Monday, November 30, 2009

Blog Posting About

I visited the site for the Southwest Chapter of Mystery Writers of America at and noticed they have their monthly meeting coming up this Saturday, Dec 5th. Now ... I am not a writer or a member but I noticed on the page that "You do NOT have to be a MWA member to attend." This may be something interesting to try out. It may be a chance to meet some of the authors I have read about.

At the very least, it sounds like there will be an interesting speaker.. Here is what it says on the site about the speaker.

On December 5, Detective Tommy Le Noir parallels skills "How Excellent Homicide Detectives and Great Mystery Writers are Alike." Twenty-nine years as a detective with the metroplex's Arlington Police Department prepared Detective Le Noir to KNOW about investigations.

Several of Detective Le Noir's homicide cases have earned national recognition and media attention, including Jack Reeves, featured in several nationally televised documentaries and the subject of the book Mail Order Murder by true crime author Patricia Springer.

Here is the meeting information:

First Saturday of each month
9:30-11:30 AM
Texas Land & Cattle
812 South Central Expressway
Richardson, TX 75080

There is a $5 door fee.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Deja Vu by Misterreereeder

I could not understand it. It was like I was caught up in the Ground Hog Day zone (like the movie). The same thing kept on happening - over and over again. Here is what would happen.

I would find myself getting to work. No problem yet. Sometimes I would be carrying packages - something in grocery bags or shopping bags. Again no problem. I would get to my desk and set the packages down. Then I would start wondering - did I remember to shave this morning? Not sure of myself I would raise my hand to my face and feel. Sometimes I could tell I had shaved because my face was smooth but other times I would feel the stubble on my unshaven face. Oh well ..., I had forgotten to shave.

The next thing that occurred to me was the most disturbing thing. I would glance down and realize I did NOT have a shirt on. OMG ... how did I forget to put on a shirt? And how come it did not occur to me at any time while I was on the way to the office? This did not make any sense!!!

I would be brought back to the present when somebody would speak to me. The comment was not always the same. "Uh ... good morning." "Look who we have here." "Did you have a rough night?"

And that kept happening over and over again. I was REALLY confused.

Then I woke up. I was still in bed and it was still early in the morning. Thank goodness ... I was ONLY dreaming!!! Boy ... was that a relief.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Book Cottage

GONE??? NO ... Just Moved!!!
In case you have been by the old location in Garland and
noticed the store is no longer there, do not fret. They
have not gone out of business and have not moved far away.
In fact, they have moved just down the street to a bigger
store. Here is their new address:

A Book Cottage
1225 Beltline #5
Garland, TX

A Book Cottage is an independent used book store located in
Garland, Texas. Keep them in mind when you are looking for
another place to find something to read.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Books And Murder

This may come as a surprise to those acquainted with me but I enjoy being a people watcher. What may shock them even more may be when I say that I do most of my people watching in the privacy of my own home. This should not be a surprise because I love to read mysteries and fiction. So how does that work?

Here is a book I just read. This is the first in the Bibliophile Mystery Series. You see the title is Homicide in Hardcover and it is by Kate Carlisle. This was a book recommended to me by the director of my local library it was a book used by one of the book discussion groups she belonged to. Yes ... it is fiction and the characters in it are not real live people. But the characters have roots. And from my seat and I can watch them as I read the book.

In this book I encounter some "people" I would not typically meet where I live in Texas. This book takes place in California. The sleuth in this story is named Brooklyn Wainwright and it is "through her eyes" that I get to do my people watching. You see ... she was raised by her parents in a commune and this is how I learn a little about the life there.

One of the things she learned to do in her community was how to to restore books and we get a glimpse of this in the book. Her mentor / teacher is Abraham Karastowsky and he has asked her to help him restore a copy of Faust. But before they start working on this project, Brooklyn finds him dying and he gives her a warning with his last breath - Remember the devil. Unable to learn anything else before he dies, Brooklyn must learn more about this by doing some investigating on her own. Did Abraham die because of the curse of Faust? Who would want to murder Abraham and Why?

There were a lot of interesting "people" introduced through the eyes of Brooklyn and this was one of the things I liked about the book. I certainly do not have this many people "walking through my house". I was equally surprised by how one of my favorite interests - Texas - was thrown into the story. And of course one of the benefits of people watching are the things you learn like a phrase used by one of the characters - "feather buckets". It was a phrase made up by one of the characters and his brother because their parents forbade them from using curse words.

Finally, I also love the word bibliophile - someone who loves books. And if you love books (and mysteries), this is certainly one you would love to read.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Discussion Group Selection For November

This month's author selection for our discussion group was Tami Hoag. The author was suggested by my wife who is not a formal member of the group but she has read a lot of what the group has read as well. As is typical for the group, we try to start at the beginning of the series so we chose to start with Still Waters.

Incidentally ... my wife who is a fan of Tami Hoag's books indicated that they are not really a part of a continuing series. She told me we probably should have chosen another one of her books. Oh well ... sometimes you win ... sometimes you lose.

Let me introduce you to this book. The note on the book cover describes it as "a sizzling novel of romance and suspense". Still Waters is a place ... well ... actually it is Still Creek. This is a small town in Minnesota in an area where there is a population of both Amish and non-Amish people. I thought it was interesting to learn that the Amish refer to the non-Amish people as "English". Among the "English", you have those that were insiders and those that were outsiders.

One of the main characters is an outsider - Elizabeth Stuart. She and her son have moved to the area and she has bought the local newspaper business. Not only is she an outsider but she is a well publicized outsider. She recently went through a divorce from a rich man and was destroyed through the process with some false accusations. This is another strike she has in this place she is trying to make a fresh start. As a result of this divorce (and earlier experiences) she has hardened herself and has determined men do not have a place in her life. Things do not bode well for her when she discovers the body of one of the "insiders" dead / murdered in his automobile.

Another main character is one of the insiders. His name is Dane Jantzen and he is the local sheriff. I will not go a lot into his background (that is part of reading the book) but he is not looking for any romantic attachments. He just wants to do his job here in Still Creek. His "apple cart" is about to be upset. There has not been a murder in his town for a loooooong time and now he must deal with one. He will find himself clashing with this outsider - in more than one way.

There were several more interesting characters in the book and they are a part of what makes the book good to read. Now ... you may be wondering what our group thought about the book. Well ... here is the vote - three thumbs up; four thumbs down. Some of the people were willing to try out other books by the author.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Another Matt Royal Mystery

Yes ... it is the latest Matt Royal mystery by H Terrell Griffin. It is called Wyatt's Revenge. Terry Griffin is another Florida author I have read before. As a matter of fact I have enjoyed a coupe of other books in the Matt Royal series. If you are interested, H Terrell Griffin has a website at Here is a quote about the book I found about the book - "Wyatt’s Revenge is a hard-hitting, action-packed tale about good versus evil, justice versus revenge, murder, and redemption."

Who is Matt Royal? Well ..., he is a currently a beach bum with a complex past. He is a retired lawyer. He was also in the service. Now he spends his life on his boat, with friends, and drinking.

But when his friend Wyatt is brutally murdered in his own home, this gets Matt's blood boiling. He is not only determined to find out why somebody killed his friend who was a college professor. But he also wants to make sure there is justice and revenge for the death.

Once he starts unofficially investigating, an attempt his made on his life. A bomb is put in his truck. It explodes and kills a car mechanic picking it up to take to the shop. Now Matt has two deaths to avenge.

Determining who is responsible for the murders is a big task but Matt (and Wyatt) has a lot of friends with connections. It isn't long before Matt discovers who actually killed his friend but the reason remains a mystery. It becomes clear however that another professor (and colleague of Wyatt was also murdered the day after Wyatt. Whatever they were working on appears to be the underlying reason they were murdered and somebody does not want the truth (whatever that is) to get out.

Typically I do not like to tell to much of the story because I do not want to give it away. Besides that ... you would miss out on a lot of what happens if you do not read it for yourself. What I will tell you is that the book takes Matt (and us) to Germany. We also get some glimpses of the past (the Hitler era). If you read the book, you will find out the connection between these glimpses and these murders as Matt uncovers them with help from some friends. I encourage you to check out this book!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Don Bruns and Stuff To Spy For

Don Bruns is a mystery writer I have read before but this is the first book I have read in this series. This series is the Stuff series and the name of the book is Stuff To Spy For. It is the third book in the series. The other two books in the series are Stuff To Die For and Stuff Dreams Are Made Of.

The prolougue definitely sparks some interest in the rest of the book. It is here that we find out the main character in the story - the one telling the story - dies. It made me want to find out what happened - and how the character was telling the story.

The person who tells the story is Skip Moore. He will find all sorts of surprises in this book and story - besides dieing. I think the author has described him and his roommate (James Lessor) as being clueless. I definitely can see how one comes up with that characterization.

As the book opens, Skip Moore is at a client site to check into a job involving set up of a security system. Skip is apparently the main contributor to paying the rent in his roommate situation so he definitely wants this job to work out. His first surprise is discovering who his contact person is for this job. She was an old classmate of his and , as we hear a few times, she was way out of his league. Regardless, Skip is surprised to discover that the job is his but there are some catches. Sarah, his old classmate, wants him to pretend to be dating him and will pay him additional money for doing this. NOW ... I will not tell you why she wants this but let me say that a lot of red flags sure seem like they should come up. AND his real girlfriend can not be too happy with this idea.

But surprises do not end here because he is offerred more money by another person - the wife of the boss of the company. She wants him to spy in the company while he is there. Oh ... the tangled webs we weave. Let me just say that things are not always like you think they are AND our two amateur sleuths do not always seem to think about them. As a matter of fact, there apparently is a reversal in rolls involved here. Skip is described as usually the sensible person in this friendship and James is not ... but NOT in this book.

I do not want to give away any more of this story ... except that it happens in Miami, FL (which really is not giving away anything). What I can say is that it was at times humorous and overall an interesting story. Oh ... and about the character dieing ... well, you will have to read to find out about it. That is a part of the story.