All posts by BJBourg


The Necessary Murder Of Nonie Blake is the latest in the Samuel Craddock Mystery Series by Terry Shames. As the title makes clear Nonie Blake had to die. Why and who did it are the main questions that drive much of this book from start to finish.

Winona Blake, or Nonie, is legendary in Jarrett Creek, Texas and nearby areas. It has been twenty years since she left town and eventually wound up in a mental institution far to the north up near Dallas. When she was 14 all those years ago she tried to kill her younger sister. It wasn’t horseplay as she meant for her sister to hang until dead. If it hadn’t been for the quick action of her brother Charlotte Blake would have died that day.

Instead, it is Charlotte Blake, who calls Chief of Police Samuel Craddock to report the latest family tragedy. Her sister drowned in the stock pond behind their house.  The home of the reclusive Blake family located a few miles down a gravel road out past the cemetery on the north side of town is about to be a very active crime scene. When Craddock gets out there it is very evident to him that the main cause of Nonie’s death is certainly not drowning.  She took a significant blow to the head that also crushed her cheek and broke her jaw. The force that was used far exceeds what she could have generated by a simple fall against a tree or the ground before sliding into the water. This was not an accidental drowning by any means. Figuring out who did it and why are the primary points of an investigation that leads Samuel Craddock on a trail of secrets going back decades.

While that is the main plot there are secondary plots building off previous events and ongoing characters/situations in this highly entertaining series. Along with that, author Terry Shames had added a new character in the form of a female deputy, Marie Trevino, sent in by the state to assist as Samuel Craddock sees fit. She has her own way of doing things and that attitude is going to push Craddock to up his game.

The Necessary Murder Of Nonie Blake features yet another engrossing and complicated mystery in this long running cozy style mystery series. Macavity Award Winner for Best First Mystery author Terry Shames continues to deliver in each successive installment of the series much like what Texas author Bill Crider (prominently mentioned on the book cover) has done in his Sheriff Dan Rhodes Series, Terry Shames has created a sense of family with these characters. It doesn’t take a reader long to feel like he has known Samuel, Lorretta, and numerous others for years once one starts reading the books.

A Killing At Cotton Hill started everything off. Five books later, The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake keeps a great series rolling forward at a great pace.

The Necessary Murder Of Nonie Blake: A Samuel Craddock Mystery
Terry Shames
Seventh Street Books
ISBN# 978-1-63388-120-4
Paperback (also available in eBook format)
258 Pages

Material supplied by the publisher in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016

Author Reveal for July/Summer 2016 Issue

After careful review, Brandon and I have selected the stories for the Summer Issue of Flash Bang Mysteries, which goes live July 1, 2016. All of the authors have been notified and it’s now time to reveal their identities in a segment we call “Author Reveal”.

So, without further suspense, here’s the line-up of authors and stories for the next issue of Flash Bang Mysteries (arranged alphabetically by title):


DARK HORSE by Nancy Sweetland

DEAR READER by Cynthia St-Pierre

GATEWAY by Stephen D. Rogers

THE PHONE CALL by Herschel Cozine

THE PROFITS OF WAR by Edward W. L. Smith

As always, we appreciate all the submissions and are honored that so many talented writers submit their work for consideration!

The Editors,

BJ and Brandon Bourg

Review: SELENA by Greg Barth

When you get a book released by All Due Respect Books you know that in all likelihood you will get one heck of a graphic crime filled read. Selena, the first installment of a three book series penned by Greg Barth, definitely meets the All Due Respect Books standard.  Not only is Selena book one of a three book series, this book is made up of three novellas that tell the tale.

Waking up with a hangover is always a negative. It is made worse this afternoon for Selena as she is naked and in the bed of some guy. She has no idea what his name would be or even were she is at. Based on what she feels on her thigh the latest attempt at safe sex failed. Selena gets dressed and before she leaves she swipes his cash and his cigarette lighter. She also swipes a music CD.

That was her big time mistake. Swiping the cash and the cigarette lighter might have been ignored. Taking the CD was a huge mistake as what is on it is certainly not music. There are very dangerous people who will want it back. They will track down the 98 pound twenty something stripper and unleash their fury on her. Their mistake will be in letting her live.

Graphic in terms of actions, descriptions, violence, and every other way possible, Selena by Greg Barth is pulpy crime fiction from start to finish. One could easily dismiss it as a violence filled revenge tale, but it is far more complicated than that. On the surface massive amounts of drugs and alcohol are consumed, sex is had, and many people are killed or if lucky just maimed a bit. At a deeper level, Selena is on a journey of self-discovery and is being molded by people and events throughout the course of the book.

Carnage frequently rules the read as Selena rolls through often leaving bodies in her wake. In many cases, she is left with very few options and is in a kill or be killed situation. Selena by Greg Barth is certainly not for everyone. If you don’t like graphic violence, graphic language, etc., this is not the read for you. If you prefer cozy cats and books where the most action happens when the detective runs for a bus or chases somebody down the street before losing them, this read is not for you. However, if you ever watched Charles Bronson in the Death Wish movies and thought he did not blast enough bad guys, or that John Wick got to a good start though he talked too much to the bad guys and should have just killed everyone in sight, Selena by Greg Barth is definitely the read for you.

Review copy provided by Mike Monson of All Due Respect Books quite some time ago in exchange for my objective review. Mr. Monson has also supplied review copies of Diesel Therapy: Selena Book Two as well as the upcoming third book in the series, Suicide Lounge.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016


Author Eric Beetner continues the excellent The Lawyer series published by Beat to a Pulp with his entry Six Guns At Sundown.  The Lawyer, who used to go by the name of J. D. Miller, is on a quest to find those responsible for the brutal murders of his entire family. He now delivers justice by way of the gun and no longer relies on the courts to provide justice to those wronged.

He moves from place to place on his mare, Redemption, as he follows the trail of those responsible. He is currently pursuing a man known far and wide as “Big Jim Kimbrough.” The trail seems to be leading him to the decrypt town of Sundown where every building seems to lean a different way as if the entire town was created by drunks. At least he can find a place for his horse and roof for the night. The Westward Railroad might be coming there to build not only the rail line and their headquarters, but for now the place is clearly in a bad way.

So is the man dragged in on a rope behind a horse early the next morning. The Lawyer had planned to move on until the unfolding spectacle put his plans on hold. According to a Mr. Buchanan who dragged the unfortunate man by way of a rope tied to his horse he is to be lynched. The black man’s crime was that was that he ate a piece of cherry pie Buchanan’s wife made right out of the pan and using Buchanan’s own silverware. Not that dragging the hogtied man on the ground behind the horse the entire way from the ranch to town wasn’t enough Buchanan intends to hang him as fast as possible.

The lawyer hates bullies and won’t stand for them. He also believes in the rule of law and wants to know the full details of the situation. Not only is what the man did not a hanging offense in this period after the Civil War, Buchanan’s attitude seems to be illustrative of a town attitude that needs to change.  The hunt for Big Jim Kimbrough will have to wait as the lawyer is going to prevent a hanging in Six Guns At Sundown.

Picking up the mantle laid down by Wayne D. Dundee in The Lawyer: Stay Of Execution followed by The Lawyer: The Retributioners author Eric Beetner has crafted a very good western tale. The Lawyer: Six Guns At Sundown is a western tale of mystery and racism that resonates strongly with events of today. The read does not preach as the storyline moves over a couple days period in the Old West. The result is another excellent tale in the series and yet another very good read from Beat to a Pulp.

I picked this up by way of funds in my Amazon Associate account  to read and review back in late February.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016

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