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Monday, December 31, 2012

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Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by the new site and take a look around.

Happy New Year! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Good Wives Assailed by Robert J Conley

Good Wives Assailed by Robert J Conley
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Short Story (14 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Fat Stuff maybe the worst criminal in town, but he isn’t the smartest. When he sets out to con the wives of the richest ranchers around, Fat Stuff finds himself in a terrible mess at the hands of the women.

In this Old West retelling of Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor, Fat Stuff and his gang of outlaws are always causing trouble. Most recently, they broke into Justice Short's warehouse, killed his cow, and beat his men. Somehow the men always get away with their misdeeds.

Then Fat Stuff comes up with his most conniving plan yet—to make the wives of the richest ranchers in the area think he’s in love with them. When one of the wives asks him to her ranch, Fat stuff thinks he’s got it made, but he is in for a big surprise.

The women have a plan of their own which puts Fat Stuff right where he belongs.

Fat Stuff deserves what he gets. He’s a thief and conman and has bamboozled the men of the town, but then he decides to take on the woman. Bad move…

Mr. Conley writes an amusing story that kept me reading. This is short and sweet and has a nice ironic ending. I like those. The story has also stuck with me; it’s not one you will forget right after reading it.

Fat Stuff is brazen in his actions and even admits his guilt, but no one is willing to testify against him and everyone denies seeing anything. His men are as bad as he is and they enjoy flaunting the law. Fat Stuff’s problem is that what he’s already stolen and the damage he’s done isn’t enough for him. Now he’s going to spark the two biggest ranch owner’s wives and get himself a pretty woman and a ranch of his own. At least that’s his intent.

Here’s where things get more interesting. Women being women, they talk about the letters Fat Stuff sent them. He’s not real smart and both letters say the same thing. So the women decide to get even.

This story is a cute western. The women develop a plan, Fat Stuff knows they’re just drooling over him and his offer, and when the men get the scent of what’s going on, they ride in with weapons drawn! It’s amusing, entertaining, and all the men in story have some learnin’ to do.

Mr. Conley had to write this story tongue-in-cheek. He’s done a good job with it and I really enjoyed reading it. Why not read the story and find out what Fat Stuff’s special surprise was? I even almost (just almost) felt sorry for him, but I was too busy laughing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Last Diner Standing by Terri Austin

Last Diner Standing by Terri Austin
Publisher: Henery Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (294 pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by: Camellia

Rose Strickland is having a blue Christmas. Her friend is arrested for attempted murder, her sexy bad guy crush is marked by a hit man, and her boss is locked in an epic smackdown with a rival diner. Determined to save those she loves, Rose embarks on an investigation more tangled than a box of last year's tree lights. With her eclectic gang at the ready, Rose stumbles across dead bodies, ex-cons, chop shops, jealous girlfriends, jilted lovers, and a gaggle of strippers in a battle for freedom she might not survive.

Not having read the first book of the series, I suffered a tad of culture shock. Terri Austin’s “oh-so-real” descriptions of The Bottom Dollar strip club, Axton’s house, Penn’s Cigar Bar, and a few other places along with the R-rated language plopped me right down into a unique environment and into a mystery that had so many suspects they needed to take a number. Last Diner Standing is crammed full of complex characters with clandestine actions running amok.

Rose Strickland, who hasn’t earned a bachelor’s degree in six years of college, juggles her many lives as she tries to decide what she wants to be when she grows up. Her family’s high society life that she must be a part of at times always gets short changed. Her waitress job she does pretty much on auto-pilot and full speed ahead because she needs the money and feels an unshakeable loyalty to Ma, the owner of the diner who gave her a job when she didn’t know how to do anything. Her detective work that she races about doing takes her into the company of criminals, cheats, dope-addicts, strippers, not-so-clean cops, and lots of ne’er-do-wells. Amidst all these she is also a peacemaker and a loyal friend that sees beyond human flaws and failing to help unstintingly when help is needed.

The secondary characters are a mottled lot in this entertaining story. Ms. Austin’s great descriptions of them bring out a unique type of humor and unusual outlooks on life and the conventional rules of society.

Roxy, Rose’s co-worker and bestie, with her blue hair and attention-getting attire, not to mention her lock-picking skills, has her own agenda but never fails to go help Rose when needed. Dane Harker, the lawyer; Sullivan, entrepreneur aka criminal; and Axton Graystone, Rose’s unfailing friend of many years who is also a dropout from high society, are all ever willingly to come to Rose’s aid when the chips are down and things get in a bind.

Janelle, in danger of going to prison for something she didn’t do, is Rose’s friend from college and is in desperate need of help since the cops consider her guilty and are doing nothing about searching for the true culprit.

Rose figures she has sold her soul to help Janelle but declares she will worry about that later. She will do all she can to help so Janelle can stay with her two children.

In this story, told in first-person, the reader is swept into a vicarious experience that includes visits to a strip club with graphic descriptions of the action; visits to Axton’s unique home where he keeps special brownies baked for his friend, Stoner, who lives with him and where he gives sanctuary to Rose’s friends who are in harm’s way—BIG time; and visits to Ma Ferguson’s diner during a time when Ma wages war against her competitor Rudy that she feels is horning in on her territory.

Last Diner Standing is an adventure in reading I might have missed if I had not branched out from the type stories I usually read. It is a story I will not soon forget. Although the language and the some of the actions are crude, they seem to fit in with the characters and the environment they function in. The characters’ loyalty, humor, and non-judgmental attitudes create resonating themes throughout this mystery. I really did get a surprise about who the “bad person” turned out to be. How Rose saves the day is fantastic—woven in so subtle and natural.

Last Diner Standing is a memorable story that I stayed up late to finish because Ms. Austin kept me totally in the story from start to finish.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Stein & Candle: Cold Wars by Michael Panush

Stein & Candle: Cold Wars by Michael Panush
The Stein & Candle Detective Agency Volume 2
Publisher: Curiosity Quills
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (221 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

A wealthy Hawaiian hotelier is chewed to death by sharks – in his penthouse office.

A traveling salesman goes missing – in a shady New England town full of monstrous fishmen.

A new casino gets supernaturally good luck in Vegas – thanks to ancient Egyptian magic.

These are the cases taken by Morton Candle and Weatherby Stein. Mort’s a hardboiled ex-paratrooper turned two-gun shamus. Weatherby’s a fourteen-year-old wiz kid and heir to the greatest family of European sorcerers.

They met in the fury of WWII, when Weatherby and his parents were being held hostage by the Third Reich and Mort’s squad was sent to bust them out. Now they’re a pair of private detectives specializing in the paranormal, the supernatural and the just plain weird.

But sometimes, arcane evil goes back a long way and a dangerous force from deep in the past of Stein’s family is about rise. Weatherby and Mort will put everything they have into stopping it – and it might not be enough.

This is an unusual book. Set in the 1950s, it has the air of old detective cartoon books about secret agents. The book follows the careers of Morton Candle, a retired army sergeant turned detective and Weatherby Stein, genius of the supernatural and inheritor of his father's knowledge of the supernatural.

Their reputation is for solving cases of the unusual kind and each section covers a different crime for the two intrepid heroes to solve. First is the case of a man killed by a shark - in the penthouse office. Other similar strange cases come their way and they attempt to solve them with their usual combination of investigative experience and supernatural expertise.

The two main characters are fun. Mort knows Weatherby is still a child as far as maturity goes, but he treats him with respect. Most of the time Weatherby goes along with Mort, but when he feels strongly about something he digs his heels in and goes his own way.

Weatherby's sister, Selena, makes a few brief appearances much to Mort's irritation. Due to the fact it's separated into different stories (or cases) it's a book that can easily be put down and picked up again as time permits. Maybe it was the 1950s style of writing, but I found although I enjoyed it, this book didn't grab me enough to want to make me read more of the series. On the whole the book is lighthearted despite the paranormal aspect and I read it with enjoyment.