Sunday, October 24, 2010

Finding New Author David Harry

Have you heard about the Southwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America? They have a website: I discovered the website a couple of years ago and I learned they had monthly meetings in Dallas - the first Saturday of the month (except January - I think). The meeting will have an interesting speaker and /or workshop for a particular subject. And the nice thing is that you do not have to be a member to go to these meetings. It was at the last meeting I heard about this new author David Henry and his new book The Padre Puzzle. David Henry attends some of these meetings too. The immediate attraction for me was that this is a Texas author (and if you know me - I like Texas authors) and this mystery occurs in Texas - another thing I like.

So I ordered the book through It was published by and is only available through a limited outlets currently. Before I go any further I will say it was well worth it.

If you like mysteries involving Texas Rangers (the law enforcement group not to be mistaken for the NEW American League Champions), the Coast Guard, drugs, and terrorists, then I think you will enjoy it as well. I also heard this is the first in a series involving the main character Jimmy Redstone - the Texas Ranger - so if you like it you can look forward to more.

As mentioned above, Jimmy Redstone is a Texas Ranger. He has been sent on leave to Padre Island to recover from a gunshot wound he got while on duty. His recovery involves some rehab with a physical trainer and physical activity.

While on Padre Island he visits with the son of one of his former partners in the Rangers. Little did they know they were fixin' (that is one of those Texas words) to become involved in something big. The son of his former partner is in the Coast Guards and he has to go out on an emergency call. Since he is shorthanded and Jimmy is visiting, he invites Jimmy along for the ride. When they reach the place of the emergency, they are turned away - starting this big puzzle. When they are returning to the station, they hear about the recovery of a body on the beach. Redstone learns later that this body was actually a murder - the murder of a fellow Texas Ranger who was undercover.

Officially, Redstone is on leave but unofficially he is placed on undercover duty to learn what happened to his fellow Texas Ranger. He learns there is something big going on that involves a lot of law enforcement agencies including the local and county police, the Coast Guard, DEA, and Homeland Security.

There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle and there is a lot going on to keep some of this puzzle quiet. Redstone is partnered with a local South Padre policewoman in part of the investigation. They are attacked during their investigation and Redstone's Ranger friend is sent to the hospital in a coma after an attack is made on him as well.

I hope this has sparked your interest a little because there is a lot going on in the story. It is best to become a part of the story by reading it for yourself. There may be some things that were left unexplained in the story but I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Louise Penney With Another Chief Inspector Gamache

Author Louise Penney has another one with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec. This is called Bury Your Dead. Mostly we have seen him in Three Pines - a small community in Québec. Now he is in Quebec City. He is on vacation but it is not all fun and games. He has recently come off a case where he was unable to save a team member and he and other team members were seriously injured. He is here to recover - both physically and mentally. He is spending time doing research at the Literary and Historical Society - a library. (This is an interesting library as he is allowed in the library with his dog - a German Shepherd.) The library research and late night walks provide a little distraction for the inspector but thoughts about his previous case still bother him. In addition he is getting letters that raise doubts in his mind about another case he investigated and whether they prosecuted the right man.

When a local historian is found murdered in the Lit and His, Gamache is asked to assist with the investigation. This murder can cause some conflicts between two communities in Quebec - the francophone and the anglophone. Historically these two communities have been on the brink and this murder could be a catalyst fueling the bad blood between them.

Gamache has his hands and thoughts full with this local investigation and what went wrong with the last case he was involved with. So he asks another member of his team – Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir – to return to Three Pines and quietly recheck the case and their original findings.
The story shifts back and forth from the investigation in Quebec City being conducted by Chief Inspector Gamanche and the investigation in Three Pines by Inspector Beauvoir. It also shifts between local / historical history involving Samuel De Champlain – the recognized founder of Quebec – and the personal memories of the disastrous case that has put both inspectors in rehabilitation. This helps demonstrate how ‘human’ our inspectors are.

I think the author has demonstrated again just how versatile she is with her story-telling. She has made this story so appealing in so many ways - including blending history lessons in to make it believable as well. This is definitely a MUST READ!!! Be sure to check it out.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Little NOOK Achievement

Yes ... some times the little things in life DO bring a little pleasure in life!!! I went to one of the NOOK user meetings at the Firewheel Mall Barnes and Noble to learn about one of the features - lending books. I also got online and saw a brief tutorial that included the feature. It was not until I actually did it that I really understood how to do it. I was able to "lend" an ebook to a friend with an Apple Ipad.

Following are the steps I took to "lend" the ebook.

First, on the bottom color touchscreen menu I selected MY LIBRARY.

Then from the list of books in MY LIBRARY I selected the book I wanted to Lend. NOTE: The book has to be LEND ABLE. If it is it will show LEND ME out beside the name of it on your list of books.

When you select the book, there are options on the bottom color touchscreen. Use the option - View Item Detail And Options.

Once you select the option to "View Item Detail And Options", one of the options will be "Lend" - provided it is a lend able book. Then you can select who you want to lend the book too. NOTE: You have to setup the person before you go through the lending process.

PS - At the NOOK user meeting, I also learned another way to turn the page. I was familiar with the "page turning buttons" on the side of the NOOK. But I learned you can also use the color touchscreen to turn the pages of the book. This is great because I would hate to wear out the page turning buttons on the side.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Gonna Read List

It would be nice to read whenever I wanted to read but I do not always have that luxury. Other things sometimes get in the way. But I want to mention that there are some books on my "Gonna / Wanna Read List". Here are a couple of the books I learned about from some authors I met in Mystery Writers of America South West / Dallas Chapter.

The first is a book by author David Harry. It is called The Padre Puzzle. I have not read this yet but it automatically has two things going for it in my opinion. One, the setting is in Texas and two, this is a Texas author.

The second is a book called Murder To Mil-Spec and it is a collection of short mystery stories. Two things about this interested me. First, a portion of the sales goes to benefit Homes For Our Troops. Second, one of the stories in the collection is by one of the members of the MWASW Dallas Chapter. Her name is Janis Patterson (one of her pen names) and the story she wrote sounded interesting. On top of that - she is a Texas author!!!

Both books are available through

When I have my opportunity to read the books I will let you know what I think of them.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MRD Group Reads Anne George

Our Firewheel Mall Mystery Discussion Group selected a cozy by Anne George to read for the October selection. The title of the book was Murder on a Girls' Night Out. This is the first in the Southern Sisters Mystery Series by the author. There are nine books in the series. If you are interested in more information about the author, here is a link to a web page for her - Aunt Sister and the Mouse.

This is a murder mystery set in the Alabama area which (if you have not figured it out already) yet involves two sisters - one in her mid sixties and the other older. The story is told from the first person point of view by one of the sisters whose name was Patricia Anne but her sister referred to her by her nickname - Mouse. The other sister was Mary Alice but she was referred to a lot as Sister. Boy ... was it hard keeping up with their names. I can't tell if it was a cultural thing or a generational thing.

In the story Mary Alice has been going to a club called Skoot 'n Boot. When she discovered the club was for sale, she decided to buy it. She convinces her "younger" sister to come along and check out the club. It certainly looks promising but the next day things start to go haywire. The guy she bought the club from ends up brutally murdered. And things do not stop there. A day later the club is ransacked inside. Why was the guy murdered and how was the murder connected to the ransacking of the club? Patricia Anne's husband and daughter warn her to keep away from the club but her "sister" keeps dragging her back into it.

So ... how did our little group feel about the book? First I will give you the "straw" / thumb vote. It came down to this - five thumbs up, two thumbs down, and one thumb that could not make up it's mind. The overall feeling was that the book did not get high marks for the mystery per se. What was generally liked about the book was the humor and the character development.

As far as the thumb that could not make up it's mind, that was mine. I'd say the book was OK but that reminds me of a story. One night years ago my wife tried a new recipe. She was disappointed in the recipe and asked how I felt about it. I said it was OK ... and I had a second helping of it. She asked again - what do you think of the recipe? Again I said it was okay. Then she asked a different way - do you want me to make this again? I told her not really but I would eat it.

Now I will not say I would not read another book by the author, but I might. There were things I liked and there were things I had a problem with. I am not sure if this type of writing is my "cup of tea" or not. Only time will tell!!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hardcover Mysteries TV Show

I got an email about a tv series starting on the Investigation Discovery cable channel starting on October 11th. It is called Hardcover Mysteries and "each episode of Hardcover Mysteries pairs an author with a real-life case close to their heart, whether it inspired one of their own creations, mirrors the themes presented in their bestsellers or resonates with their personal life story" .

The episode on Monday October 11th will feature author David Balducci. And here is a short synopsis of the program.

In 1964, Mary Meyer, a DC socialite married to a CIA director, was found murdered on a path near her home. ... Mary kept a secret diary, which detailed an affair with President Kennedy, and lead to many conspiracy theories implicating the CIA. It also formed the partial basis for David Baldacci's first best-seller, "Absolute Power".

Future authors to be featured in the series include: Harlan Coben; Sandra Brown; Kathi Reichs; Linda Fairstein; Sarah Paretsky; Linda Scottoline; and Joseph Wambaigh.

These should be interesting!!!

Another interesting link about the series:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Latest By Patricia Gussin

Triplets. When two of the three nine year-old girls turn up missing at a theatre / mall, it makes the news. And Then There Was One. This is the latest by author Patricia Gussin. I read another one of hers a little while back and it was called The Test. So when I heard about this one I definitely wanted to read it. The latest book is different from the other one. While it is different it demonstrates the ability of the author to tell a multi-faceted story.

As mentioned above, the disappearance of the two girls makes the news and the story blends just enough of this into the story - mostly by the use of headlines at the beginning of each chapter. But the story goes beyond the news angle of the story. It also blends the investigation process in the story. The process takes into consideration a variety of different suspects. In light of other disappearances of children the parents (Katie and Scott Monroe)and other family members are considered potential suspects.

Other suspects are considered based on their occupations. Katie Monroe was a forensic pediatric psychiatrist and has testified in cases involving other children. Scott is with the Yankee ball system and has made decisions that affect other people. This opens up the possibility of somebody wanting revenge on either of them.

Another possibility involves the possibility of a racial motivated crime. Katie and Scott were a mixed-race couple and the disappearance occurred in an area where there was a highly prejudiced group.

Without a lot of clear evidence it was hard to pin down a motive for the taking of the girls.

Beyond the news and investigation process considerations of the story, there is also the personal level of the story and how it affects several people. Katie who is a professional finds it difficult to deal as a mother on the other side of the coin. Jackie who is the one of the three not taken winds up in a coma induced by all the concerns she is dealing with as the one left behind. The agent in charge Streeter reflects on the possibilities if his kids were the ones involved in the disappearance.

There is so much to this story that I cannot do it justice in this little review. It is a story you can not make your own decision about with out reading it for yourself. I strongly recommend you try it out for yourself. To use a phrase similar to one I've heard before - try it, you'll like it!!!