Friday, March 23, 2018

Stomach Flu Central UPDATE

Briefly online this evening for a few minutes to assure one and all that this damn thing did not kill me. It tried. Scott is better than I am though he is still weak and gets tired very easily. I am still having some gastrointestinal issues of the non projectile vomiting kind, but there have been less episodes of that in the last 24 hours. I am very weak and having a hard time doing much of anything out of bed, but I am alive.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Jeanne and Treadmill Books: Fat Cat Mysteries by Janet Cantrell

Jeanne is back this week with another in her Treadmill Book Reviews series. This week she is considering the Fat Cat Mysteries by Janet Cantrell. An author who is far better known in these parts as Kaye George.

Treadmill Books: Fat Cat Mysteries by Janet Cantrell

Charity “Chase” Oliver is the proud co-owner of the Bar None, a bakery specializing in bar cookies as well as owner of Quincy, a chubby yellow tabby cat who likes to taste-test.  The first sign of trouble is when the new vet pronounces Quincy to be (gasp!) too fat and puts him on a diet. Neither Chase nor Quincy is enamored of the idea, but Chase decides to give it a try.  A disgruntled Quincy follows his nose to more delectable food, which just happens to be located near the dead body of an unscrupulous business owner with whom Chase has clashed in the past.  Can she clear her name? Can Quincy stick to his diet? Is this going to be a reoccurring theme?

In case it isn’t obvious, the answers are yes, no, and yes.  Most of the book is told from Chase’s point of view, but there are sections in which we see the events from Quincy’s point of view.  I found those sections to be particularly delightful but it’s possible that it would get old fast.  Chase’s business partner in the Bar None shop is Anna, a seventy-something who is also the grandmother of Chase’s best friend.  Other characters are gradually added during the series.

My biggest problem with the series was Chase.  She is supposed to be a 32 year old entrepreneur but she seems more like a teenager: naïve, gullible, thoughtless.  She isn’t unlikeable, but I was frustrated with her at several points. She is also mesmerized by cute guys (another reason I thought she seemed much younger than her supposed age) and doesn’t seem to be able to take charge of her employees.  This doesn’t really improve throughout the books, but I decided to go with the flow instead of wanting to shake some sense into her.  Communication between characters is sadly lacking, setting up situations which fester into problems that could have been solved in five minutes’ worth of conversation. The plots were okay, a bit far-fetched at times.

So why did I keep reading?  I liked Quincy.  I had a fat cat of my own, Melon, and Quincy reminded me very much of him.  It’s entirely possible that I was projecting, but it seemed to me that Quincy had more personality than the human characters. 

As a treadmill book, these didn’t work all that well.  When I was annoyed with Chase, it was too easy to put the book down and wander off.  However, I took Fat Cat Takes the Cake with me on a trip and it was much better as an airport book.

According to the Fat Cat website, the series was discontinued by the publisher. I’ll definitely miss Quincy.  However, the author has several other series under the name Kaye George, including a new Vintage Sweets cozy series.  The other series protagonists include a private investigator, a musician, and (most intriguingly!) a Neanderthal. 

Maybe one of them will have a fat cat . . . well, maybe not the Neanderthal….

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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

Devon Connor knows her son, Tyson, is up to something. She thinks that her son is involved with drug dealers in some way as she has found money and more in his room including a Rolex. She wants private detective Elvis Cole to find out what her son is doing.

It does not take the world’s greatest detective long to figure out that Tyson, as well as his girlfriend,  Amber, and another teen, Alec, are actually involved in burglaries. They have been taking expensive stuff from various houses. For the teens it is a rush and a game. For somebody they stole from it was very personal and that party has the resources to have them found, the property recovered, and the thieves dealt with in a very permanent way.

Until that happens, the two man hit team hired to find the stolen item will stack bodies in their hunt. It isn’t long before Elvis and the killers cross paths and the chaos begins to build.  Good thing Cole has Pike to balance the odds a little bit.

The Wanted by Robert Crais is a fast paced thrill ride from start to finish. The read shifts nearly every chapter to a different character or characters as the chase winds across the Los Angeles area. What was taken and what it means is at the heart of a story where almost all the bad guys are identified from the start. Instead, the point of the read is building suspense as Elvis and Pike try to keep the clients alive and figure out what they want back and more.

While The Wanted is the latest in the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series, it can easily be read as a standalone. There are hardly any backstory references in the book so reading this one first for readers new to the series would not be a hindrance. Readers of the series to this point should understand that while the tale is a good one, there is less meat on the bones here in terms of other characters being developed. For the most part, the secondary characters tend to be stock characters and at times a bit clichéd. The Wanted is one of those books that you read that is written in such a way that would be easy for Hollywood to make a movie.

Despite all of that, for what it is, The Wanted by Robert Crais is a pretty good read. It keeps the action moving forward at a strong pace and author Robert Crais does a good job of escalating things as needed. While not nearly as good as earlier books in the series, it is a good read and worth your time.

The Wanted: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel
Robert Crais
G. P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Random House LLC)
December 2017
ISBN# 978-0-399-16150-6
Hardback (also available in audio and eBook formats)
332 Pages

Material supplied by the good people of the Dallas Library System. Support your local libraries. When the zombies attack and the grid goes down, all those internet connected devices are not going to be worth crap. We will need printed books to rebuild the world.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2018

Monday, March 19, 2018

Stomach Flu Central

Since 11 pm last night Scott has been having major stomach flu issues from both ends. that is why you are not seeing much from me and won't until this nasty event is over. Fingers crossed I don't get it.

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Unholy Writ by David Williams

Unholy Writ by David Williams (Williams Collins Sons, 1976) is the first of 17 mysteries published between 1976 and 1993 featuring Mark Treasure, Vice-Chairman of Grenwood Phipps & Co., merchant bankers of London, and his actress wife Molly. Treasure is clearly cousin to John Putnam Thatcher, Senior Vice-President of the Sloan Guaranty Trust bank in New York. Anyone who has read the Emma Lathen series will recognize many of the same themes transported across the Atlantic.

The book opens with a letter dated 19 October 1644 from a landed Royalist to his wife, explaining where he hid the family valuables as well as a manuscript by Will Shakespeare about Arden Forest. The letter adjures the wife to hasten with their son to a place of safety while the writer continues to fight for the King against the traitor Cromwell.

The timeframe moves to the present where Mark Treasure is looking forward to a weekend in the country near Northampton after bank meetings have been cancelled unexpectedly. Treasure is a cousin to Sir Arthur Moonlight, the former owner of Mitchell Hall, who has come to regret allowing George Scarbuck, leader of the right-wing Forward Britain Movement, to acquire the white elephant. Treasure is enlisted to arrange to buy the estate back, even though doing so will bankrupt Sir Arthur.

Quite a lot goes on in this compact story. The parish grave digger disappears just before a funeral and his body is found in a burning boat miles away, bringing in the local police. An explosion in the middle of the night causes even more havoc. Scarbuck’s method of circumventing the strict laws on foreign workers --bringing in Filipino natives “on holiday” while they actually do manual labor for pennies a day-- gets a lot of verbiage. One of them escapes on a motorcycle and leads Treasure and the police on a midnight chase through the country. An Oxford grad student working on her doctoral dissertation searches for evidence that Shakespeare’s play As You Like It was initially staged in the gardens at Mitchell Hall. The dry and understated narrative results in some amusing scenes throughout and a hilarious one on the golf course.

Architectural features abound. Every parapet, column, roof, balustrade, etc. is described in exhaustive and exhausting detail. Some of the plot hinges on the construction of specific buildings. I was convinced the author was an architect and was quite surprised to learn he was an advertising executive before he took up mystery writing. Simon Brett wrote an informative obituary about Williams, which can be found here:

Review and photo based on the 2002 reprint by Chivers Press.

Hardcover: 156 pages
Publisher: Black Dagger Crime Series, 2002, Reprint
ISBN-10: 0754086208
Language: English

Aubrey Hamilton ©2018

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

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Five Years Ago: Sunday at the DMA

It came up in my Facebook feed yesterday that it was five years since Scott and I had been down at the Dallas Museum of Art. We went, as did Sandi, because Scott had an Art Class at UTD and had to write a paper. So, if you follow the link, you can see a bit of text and a lot of pictures down at the museum.

Crime Review Update

We feature new 20 reviews in each issue of Crime Review (, together with a top industry interview. This time
it’s author Quintin Jardine in the Countdown hot seat.

We’re on Twitter at:
Crime Review: @CrimeReviewUK
Linda Wilson: @CrimeReviewer
Sharon Wheeler: @lartonmedia

This week’s reviews are:
RIGHTEOUS by Joe Ide, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Neighbourhood sleuth Isaiah Quintabe is getting closer to explaining his
brother’s death, and is asked to help when a couple of gamblers get into
trouble with Chinese triads.

THE GIRL IN THE GREEN DRESS by Cath Staincliffe, reviewed by John Cleal
Transgender teenager Allie Kennaway is brutally murdered at her school’s
prom night. As Manchester police face the most vicious of hate crimes, two
parents must decide how far they will go to protect their own child.

WATCHING YOU by Arne Dahl, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
Detective Sam Berger is convinced that a third missing 15-year-old girl is
in fact another victim of a serial killer. He’s forced to deal with his
long-buried personal demons to understand and catch the murderer.

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by AJ Finn, reviewed by Nicola Hodges
Dr Anna Fox is severely agoraphobic and watches her New York neighbours all
day. She witnesses a serious crime in the house opposite and fights to
prove it.

NIGHT SCHOOL by Lee Child, reviewed by Sylvia Maughan
Major Jack Reacher and two others are given a special project concerning a
mystery American in Germany.  First they have to find out who he is and why
he is mysterious.

A WANTED MAN by Robert Parker, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Ex-soldier Ben Bracken is out of prison, but not through the normal
channels. He’s a man on a mission, and the mission is revenge. But the
murder of an old friend’s father derails his plans.

ONE DAMN THINGS AFTER ANOTHER by Dan Latus, reviewed Arnold Taylor
Being a Good Samaritan is not without its dangers, as private investigator
Frank Doy discovers to his cost.

IN THE DARK by Andreas Pflüger, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
Five years ago, tracking down a ruthless serial killer would have been all
in a day’s work. But five years ago, Jenny Aaron wasn’t blind.

THE PRINCE AND THE WHITECHAPEL MURDERS by Saul David, reviewed by John Cleal
Jack the Ripper is murdering and mutilating prostitutes. Zulu Hart is
called back to England by the Duke of Cambridge, his natural father, to
investigate evidence which seems to point to Prince Edward as the killer.

BLACKSTONE by Richard Falkirk, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Bow Street Runner Edmund Blackstone is assigned to look after the young
Princess Alexandrina Victoria, but things don’t quite go according to plan.

DISTRICT VIII by Adam Lebor, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Romany cop Balthazar Kovacs receives a text showing a dead man, one of the
hundreds of refugees crowded into Budapest hoping for a new life in the

SCARED TO DEATH by Kate Medina, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
A baby is found abandoned in an A&E unit. The police believe there is a
possible link to a young man’s suicide a year before.

GRINGA by Joe Thomas, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Detective Leme has gringa Ellie under observation – she enters a building
but doesn’t come out. When he follows, he finds a man dead and Ellie gone.

THE LAVENDER LADY CASEFILE by Jessie Daniels, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Recently widowed Effie James does a favour for a friend and joins a local
ghost-hunting group. To her surprise, it’s all a lot more interesting than
she expected.

SOOT by Andrew Martin, reviewed by John Cleal
Fletcher Rigge, languishing in a debtor’s prison, receives a bizarre
proposition. Find the killer of a prominent silhouette artist in one month
and have his debts paid off, or return to jail possibly for the rest of his

HOLLYWOOD HANG TEN by Eve Goldberg, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Surfer dude and private investigator Ryan Zorn takes his first independent
job, locating a missing boy, but finds a connection to the blackmail of
Hollywood stars.

A MAP OF THE DARK by Karen Ellis, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
Special Agent Elsa Myer is emotionally torn, hunting for a missing
17-year-old girl, whilst her father lies in a hospital bed, dying of cancer.

GIRL IN SNOW by Danya Kukafka, reviewed by John Cleal
Golden girl Lucinda Hayes is found murdered. Three small town misfits
record their reactions as the hunt for the killer continues.

SHATTERED MINDS by Laura Lam, reviewed by John Barnbrook
In a future world, virtual reality is used to modify experience but a
company plans a new program to control the emotions of the whole
population. The Trust, a group of like-minded individuals, are determined
to stop them.

ALL THE RAGE (audiobook) by Courtney Summers, reviewed by Linda Wilson
The sheriff’s son assaulted Romy Grey, but no one believed her. Then when
Romy goes missing after a school party, she gets little sympathy then,
either. And soon another girl is missing.

Best wishes


Mega-List of University Literary Journals Accepting Submissions in Fiction, Poetry, Art, CNF

Mega-List of University Literary Journals Accepting Submissions in Fiction, Poetry, Art, CNF: CC0 License You may wonder why you should submit to literary journals run by MFA programs. They seldom pay, and they often charge to sub...

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Rap Sheet: 18 Revue of Reviewers for 3/16/18

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 3/16/18

KRL This Week for 3/17/18

Up in KRL this morning a review & giveaway of "A Whisper of Bones" by Ellen Hart

Also, Elaine Viets shares about the re release of her Dead-End Job mystery series, and there is a giveaway of the entire series in ebook

And we have a review & giveaway of "Head Wounds" by Dennis Palumbo

And a review & giveaway of a debut mystery-"The French Girl" by Lexie Elliott, along with an interesting interview with Lexie

We also have a cat mystery short story by Elaine Faber

And a review of mystery TV show "The Alienist"

On KRL News & Reviews we have a review & giveaway of "Scones and Scoundrels" by Molly MacRae

Happy reading,

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

Meanderings and Musings: From Inside My Book Fort - - - Lesa Holstine

Meanderings and Musings: From Inside My Book Fort - - - Lesa Holstine

Lesa's Latest Contest: Weddings Can Be Murder Giveaway

This week, I'm giving away cozy mysteries involving weddings - Maggie
McConnon's Bel, Book and Scandal & Diane Kelly's Death, Taxes and a Shot
Gun Wedding. Details on my blog at Entries from the U.S. only,

-- Lesa Holstine