Sunday, December 28, 2008


Christmas is a memory.

I distributed fifteen copies of The Minnesota Crime Wave's audio anthology RESORT TO MURDER AUDIO to friends and family who didn’t yet have it. Unalloyed joy reigned. (yeah, right). I never get books as presents, either Christmas or birthday. People say, “we never know what to buy you.” When I give books, they always come with the proviso that either before or after reading, they should give the book to some deserving soul, or maybe to a retirement home or…”

I often give ARCs to retirement or hospice or hospital reading programs.

Whole wheat bread is rising in the proofing oven at the moment. Bread making when irked or frustrated about something is great therapy. Kneading bread is always a wonderful experience.

One wonders when—if ever—the Senate race in Minnesota will end. It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that whatever the canvassing and other boards decide and certify, there will be a court challenge. It is unsettling to discover that a lot of people who go to vote, don’t take the process seriously. We saw votes for Mickey Mouse, God and several other lesser lights. Voting is not the place for misplaced letters to the skypilot. Disallow all ballots that insert frivolity, say I.

I spent this morning (Sunday) watching and talking with (sort of) Peter May, a fine writer of thrilling mysteries. He was home in France, I was at home in the US. Such is the wonder of the electronic age in which we live. He does an occasional Internet program through the services of something called Mogulus. You can find his live blog here.

He was introducing a world wide audience to his latest Enzo MacLeod story, Blacklight Blue. It’s an excellent third book in his second series. It’s published in the US by Poisoned Pen.

I’ve just been elected to the board of the Midwest chapter of Mystery Writers of America. I think I better pay my dues to Sisters In Crime this week.

There are interesting things happening with the whole e-book universe after years in neutral. Kindle and the new Sony reader seem to be the motivators. I think today any publisher and author ignores e-publishing at their peril.

My new sailing book with Mary Whitney and Michael Tanner, titled DEVILS ISLAND from Echelon is on track for Spring, 2009. Mary has to wrestle with depredations from her ex-husband.

I’ve read some fascinating new mysteries in the past few weeks. Here’s a review of another. It’s called Barbados Heat, by Don Bruns

ISBN 0312304927

St. Martin’s Minotaur, $24.95,

November, 2003

Tock Tock, Tick tock. Like the sound of steel wheels over the gandy dancer’s rail joints, this novel rocks along. A Congressman is dead. He wanted to attack the Hip Hop and Rap music industry. He wanted to join his brother-in-law, the Reverend Joseph Evans in an attempt to rein in bad lyrics, violent lyrics, sexual lyrics. Now the congressman’s son, Nick, is charged with Congressman Shappley’s brutal murder. It’s said he’s in it up to his elbows along with Rap star, Chilli D, who may have been the triggerman. Chilli D’s producer, T-Beau wants to protect his investment so he calls on a music industry star, friend Mick Sever. Mick is already in Washington on the case.

Tick Tock. Time is running on and readers may have the feeling they’re on a fast train going downhill. The whistle screams and the scenery goes by in a blur, leaving out whole pieces. There are complications. Sever, whom we last saw in the author’s debut novel, Jamaica Blue, calls in his divorced wife, Ginny to do research. Tension. Sever once had a childhood friendship with the accused Nick, the Congressman’s son. More tension. There are other family presences, not just in D.C. Tick Tock. Sever’s off to Florida to talk to Nick’s sister, Amber, and then to Barbados, where old wounds still fester.

Page by page Barbados Heat gathers speed. Tock tock. And just when you think you’ve got the characters and their relationships sorted out, even with the missing bits of action, the train roars around a sharp curve and carries you off in a new direction. Author Bruns is evolving a fresh and breathless style of pell mell writing that may be a little short on detail but long on action and thrills. Tick Tock.

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