and do enthusiastically recommend, has me looking forward to reading the Dan Rhodes novel-length mysteries in which, based on my reading of the aforementioned "Cranked," I'm sure there's greater character development.

Barry Ergang © 2013, 2016

Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang’s written work has appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. Some of it is available at Amazon and at Smashwords. His website is

And then there is this............
Long familiar to readers via the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series novels Texas author Bill Crider has assembled a short collection of previously published stories featuring the good sheriff Dan Rhodes.  The Blacklin County Files: 5 Sheriff Dan Rhodes Stories read just like the good novels in that the stories feature humor, mystery, and the extensive cast of folks that populate the town of Clearview and the surrounding East Texas County of Blacklin.

The small collection opens with the story titled “Buster.” Miss Onie Calder is quite elderly and someone has killed one of her many cats. She blames an angry neighbor and wants him arrested for murder. Things aren’t that simple but the truth will come out.

Sheriff Rhodes knows things happen in the county that might be technically against the law.  But, Rhodes is not a hard-nosed law and order guy and is willing to look the other way on certain things as long as nothing happens.  In “Gored” Sheriff Rhodes has to break his long standing policy of ignoring the Blacklin County Stagg BBQ. The quiet annual event deep in the woods as a remote cabin usually has no problems and nothing much happens but this year the addition of a dead man means Rhodes has to investigate.  By the end of the story if you were not already hungry for barbecue and all the fixings Bill Crider helpfully includes a recipe for homemade Peach Ice Cream.

Ron Eller never did look like Jesus did in all the pictures Sheriff Rhodes saw as a kid in Sunday school classrooms. The fact that he did not look like Jesus at all didn’t stop somebody from killing him and wiring him to a cross. In “The Man on the Cross” Sheriff Rhodes has to figure who killed Ron Eller and why in a story that starts the Monday morning after Easter. The suspects are many in this complex tale of faith, profit, and deceit.

If you live in Blacklin County and you want real good food--meat and potatoes kind of food that will stick to your ribs-- you go to the “Round Up Restaurant.”  The sign outside the door makes it clear that they don’t serve chicken¸ fish or anything vegetarian. In “Chocolate Moose” authored by Bill and Judy Crider, Sheriff Dan Rhodes has to go to the restaurant to investigate a death. Pretty much everyone in the county hated Mack McAnally and for various good reasons.  Now he is dead in a very strange way in one of the dining rooms. It could be an accident or something more. A good story that finishes up with the killer caught and a recipe for the “World’s Best Chicken Fried Steak” and includes the recipe for gravy.  Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Environmental issues are often a theme in the series---especially in recent books. An environmental problem and controversy are present in the “Who Killed Cock Rogers?”  Shipping live cattle can often be a messy operation with unintended consequences and controversy. But, nobody expected a murder because of it.

So, get yourself some glass bottled Dr. Pepper (plastic bottles and cans just aren't the same), some peanut butter and cheese crackers, and kick back for a spell with the Blacklin County Files. Five good short stories featuring Sheriff Dan Rhodes, his wife Ivy, Deputy Rudy Grady, Jail Dispatcher Hack Jensen and numerous other good and no so good local residents.  Plenty of humor¸ twists and turns in the cases, and detail regarding the residents makes The Blacklin County Files: 5 Sheriff Dan Rhodes Stories yet another fun comfortable cozy style read from award winning author Bill Crider. Solidly good, just like his novels, author Bill Crider provides yet more good reading.

The Blacklin County Files: 5 Sheriff Dan Rhodes Stories
Bill Crider
January 2012
147 Pages

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

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012, 2013, 2016 

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

For The Love of God-----PLEASE BUY SOMETHING

Sandi has a bunch of stuff on iOffer as well as here. For the love of god-- PLEASE buy something! We have a $400 power bill to pay and $300 in medicines to buy.

New Books by MWA Members – February 2016

New Books by MWA Members – February 2016

FREE Book Alert-- "Live Free or Tri: A collection of three short mystery stories" by Judy Penz Sheluk

Last month Live Free or Tri: A collection of three short mystery stories by Judy Penz Sheluk was free and I grabbed a copy to read and review. That resulted in my review of the highly entertaining book here.

The book is FREE again and you should pick it up today.

Amazon synopsis:

"A collection of three short mystery stories by Judy Penz Sheluk, author of the critically acclaimed debut mystery novel, THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE: A GLASS DOLPHIN MYSTERY (Barking Rain Press, July 2015).

Death and Deception

Appearances are often deceiving and that is the underlying premise in this collection of short crime fiction:

In “Live Free or Die,” naive 21-year-old Emmy falls hard for 31-year-old Jack, an efficiency expert from New Hampshire who is not all that he seems.

In “Murder in the Marsh,” cyclist Carrie Anne Camack discovers more than she bargained for in the fertile farmlands of Ontario’s Holland Marsh.

In the final story, “The Cycopaths,” a triathlon team’s open-water swim training in Collingwood, Ontario, has deadly consequences.

Judy's short crime fiction has appeared in THE WHOLE SHE-BANG 2 (Toronto Sisters in Crime, Nov. 2014), WORLD ENOUGH AND CRIME (Carrick Publishing, Oct. 2014), and FLASH AND BANG: the first anthology by members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society (Untreed Reads, Nov. 2015). Her literary fiction has been published in THEMA, a New Orleans-based literary journal, on three occasions. LIVE FREE OR TRI is Judy's first independently published collection."



Mystery Fanfare: MARDI GRAS MYSTERIES/ MARDI GRAS CRIME FICTION: Today is Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday . Mardi Gras or Carnivale , whatever you call it, is a great setting for Murder ! Busy streets, cro...

Review: "The Promise: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel" by Robert Crais

Elvis Cole has taken quite a few strange cases over the years and the latest is going to be another one. Amy Breslyn is missing. A senior executive at Woodson Energy Solutions, Meryl Lawrence, wants Amy found fast and very quietly. The company manufactures fuels for the Department of Defense and Amy
worked there. Beyond the obvious national security problem with a high level employee disappearing there are other issues.

Amy disappeared, $450,000 is now missing from Amy’s department, and Meryl believes that Amy is being coerced. Meryl wants nobody to know that she hired the “world’s greatest detective” so she paid cash and gave Elvis the bare minimum to get started. He can’t see Amy’s  office or have access to her e-mail or know anything about her work. He knows very little. One of the things he does know includes the fact that Amy’s son, Jacob, died sixteen months ago in a terrorist attack overseas. She also gave him one possible lead which has led Elvis Cole to a house in Echo Park one rainy night.

A lead that is going to result in the involvement of multiple members of the Los Angeles Police Department including K-9 Officer Scott James and his German shepherd, Maggie, a dead bod,  and enough explosives to destroy quite an area. Things are just getting started in The Promise: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel by Robert Crais.

This latest in the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series is a good one though Pike is regulated to a very small supporting role for most of the book and is not around that much. Told from the point of view of the bad guys, Elvis Cole, Scott James, Maggie, and many others, the read moves through character’s heads as they all pursue their various agendas. That results in some overlap of situations as action sequences and case details are depicted first one way than the other.

This is an action oriented book-- almost thriller like in its lack of character depth-- as the primary few  characters have been fleshed out long before. The only characters that go into any real depth at all are Maggie and her canine handler Scott James. Therefore, it will be helpful to read the preceding book, Suspect, which introduced these two characters as parts of that backstory are referenced here.

The Promise  is a read that powers steadily forward with a focus on action and little else. It is not a normal Elvis Cole/ Joe Pike book as one expects quite a bit more character depth, humor, and meat to the storylines without all the various cardboard cutout characters. Those issues have led some to question whether or not this book was written by the author. It seems clear that it was as it follows the same style and tone as Suspect did. While The Promise is not a book of any depth, it is entertaining and a very fast read. 

The Promise: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel
Robert Crais
Wheeler Publishing (Gale, Cengage Learning)
November 2015
ISBN# 978-4104-6672-3
Large Print Hardback (standard hardback, audio, and e-book formats are available)
525 Pages

Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016

Monday, February 08, 2016

An Unhappy Anniversary Of Sorts

It was a year ago today that I had to deliver the devastating news that the best hope we had for significantly delay the inevitable---the stem cell transplant--- had failed and the cancer was back with brutal vengeance. Sandi and I were devastated though she took it far better than I did. That has been her way the entire time since she was first diagnosed back on Thanksgiving Day in 2011.

It is probably because of her attitude and a lot of support by folks we most likely will never meet as well as a few folks we have met why she is still here. Sandi has far exceeded what all the doctors and nurses thought was possible when they first diagnosed her as terminal. She has blown them away by still being here a year later. That absolutely was not supposed to happen. has.

How much time we have left......I have no idea. I am acutely aware of the sword hanging above.....while also very grateful that we had this. My only real regret in all of this is that I was unable to take the financial pressure of the bills, collection agencies, etc., off of her when she needed the peace the most. In that, I have failed and failed miserably.

Book Review: The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake by Terry Shames—and a Giveaway! (Buried Under Books Blog)

Book Review: The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake by Terry Shames—and a Giveaway! (Buried Under Books Blog)

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers (The Practicing Writer)

 Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers (The Practicing Writer)

Monday With Kaye: "Revenger" by Rory Clements (Reviewed by Kaye George)

These days when somebody discusses “altered history” my first thought it is election year campaign related. Thankfully, in this case, that is not true. Before this review, I had never heard of this series. This one came out in hardback in 2011 (there is an e-book version) and apparently is followed by five more books according to Amazon. Sounds really interesting. Kaye George has gone and done it to me again. Now I have to practice self-control and not add to my tbr pile…

Revenger by Rory Clements

This is a tale of altered history, using John Shakespeare, the brother of Williams, as the sleuth. William even makes a brief appearance and plays a role. The first in this series was Martyr and introduced Shakespeare as an "intelligencer" for Her Majesty, the Queen of England, Elizabeth I.

As the second book opens, John has retired from a palace and political intrigue to serve as headmaster of the Margaret Woode School for Poor Boys. His first main problem is an instructor who is too harsh with the students, but whom he is stuck with. The instructor was foisted upon him by the Protestant Bishop as an agent to keep track that no Roman Catholic leanings creep into the curriculum. His second worry is the Roman Catholic faith of his beloved wife, Catherine. She refuses to keep it hidden, a dangerous position in England at this time. John worries for his wife and his young daughter.

Queen Elizabeth, to whom John is loyal, has enemies. England has defeated the Spanish Armada, but Spain is regrouping and King Philip remains a threat. There may also be a plot to arrange a marriage between Lady Arabella Stuart, generally acknowledged to be next in line to the English throne, to Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. This would be a powerful alliance and could topple the queen.

Some rough characters convince John to get back into the intrigue game, some working for Sir Robert Cecil, some for Essex. John isn't quite sure who is on the side of the queen and who is against her. When John's wife quits speaking to him after she narrowly misses a trip to the Tower with the Catholic priest she follows, his troubles are compounded. Somehow, his family is entangled in a plot to overthrow his monarch and he must use his wits to keep this from happening.

The book is quite long for a mystery, 448 pages, but there's excitement and conspiracy on almost every page to keep the reader's interest.

Reviewed by Kaye George, Author of Choke, for Suspense Magazine

Sunday, February 07, 2016


A few thoughts.....going in I thought Carolina would win, but wanted to see Manning close out his career with the win. Congrats to the Broncos on the win. Defense wins championships and in this age of high powered offenses it was nice to see that idea reinforced.

Overall, I thought the game was a let down thanks to all the miscues on both sides. I think the two weeks off really hurt the Panthers as they looked rusty and slow all night. So were Jim Nance and Phil Sims, but that is the way they always are as they racked up more unforced errors than the teams combined. How either one of them has a job amazes me.

I thought the commercials were pretty much blah across the board. I just spent a few minutes on Facebook looking at comments from folks who clearly misunderstood various commercials and are screaming blood murder about what they claim was implied. Not only are they clearly humor impaired, they think some commercials advocated, rape, stalking, bestiality, etc.  It is rather scary knowing those way off base folks are out there.

The other good thing about the Denver win is that there will not be any riots to celebrate the victory. As we all know, stoners don't riot as they are very low energy. They just ask very strange questions and crave food. Non food items are pretty much safe.

Been To Five Of Them

Saw this on Bill Crider's blog. I have been to five of them and that was before I turned 18 thanks to my parents' penchant for travel.  While I did appreciate it at the time, I would have appreciated it way more if I knew how the future was going to work out.

15 Surreal Places In Texas You Need To Visit Before You Die

Little Big Crimes: The Devil You Know, by Jas. R. Petrin

Little Big Crimes: The Devil You Know, by Jas. R. Petrin: "The Devil You Know," by Jas. R. Petrin, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, March 2016. This is Petrin's third ap...

Review: "Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass" by Maria Colletti

If winter weather has got you down Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass by Maria Colletti might be just the prescription you need to chase the blues. The wealth of information in these seven chapters and resources is designed to serve as inspiration to get you started in Designing, Creating, And Planting Modern Indoor Gardens.

These days terrariums can come in all shapes and sizes. Things have come a long way from the glass bowl with a lid style of terrarium we knew in our youth. In her opening chapter “Terrarium Design” author Maria Colletti shows you how to consider the plants you will use in relation to the vessel the plants will go inside as you create a certain style of environment. Along with plenty of explanation through the text and tip areas, there are numerous colorful pictures to further illustrate the important points.

After taking readers through design, the basics involved with a terrarium, and choosing a vessel to put the stuff into, it is on to “Getting Started” in Chapter Four. This is when she shows you how to put it all together through pictures and detailed instructions. This is an incredibly informative section as she shows you step by step how to construct a terrarium in several very different vessels.

While one could be in a hurry to get started, one should pay a lot of attention to the following chapters which cover all sorts of different plants and their needs as well as maintain the terrarium once you get started. As in the rest of the book, variety is key here and showcase by text and photograph.

An extensive resource guide as well as glossary and a four page index bring this book to a close.

Published by Cool Springs Press, Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass is a visual treasure trove filled with neat ideas. This is one of those books that is done very well and can be a huge help in your quest to recreate a little nature inside your home. 

Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass
Maria Colletti
Cool Springs Press (Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.)
September 2015
ISBN# 978-1-59186-633-6
Paperback (also available in e-book format)
176 Pages

Material supplied by the good people of the Haggard Branch of the Plano Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016

Saturday, February 06, 2016

The South Jersey Writers' Group Blog: Copyright: In, Out, and Upside Down

The South Jersey Writers' Group Blog: Copyright: In, Out, and Upside Down: By Krista Magrowski “Print a copy and mail it to yourself.” “Email yourself a copy.” “I just run a small blog. I don’t need to wor...

FREE Book Alert-- "Urban Decay" by Aidan Thorn

Short story collection Urban Decay by Aidan Thorn is currently free. I don't know a thing about this one, but have added it to the tbr pile.

Amazon synopsis:

"Urban Decay is an apt description for this collection of crime tales. Brought to you by Gritfiction – the guys behind the Near to the Knuckle fiction site.

Following on from his 2013 release Criminal Thoughts Urban Decay will satisfy those who wanted more. Aidan Thorn is very much at the top of his game and we are proud to bring you this outstanding collection of crime fiction."

FREE Book Alert--- "Carnosaur Weekend" by Garnett Elliott

One of my favorite all time reads ever is once again free for your Kindle. Carnosaur Weekend by Garnett Elliott is one heck of a read. I reviewed it here. Amazon synopisis: 

"It’s a dirty job ...

Policing the timelines has always been dangerous, but the brave agents of Continuity Inc. have arguably the most important job in human history. Protecting human history.

Newly promoted agent Kyler Knightly teams up with his uncle, Damon Cole, to stop unscrupulous developers from exploiting the Late Cretaceous. A luxury subdivision smack-dab in the middle of dinosaur country threatens not only the present, but super-rich homeowners looking for the ultimate getaway.

CARNOSAUR WEEKEND includes the original Kyler Knightly story “The Zygma Gambit,” inspired by the dream journals of Kyle J. Knapp, and a sci-fi short story “The Worms of Terpsichore,” all together totaling nearly 16K words."

Trust me....just go get it. Pick up RED VENUS while you are at and pretty much anything else the man has ever done. You won't be disappointed.

KRL This Week Update

Up this morning in KRL reviews & giveaways of 3 new mysteries from Penguin authors-The Grim Steeper by Amanda Cooper, A Turn for the Bad by Sheila Connolly, and A Whisker of Trouble by Sofie Ryan

And a review & giveaway of Stiff Competition by Annelise Ryan

Also a review & giveaway of The Case of the Missing Morris Dancer by Cathy Ace

Also mystery author Ellen Byron shares what she learned about pralines when researching her mystery novel, and she includes a recipe!

And we have a Valentine's Day mystery short story by Josh and Laurie Pachter

Over on KRL Lite a review & giveaway of "Drawing Blood" by Deirdre Verne
Happy reading, Lorie

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Mystery Fanfare: Chinese New Year Crime Fiction: Year of the Monkey...

Mystery Fanfare: Chinese New Year Crime Fiction: Year of the Monkey...: 恭賀發財 Gung Hay Fat Choy! This is the Year of the Monkey. Chinese New Year. I've put together Chinese New Year's Mystery ...

Lesa's latest Contest-- Winter Mystery Giveaway

This week, I'm giving away mysteries, copies of Ann Cleeves' Harbour Street & Maurizio de Giovanni's I Will Have Vengeance: The Winter of Commissario Ricciardi. Details available on my blog, Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine