Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lesa's Book Critiques: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two - J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two - J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

Bruce DeSilva on "How I Made the Transition From Journalist to Crime Novelist"

Bruce DeSilva on "How I Made the Transition From Journalist to Crime Novelist"

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The FIrst Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The FIrst Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter: Reviewed by Ambrea Cassie O’Malley has spent her life treading water, trying to appease the mother she both loved and hated, figh...

FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Noteworthy Reads: TORN AND FRAYED by David Cranmer...

FROM DUNDEE'S DESK: Noteworthy Reads: TORN AND FRAYED by David Cranmer...: This seventh installment of the Drifter Detective series is penned by series creator David Cranmer, coming out from behind the Edwa...

Review: The Boy Who Ate Rainbows by Barry Ergang

Christina and her friends like it when there is a summer shower followed by a rainbow. It is one of the things they love about summer. That was until one day when the rainbow slowly began to disappear as it vanished into the ground. The entire rainbow just kept going over until the other end of the rainbow disappeared.

Nobody has ever seen anything like it. None of the kids has any idea why it happened. Nor did the any of their adult family members. It would be awhile before they could talk to their teachers at school about it as that wouldn’t start until September.

The kids decided that when the next shower happened and the rainbow formed they would ride their bikes to where the rainbow was to find out what was going on. When that happened the kids jumped on their bikes. They rode and rode and eventually had to walk into some woods. The last bit of the rainbow led them to a clearing where they found The Boy Who Ate Rainbows.

They also learned his name is Duncan and a lot more in this cool tale for kids written by Barry Ergang. Originally written as a fourth birthday gift for the daughter of close friends, the read is a cool mystery fantasy that has a number of important teaching moments for children. Not only was the book a hit with a birthday girl, the read was a big hit with her fellow Montessori classmates. That led to four pictures by those students being included in this edition. 

A short tale of understanding, compassion, and hope for the future, The Boy Who Ate Rainbows  is a fun read for both kids and adults. While the original tale and artwork may be nearly 20 years old, the message contained in these 18 pages is universal and timeless. 

The Boy Who Ate Rainbows
Barry Ergang
May 2016
18 Pages

Barry Ergang provided me a PDF copy back in May wth absolutely no expectations that I would review it.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bruce DeSilva on "What’s a Mystery Writer to Do When His Hero Loses His Crime-Fighting Job?"

Bruce DeSilva on "What’s a Mystery Writer to Do When His Hero Loses His Crime-Fighting Job?"

Crime Time : SOMETHING HAPPENED -- Joseph Heller

Crime Time : SOMETHING HAPPENED -- Joseph Heller: I'm just over halfway through my second reading of Something Happened but I'm already ready to write about it. This doesn't ...

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 8-22-16 (The Practicing Writer)

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 8-22- 16 (The Practicing Writer)


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR August 22-...: Bookish events in Texas for the week of August 22-28, 2016:  Ongoing Exhibits: Xu Bing: Book from the Sky , a meditation on the natur...

Monday With Kaye: Guilty Minds by Joseph Finder (Reviewed by Kaye George)

Released last June, Guilty Minds is the third book in the Nick Heller series by Joseph Finder. If you wish to read in order you need to start with Vanished  followed by Buried Secrets.

Guilty Minds by Joseph Finder

This is a dark tale of intrigue and underhanded politics. It hits the stands in June, just in time for the height of our own political entanglements.

Nick Heller says his job is figuring out who’s lying and why, since he has a knack for detecting lies, but there’s a lot more to it than that. He calls himself a private intelligence contractor, a nebulous job description that gives him leeway. Gideon Parnell, a Washington DC as well as national legend, wants Nick to look into a high powered friend of his, who going to be attacked in the sleazy online Scandal Sheet for using a prostitute. Parnell is reluctant to even give Nick the name because, it turns out, he’s the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Nick starts digging and finds that the author of the exposé is Mandy Seeger, who used to be a hot shot reporter for the Washington Post. He’s intrigued by her. She says she’ll send the story out in 48 hours unless Nick can prove it’s false. He follows the trail, finds out who the prostitute is, and who paid for her, a wealthy casino owner, but before he gets further, the prostitute is murdered.

Now he’s investigating a murder and the scandal. Wading through muddy waters, trying to find out which leads are dead ends, which are false, and where the truth is, puts all of his powers to the test.

If you’re a Finder fan, this book will not disappoint you. If you’re not, you might become one after this read.

Reviewed by Kaye George, author of Requiem in Red for Suspense Magazine

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Little Big Crimes: Playing the Ace, by Loren D. Eslteman

Little Big Crimes: Playing the Ace, by Loren D. Eslteman: "Playing the Ace," by Loren D. Estleman, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, September 2016. This is the second appear...

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: And the winners are . . .

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: And the winners are . . .: Steven Silver sends word of the winners of this years Sidewise Award.  I'm thrilled to be one of them. The winners of this year's ...

Lesa's Latest Contest--Kate Carlisle mystery giveaway

I'm giving away copies of two of Kate Carlisle's Bibliophile mysteries, Ripped from the Pages and Books of a Feather. Details on my blog, http://www.lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com. Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Gravetapping: THE GIRL WITH THE DEEP BLUE EYES by Lawrence Block...

Gravetapping: THE GIRL WITH THE DEEP BLUE EYES by Lawrence Block...: Jay Walker “Doak” Miller is a retired NYPD detective. He left the job for sunny small town Florida supplementing his pension as a part-ti...

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: This is what we've have been waiting for since the last Harry Potter book, The Deathly Hallows and were teased at the end by the ad...

My Review at Plano Reads: Robert B. Parker’s ‘Slow Burn’ by Ace Atkins

My review at Plano Reads: Robert B. Parker’s ‘Slow Burn’ by Ace Atkins

KRL This Week Update for August 20, 2016

Up this morning in KRL a review & giveaway of "Murder in the Secret Garden" by Ellery Adams Author http://kingsriverlife.com/08/20/murder-in-the-secret-garden-by-ellery-adams/

Also up a review & giveaway of "The Cat, The Collector, and the Killer" by Leann Sweeney & an interesting interview with Leann  http://kingsriverlife.com/08/20/the-cat-the-collector-and-the-killer-by-leann-sweeney/

And we have a review & giveaway of "Deep Six" by DP Lyle http://kingsriverlife.com/08/20/deep-six-by-d-p-lyle/

Also a review & giveaway of "A Most Curious Murder" by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli  http://kingsriverlife.com/08/20/a-most-curious-murder-by-elizabeth-kane-buzzelli/

And a fun mystery short story by Gail Farrelly http://kingsriverlife.com/08/20/the-eyes-have-it-a-mystery-short-story/

For those who also enjoy sci-fi, we also have a review & giveaway of "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet" by Becky Chambers

Over on KRL Lite a review & giveaway of "Nine Lifelines: A Psycho Cat and the Landlary Mystery" by Joyce Ann Brown

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 http://KingsRiverLife.com
Check out my own blog at http://mysteryratscloset.blogspot.com/

Holt Uncensored Blog: Remaindering “The Art of the Deal” for … $184?

Holt Uncensored Blog: Remaindering “The Art of the Deal” for … $184?

David Cranmer Reviews Face Blind by Lance Hawvermale (CriminalElement.com)

David Cranmer Reviews Face Blind by Lance Hawvermale (CriminalElement.com)

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: The Escape Room Challenge

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: The Escape Room Challenge: While not necessarily a new thing, the escape room challenge concept has been sweeping the country of late. The Bride and I recently sa...

Guest Post: Jeanne on "To Smoke or Not to Smoke?"

Jeanne of the Bristol Public Library is back today with another interesting guest blog…

To Smoke or Not to Smoke?

Recently I blogged about how certain things can date a work, whether an author intends for it to or not: use (or lack of) certain technological devices, brand names, or social customs.  This time I’m turning the question around to ask how these things work in historical fiction, especially social custom.

The idea was prompted when a patron commented on a recent episode of the series Endeavor. She felt it was inappropriate that there were so many people smoking because it set a bad example.  I’d heard a similar comment about the amount of smoking and drinking in Grantchester, and of course much was made of all the smoking and imbibing in Mad Men. All these series are set in a time before the general public was aware of the dangers of smoking and are, I feel, true to their time.  An article in the NY Times about Mad Men interviewed a number of former advertising folk and while some of them felt the smoking, drinking, and other attributes were exaggerated, others felt it was the right amount—or not enough.

To bring this back to books, when I read Mary Stewart’s first novel, Madam, Will You Talk? I was struck by all the smoking and drinking.  Were I to read this in a modern book set in the 1950s, I suspect I would think this all overdone; but this book first appeared in 1954. Is it a more or less accurate picture of its time period?  Certainly my reaction to it is based on current trends or else I probably wouldn’t have even noticed.

Which brings us to the question, accuracy or adaptation?  When writing a piece set in another time period, should an author try for authenticity or adjust for modern sensibilities?  This isn’t a question I have an answer for, but it’s one I’ve pondered.  In many cases, it seems to me, the author’s solution is to have a cast of unusually enlightened folk and allow the unpopular contemporary notions to remain with non-sympathetic characters or else poke fun at an outmoded idea.

My gut reaction is to remain true to the time, but that can bring with it a host of problems often in regard to attitudes toward women, other races, or other social questions whose answers are very different today than they would have been even a decade ago.  For example, a recent article reprinted a number of “Dear Abby” letters from the 1960s; by today’s standards, most of the advice was cringe-worthy, but reflected the attitudes of the times and—as the article’s author points out—reflects a reality modern readers may not fully understand.  For me, that was never done better than in Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.  A student from our future goes back in time to study the “contemps” of the 14th century.  Kivrin is an enlightened young woman who has studied the era extensively and tries very hard not to render judgments but whose observations are strongly influenced by her modern views.  By the end of the book she has had to revise some of her feelings because for the first time she truly understands what life is like for the ordinary person of that era.  To be more specific would constitute a spoiler, but one scene in particular made a strong impression on me—and made me think of things a bit differently.

What do others think?

Mad Men article link
Dear Abby link

Friday, August 19, 2016



New issue of Crime Review

We feature new 20 reviews in each issue of Crime Review (www.crimereview.co.uk), 
together with a top industry interview. This time it’s author Mike Thomas in
the Countdown hot seat.

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

This week’s reviews are:
DEAD MAN’S BLUES by Ray Celestin, reviewed by John Cleal
A group of Chicago city leaders is poisoned; a white gangster found dead
and mutilated in a poor black area; an heiress vanishes. Pinkerton
detectives Michael Talbot and Ida Davis must find the links between the
three events.

THE INVESTIGATIONS by Mark Lawson, reviewed by Jim Beaman
A celebrity historian is arrested following allegations of sexual assault.
His friend and colleague is accused of bullying in the workplace. They must
try to defend themselves against the allegations as both face personal and
professional ruin.

REMEMBRANCE by Meg Cabot, reviewed by Linda Wilson
When property tycoon Paul Slater threatens to tear down Suze Simon’s old
family home and unleash an ancient curse, Suze is faced with a dilemma.
Give in to blackmail, or save her boyfriend’s soul by herself.

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT by John Ball, reviewed by John Cleal
When a well-known musician is found robbed and clubbed to death in the
small city of Wells, the first suspect picked up is black. The local police
chief is embarrassed to discover the man is a homicide detective and
reluctantly enlists his help.

THE BIRDWATCHER by William Shaw, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler
Sgt William South is happy with being a community bobby amidst the bleak
landscape of Dungeness. And he has very good reason for not wanting to be
on a murder enquiry.

THE MISSING by CL Taylor, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson went missing six months ago. His mother,
Claire, is convinced he’s still alive, but her case isn’t helped when a
press conference goes wrong and the spotlight is turned on her own family.

A QUIET PLACE by Seicho Matsumoto, reviewed by Chris Roberts
When Tsuneo Asai’s wife dies unexpectedly, it is some time before he
discovers that an apparent accident is more than it seems, and takes steps
against the person he deems responsible.

THE SEARCHER by Chris Morgan Jones, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
Isaac Hammer runs an investigative agency with his partner, Ben Webster.
Or, at least he did until, following a raging argument, Webster disappears.
Hammer’s office is then invaded by the police with a search warrant.
THE HANGING CLUB by Tony Parsons, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler
DC Max Wolfe tangles with social-media savvy vigilantes

GIRL WAITS WITH A GUN by Amy Stewart, reviewed by Chris Roberts
When their buggy is demolished by a badly-driven automobile, Constance and
her sisters demand compensation. The driver refuses, and initiates a
campaign against the trio, using mob methods to intimidate them.

THE HOUSE OF EYES by Kate Ellis, reviewed by John Barnbrook
Reports of a missing model and the subsequent murder of her father lead DI
Wesley Peterson into an investigation which throws suspicion onto many of
the residents of the rural Devonshire town. The causes of the crime appear
to have historical origins.

THE NIGHT CHARTER by Sam Hawken, reviewed by Chris Roberts
The night charter of a sport fishing boat to bring a Cuban dissident to the
USA is the first act in a dangerous and bloody dispute.

THE CROSSING by Michael Connelly, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Lawyer Mickey Haller wants former cop Harry Bosch to get a client off a
murder charge. But Harry isn’t keen. Investigating his former colleagues
seems like a step too far, even for him.

SIX FOUR by Hideo Yokoyama, reviewed by Chris Roberts
An unsolved case of kidnap and murder continues to resonate in the Japanese
police even after fourteen years, because of mistakes that were made, and
worse because those mistakes were never acknowledged.

MEDUSA by Torkil Damhaug, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
Local doctor Axel Glenne is linked to the deaths of two women who seem to
have been mauled by a bear. He needs to prove his innocence as the net of
suspicion around him tightens with surprising speed.

THE TEACHER by Katerina Diamond, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Maverick cops DS Adrian Miles and DS Imogen Grey struggle to find the
connection between a series of increasingly brutal killings.

THE CHILDREN OF SILENCE by Linda Stratmann, reviewed by John Cleal
A body is found in the Paddington canal basin and a woman claims it is that
of her husband, who disappeared three years before. She appeals to Frances
Doughty, the lady detective, to help her prove her case.

PARADISE SKY by Joe R Lansdale, reviewed by John Cleal
A young black man escapes lynching and is pursued across America’s south
west by a vicious racist in a chase to the death.

QUARRY by Max Allan Collins, reviewed by John Cleal
When successive contract killings go wrong, his partner is killed and he
injured, Vietnam vet-turned-assassin Quarry loses trust in the ‘Broker’ who
sets up his ‘jobs’ and sets out to deliver his own brand of justice.

EDEN SUMMER by Liz Flanagan, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Jess Mayfield’s best friend has gone missing, and no one knows why, but
Jess is determined to find Eden.

Best wishes


MotiveMeansOpportunity Blog: An Interview with Judy Penz Sheluk

MotiveMeansOpportunity Blog: An Interview with Judy Penz Sheluk

Sweethearts Of The West: Prairie Madness by Sarah J. McNeal

Sweethearts Of The West: Prairie Madness by Sarah J. McNeal: Settlers Crossing the Great Plains Most of you who live on the Great Plains of the United States probably already know what Prai...

Crime Time : THE DISCOMFORT ZONE -- "Jonathan Franzen"

Crime Time : THE DISCOMFORT ZONE -- "Jonathan Franzen": I have come uncomfortably near reaching a conclusion that "Jonathan Franzen" is the most ingenious, elaborately implausible hoax ...

FFB Review: The End of Everything: A Novel by Megan Abbott

I first told you about The End of Everything by Megan Abbott a few years ago. Back in late September of 2011 to be exact. She has written a lot since and I have not been able to keep up. So keep reading her and make sure you pick up this one too. Make sure you check out the rest of the reading suggestions today over at Patti Abbott’s blog

Before it happened it seemed to 13 year old Lizzie Hood that the Verner family next door was perfect in every way. Lizzie had been friends with Evie for what seemed like forever and spent almost every waking moment in her company. Evie’s mom is bland and unassuming. Evie’s sister, Dusty, rules home and school where nearly every guy wants her and yet none can have her. Unlike lizzie’s own father who has left the house and moved on with his life thanks to the divorce, Evie’s father, Mr. Verner, is not only constantly around, he might be the most perfect father and man on earth. All is right in the world as school winds down and the two girls have a summer to look forward to before starting High School.

Then, the unthinkable happens and Evie vanishes one afternoon. Evie and Lizzie were going to walk home but Lizzie’s mom picked her up instead so that they could go to the Mall. Evie was supposed to go on home but never made it there. Now Evie is missing and the perfect world next door is starting to crack in so many ways.

As the days pass with Evie missing, author Megan Abbott skillfully weaves in clues, backstory, and tension to show characters that are evolving and changing in many ways while the story itself becomes much more complex. The disappearance truly does bring about The End of Everything in so many ways as Lizzie comes to grips with the idea that things next door were not so perfect after all. While the Verver family fractures in ways that one would somewhat expect as well as ways one wouldn’t, Lizzie’s whole world changes. Perceptions of what was real and what was fantasy, before and after the abduction, change as does her understanding of her own motivations and feelings. In a way, there is a certain coming of age aspect to this complex novel as Lizzie is forced to confront things that were, in some form, always there but far beneath the surface.

From a reviewer standpoint, this is a difficult book to review without sharing far too much. It is also one that is hard to explain concisely as the complex book goes in many different ways at the same time raising far more questions than it answers. Adult, and sometimes disturbing, themes are very strong in this book and will produce strong reactions from some readers. Much is implied or hinted at though how seriously to take it as actual character feeling/motivation is up to the reader.

As reviews elsewhere make abundantly clear while also often telling far too much, this is one of those novels that how the reader reads between the lines will determine much more about what the book means or says to the reader than what the author actually wrote. Deceptively short at 246 pages of actual story this is a very good book. The End Of Everything by Megan Abbott is a book packed with complex characters, deep emotion, and a complex mystery that will keep you thinking long after you close the book.

The End of Everything: A Novel
Megan Abbott
A Reagan Arthur Book (Little, Brown And Company)
July 2011
ISBN# 978-0-09779-6
Hardback (also available in paperback and eBook formats)
256 Pages

Material supplied by Patti Abbot via a contest on her blog several months ago with no expectation of any review.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2011, 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Tales of the Star Republic -- Terence Faherty

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Tales of the Star Republic -- Terence Faherty: This is a book I read and intended to review for my short-story column in Mystery Scene  before I got my little health surprise.  I enjoyed ...


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Review: A WIFE OF NOBLE CHARACTER by Yvonne Georgi...: I reviewed A Wife of Noble Character ( Henry Holt ) by Yvonne Georgina Puig for Lone Star Literary Life ! This debut novel is an update...

Do Some Damage: Your book is not my book

Do Some Damage: Your book is not my book: By Steve Weddle For whatever reason, I live on the same planet as lunatics. Sometimes they attack writers online because, heck, I don'...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Deception Point, The Universe Below, M...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Deception Point, The Universe Below, M...: Reported by Ambrea This week, Nevermore started with an old favorite, a novel that’s passed between numerous readers and receive...

Revue of Reviewers for 8-17-16 (The Rap Sheet)

Revue of Reviewers for 8-17-16 (The Rap Sheet)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Out of the Gutter Online: Review: Rough Trade, by Todd Robinson

Out of the Gutter Online: Review: Rough Trade, by Todd Robinson: Todd Robinson has returned to his Boo and Junior series with a hell of a bang. Rough Trade shows that Robinson and his crew of characters...

EVENT: N Texas: Publishing Knights of the Revision Round Table Retreat

EVENT: N Texas: Publishing Knights of the Revision Round Table Retreat

Review: Black Coffee: Stories from the Noir Side of Town edited by Andrew MacRae

Edited by Andrew MacRae, Black Coffee: Stories from the Noir Side of Town. While defining what noir means can be difficult as Andrew MacRae notes in the introduction, the decision was made to let the stories included in the anthology define it. While there is commonality in the 23 definitions, there is also considerable variation and that means there is very little duplication of themes or styles.

That process begins with “Diving for Dollars” by Peter Denton. Clarice and Simon are aboard their yacht, Searene, near Noumea, New Caledonia. They have been on the 70-foot yacht sailing around the world the last three years. Maggie has had enough of the boat, her marriage, and everything. Aboard the Reliant there is Jake who is known to take divers out to the best places on the reef. To the women on the yachts in the area he is known to do a few other decidedly non-nautical things very well.

Michael Bracken is next with his tale, “Deep in the Heart of Texas.” Rowdy Boyette still carries the picture of Stella who walked out of home and his life a year ago. A lot of beer has been consumed in the weeks since in a futile effort to ease the pain of her leaving. That pain might be eased a bit by the young blond stranded by the side of the road next to her car. She says her name is Andrea and has little more to say about her situation. His out of the way mobile home in the middle of nowhere in the West Texas could be just the place for her for now.

“Hotel Hate” by Michael Chandos takes readers back to the roaring 20’s to the Hotel Hatteras somewhere deep in the Michigan Woods. The three-story place catered to those types in organized crime that needed to lie low out of public sight. Everyone, even when there were members of rival groups, knew to behave themselves and not cause problems. Miss Rose keeps everything under control and has the local law for backup as well as business partners. A group of four bank robbers out of Illinois could be troublesome not to mention the fact that her ex and his buddies just arrived.

There is a touch of the otherworldly in “the Cat” by Karen Gough. The cat had always followed her around the house, the ranch, and even riding along in the truck. It acted more like a dog than a cat. Even after Mike killed Linda, the cat continues to show up.

Waking up in a hospital in East Berlin in 1960 means it is the early days of the cold war. The fact that he has no idea his own name is a problem. The fact that he survived being shot could be a problem if they come back to finish the job. The fact that he has no idea who they might be is a definite problem. Craig Faustus Buck had one heck of a tale in his novel Go Down Hard and “Blank Shot” is mighty good too.

Manny Rodriguez works as a prison guard on death row. He doesn’t throw the switch, but he does walk the prisoner to the chamber. In “Today You Die” by Herschel Cozine Manny is to escort child killer Hack Jensen to the chamber at the state penitentiary. Jensen never expressed any remorse and his attitude remains as bad as it was the first day of prison. Escorting him to the chamber is not going to be easy and Jensen is not an easy man.

The Reverend L. Davis White has quite the knack for eulogizing the recently departed. In “Killer Eulogy” by Warren Bull, the Reverend puts his talents to work to celebrate the life of Kenneth David Nelson. Some don’t care for him. One of those is Evelyn Ingram who again is going to make her complaints know to Bishop Darby.

Mirabelle works at Black Orchid Salon doing the normal things a hair stylist does. But, she has other skills in the tale titled “The Cleaner” by Wenda Morrone. One of those skills is chatting with difficult folks who show up just before closing time.

There just isn’t enough action going on to suit Detective Sergeant John Asher. 15 years in London and then he got demoted to the small rural town of Rutland. He has to find a way out in “Beefed Up” by Ross Baxter. Mickey Taylor just might be the answer one way or another.

In “Escape” by Steve Shrott, private investigator Paul Rosen has a huge problem. People want him in jail or, more likely, dead. A beautiful woman, a powerful senator, and much more are involved in this story that has a lot of moving parts.

Being a bouncer in Las Vegas is a tough job. Booze makes everyone feel important. Vegas was built on booze and gambling. In “Bouncing” by Timothy O’Leary the latest idiot trying to push the line at Tao is a little guy at five and a half feet and full of attitude. He isn’t the only one with attitude this night.

Diana Andrews gets herself in some difficult situations. It does not always happen because she is a sex worker. In “The Full Hour” by Albert Tucher getting caught in the show home by a realtor and two prospective home owners was not the highlight of her career. Her sexual partner loved it though he didn’t have long to savor it.

KM Rockwood comes next with what just might be the darkest tale in the book. Sylvia has had it with Reginald. He cheats and thinks she should be okay with that in “Last Laugh.”

“Femme Fatale” by Margaret Lucke comes next  where Lisa DeVoe seems to have it all. Great husband, great marriage, great daughter. What she doesn’t have, she feels a compulsion to take.

A cat is just part of the story “Cat’s Outta The Bag” by Bobbie A. Chukran.  Julia Morgan has had yet another argument with her husband, David. To calm down and clear her head she is going to go stay at the cabin for a few days. Now that her sister, Jerri, knows her plans, she can pack, get the cat, and take off. The cabin is going to be the time away she needs.

Kamal though he had put the past behind him in “Crazy” by Rosemary McCracken. That was until Pawel showed up at the shopping plaza near where Kamal works in Toronto. Kamal ditched him a few months ago and thought he was safe, but Pawel is back. Getting away from him again could be much more difficult.

When you are throwing up in the alley, it is understandable that a murder at the other end of the alley might not have gotten your attention. Alex was the vomitor in “Family and Friends” by Jan Christensen. The cops want answers and don’t really buy his story. That is because he is not an actor. Though he tries to hide it, Alex knew Jane McGregor very well and now Jane is dead.  

It is a rough neighborhood so the sound of sirens is a frequent occurrence. This time the scream of sirens involved Joey Hackman. He is dead thanks to having his brains bashed by his own bowling trophy. Jack Murphey, who most definitely is not a cop or a private investigator, intends to find out who did it and deal with his way in “Kegler Killer” by Diane A. Hadac.

Nick took Jen to Cinzano’s because that was the scene of their first date. She likes it when he goes sentimental on her. It was a nice evening until the obnoxious couple was seated at the next table in “Nor Death Will Us Part” by Patricia Dusenbury. That couple arrived and things just spiraled downwards from there.

Driving a taxi can be dangerous for a lot of reasons as there are some folks should never be in the backstea.t In “White Knight” by J. J. Lamb mid-week in San Francisco is slow time. So, when the guy wants a lift to Pacific Heights he is glad for the customer. Glad to wait for him while he escorts his beautiful date back to the vehicle because the minutes pass and the meter still runs. Where he wants to go next is a bad idea, but he is the paying customer.

She knows how to run her club known to all as the Blue Lady Lounge. It is simply the hottest place to be in Fresno. The unwelcome arrival of Mitch is trouble in “One for My Baby” by Joanne Lucas.

Warren Bull has a second appearance in the anthology with his story “A Christmas Journey.”  It is a brutally cold Christmas Day and the young man with a backpack and the basset hound in his arms clearly needs a ride. Gary has a load to take Wichita and the guy and his dog are headed to Waterloo, 40 miles outside of Wichita.  No problem to take them along as part of his delivery.

The final story takes readers back in time to just after World War II in Hong Kong. “The Kowloon Princess” by Kenneth Gwin. Flannery and Sims go ashore after leaving the freighter, S.S. Leftson. Lots have things changed during the Japanese occupation and now that they are gone and the war is over, the place is very different. But, underground business and back alley deals remain as do opportunities to find people. 

The twenty-three stories in Black Coffee: Stories from the Noir Side of Town are all good ones. Edited by Andrew MacRae the read is a highly entertaining atmospheric mix of the past and the present. The authors showcased here provide complex tales where things are never black or white, but are varying hues of grey.  Much is at work in this read published by Darkhouse Books making this an anthology you definitely want to read.

Black Coffee: Stories from the Noir Side of Town
Editor Andrew MacRae
Darkhouse Books
May 2016
eBook (Print format also available)
312 Pages

I was gifted a copy of this book to read/review by a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society who is not an author in this book and is not an individual involved in the project in any way.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016