Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mark Twain and a Literary Tour Mystery

Mark Twain was one of my early interests in reading. Of course he was not a mystery writer but he did write about the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. And I can not forget about some of the wit he used in some of his other writings – it was fantastic!!!

Needless to say, when I heard about Livia Washburn’s latest Delilah Dickinson Literary Tour Mystery, I was immediately interested. The title is Huckleberry Finished and it centers around a tour on a riverboat cruise that Delilah’s company has put together. The cruise starts in St Louis and cruises down the Mississippi River to Hannibal. It is just a leisurely cruise with some gambling and a real live Mark Twain / Samuel Clemens entertainer. Sounds like fun doesn’t it!!!

This is the first time Delilah has booked this cruise and she hopes it goes without any hitches. The first hitch is a minor one. One of the passengers is talking loudly on his cell phone - dealing with business – and disturbing the peace and tranquility of the cruise. Delilah addresses this issue and hopes it is the only hitch the cruise encounters. There is no such luck. It seems this tour is likely to suffer the same fate as her first tour. All I am going to say is that murder plays a part in this tour as well.

This book (just like the tour in the book) is not to be like a story written by Mark Twain. Instead it is to be of interest to the fan of Mark Twain. There was the interesting portrayal by the Sam Clemens character – not just for the other characters on the cruise but for the reader as well. The quotes were great!!!

Not only did Livia Washburn tell such a good story, she also continued a trend she started in the other Literary Tour Mystery book. At the end of the book she included some “real” tour information about Hannibal, and things to do. Are you ready to travel?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Virtual Book Tour - Guest Author John J. Le Beau

See the end for details to register to win a copy of his book.

The Alpine Setting for ‘Collision of Evil’

- John J. Le Beau

‘Collision of Evil’ is an international thriller and thus the plot plays out in multiple locations around the globe. That said, most of the story transpires in the Bavarian Alps, roughly the geographical area between the splendid old and noble city of Munich and the German border with Austria. This is a marvelously dramatic landscape by any standard, providing some of the most striking scenery in the world. In terms of the plot, this alpine setting is a critical element; I did not choose it by whim. A key factor in the storyline involves the final, spasmodic phase of World War Two and the concealment of sensitive items in the mountains by German forces at the end of the conflict. In this sense, the plot begins in 1945 and moves forward to the present day.

The main protagonist in ‘Collision’ is in fact a native denizen of the Alps, a German Kommissar of police named Franz Waldbaer. His investigatory activities serve to a notable extent as a vehicle to move the reader through Bavaria, its customs and traditions. To the extent possible without slowing the pace of the story, I tried to include considerable slices of ‘everyday Bavarian life’ in the novel, to acquaint the reader with an area that will be foreign and exotic to many of them. I have lived in Germany and nearby Austria for many, many years and find much that is beautiful and admirable in these locations. In writing the book, I wanted to share this sentiment with the reader, and perhaps even coax him or her to include Bavaria in future travel plans.

Mountainous regions of their nature are both enchanting and sinister and can serve as a good location to conceal something covert. I think that the alpine landscape employed in the novel helps to establish a certain atmosphere, at once attractive and foreboding. The dramatic book cover art devised by Oceanview, I believe, well captures the atmosphere that I was striving to create in words.

As for the several other settings employed in ‘Collision of Evil’, I basically tried to restrict the locations to places that I have either lived in or visited, to provide a sense of realism and texture to the story. This holds true for scenes set in CIA Headquarters in Langley, Turkey, Austria and Afghanistan. In fact, put another way, I think I would have difficulty trying to set action in venues that I have not visited. At any rate, I enjoyed trying to balance a variety of locations with the plot line; it was at times a challenge but also considerable fun.

Thanks John.

This is just one of the stops on a virtual book tour by the author. If you are interested in other stops check out the following link -

Here is a short synopsis of the book.

As evening falls against the majestic backdrop of the Bavarian Alps, Charles Hirter, an American tourist, is savagely murdered. In the peace, quiet and pastoral splendor of this magnificent setting, Charles Hirter draws his last breath. Was Charles simply in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Kommissar Franz Waldbaer, the German detective in charge of the case, faces an investigation that yields neither clues nor suspects nor motives. A gruff, go-it alone detective, Waldbaer is dismayed by the arrival of Robert Hirter, the victim's brother, who insists on joining the investigation. But there is more to Robert than meets the eye.

As Robert and the Kommissar uncover a nefarious nexus of evil past and evil present, they find themselves probing dark, long-forgotten episodes from the Third Reich in order to identify the present threat.

Thrust into a violent world of fanatic passions, malevolent intentions and excruciating urgency, Robert Hirter and Kommissar Waldbaer must race against the clock to stop a sophisticated, covert, and deadly plot.

“John J. Le Beau is giving away a signed copy of his book, Collision of Evil, to one lucky tour visitor. Go to his book tour page, , enter your name, e-mail address, and this PIN, 8498, for your chance to win. Entries from Mystery Reader Discussion will be accepted until 12:00 Noon (PT) Thursday, January 21st, 2010. No purchase is required to enter or to win. The winner (first name only) will be announced on his book tour page next week.”

Monday, January 18, 2010

And The Winner Is ...

Thanks to all those who entered the contest to win a copy of the book Ivory Tower Cop by George Kirkham & Leonard Territo. There were 10 entries and the score was randomly generated between 1 and 100 based on the name and the length of the name. The names and the scores are listed below:

Vicki Agee 89
Diann Glover 86
Melody Boatwright 74
Kathleen Samples 66
Liz Jennings 60
Mary Anne Harris 45
Teresa Sherman 43
Phyllis Burnett 34
Elaine Dennis 8
Janet May 6

Congratulations Vicki. I will email your address so the book can be sent to you. And thanks Phenix and Phenix Literary Publicists for making this possible.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Discussion Group Selection For January

KUDOS to the member of the Firewheel Barnes and Noble Mystery Discussion Group who recommended this book for our group to read. I had not read this author - Stephen White - before. However I think this book - Higher Authority - was a great introduction to the author.

It starts off as a possible lawsuit against a member of the Mormon church - in Utah. This member is also the assistant to a Supreme Court Justice. If the stakes are not high enough yet, it becomes even more complicated when the subject of the lawsuit is murdered. And if you don't think things could get any worse, you have to read the book.

Before I give the rating by the members of the group, I want to mention a few of the comments about it.

"It was hard to get into the book at first. But after the murder occurred, it held my interest."

"I thought it did a good job of including several areas of interest: the Mormom church, bicycling, indians, and Multiple Sclerosis."

"The author did a great job of character developement. The only disappointment was that he killed off one of those 'good' guys".

NOW as promised, here is how the group rated it - an overwhelming 9 thumbs up.

Here is one of the quotes I liked from the book: Lawyering and fishing. Same sport. Different hooks, different bait. I decided a long time ago that fishing is more fun.

Other than READ THE BOOK - That's enough said!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Thriller - Ivory Tower Cop

Special Giveaway Notice below!!!

Professor David Roth was an expert in his field - he was a criminologist. A criminologist is a person who studies crime and criminal behaviour in order to understand who commits crime and why. Their experience generally comes from researching past crimes and patterns. They usually have not experienced crime in a first hand manner.

First he reads a news account about the rape of an elderly nun. Based on his previous research, he is very certain this is just the beginning of a series of more violent crimes to come.

One day when teaching one of his classes about the crime of rape, a student becomes upset. This student was a victim of rape and still has not come to terms with it. This causes David Roth to look at the crime of rape in a different manner.

This incident and the recent rape of an elderly nun causes David Roth to take it in a personal way. How personal does it become? It becomes a very personal challenge to him when he decides to take on a different avenue of research. Instead of just looking at documents and crime scene pictures he decides to do research that will actually require a more hands on approach - to become a detective in the sexual crimes division. Well ... , he decides to take a leave of absence from his duties at the college, go through the police academy for training as a cadet, and then become a detective in the sexual crimes division.

He partners with a female detective to find clues about the person responsible for this rape and other attacks that come. There is one similarity to these attacks that is evident - the time of the attack. Other than that the similarity that links them is hard to determine. It will not take long before it becomes a cat and mouse game between the detectives and the person committing them.

This is all I want to give away about this story. One thing I will say - I enjoyed reading the book. You have probably heard a phrase similar to this one - a good writer writes about what he knows. Well ... in this case there are a few ways this can be interpreted. First, this book is a fictional account - based on a true story. Second, the authors of this book come from a background very similar to that of the character - David Roth. This is probably why I liked the book. If this sounds like something you like then check out Ivory Tower Cop by George Kirkham & Leonard Territo. I think you would agree.

Now as I mentioned above, the publishers are offering a giveaway for this book. Send me your email address to enter. I will notify the winners to get addresses to send the book. Good luck!!! Send your email address to misterreereeder at yahoo(dot)com. Comments on the blog are welcomed. Deadline: January 15th, 2010!!!