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Knowing that any novel’s premise is contrived doesn’t stop my feeling that many stories lately involve rickety staircases of logic just to read them.

Peg Herring’s KILLING SILENCE was a delightful departure; in the first few pages, I felt that pleasurable anticipation when you’ve just become enmeshed in a story you know you’re going to love. Yet from the subtitle, you might not think so; these books are called The Loser Mysteries. My aged mother-in-law looked at the cover and said she wouldn’t like to read that book; I’m going to have to tell her that she’ll enjoy it very much.

DON'T EVER GET OLD by Daniel Friedman

DON'T EVER GET OLD is a remarkable story. Buck Schatz is a wise-cracking, foulmouthed, cigarette smoking, eighty-seven-year-old, Jewish curmudgeon. The story is captivating, but I’m not sure if one reads because one needs to follow the story or because one needs to see what Buck says next.

God, do I want to be like him when I grow up!

A CARRION DEATH by Michael Stanley

Some weeks ago I lamented the loss of Cast of Characters, maps and glossaries. Michael Stanley (both of them) wrote to tell me their series featuring Detective Kubu had all these readers’ tools. This gave me the momentum to get a copy of A CARRION DEATH, the first in a series which has been on my radar for quite some time.

An open letter to authors

Dear Authors,

While this is just a complaint from one reader, know that for every person who speaks out there are 100 or 1000 who have the same complaint but don’t voice it.


COMING OUT CAN BE MURDER is a mind-blowing story. Whatever your feelings about transgenders at the beginning, you will come to care for Bobbi and root for her survival. Author Renee James weaves such a great story, I’m fascinated to learn about this community. Bobbi has some odd friends, some sweet ones, and some acquaintances who are downright horrific. The writing is tight and clean. The pace of the story keeps the tension high.

A VINE IN THE BLOOD by Leighton Gage

I’ve just finished Leighton Gage’s A VINE IN THE BLOOD which is a marvelous crime story which takes place in Brazil. Sometimes in stories told in locations with cultures with which I’m not familiar, I end up feeling disoriented—I have no sense of what should be familiar—and so I lose the immediate connection with the story, but there was no such feeling with A VINE IN THE BLOOD. Not being interested in spectator sports, I noticed the populace in Brazil loves futebol (known to Americans and Canadians as soccer) with about the same interest I have for American sports events. It’s awkward describing a story by what it is not, but both of these characteristics would presuppose my negative response to the story, but I loved it!