Friday, May 26, 2023




By R.N. Morris

Canelo US

340 pgs


This is the first in a mystery series by R.N. Morris featuring Scotland Yard Detective Silas Quinn. Detective Quinn is the head of the Special Crimes Department. In this debut case, he is assigned the matter of a murdered homosexual whose body was discovered drained of blood. Which is why the case is dropped in Quinn’s lap. The story, set against the Victorian era, does a wonderful job of showcasing the disparity of the social classes at that time and how the laws were unjustly skewered protect the wealth and landed gentry while offering no such shields for the working classes and dirt poor minorities. 

As much as homosexuality was considered by the public at large as an abnormal, deviant behavior to be condemned and punished, there was no lack of the lifestyle among the bluebloods of the London. They felt above the law which puts Quinn, a regular bloke, at odds with certain people of interest in the case. That’s the main plot and Norris handles it well enough. 

Whereas his major strength here is his beautifully designed supporting cast. These characters add so much depth and weight to the story; it would suffer greatly without any of them. From the fellow residents at the boarding house where Quinn resides to his two subordinated in attic office of Special Crimes. Detectives Inchball and Macadam are great characters who come to life within a few pages of dialog that clearly sets their opposing personalities. This offers up dynamism to the trio working together, despite their obvious different world views, to stop a madman before he can kill again.
In all, “Summon Up The Blood” is a good read and if you like mysteries series, we highly recommend considering this one to add to your list.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023




(Levon Cade: Book Two)

By Chuck Dixon

Rough Edges Press

193 pgs


Whereas we’ve already reviewed the truncated book # 3 in this series, it was time to back pedal and get to this one, which is by far the more impactful entry. Picking up where number left off, former Marine Levon Cade, and his daughter, are on the lam from vicious South American drug cartels whose plans he foiled in the first volume. Opting to get as far away from any hunters, Cade heads for the deep forest of Maine in the middle of winter; a more inhospitable environment would be hard to find in the continental U.S.  

Whereas Cade’s luck turns sour as the lake community he’s chosen to hide in is the target of a deadly squad of killers searching after the stolen wealth of a former New York Ponzi scheme magnet named Blanco. Having already murdered the man and his family in South America without find the loot, the team is now hell-bent on searching every one of the dead man’s holdings. Including his forgotten Maine lodge. And so their path of death and destruction crosses Cade’s escape haven and the second it does, the bullets fly and the action explodes.  

Dixon is a master of writing fast paced, nail biting action sequences. What we found truly remarkable and fun in this particular tale is how Cade’s daughter, Merry, has adapted to their survival lifestyle and when separated from her father for a while, she easily begins using the skills he taught her diligently. In the end, she’s just as savvy as her old man. 

“Levon’s Night” is a brutal, non-stop action thriller worthy of the series…and your support.


Saturday, May 13, 2023




A Jeremiah Halstead Western

By Terrence McCauley

Pinnacle Books

320 pgs


When a western novel begins with a shoot-out and 300 pgs later ends with one, you’d better believe this reviewer was most satisfied. Such is the case with burgeoning western superstar, Terrence McCauley’s newest Jeremiah Halstead entry, “The Revengers.” Of course it being the third in the series, we are obligated to tell you reading the first two will certainly increase your enjoyment while devouring this new one.

Part of that process, in any ongoing series is the obligatory recap which McCauley smoothly goes through in the first few chapters. Really, it’s painless. Then we are back in Battle Brook, Montana, with Deputy Marshal Halstead who learns his nemesis, crooked politician Ed Zimmerman, about to stand trial for murder, has been pardoned by the departing, bribed governor and is once again a free man.

Overwhelmed with hatred, Halstead soon begins to act rashly allowing his emotions to take control of his thoughts. Enough so, that Abby, the love of his life, wires Marshal Aaron Mackey to come to Battle Brook and rescue Halstead from himself. By the time Mackey, and his riding compadre, Billy Sunday, arrive, matters have gotten considerable worst. Zimmerman and his cronies have managed to pressure the mayor of Battle Brook into hiring Emil Riker, a Texas gunman, to be the new Sheriff. Well aware he and Halstead have as past. Years earlier, Halstead had shot and killed Riker’s father.

Amidst this cyclone of events, Riker convinces an angry saloon mob to attack the jail while Halstead is out of town resulting in the near death wounding of his colleague, Deputy Sandborne. It is enough to force Mackey to order Halstead to return to the capitol, Helena, or surrender his badge.

“The Revengers” is a fast paced, beautiful written novel and a testament to McCauley’s insightful awareness of the human condition. His characters, both good and bad, live and breathe on these pages. He gives them depth and their colliding stories propel the narrative to its gun-blasting finale. An ending this reviewer did not see coming. If you truly love cowboy stories, do not miss “The Revengers.”

Monday, May 01, 2023




By Frank Bill

FSG Originals

307 pgs


In his afterword, author Frank Bill tells us his father servied in Vietnam from December of 1967 to Jan of 1969 as a Marine. We mention this reviewer was in-country between the summer of 67 and summer of 68. We were one of thousands of American that served there. For reasons we won’t get into, we generally don’t read books involving that war. Why we opted to look at this one was the slant it employed dealing primarily with the lasting affects of that conflict on the book’s protagonist thirty years later.

Miles Knox is a pragmatic middle aged veteran working a tough, dirty factory job. Since his days his Vietnam, his life has been filled with drugs, booze and merely finding a way to get by day by day. Eventually, he becomes involved with a beautiful young stripper working at a local men’s club. Though young enough to be his daughter, Shelby has suffered own hardship being abandoned by the mother and raised by an abusive father who is also a vet, but one totally twisted by his combat experience. Somehow Miles and Shelby find mutual solace together.

When her younger brother, Wylie, while strung out on drugs, murders his suppliers, a young married couple, all hell breaks loose. The couple’s young son, Shadrack, escapes and flees to the safety of his uncle, Nathaniel Timberlake, a former police officer. Enraged by the death of his brother and sister-in-law, Nathaniel, with the boy in tow, sets out to find Wylie and deliver his own vengeful justice. At the same time, Miles can’t find Shelby and becomes worried something bad has befallen her.

As the night wears on, both he and Nathaniel’s paths crisscross. When they finally meet and join forces, the true horror of what they uncover far surpasses even their worst imaginings.

Frank Bill is a terrific writer with so much courage and integrity he portrays the fragility of life with all its blessings and curses. His sensitivity is palpable in his characters and by then story’s conclusion, one is left emotional spent. “Back to the Dirt” is a brilliant work of reality…disguised as fiction. Don’t miss it.