Too Many Crimes, Too Many Characters

Murder is Secondary (A Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mystery) by Diane Weiner is one in a series of nine novels. The About the Author section notes this is a cozy mystery. I have never been sure what that is. In searching for a definition, I found that there is generally an almost absence of sex and violence but there is some sort of mystery that is supposed to appeal to intelligent women. Also, the mystery typically takes place in a community where everybody knows everybody. This sounds like the TV series Murder She Wrote. I hope no one minds if I occasionally spy on what intelligent women are reading.

Changing Faces of Demons

Demon King by Erik Henry Vick should be a favorite for readers in the horror and fantasy genres. Vick created so many demons they would not fit into one category. There were traditional demons, “biblical, with leathery wings, horns, fangs, and whatever” (p.63). “Others had black, rotting skin that hung from them like clothing three sizes too big. Those he called “undead” demons.” (p. 63). And then there were the demons that didn’t fit into the two categories. They were just weird. Teleports don’t count as demons. All the above information is in Chapter Two which takes place in 2007. Books don’t generally start with Chapter Two. Chapter One takes place in 1979 when several children had near experiences with demons. It was a time when Toby disappeared. Close friend Benny went to find him at an abandoned, some considered haunted house. Adults became involved when Benny told his dad, the town manager, where he had been. Then police became involved in a search for Bobby, a super psycho (later to be known as O. G.) was discovered and the journey began.

Not Your Usual Writing

A Mystery Reader 0001: Short Stories From New Voices is a collection of six short stories. I downloaded the book free from Prolific Works. An expanded work is on Amazon for USD 4.99 under the title New Voices 001. That work has the same authors but far more than six stories. I was attracted to the book by words in the title “New Voices.” The Voices may be new, but they are prolific authors as indicated by a list of their many, many works listed at the end of the publication. SUGGESTION: Story number four should be read after story number one.

Erasing the Epilogue

Dying for Justice by Pauline Lynne Isaksen is a crime thriller set in England. Crime thrillers inevitably involve the police. Police procedures in England come complete with their own vocabulary strange to an American ear. A lot of other vocabulary was quite strange and new for me, much of it has to do with food and fashion. Because I learned new things, I really felt rewarded for reading the novel. The plot seemed to be a straightforward murder mystery but there were so many twists along the way, not to mention a surprising “pre-ending” that I was thoroughly entertained by this 244-page novel. It was a fast read of just under four hours and because of all the twists, it was a page-turner.

A Survivor’s Story

Beautiful Hero by Jennifer Lau comes with the subtitle “How We Survived The Khmer Rouge.” I could not help but compare it to stories of the Nazi Holocaust; many others have made the same comparison, I am in no way original in doing so. This is the story of one family’s successful attempt to escape from a country occupied and ruled by a group of leaders who followed the politics of genocide. Pol Pot was the principal leader but could not exercise complete autocratic power. As recently as last year some of his close advisers were still appearing in court charged with war crimes. Things did not get much better for the Lau family after the 1978 Vietnamese invasion because there were pockets of the country still partially under control of remnants of the Khmer Rouge. We know that Pol Pot died in 1998 under suspicious circumstances. I was living in Cambodia at the time and have yet to see accurate information about the circumstances surrounding his death.

Even Santa Can Get It Wrong

We can’t let the season go without a a Twittering Tale. The tales in Kat’s Roundup (note the bold instruction below) are much more than the tales told by …. well … you know …(Grinch in Chief). Go to her website for all the stories submitted last week. Meet new Bloggers! Have Fun! Tis the season and all that.

Christmas Cheer

I couldn’t leave the Christmas season without at least one review of a Christmas book. Given that I like the genre(s) of thriller, crime, mystery, and horror; I was delighted to find this seasonally appropriate book which author Christopher Moore describes as “A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror.” In The Stupidest Angel, I couldn’t find the terror because of unrestrained and continuous laughter. This novel is absurd, hilarious, and laughing-out-loud fun. The only way I can review it is by examining some of the improbable characters.

Mummy Cops

The first line of Piggy Monk Square by Grace M. Jollife set the tone for the style of writing to follow. I knew right away I would like this story. “My name’s Rebecca but me mates call me Sparra cos of me legs.” (p. 1). Set in a poor section of Liverpool where to have a job is considered lucky, the story is told through the eyes of a nine-year-old, “Sparra.” In the first few pages, we can determine that no one in the neighborhood trusts the police. Predatory child molesters lurk everywhere. Whether this is true or not, the reader does not know for sure, but we do know that Rebecca believes it to be true. This is an excellent exposition of several stories that readers will discover for themselves as Rebecca and her “bezzie,” Debbie show us a world that is full of despair as far as adults are concerned. With one exception, Debbie and Rebecca accept the world as it is and make their world as pleasant as possible.

Highly Recommended FLASH Fiction

Where I live it is already 23 December and I am about to go out on a buying trip for presents. I’ll be going with my family which means there will be a variety of shopping styles. My style is almost slash-and-burn. I know what I want, and I am going to buy it. Shoppers, please forgive my unintentional rude behavior when I do not emulate a deer in the headlights look as I stare at the lights and promos. I pay attention to price, the cashier, and the nearest coffee shop where I can sit down and retreat to a less noisy place while my tribe completes their much lengthier search (although for me, a stop at a bookshop is enough).

While I am sitting in the coffee shop, I need a collection like this. VERVE FLASH by Janet Fix (editor). Described as a “multi-genre anthology” that “builds a short road to big fiction,” the collection allows me to complete several thought pieces between bouts of pulling out my wallet to select different credit cards as limits are reached.

Collected Horror Short Stories

Duncan Ralston describes Video Nasties as a “Horror Mixtape.” The descriptive writing in each story of this sixteen story collection will allow the reader to “see” or experience dread and horror for 426 (Kindle) pages. Readers can then close the book and go back to a cheerful, safe, and sane real world. If that were only so.