Thursday, December 08, 2016

Review: Leviathan by Chuck Regan

In an alternative world where Germany won the war and used a V-2 rocket or missile to destroy New York City with a nuclear weapon, Leviathan tells the tale of a few individuals in occupied America. In April of 1945, Norm Cromwell was in the sixth grade and on a field trip a little ways outside NYC when it was destroyed. He did not realize that he was seeing the rocket trail as the weapon came over the horizon and hit the city. His parents were back home in Pittsburg so they were not on the bus with him or the others in his group.

By October of 1962, Norm is an adult working and living in Philadelphia. One of the many adults crammed into a row house they live and work in an environment totally under German control. They are classified as “citizen workers” and have every second of their lives monitored. The Bundespolizei (BP) are the Gestapo of the Occupied America Branch of the Third Reich and they use informants and technology to control everyone and everything. Drone minizeps, shaped like small pigs and carrying cameras and other surveillance gear, monitor from the air while ground troops everywhere monitor things. Then there are the informants who may be friends and might be capable of lying just to get socks, extra rations, and other benefits.

There are resistance groups far beyond Philadelphia, according to rumor, but Norm has no plans to be a part of that. He tries to not think about his parents back home in Pittsburgh and has no idea if they are alive or dead. In a world where a smile can get you gunned down by the BP, Norm keeps his head down and does what he is told.

That is until at the end of the workday on this one particular day when all heck breaks loose. In the resulting melee Norm, Alan, and Floyd do something that is unforgivable. Forced to flee, they have no choice, but to go on the run to survive.

Author Chuck Ragan has created a very atmospheric and intense alternative history tale with Leviathan. As Mr. Regan makes clear in the introduction, the tale is designed off of several key changes to events during what we know as WW2. It isn’t meant to be a scholarly treatise on might have been. Instead, Leviathan is simply a pulp read of dystopian fiction set in an alternative history timeline. It is also very good.

Chuck Regan
Beat To A Pulp
August 2016
eBook (Paperback available)
208 Pages

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

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME!

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME!: Just in the Nick of Time - $250 Christmas Cash Giveaway December 5th to 22nd Enter for your chance to win a $250 Amazon Gift Code or $2...

Back To Fiction Writing: A Brief Update by Dave Seaman

Back To Fiction Writing: A Brief Update: Well it was exciting, huh, publishing 2 of my old ebooks and then writing and publishing a brand new short story (albeit based on an existi...

My Review at Plano Reads: An Obvious Fact: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson

My Review at Plano Reads: An Obvious Fact: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: HYWELA LYN'S DESTINY TRILOGY!

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: HYWELA LYN'S DESTINY TRILOGY!:   Starquest The Destiny Trilogy Book 1 by Hywela Lyn Genre: Scifi Romance When Jestine Darnell is rescued from her sabot...

Monday, December 05, 2016

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 12/5/16

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday for 12/5/16

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 12/5/2016 (The Practicing Writer)

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 12/5/2016 (The Practicing Writer)


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 12/5-11!: Bookish events in Texas for the week of December 5-11, 2016:  Ongoing Exhibits: The Alchemy of Mind and Spirit: Intersections of Scie...

Guest Post: Judy Penz Sheluk on "What’s in a Name?"

Please welcome Judy back today. Her mystery, SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC, is on sale for less than a buck and is scheduled to be that way until the 15th. So, hit the link for Amazon below and pick up your copy after you read her thoughts on book titles….

Judy Penz Sheluk: What’s in a Name?

If you read mysteries and find a book with the title F is for Fugitive, you’re likely to make an instant connection: this is one of Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. Ditto for Gathering Prey: has to be John’s Sandford’s Lucas Davenport series. Find a book with a pun-ny title, like Pillow Stalk, from Diane Vallere’s Doris Day-inspired Madison Night series, or Butter Off Dead by Leslie Budewitz, and even without reading the back cover, you know you’re looking at a cozy.

Of course, not all authors play by any particular rules. Consider Louise Penny. Her titles include Still Life, The Long Way Home and A Beautiful Mystery. No correlation there. Yet every author knows that a good title is important. Think In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, and you know this is going to be a dark tale of grisly murder.

When I started writing The Hanged Man’s Noose, the first book in my Glass Dolphin mystery series, the working title was The Blue Dolphin, the original name of the antiques shop that features prominently in the book. I changed the store’s name to the Glass Dolphin when a Google search led me to an actual antiques shop called The Blue Dolphin. But I also knew that a book called The Glass Dolphin (or The Blue Dolphin) wasn’t about to stand out in the crowd.

A few chapters into the book, Arabella Carpenter, owner of the Glass Dolphin, goes into The Hanged Man’s Noose for a drink and a sympathetic ear. Named for the town’s namesake, Samuel Lount, a real life nineteenth century politician who was hanged for treason, as soon as I came up with the name of the bar, I knew I had the name of my book.

My latest mystery, Skeletons in the Attic, started life as Calamity Barnstable, the name of my protagonist. Once again, I knew that was never going to work in the long term. And once again, inspiration came from the story itself. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 6:

“The attic was every bit as creepy as I expected, a windowless, claustrophobic space, the walls and ceiling filled with pink fiberglass insulation, the air smelling faintly of mothballs. Given the padlock, I had expected it to be stockpiled with valuables. It wasn’t. There was a large leather steamer trunk that looked like it might be vintage, a newer trunk, bright blue with brass trim, and what appeared to be a picture triple wrapped in bubble wrap.

There was also a coffin, full-sized from what I could gather. I took a deep breath, resisted the urge to bolt out the cubbyhole entry, and inched my way over.

Unlike the attic, there was no lock on the coffin. I almost wished there had been, if only to delay the inevitable. I took another deep breath, put on the yellow rubber kitchen gloves I’d brought with me—I’d watched enough episodes of CSI to know the importance of not leaving fingerprints—bent down, and gingerly lifted the lid. It was lighter than I expected, but that didn’t stop me from dropping it abruptly. The thump echoed in the room, scaring me more than I could have thought possible.

Because what I saw lying against the cream-colored satin wasn’t a dead, decaying body, but a skeleton. One that looked decidedly human.

I had been ready to uncover some skeletons in the closet. A skeleton in the attic was another matter entirely.”

A skeleton in the attic. As soon as I wrote the words, I knew that would be the title. Because I wanted to differentiate this work from my Glass Dolphin mysteries, I decided to go with “A Marketville Mystery,” Marketville being the name of the town where the story takes place.

So, what do you think? How important is a title in your decision to read a book?

Synopsis for Skeletons in the Attic

What goes on behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there…

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.

Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?

Judy Penz Sheluk ©2016

Amazon International bestselling author Judy Penz Sheluk’s crime fiction includes The Hanged Man’s Noose, Skeletons in the Attic, and several short stories. Find her at  and on Facebook:

Find Skeletons in the Attic in print at all the usual suspects, and on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited on Amazon:

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Beneath the Stains of Time: Crash Dive

Beneath the Stains of Time: Crash Dive: " Yes... it's a puzzle to know just where to begin ." - Major Williams (Lynton Blow's The "Moth" Murder , 193...

December 2016 issue of Gumshoe Review is now online

Gumshoe Review December 2016 now Online at:

Editorial License:
Just the Facts - December 2016 by Gayle Surrette

Original Fiction:
If it’s a Stiff, it Ships! (Trace Walker) by David Boop

US Books

Nonfiction Reviews:
Sherlock: Chronicles by Steve Tribe

Short Fiction Reviews:
Resume Speed by Lawrence Block

US Book Reviews:
Ash Island (Belltree) by Barry Maitland
Echoes of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes
    Canon edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger
Hell Bay (Barker & Llewelyn) by Will Thomas
In Hot Water (Triple-D Ranch, Vol. 1) by Terry Odell
The Inheritance by Jacqueline Seewald
Living Spectres (Chesterton Holte, Gentleman Haunt) by
    Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Lone Wolf (F.B.I. K-9l) by Sara Driscoll
No Pity For the Dead (Old San Francisco) by Nancy Herriman
Pushing Up Daisies (Agatha Raisin) by M.C. Beaton
The Reek of Red Herrings (Dandy Gilver) by Catriona McPherson
Time of Departure by Douglas Schofield

-- Gayle Surrette
Brandywine, MD 20613

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Shotgun Honey Flash Fiction: Chemo Demo by Patricia Abbott

Shotgun Honey Flash Fiction: Chemo Demo by Patricia Abbott

KRL This Week Update for December 3, 2016

Up in KRL this morning a review & giveaway of "We Wish You a Murderous Christmas" by Vicki Delany

And a review & giveaway "Champagne Conspiracy" by Ellen Crosby along with an interesting interview with Ellen

Also a review & giveaway of "British Manor Murder" by Leslie Meier

And a review & giveaway of another Christmas mystery, "Better Off Thread" by Amanda M. Lee

We also have a review & giveaway of "Trigger Yappy" by Diana Orgain

And this week mystery fan Carolyn Tellers shares about a snowy white Christmas from her childhood & some wonderful Christmas recipes

And we have a fun mystery short story by Earl Staggs

And a review & giveaway of "Burned to a Crisp" by Catherine Bruns, along with reviews of the other books in this series & an interesting interview with Catherine

And over on KRL Lite a review & giveaway of a Christmas mystery novella by Terry Ambrose, "A Damsel For Santa"

Happy reading, Lorie

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

Crafty Lady Sandi: Crafty Lady Sandi Christmas Angel

Crafty Lady Sandi: Crafty Lady Sandi Christmas Angel: Hi! Crafters! Since I now have delivered 31 angels for my doctor and sold everything except the angels on that I am selling on my i...

Friday, December 02, 2016

Frank Zafiro on the Process of Self-Editing at Down & Out Books

 Frank Zafiro on the Process of Self-Editing at Down & Out Books

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Baker Street Jurors by Michael Robertson

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Baker Street Jurors by Michael Robertson: Reviewed by Jeanne When Nigel Heath of 221 B Baker Street receives a jury summons addressed to “Mr. Sherlock Holmes,” he does ...

Small Press Storm Warnings: Torquere Press, Caliburn Press, Month9Books (Writer Beware Blog)

Small Press Storm Warnings: Torquere Press, Caliburn Press, Month9Books (Writer Beware Blog)

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers (11/30/16)

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers (11/30/16)

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange


A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: HOLIDAY RELEASES FROM CAROLINE CLEMMONS: Between writing and decorating for Christmas, I’ve been hopping. Do you have your tree up and decorated yet—if you intend to have one? The ...

FFB Review: The House at Sea’s End: A Ruth Galloway Mystery by Elly Griffiths

Back late last December I reviewed the first book in this series, The Crossing Places. I’d found out about the series by way of a number of folks on the DorothyL list who had enjoyed it very much. I enjoyed it immensely and knew I wanted to read the next one. I had planned to get to the second book quicker than I had, but as usual, life intervened. It wasn’t until last month that I read and reviewed The Janus Stone

After taking last week off as a mental health break and to avoid running another repeat review, today for Friday’s Forgotten Books I review the third one in the series, The House At Sea’s End. This is a great series and one that absolutely has to be read in order. For more reading suggestions, check out Patti Abbott’s blog.

It is March when Detective Sergeant David Clough gets the call from his girlfriend, Trace. With her purple spiked hair and piercings, one might be surprised at their relationship. Marriage is not planned at this point, unlike the upcoming one for Detective Sergeant Judy Johnson, who is gaining martial practice in a way as she is forced to share a desk with the always-eating Clough. Trace called because, as one of several people who have found remains out at the Broughton Sea’s End, she is sure they need the police and she has that personal connection.

Between a local pub and the home known as Sea’s End House, along the cliff face and in an area that is swamped at regular intervals by the tides, there are bones. Obviously human the bones will need the professional evaluation by Dr. Ruth Galloway who has just returned from maternity leave. The survey for the university on the effects of coastal erosion that was being conducted by Trace and other folks from the archeology department is going to have to wait.
The few initial bones lead to the eventual discovery of six bodies. The six show signs that they were bound at the time of their deaths as well as other clues that seem to indicate a case of foul play. Dr. Ruth Galloway is able to determine they date back to World War II. From their appearance and other related events, it becomes clear that DCI Harry Nelson, just back from vacation and Clough’s boss, has a major case to work. Whatever the reason for what happened then, someone is killing in the here and now to keep the truth buried even if the bones are not.

The House at Sea’s End: A Ruth Galloway Mystery is the third in the series that began with The Crossing Places. Author Elly Griffths has created a compelling mystery series that features plenty of history from an archeological perspective. Then she adds in the complex personalities of multiple characters to create a very real to the reader fictional world. These books pull you in quickly as the characters evolve and change over time.

This is a series that simply has to be read in order. There are ongoing repercussions from the first book as well as the second novel that reverberate here in obvious and not so obvious ways. These mysteries, including The House at Sea’s End: A Ruth Galloway Mystery, are mysteries of depth and complexity and very much worth your time.

The House at Sea’s End: A Ruth Galloway Mystery
Elly Griffiths
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
January 2012
ISBN# 978-0-547-50614-5
Hardback (also available in paperback, audio, and eBook formats)
384 Pages (includes 11 pages of the next book in the series)

Material was obtained via the Plano Public Library System to read and review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016