My first experience with Neville Steed was reading one of his cozies, Die-Cast. As I enjoyed that novel immensely, I decided to try Black Mail. Unlike Die-Cast, Black Mail is not strictly a cozy, blending in some pulp/noir elements. The main character, Johnny Black is a private detective in 1937 Britain. A former pilot, Johnny has charm, wit, and a number of helpful friends.
Like many noir novels, Black Mail starts with a beautiful damsel-in-distress approaching the Black Eye Detective Agency. Lucy Merrydew has received a gruesome blackmail note along with a severed finger. She begs for discretion because she doesn't want her rich fiancé's family to know. Of course she isn't telling the whole truth. Murder of course follows on the footsteps of blackmail, and Johnny is drawn into the complex workings of the Bolsover family. Johnny is good at finding skeletons in closets...
The Skeleton Garden is a captivating, multi-layered mystery with plenty of surprises in store for readers. If you are a fan of British cozy mysteries, Marty Wingate's novels will not disappoint. Her plots are original and there is always a fascinating array of characters.
The story begins with an accidental murder of a British airman during WWII. The body is buried alongside a downed German fighter plane. It is only when Pru and her brother Simon are refurbishing Greenoak's extensive gardens that the remains are discovered. The unidentified skeleton proves an intriguing mystery.
The importance of the remains is not realized until after a man's body is discovered where the excavation took place. As the local Detective Inspector fumbles through the investigation, Pru and Christopher start their own, digging into long bur...
alt.sherlock.holmes: New Visions of the Great Detective
by Gini Koch, Jamie Wyman, and Glen Mehn
Sci Fi & Fantasy
Pub Date: April 12, 2016
Holmesians look out - this is a collection of tales that will delight and amaze, that will tear down your preconceived notions of who Sherlock Holmes and Watson are, and linger long in memory. Each tale features a Holmes who is all you know and love, but at the same time who is far different than you expect. These are the Holmes’s who might have been - and I for one am glad that they are here to be seen and experienced.
Gini Koch’s Holmes is the most familiar. Her playground is Los Angeles where she consults for the LAPD. Rather than suffering from addiction to drugs, she has a more prosaic but almost equally destructive addiction to reality television. With Watson she investigates murder amongst the stars. I especially liked the portrayal of Irene Adler.
The Holmes (Sanford “Crash” Haus) of Jamie Wyman is a carnie and a trickster...
The Last Girl has an interesting premise. Women are scarce and no female babies have been born for almost a generation. Zoey is amongst a small number of young women kept in a fortress and told they are the only hope for the world.
Like most dystopian novels, the villains of this piece (the NOA) are the worst of the worst. The girls have scarcely any education, live a prisoner's life, and are placed in isolation where they are tortured in retaliation for any rule breaking. If that isn't enough, Hart throws in lecherous and abusive guards. To avoid falling into the YA category, Hart places the girls on the cusp of adulthood. They don't "graduate" until they are 21. In theory it's because the women are most fertile at 21, though the eggs are harvested and gestation is in tanks. Oh and to make the bad guys extra bad they kill the women who can't give birth to a female....
All mystery lovers will attest to the fact that the mystery genre provides an intimate look at human psychology, individual motivation, and the actions that an individual may be driven to. Intellect and empathy both play a role in detection. Guy Fraser-Sampson takes this to heart in the first book in his newest series Death in Profile.
For months a killer has been stalking women, raping them before leaving them dead. Media and political pressures regarding the lack of progress lead to the case being assigned to Superintendent Collinson. Lack of leads encourages him to seek advice of a psychologist, a gifted but eccentric academic.
Lovers of classic British mystery will be thrilled by the tribute paid to Dorothy Sayers, the creator of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. Indeed part of what makes this novel unique is that the profiler, when under extreme stress,...
Humans may have discovered how to live together in peace during their time on the Ark. but that doesn’t mean that human vices, particularly greed, have been extinguished.
Bryan Benson saved humanity once already. Now the denizens of the Ark are settling on Tau Ceti G, building a colony which will hopefully thrive. The natives of the planet, the G’tel are sentient and have their own civilization. When circumstance mandates first contact between the humans and the g’tel, the situation goes drastically awry. An unknown group of natives attacks both the humans and the villagers hosting them. Many on both sides are killed. Suspiciously, the leader of the team, the head of the colony, dies suddenly after being in stable condition throughout the return to the colony. Voices decry the need to attack and eliminate the G’tel.
Death on the Riviera: A British Library Crime Classic
by John Bude
Poisoned Pen Press
Pub Date: March 1, 2016
The British Library Crime Classics are true treasures for the mystery lover. It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to read such wonderful stories knowing that most have been unavailable to the public for over five decades.
Death on the Riviera is an excellent procedural containing two separate but interrelated cases. One is a counterfeit currency racket, the other an exceedingly clever murder. Detective Inspector Meredith and his Sergeant Freddy Strang have been sent from London to aid the French police in the counterfeiting case. A chance meeting between Sergeant Strang and Nesta Hedderwick’s neice draws attention to Villa Paloma. Here at the residence of the rich and eccentric Englishwoman Nesta Hedderwick, an unusual group is brought together, amongst them her neice, an artist who is not an artist, a ne’er do well playboy and his paramour, and a young Englishm...
Don’t be fooled by the cover - it has absolutely no relation to the novel whatsoever. The die in die-cast refers to a method used to create model toys, not to dice or gambling.
Die-Cast is a delightful British cozy filled with all of the important ingredients - an interesting village setting removed from the bustle of the city, unique characters, a charming and clever lead, an unusual theme, and a scene-stealing cat.
Peter Marklin collects and sells rare and unusual toys at his shop in Dorset. He plans to stay far away from any form of amateur detective work. Unfortunately, his plans are for naught when Lana-Lee Claudell, a famous Hollywood actress asks him to uncover the truth about her ex-husband’s murder. The police suspect Adam Longhurst, her former lover who was seen threatening him at a party weeks before. As he has no alibi, the local police are uninterested in investigatin...
On a technical level, Beyond Tomorrow is skillfully written. What it lacks, however, is emotion and the ability to draw the reader in on a visceral level. I didn’t connect with Captain Jex Bowen. I didn’t feel any danger from the unknown or the alien threat.
The novel read much like an episode of the original Star Trek series. The tagline (To Boldly Go) and the beginning of the description (The Final Frontier) openly echo the intro credits. The Captain in his new and untested ship are on a mission to test/explore and discover information about an alien threat. The aliens materialize onboard and attempt mind control. The captain of course does not succumb fully. Like Captain Kirk, he even gets into a physical fight with one, which he of course wins. Meanwhile the chief engineer, like Scotty, has to pull miracles out of his hat to keep the ship from going to pieces....
by Ben McCool, Royal McGraw, Elliott Serrano, Ben Fisher
Diamond Book Distributors
Comics & Graphic, Children's Fiction
Pub Date: February 16, 2016
The Misadventures of Grumpy Cat is a comic designed to appeal to younger fans of the famous feline. The artwork is cute and colorful, and the stories are short. Pokey is Grumpy Cat’s foil with irrepressible good humor and enthusiasm. Without Pokey, Grumpy Cat would not have the opportunity to express her characteristic displeasure. Although Pokey is easily manipulated, Dog is far dimmer, and his activities make for considerable laughter.
As I read, one thought stuck in my mind. It may be coincidence but the Grumpy Cat comic reminded me of a long running web comic, Two Lumps. While Two Lumps is more for a general audience and the Grumpy Cat comic is designed for children there are numerous similarities that make the Grumpy Cat comic appear derivative.