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Review ~~ See Also Proof by Larry D. Sweazy

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing 5 out of 5 quills    See Also Proof  

~~ A Review  

A fresh, new voice in mystery fiction. Larry Sweazy writes with a distinctive flavor that I haven’t seen in awhile.  

“Night returned right on schedule. There was no such thing as a lingering evening in January. Darkness arrived abruptly, showing up before the clock struck five as if the color black had ownership rights to the world…..”

I can’t quite put my finger on it. Phrasing, selection of words, certainly imagery. January in North Dakota, a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business. and then murder comes to town.

The protagonist and amature sleuth, Margorie Tremaine, is by profession an indexer. What the heck is that?  The ‘index’ section that resides in the back of most non-fiction books; well, someone has got to write them and it isn’t the author. It takes a specialized eye to read a section of a book (mostly on subjects the ‘indexer’ hasn’t a clue about) and choose just the right word that a reader might use in looking up something specific in the index. I have used indexes (infrequently) over the decades but never gave a thought to how they were created or who wrote them. 

The fun thing is that while Marjorie gives the reader an example of her job and how indexing is done, it doesn’t get in the way of this excellent murder mystery. In an odd way, it ‘fleshes’ out her character and demonstrates what drives her. 

Those of you who know me as a writer/reviewer know that I don’t write spoilers in my reviews. It’s a easy way to fill space and more than once has spoiled a book for me that I had intended to read. So never will you read the entire story, often giving up the ending, in one of my reviews.  I”d rather talk about the writing, the interesting quirks, or the characters in the story. 

This series (there are three now) are stand-alone mysteries so you won’t be missing anything if you start with SEE ALSO PROOF, but I guarantee that you’ll want to read all of them!  I highly recommend Larry Sweazy’s books!

My only critique is about the cover. It might confuse the new reader to Mr. Sweazy’s work. It is unique but obscure and one could say too cerebral. But once the reader tumbles to the idea behind the index card on the cover and the odd phrasing of ‘See Also —–‘ it’s extremely clever.  And I adore clever!

Postscript:  ‘See also’ references in an index refer to another entry that bears similarity to one where the reference is attached.
 

The three books in the Marjorie Trumaine Mystery series, See Also MurderSee Also Deception, and See Also Proof, all incorporate the See also reference since Marjorie’s main function in life is that of an indexer, a person who writes indexes. Each title is specific to the book, and denotes an event or a concept that bears similarity to another concept or event in the book. 

Did you miss my interview with Larry? Click  here
SEE ALSO PROOF available now

http://larrydsweazy.com/

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MY features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months? March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: World Traveler, Tal Gur. June: mystery author, Manning Wolfe.
                                                                                   
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Robert B. Parker’s Old Black Magic by Ace Atkins ~~ A Review

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5 out of 5 quills   Old Black Magic by Ace Atkins  ~~  A Review

 

Once again Ace Atkins nails it!!  Old Black Magic is right up there with the best of Robert B. Parker’s previous books. 
But readers better brush up on the history of Boston, as seen through Parker’s eyes, the hoodlums and mobsters over the past twenty years (introduced in the Spenser series)  ’cause they all show back up, alive and dead. The biggest heist of millions of dollars in classic art from a museum in Boston and the case was never solved. It finally goes cold for over twenty years. Hired by the museum to find the art, Spenser and Vinnie Morris team up…odd bedfellows to say the least. ….and that’s all I’m giving you of the story line.  

I don’t write spoilers in my reviews but I am known for sometimes running off on a tangent that has much or little to do with the book. So I thought it would be fun to see if the story plot had any truth to it…as truth tends to be stranger than fiction. Bingo!! Here’s what I found:  El Greco’s Gentleman was stolen and not returned to its rightful owners for decades.  But it was not a Boston crime crew who knocked it off but rather the Nazis!

‘In 1920, Mr. Priester began amassing a notable art collection of Old Masters, including the famous El Greco, which he displayed in his Vienna home and office. By 1938, however, Mr. Priester was forced to flee with his wife to Paris to escape the Nazis
Before leaving, Mr. Priester entrusted his impressive collection to a friend, but the art was ultimately seized by the Gestapo after the Anschluss with Germany. At the end of the war in 1945, Mr. Priester, who had escaped to Mexico City, undertook an internationally publicized recovery effort with the help of the Austrian authorities, but his collection and the El Greco painting could not be located before his death. 

After WWII, restitution of stolen art work would often take decades. But sometimes it could be accomplished seamlessly if the dealers who purchased the stolen art agreed to cooperate with the claimants, as recently occurred in the case of the stolen El Greco painting, Portrait of a Gentleman.

In a rare deal announced by the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, representing the original owners, and Art Recovery International, representing the art gallery which acquired the looted painting in 2010, Portrait of a Gentleman was returned to the heirs of the collection of Julius Priester. This deal took several months to arrange after seven long decades searching for the masterpiece.’ (credit: Observer.com)

Ace Atkins

So I digress a little…sue me!  But, am I the only one that finds stuff like this fascinating?

This is a terrific story and Ace Atkins tells it flawlessly in Robert B. Parker’s voice.  I highly recommend it.
 

Did you miss my interview with Ace Atkins?
Old Black Magic on Sale Now!!  Click here
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 MY  features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  June: Mystery writer, Manning Wolfe.
 
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Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas ~ A Review

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing     5  out of 5 quills    ~~ A Review

It’s certainly no secret that I’m a big fan of Jodi Thomas’ writing style.  Mornings on Main is another winner.  Characters that you fall in love with. ‘Gram’ was a favorite of mine. She owns a quilting shop and, even though she suffers from short-term memory loss (don’t we all?) she’s feisty and loves her shop, her friends, and her life.  
Jillian and Connor present a sweet love story as Jillian curates Gram’s historic and valuable quilt collection. 

Jodi Thomas’ writing is suburb. Her stories move along and her characters entertain the reader. There’s never any doubt (in my mind) about whether the newest book out by Jodi will be any good. They always are…and in this case, I got a lesson about the art of quilting, the historic significance of quilting and the social aspect of quilting…all of which I had little knowledge about. This is a good read and I highly recommend it. 

Jodi writes:  

‘Three women’s stories together as the stories of the town’s history are displayed in quilts.  Quilts have always fascinated me.  I remember lying under my grandmother’s quilt from that drifted down from the ceiling.  I remember my mother quilting long after her mind had had been invaded by Alzheimer’s.  I loved seeing my sisters’ quilts displayed on their bedroom walls.

One of my first memories is lying beneath the quilting frame and listening to my mother and her friends talking as the needles flew.  I learned that for them it was never about how fine the stitches were, it was about the friendships, the creative adventure, the love that went into each quilt.

Years later, I was in my late thirties and just beginning to write.  My mother was moving into Alzheimer’s.  She’d set in the study with me and quilt on a little frame while I typed away on my stories.  As the years passed and my skill as a writer grew, while her skills slowly vanished we both still loved those morning working together.’ 

But, I don’t quilt. My mother quilted, my grandmother quilted. Both my sisters quilt.I have a quilt room in my house full of handmade quilts dating back five generations. 

My mother only read my first book before she stopped reading completely.  I’ll never forget what she said about my patchwork stories that blend together.  She said, “Jodi, you quilt with words.”


www.amazon.com
Release Date: April 10th

Jodi was a guest blogger on my site 
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy. 

April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.
                        
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The Cougar’s Prey by Larry Sweazy ~~ Review

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing5 out of 5 quills ~ A Review

Who doesn’t like a rousing, shoot-em-up western?  I haven’t read a good, (or for that matter any), western in several decades.  I stumbled upon Larry Sweazy as I stalked Amazon, looking for unique writers to possibly read/review/interview. Larry has written a series around a Texas Ranger, Josiah Wolfe.   And he lives up to the old classic western writers,   Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour, and Larry McMurtry. 

I happen to choose The Cougar’s Prey which falls in the middle of the series. I am happy to report that it stands alone and nothing is missed.  The author deftly brings the reader up to speed (on Josiah’s story) without belaboring his past.

Josiah Wolfe, an old Texas Ranger is sucked back into service and sent away. He is not a happy man. To be separated from his son in such perilous times. Corpus Christi, Texas is literally lawless and terrorized by Mexican bandits; the early days of Mexican cartels and Josiah is sent there on basically a suicide mission.

It was surreal, at times, riding (with Josiah) north, up the Gulf Coast from Corpus to Ingleside, Tx in 1874.  I lived and worked there in the early 2000’s and my veterinary was in Ingleside. Funny.  It is beautifully written and the reader cares about Josiah almost immediately.  I highly recommend this book.

 Looking forward to reviewing his upcoming mystery, See Also Proof: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery, coming May 1st.

 

Did you miss my Interview with Larry Sweazy?

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.
                        
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Chuck Lorre…Vanity Blog (The Big Bang Theory)

writing, blogs, blogger, comedy, Chuck Lorre, iconic televisionChuck Lorre, creator of The Big Bang Theory, (Young Sheldon, Mike & Molly, and Two and a Half Men and numerous movies) has been writing vanity blogs way before the word ‘blog‘ was coined.  If you have a ‘pause’ button on your remote, it’s certainly worth a read. It appears at the very end of each episode, after the credits and ‘Coming next week‘ stuff. 

VANITY CARD #579

“When I was a little boy I was constantly worried about myself and my family being killed by an atom bomb. Air raid drills and hiding in underground shelters were an almost daily part of my young life. (Remove all pens, pencils and sharp objects from your breast pocket, take off your glasses, look away from the window, find a buddy, hold hands, no talking, walk quickly to the basement, get on your knees, place your head against the wall, wait for the all-clear signal, hope the teacher forgets about the arithmetic test you didn’t study for.) Looking back, it was a ridiculously traumatic way to grow up. But like so many awful things, you got used to it. The fear of instant annihilation was just always there, lurking in the background. Until it wasn’t. Somehow, over time, the inevitability of the mushroom cloud simply went away. Wise and prudent men in our country and others, found a better way to exercise their hatred and fear of each other’s social and economic system. Until now. Now the wise and prudent men are no more, and the unthinkable is back on the table. Death and suffering on an unimaginable scale is once again an option. The low drumbeat of existential dread has returned, and I find myself thinking odd thoughts, like: “I hope someone reminds him that he can’t play golf in a Hazmat suit.”

And now, as if his brilliance couldn’t reach higher heights, there’s spin-off show when Sheldon was a kid living in conservative, Bible-belt, Texas. If you love Sheldon in Big Bang, and we all do, you will adore this nerdy little kid (played by Iain Armitage) who’s smarter than anyone in his ‘little kid orb’.  It might take you a show or two to realize the clever, subtle writing in this show when it appears to be so broad and red-neck, but trust me it really is our adored (grown-up) Sheldon as a kid.
My second favorite actor is the Mom, Mary. Played by Zoe Perry you’d swear it was Laurie Metcalf (Sheldon’s grownup Mom) when she was younger.  And then there’s Annie Potts. Remember her from Designing Women and Ghost Busters? She’s back as Sheldon’s Memaw (grandmother) and is a riot!!!

But I digress, just a little bit. Chuck Lorre’s vanity cards aka blog: I will never come close to his writing talent. But I can try. I can encourage others to try. And I can simply sit back and enjoy Lorre’s genius just for the sake of genius! 
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    December: British writer, J.G. Dow. January: Sue Grafton ~ In Memory
                                                                                   
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A Review ~~ Finding My Way by Judith Keim

reviews, authors, writing1 out of 5 quills        A Review  ~~  Finding My Way 

Very disappointed.  Right away the first chapter was familiar, so after checking I discovered the author had cut and pasted a chapter from Book 1 to begin her sequel in the Salty Key series. This is cheating and so lazy. In my forty+ years of reading and my 15 years of reviewing books, I have never seen this done. What was the author thinking?

The proof reading of the book was non-existent or at best, slack. In order to have the book seem to be full-length, 1.5 spaces was implemented, (instead of the industry standard 1.0 space format) causing the book to be 305 pages long, when in fact it is a cozy of about 175 pages. 

Any good sequel stands alone with its own story line.  This is not a stand-alone sequel. There is too much repeating of Book 1’s story. The author has chosen to write each book from another sister’s perspective.  The first sister, Sheena, had a somewhat interesting story line. In the second book it is from Darcy’s perspective.  And she’s not a very interesting character.  She brags about the novel she is going to write but doesn’t do much about it. Thinks that writing a restaurant review will hone her craft as a fiction writer. Huh? And she is ‘man-hungry’. Every man she meets in the story is either boyfriend/husband material or not. That’s what she leads with and it gets boring after a while.

Near the last 50 pages the author takes an unfortunate right turn. For no apparent reason, she introduces a severely disabled long-lost cousin. It was so out-of-the-blue! After that chapter he is never mentioned again.  She would have been well advised to develop the characters already on deck.  ‘Gavin’s people’ for instance. (lots of good stories there) The many boyfriend-material guys of Darcy’s. The editor/writer who is giving Darcy a chance to write for a local newspaper. (His illness/death is glossed over.)  Sheena’s son’s friend, Randy. The list goes on and on.

Sadly, she is not comfortable writing about the married physical love between Sheena and Tony. It’s stilted and I didn’t believe it.     

Ms. Keim needs to stay in the ‘voice’ of each of her characters. The writing bounced around and was frequently clunky . Sentence structure was a distraction. 

I was hoping that the author would grow in her craft with Book #2 but sadly this was not the case. It’s a shame because the story premise is a good one. I do not recommend this author’s books.
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    December: British writer, J.G. Dow.  January: In Memory, Sue Grafton.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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A Review ~~ The Wanted by Robert Crais

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5 out of 5 quills             

A Review ~~ The Wanted                                                                                                  

A good old fashioned murder mystery reminiscent of the writings of John McDonald and Robert Parker.  Simply and beautifully crafted, Robert Crais weaves a great story. Like myself, new readers to Crais will be delighted. And his fans are counting the days until the newest in the Elvis Cole & Joe Pike novel is released. 

A panicked mother, goes to veteran PI Elvis Cole as a last act of desperation.  She fears ‘her son is in deep sh– trouble’  when she found things in his bedroom that indicate that he has been stealing from other people.  Oh, if it were only that simple.  Tyson and his two buddies have committed a string of home burglaries and, by accident, have stolen from a really, really bad guy.  Now two hit men are on their trail and the big question is: will Elvis find the two teenagers before these hired killers find them and silence them forever? 

I readily admit this is my first novel by Crais and I look forward to catching up with Elvis and Joe in the other books in this series.  A highly recommended read!

On sale at all book stores December 26th. 

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?   October’s author was Donna Kauffman. November: Rita Avaud a Najm. December: British writer, J.G. Dow. 
                                                                                   
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On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service ~~ A Review

reviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing5 out of 5 quills       
A REVIEW
~~ On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service   

 

Delicious!  House parties full of the aristocracy just as war rumblings begin again in Europe.  Rhys Bowen’s series, A Royal Spyness Mystery delivers once again as Lady Georgiana is roped in by Her Majesty Queen Mary (Elizabeth’s mother) to spy on her son, the Prince of Wales and his oh-so-notorious lover, Wallis Simpson.

It seems that Darcy is always saying goodbye to our royal ‘Georgie’. Something always  thwarts our lovers and separates them.  Will they ever marry?  In this very fine tale, Georgie is off to Italy and Darcy is called  back to his mysterious job with the English government.

mysteries, best sellers, Rhys Bowen, author

It’s a good story but if the writing falls short, it diminishes the storytelling.  Rhys Bowen is a wonderful writer and one of my favorites. Her writing is crisp and her characters fully developed. The reader is fully engaged. While this is a series and I always tell my readers to begin at the beginning (for a fuller experience) all of Rhys’ stories stand on their own. 

I give this book my highest rating and recommend it to you!

To Purchase click here

Did you miss my Interview with Rhys Bowen?
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.
                                                                                   
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The Fallen by Ace Adkins ~~ A Review

A Review reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing 5 quills out of 5

One of my favorite authors, Ace Atkins, takes us once again to the backwaters of ole’ Miss.  Village names like Sugar Ditch, Jericho and Choctaw intrigue the reader and you want to turn to the next page. The series is replete with characters like the ex-Army Ranger, Quinn Colson, his sister Caddy, Boom, Lillie Virgil, Fannie Hatchcock, the villainess,  and her sidekick, Mungo. All wrap the reader in the swampy hand of the deep south.

I could write another review praising this writer to the heavens: ‘Adkins delivers another scintillating mystery’, ‘Quinn Colson takes us on another riveting search for the murdering bank robbers’, ‘you won’t be able to put it down’, blah, blah, blah.  And I refuse to write a spoiler,  like some reviewers do, just to fill the page.

That’s why I mentioned the underpinnings: Ace’s stories are neck deep in the flavor of small town life in the old south.  His fans already know they’re in for another great read. So I’m going a little off the oyster-shell road of a typical review by quoting Ace here in the Oxford Magazine:

Atkins. ‘The inspiration came together quick. I won’t tell you how quick, but something so personal comes from a long gestation and a brief pen to paper with a little whiskey. I scribbled out my families. The Colsons, with Quinn and sister Caddy as a nod to the master. But these two were solely my own, with Quinn taking shape from my love of 1970s drive-in heroes like Billy Jack and Buford Pusser from Walking Tall. Quinn is an Army vet, a seasoned Ranger who soon becomes sheriff. Caddy wasn’t altogether different from Faulkner’s, only walking straight out of gritty strip clubs in South Memphis to discover a serious and real faith. The other families—the Varners, the Bundrens—would be new and unique folks, descended from people in nearby Yoknapatawpha.’  More

I am a die-hard fan of John MacDonald and Robert B. Parker and mourn their passing; no more Travis McGee and Meyer, no more Spenser and Hawk.  I looked, literally, for years to find a writer of their caliber.  Finally!!  Ace Adkins.  Serendipitously for me, I found him writing for the Robert B. Parker series and wanted to read some of his own work.   The Fallen (Release date July 19th)  is highly recommended and while it stands on its own, I suggest that my readers start with book #1 of the Quinn Colson series.  To order click here.

Did you miss my Interview with Ace Atkins??
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!     June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.
                                                                                   
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Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham, A Review

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing 5 out of 5 quills    A Review  ~~  Rogue Lawyer

By now all John Grisham has to do is show up with another great story.  Rogue Lawyer is a whole new direction for Grisham. And I like it….a lot!  This isn’t a collection of short stories, as I first thought, and really don’t care for.  No, Rogue Lawyer is a day, week and month in the life of street lawyer, Sebastian Rudd.  Little vignettes but it doesn’t feel like it….the reader just follows this defense attorney around in a customized bulletproof van (that is his office), complete with Wi-Fi, a bar, a small fridge, and fine leather chairs. He has no firm, no partners, and only one employee: his heavily armed driver, who also so happens to be his bodyguard, law clerk, confidant, and golf caddie.

He defends people other lawyers won’t go near: a drug-addled, tattooed kid rumored to be in a satanic cult; a vicious crime lord on death row; a homeowner arrested for shooting at a SWAT team. Why these clients? Because Sebastian believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial—even if he has to bend the law to secure one.

He reminds me a great deal of one of Robert B. Parker’s characters. I hope very much that Sebastian Rudd drives back into town (one day soon) and continues his dangerous but valiant work defending the indefensible!

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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months? October Author, Lisa Jackson.  November was best selling author, Grace Burrowes and in December, Reed Farrel Coleman, contributing writer for Robert B. Parker series

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