Monthly Archives: December 2015

Coming soon!

Winter 2016 Cover

Flash Bangs

A JUST REWARD by O’Neil De Noux


FIRST DATES by Ruth M. McCarty


THE PLAN by Steve Shrott

THIS ISN’T THE WAY by Kaye George

UP PERISCOPE by John M. Floyd

Cover Story

THIS ISN’T THE WAY by Kaye George

Editors’ Choice

Brandon’s pick: THIS ISN’T THE WAY by Kaye George

BJ’s pick: THIS ISN’T THE WAY by Kaye George

Review: THE COMPANY SHE KEPT (A Joe Gunther Novel) by Archer Mayor

The latest in the long running series finds Vermont Bureau of Investigations agent Joe Gunther and his team working a case that hits close to home. Susan Raffner had been a close ally of the governor Gail Zigman. Now Susan has been brutally murdered and the governor is devastated. Someone killed her, cut the word “Dyke” into her chest and then hung her body above the interstate on a rocky cliff face along the Connecticut river. The same steel mesh that protected all below from falling rocks from the cliff face was used to hang her body to advertise the murder.

The murder of Susan Raffner rocks the political establishment. Was the murder a political statement, a personal vendetta, or something else? Not only was she a state senator she was a close ally of Vermont Governor Gail Zigman. A close ally that had secrets of her own that gradually come to life as they always do in a murder investigation. A firebrand that often was very public in her causes of which there were many, her history, and Susan’s relationship with the governor are just one of many twists in a complex case at work in The Company She Kept.

While billed as Joe Gunther Novel this read, like many in recent years, is less about Joe and much more about the team. Sammie, Willy, and Lester are a family and as they investigate the case and suspects, much is made of their individual daily lives as well as their past history. The result is a read where, for significant portions of the book, it seems like the case is on a backburner as the focus shifts to events with individual team members. This results in a slow moving read for portions of the book before things suddenly ratchet up to the abrupt conclusion. An ending that, despite some commentary in some reviews, does tie up all the loose ends as the book abruptly concludes.

For those who prefer their reads to focus mainly on the case or main premise of the story, they may be disappointed. Police procedures take a backseat to a lot of personal inner ruminations by way of various characters as the case gradually develops. For those of us who appreciate the complexity of characters that feel like family, The Company She Kept is another in solidly good read in the long running series.

The Company She Kept: A Joe Gunther Novel
Archer Mayor
Minotaur Books (St. Martin’s Publishing Group)
September 2015
ISBN# 978-1-250-06467-7
Hardback (e-book and audio formats available)
305 Pages

Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2015

Review: …A DANGEROUS THING (A Carl Burns Mystery) by Bill Crider

Professor Carl Burns knew the new dean at Hartley Gorman College wasn’t going to work out when she got a goat. There may have been good reasons to get a goat, but that is just not something that is a big winner in the minds of many people. While some of the staff are fixated on the goat and consider the new dean a “unreconstructed hippie”  Professor Burns, who is also chairman of the English Department, is much more worried about her other issues. Of course, if Burns had just applied for the job, he most likely would have gotten it. Burns had absolutely no desire to be the academic dean and that means everyone is going to have to deal with Dr. Gwendolyn Partridge.

While she was highly recommended nobody warned those at HGC that she was highly liberal. A conservative private school located near the small south Texas town of Pecan City, Texas was not ready for her kind of leadership. She has ideas that others would consider radical. She has also brought in Professor Eric Holt who, as other employees see it, is getting special treatment he does not warrant. Both Partridge and Holt want to significantly shake up the curriculum and that is not helping matters.

If that wasn’t enough, the death of Thomas Henderson rattles the entire college. It is clear that he died after impacting the ground due to a fall out of his third floor office window. Landing on your head tends to kill you dead. It is also pretty clear he did not voluntarily crash through the window to his death. Considering Burns’ reputation for solving such cases it is not surprising when Burns starts investigating the situation in … A Dangerous Thing.

Rich with complex characters, humor, as well as scenic details and atmosphere, this third read in the Carl Burns mystery series is another excellent cozy style mystery. Originally published in 1994 and recently made available again thanks to the e-book format, the mystery does not follow the current fad of dropping a murder victim in the first paragraph. Instead, it builds the situation as Texas author Bill Crider weaves a number of threads together before getting to the heart of the matter. A mighty good read, … A Dangerous Thing can be read as a standalone if so desired as it just briefly references earlier events in one One Dead Dean and Dying Voices.

…A Dangerous Thing: A Carl Burns Mystery
Bill Crider
Crossroad Press
January 2013
E-Book (estimated print length 176 pages)

I got the hardback version of this to read and review by way of the Plano Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2015