Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why Read?

Why read? That is an interesting question. I suppose there are a number of different ways to take to answer it. Why do I read? One of the primary reasons is for the enjoyment. I enjoy reading mysteries (no duh?) but I read other things as well. I especially like to read books by Texas authors but I do not limit it there either.

So how do I decide what to read? There are so many choices out there and not a whole lot of time left over to actually read. Well ..., once I come across an author and a series, I like to continue in the series. One such author who happens to be a Texas author is Bill Crider who lives in the Alvin, TX area - down in my old neck of the woods. I just recently finished the latest book in his Dan Rhodes Mystery series. It is called Murder In Four Parts. This is the sixteenth book in the series featuring the fictional sheriff in Blacklin County. And yes ... I've read all of the books in the series. The series has a lot of interesting characters including the sheriff. You just gotta like this sheriff. I do have a question lingering now that I completed this book. Is our sheriff fixin' to (that is one of those Texas sayings) stop being a sheriff? Two things cause me to wonder about this. First there is a lot of talk by constituents about our sheriff needing to do some things if he expects to be elected again - two years down the road. The other thing is how the cover of the book says this is a Dan Rhodes Mystery - not a Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery like I've seen in the past. I guess time will tell.

Generally, I like to start a series from the first book in the series. And if I like it I continue in the series. As you may know from a previous post, I thought I was starting with the first book in a Miniature series by Margaret Grace. It ends up I got the third book in the series by mistake. I enjoyed it and got the first two books in the series (Murder in Miniature and Mayhem in Miniature) as well. This is about a retired teacher called Geraldine Porter. She happens to be involved in making miniatures. (By the way, the author is also involved in making miniatures.) I discovered some common interests with the character like her interest in the library, the friends of the library, and tutoring. This is one of those other things I like to find in the books I read.

I have also been introduced to some books I would not otherwise would have read. An obvious source is friends who share an interest in reading. Another source of recommended readings is through a Mystery Book discussion Group I belong to at a local Barnes and Noble. Occasionally I find out about authors through invitations to participate in virtual book tours. One thing for sure - there is a variety of books out there to read. And they are written by all kinds of people from different walks of life and different perspectives. READING IS GREAT!!! What are your reasons for reading?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

INVASION - Another Original Story by Misterreereeder

Invasion!!! She did not know what hit her. It came so unexpectedly.

The day before had been a beautiful day. It may have been a little hot but otherwise the weather was nice. She sat in her backyard and enjoyed looking around. There was the deck and the pool. On the deck were some of the containers with the plants she was growing. There were other things she enjoyed in the back as well - the grill and the patio set. She'd also hung some hanging baskets with flowers and a hummingbird feeder. She was looking forward to see some visitors taking a sip from the feeder. Her back yard was her oasis.

She came back out the next evening to discover her little paradise had been invaded. The invaders were hidden at first - wearing their camouflage of green. But she noticed the destruction they had caused. It was very disturbing what they had done. One of her pots had been flourishing with a pepper plant but now it had literally been stripped of a lot of the leaves and branches.

Then she saw the invaders. There were three of them. They were big and ugly. It was then when she became enraged and turned to defend her oasis. She grabbed the nearest tool she could find to use as a weapon. It was a pruning shear. She used it to grab the invaders and remove them from her plant. When she finished with them there were several pieces of them still writhing about - on the verge of death.

Then she noticed another group of five starting to work on her tomato plant. There was no way she was going to let them do the job on this plant their friends had done to her pepper plant. With renewed determination, she went on the offensive against them. It wasn't until she had removed the last fat worm that she was satisfied. They may have started it - but she took the battle back to them and won. This time she had succeeded in defending her front. Now she is on the alert to fend off any future attacks.

!!! Inspired by my wife !!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Virtual Book Tour: Guest Author - Paul Martin Midden

Welcome to this stop on the Virtual Book Tour for Paul Martin Midden's Toxin. The author has provided the following fictional interview based on the character in this book and the story. It is pretty good. Be sure to check the bottom of this posting for information on how to win a copy of the book. Now ... with no further ado, here is the interview.

An Interview with Jake Telemarck, junior senator from Wisconsin (a character in the novel Toxin)

Conducted by Sanford Williams, Senior CNN correspondent.

CNN: As most people know by now, there have been tragic occurrences of domestic terrorism in the United States in recent months, developments which seem to have ended with the mysterious deaths of members of a shadowy organization known only as “the Bookkeepers”. With me today is Senator Jack Telemarck, the junior senator from Wisconsin, who was reported to be involved in those developments. Some say he played a critical role in ending the threat—some even say he had a hand in the deaths of the terrorists, although he has consistently denied that. Details about those deaths and the ongoing investigation are still coming out. This is Mr. Telemarck’s first interview with CNN.

Senator Telemarck, much has been made of your role in recent events surrounding domestic terrorism in the US. Some say that you had a major role in reducing or even eliminating this threat. What do you have to say to that?

JT: Well, Sanford, let me say a couple things to that. Number one, this kind of threat is never completely eliminated. Fanatics continue to dream of overthrowing our government, and there are always groups out there who think that they could do a better job at running the country. So it is something we have to be on the alert for constantly. Secondly, while I was honored to play a minor role in recent events, the defeat of the plot that was uncovered in Washington was really the result of hard work by many federal agencies working together. Actually, people from inside and outside the government were critical to the success of those efforts.

CNN: So you deny rumors that it was you who single-handedly eliminated the Bookkeepers.

JT: By killing the Bookkeepers? I think the investigation into those deaths is still inconclusive. If you are suggesting that a sitting Senator somehow murdered or conspired to murder thirteen people, you had better have some solid proof. Even if they were traitors and mass murderers. But yes, I deny that I single-handedly made much of a difference at all. I was close to some of the principal players. I did hold some meetings. There was an incident during the Senate debate on secession that I played my most significant role in. By interrupting that and rallying other moderate Senators, we were able to prevent that outrage from happening. And I think this was an important element in exposing the extent of the conspiracy.

CNN: So you believe there was a conspiracy.

JT: Absolutely. I don’t think there is any doubt about that. The results of the investigation in northern Virginia these past weeks uncovered an extensive and highly disciplined plot to unseat our government. I do not know how those people died, but the country is safer with them out of the picture.

CNN: This was a religious group which is alleged to have made these plans and perpetrated one of the largest mass murders on US soil. Some have accused you of being anti-religious. Are you?

JT: Of course not. Fanatics are fanatics, no matter what their religious practices. I do think we have learned from this experience that not all radical groups are of foreign or Islamic origin. There have been religious fanatics throughout history and they have been consistently disowned by their parent churches. No one can blame religion for the deranged few who use it to further their own power. I also remind you that, prior to 9/11, the largest terrorist attack in the US was perpetrated by a US citizen, Timothy McVay.

CNN: You are familiar with Dr. Isadore Hathaway of the progressive think tank, The Center for Law and Public Policy. She was quoted as saying that without your help the Bookkeepers’ plot may well have succeeded. What is your response to that?

JT: I do know Dr. Hathaway, and I know her to be a bright, generous person. But I am afraid she overrepresented my role in recent events. It was actually she who first sounded the alarm—discreetly—about the Bookkeepers and their plot. She was actually the essential player, as I see this situation. But she is too modest to say so. Like a lot of those analysts, she likes to remain in the background.

CNN: There have been reports that you and she have gotten close over these past months.

JT: No comment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Martin Midden is a psychologist who currently serves as Clinical Director of a nationally-recognized treatment center. Midden’s debut novel, Absolution, was released to great critical acclaim in 2007. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

ABOUT THE BOOK: A gripping first person novel that reads like non-fiction, Toxin is briskly-paced and filled with urgency. Part provocative political thriller, part powerful psychological narrative, Toxin delivers a terrifyingly-real storyline that deftly blurs the lines between fiction and reality. Novelist Paul Martin Midden displays remarkable dexterity in his extraordinary character development, exquisite understanding of the texture and complexity of human relationships, and ability to keep the pages turning in this powerful thriller.

REGISTER TO WIN: Paul Martin Midden is giving away a signed copy of his book, Toxin, to one lucky tour visitor. Go to his book tour page,, enter your name, e-mail address, and this PIN, 6482, for your chance to win. Entries from Mystery Reader Discussion will be accepted until 12:00 Noon (PT) tomorrow (Thursday, July 23rd). No purchase is required to enter or to win. The winner (first name only) will be announced on their book tour page next week.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Two'fer One

If you know me, you know I like Texas mysteries. Well ... I came across a Texas mystery series by a Texas author so I feel lucky. The author is Cindy Daniel and she lives in the Dallas area. She has written a two book mystery series located in East Texas featuring Hannah Evans - a divorcee with a daughter. (Oh by the way these books also fall under the category of romance.) The title of the two books are Death Warmed Over and Family Affair. Here are a few adjectives that describe these books - good, funny, light, entertaining, delightful. I am sure there are plenty of others but I will stop with those. Now for a little about the stories.

Death Warmed Over introduces Hannah and her family. Hannah (and her daughter) lives in a garage apartment at her parents' house. Her father is a retired minister who owns and operates a five lodge campground. Since Hannah has returned home, she helps out by doing the maintenance / housekeeping for the lodges. She also has a sister Ruth who tends to be the wild one of the two but who seems to be settling down and is dating the local lawman. A lot happens in this book including romance (Hannah meets a handsome lawman-a cross between Tommy Lee Jones and Mel Gibson) and mystery (a local beauty queen is murdered). When one of the suspects for the murder turns out to be Hannah's sister, she decides she needs to help solve the mystery and clear her sister's name. All of this and she also makes a decision to open a mystery book store called Death Warmed Over. Now .... no more about the plot but let me tell you some of the inviting tidbits in the story. If you like good clean reading, then this is one - why heck it occurs in the East Texas Bible Belt. What is a romance if there is no sex? Well there are some minor references but nothing explicit - a woman doesn't tell. There are also good local descriptions in the words and the language. Here is one example - "Good Lord and Greyhound." There are so many things that made this an interesting book.

Here is a sample of the writing from Death Warmed Over:

Glancing at the clock as I heard Will's truck pull onto the highway, I had been shocked to see it was after one o'clock. Momma, being the snoop she was, would've surely been watching her clock as well. She would also be watching my face the next chance she got to see if I developed a case of acne. She always told me that she was glad I continued to have acne during my adolescent years- it was a determining factor as to whether you were a frustrated teen instead of a satisfied one.

I know I probably don't have to tell you this, but, Ruth always had a complexion smooth as a baby's bottom. Mommy and Daddy did a lot of praying during those teenage years.

The second book was called Family Affair. And it is a Family Affair in more than one way. First with the opening of her new bookstore, Hannah gets help from her family (and close friends). Plus she is getting married to that handsome lawman she met in the first book. When a customer and new friend asks her to investigate some attempts(?) on her life, Hannah does some investigating but turns up nothing. When the new friend turns up dead on Hannah's wedding day, she takes up the investigation again with the help from a few friends and family - including her new husband. He warns her to keep him informed since she was almost killed in the other book. The initial suspects are those family members (and an animal shelter) who will benefit from the will. But finding the murderer will not be easy with everything going on. Well ..., once again, no more of the plot but following is a sample of the delightful writing from this book:

Ruth scooched out of her leather seat and attempted to straighten her spandex miniskirt. Okay, I have two problems with that. One -wouldn't spandex be hot and sticky against those leather seats? And two - what did she think there was to straighten? I mean, my panties offered more coverage than that thing she was wearing.

Now, grant you, it takes a good size pair of panties to cover my sculpted derrierre, but still.

Don't pass up these two books. They are good reading material. And if you are interested, check out her website

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Toxin by Paul Martin Midden

This posting is a little different from what I usually do. I introduced the book in the title - Toxin. The author of this book is Paul Martin Midden. Let me tell you a little about this author. He has written one other book titled Absolution. In addition to writing these books, he is a psychologist. Apparently he uses some of the same skills in understanding his patients when he writes his books.

In this book, Toxin, Jake Telemark is a United States Senator. He got involved in politics and ultimately became a Senator at the urging of some drinking buddies. He has been in the Senate now for two years and as a moderate Republican has been working with like minded colleagues. He has no idea what may be required of him when he agrees to meet with Isadore Hathaway.

What he knows about Isadore is she was the daughter of Frank Hathaway. Frank Hathaway was a bigtime Senator before Jake came along. When she calls and speaks to him on the phone, he is intrigued by her. He agrees to meet her and is amazed by how young and pretty she is. He immediately feels an attraction towards her. But he is dumbfounded when he hears what she has to say to him.

Isadore tells him there is a plot to overthrow the government. There is a group of 12 men who want to change the form of our government to a managerial council of twelve. They want to change our country into a theocratic oligarchy with themselves in charge. She wants to enlist his help to stop them and throws him for a loop when he learns what she wants him to do - she wants him to kill them.

Now this sounds like a far fetched idea but we learn she knows something about him that only a few are supposed to know about. As a young man when he was in the service, he was a sniper. For several years he served in a Special Ops group and killed people. It finally got to him and he got out and this information was highly classified, so how did Isadore know this?

She tells him of some of the things they are planning to do in order to convince the people they need to be in charge. This includes plans to get rid of people likely to oppose their plan and she tells him they have already determined he would be a threat to them - he will be a target as well.

Even though he is attracted to her, Jake is not convinced this can be true and has his doubts. He thinks she may be a nutcase until some things start happening. There is a terrorist attack on a Colorado water supply killing thousands of people. When a friend and colleague mysteriously dies, he becomes convinced and joins forces with Isadore.

It quickly becomes apparent this involves more than them against the twelve. Will they be able to survive attempts on their lives? Will they be able to prevent this attempt to overthrow the government? Sounds like one of those "STAY TUNED" right? Well ... in order to find out you should pick up the book and read it. It is a good suspense and mystery - take it from me.

If you want to know more about the author and his books, check out his website : Oh ... by the way. I hear there will be a virtual book tour for Paul Martin Midden and his new book. For more information on this, check out

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Discussion Group Selection For July

Our mystery discussion group met last night at the Barnes and Noble at Firewheel. Our book for July was Deep South by Nevada Barr. This is the eight book in the Anna Pigeon series. There were seven people in attendance and everybody gave it a thumbs up!!!

So what is it about this book and author that was so interesting? Well..., a few of the group had read one or more of her books before. The character - Anna Pigeon - a National Parks Ranger is one of interest. You learn about her and the place where she is stationed at. It is no wonder!! The author Nevada Barr writes from experience as a National Parks Ranger. Plus she throws in her creative writing to make some good reading.

In this book, Anna Pigeon has just gotten her first supervisory position in a Natchez Trace park. This will definitely be an interesting move for her and not everybody is exactly happy about it. She has to take leadership in a place where women are not typically in this type of position. In addition, she has to deal with some personal issues - she learns her sister is going to get married and her adopted dog gets hurt badly defending her from an alligator. She also finds the body of a young lady and must investigate to determine who killed her. There are several possibilities.

No more on the book. I know this is short. Let me just say I strongly agree with the other members of our group AND I think is was worth reading. Check it out!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Virtual Book Tour - Rosemary & Larry Mild's Boston Scream Pie

Welcome to this stop on the Virtual Book Tour for Rosemary and Larry Mild's Boston Scream Pie. Other stops on this tour can be found at Boston Scream Pie is the third book in the series featuring Paco and Molly. The first two books in the series include Hot Grudge Sunday and Locks and Cream Cheese.

This book and story included a lot of interesting characters. It is interesting to see how all these characters are connected. The first chapter introduces Delylah who I certainly am glad is not my wife. Her husband (was it husband number 4?) has a breathing problem during the night. Instead of taking him to the hospital, she tells him to call for an ambulance or his daughter to take him to the hospital. When she cannot get information over the phone from the hospital the next morning, she mails out his obituary to the newspaper. Rather than go direct to the hospital first thing in the morning, she goes out and does other things (including seeing another guy). Her husband dies later when he is leaving the hospital. INTERESTING!!!

Caitlin is a teenager who has started having dreams about a fatal automobile accident. She had been in a fatal automobile accident that killed her parents and her twin sister but this is somewhat different. Against her grandmother's wishes she asks Paco LeSoto (a retired detective) and Molly (his wife) to help her discover the truth about this recurring dream. Now ... Molly is an interesting character ... she has a vocabulary of her own. It was funny hearing some of the words she put together and this added an aspect to the story.

This is a murder mystery and there is no shortage of suspects. Now I do not want to give away the story (and there is a lot to it) but here is a synopsis of it.

Seventeen-year-old Caitlin Neuman, a Maryland high school student, is plagued by a series of bizarre nightmares about a horrific car accident on a snowy road. The lone survivor of a car crash that claimed both her parents and twin sister years earlier, Caitlin was too young to remember the details of that fateful night. But are these present-day nightmares simply Caitlin’s mind working out the past, or is there more to these vivid images that haunt her every waking moment?

As the harrowing images escalate, Caitlin takes matters into her own hands and seeks out the one source she knows can solve the mystery of the nightmares: retired Baltimore detective Paco LeSoto.

For any other detective, such a case would seem impossible. But for Paco LeSoto, nothing is impossible. Paco, after all, has both a keen ability to solve mysteries, and the loving support of his wife and biggest cheerleader, Molly, a woman whose deliciously skewed language, exquisite culinary skills, and shrewd cleverness are equaled only by her girth.

As Paco and Molly set out to find answers, they’ll uncover a string of unsolved deaths and a case of mistaken identity buried deep in the past. As the clues mount and the tension builds, Paco and Molly are led to a nearby family embroiled in a crisis of its own.

Newlyweds Newton Boston and his blonde bombshell wife Delylah are mired in their own family turmoil as Delylah’s adult children churn up trouble that threatens this already-fractured family. But what Newton does not know is that four dead husbands lie in Delylah’s past. When another Boston family member dies under suspicious circumstances, all clues point to murder.

Can Paco and Molly stop another killing, bring justice to the culprits, and right an egregious wrong from the past—before it’s too late? As they uncover the sinister clues, Paco and Molly will either shed light on a long-hidden secret, or stir up a recipe for disaster.

If you want a light and funny mystery to read, this would definitely be one I recommend.

Rosemary and Larry Mild are giving away a signed copy of their book, Boston Scream Pie, to one lucky tour visitor. Go to their book tour page, , enter your name, e-mail address, and this PIN, 9709, for your chance to win. Entries from this blog site (Mystery Reader Discussion) will be accepted until 12:00 Noon (PT) tomorrow (Wednesday, July 8th). No purchase is required to enter or to win. The winner (first name only) will be announced on their book tour page next week.