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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

“Skitter” by Ezekiel Boone

Of the many life forms that have evolved from prehistoric days, spiders are the ones that humans have the most contact with on a daily basis. They’re among the top five most-feared creatures on earth. The Smithsonian Institute says that “typical temperate habitats may support up to 800 individual spiders per square meter…” That means you are always within six feet of a spider.
These little creatures skitter around, rarely troubling humans, who almost always obliterate every eight-legged blob of flesh that appears in their vision. On a personal note, I recently smashed a hundred-year-old milk glass lamp, one of the only things left to my wife from her mother, in order to smash a spider with the rolled-up TV Guide. My wife forgave me, as we both have arachnophobia, and yes, the web-weaver died.
Boone thrusts humans into a plague of spiders that can strip a human of all flesh in thirty seconds. While cities, especially on the West Coast are under forced military quarantine and China has already obliterated most of itself with nuclear bombs to eradicate the beasts, all to no avail. The president of the United States must make the ultimate decision; how much of America can the government abandon or even blast into oblivion, as collateral damage, to save the rest.
Boone takes us on a whirlwind trip from continent to continent as everyone makes the decision on how to either destroy the wee beasties or save themselves from attack and then dumps us into our own oblivion to wait on the third book in this trilogy. I have never felt so uncomfortable reading a novel but anticipating the next one, knowing it will creep me out and give me nightmares, so much!

“A Killer Harvest” by Paul Cleave

Taking the age-old rumor of transference and cellular memory, Cleave leads us through a bizarre story of organ transplant for profit. Police officers on the street are supplying a top eye-surgeon with eyes from criminals. Dr. Toni Coleman is adept at carving out a name for herself in the medical community as the go-to doctor for eye transplants, climbing over the bodies of her victims to get there.
Joshua, a blind teenager, is granted a rare opportunity. His father, a Christchurch cop, is killed in the line of duty and donates his eyes to his son. Through some inept handling by medical technicians, Joshua ends up with one of his father’s eyes and the eye of the criminal that killed his father.
As if dealing with the ability to see for the first time—the wonderful and horrendous sights he can now view—isn’t enough, Joshua is dealing with bullying at his new high school and his first girlfriend. Joshua also must put up with the terror of his dreams and his ability to see visions through the memory transference from both donors.
With a bad guy closing in, Jason must concoct a way to avoid being found while deciphering the secrets to his father’s past life—a path that is dark and full of danger. One police officer is convinced that Jason really is telling the truth but when she’s captured, the question is whether Jason will be able to find a way to rescue them all before it’s too late.
Cleave gives us an exhilarating chase ending in a breathtaking climax. I’m left wondering about all those other patients who were gifted organs from the same evil criminal…

Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart.

In the third novel covering Constant Kopp’s exploits, we find ourselves now fully immersed in the storyline Stewart continues to extract from the first female sheriff’s deputy in the United States. Based on newspaper articles on the infamous stories written about the real ‘Officer Kopp’ Stewart had regaled us the fiction she weaves into the missing pieces of history, in an extraordinarily interesting fashion.
The three Kopp sisters live together in rural New Jersey in the 1920’. Fleurette, the youngest - and actually the daughter of Constance from a dalliance in her youth – and Norma make up the surviving clan. The matriarch Kopp having died a few years prior the girls were forced to look out for each other and Constance, a well-built and tall girl for her age, convinced Sheriff Heath to hire her to look after the female prisoners in the County jail.
Many of the young women in the jail are runaways or imprisoned on alleged morality charges, often trumped up my parents not wanting the young ladies to live at home because they were a little free-spirited. Constance, because of her history, feels emboldened to help some of these girls out and takes on the District Attorney who is determined to put these girls into a reformatory until they turn twenty-one.

While she is watching out for the girls in her care she fails to notice that her daughter/sister, Fleurette, who had recently turned eighteen, had absconded with a dance troupe to entertain audiences all over the East coast. Trying to keep up with her job and determine her family is safe and not in the hands of a flim-flam entertainer makes for an entertaining read and has Constance examining her own moral code. Stewart has another winner on her hands with Midnight Confessions.

Pirate by Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell

An adventure yarn of the tallest order, which although staged in modern times has a well-aged feel to it, starring husband-and-wife treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo who provide a throwback touch, reminiscent of Nick and Nora Charles. Millionaire do-gooders who turn all the profits from their archeological finds over to charity, but are more than familiar with weaponry and martial arts, too.
The novel whisks the reader all over the world with this jet-set couple, beginning with their vacation in San Francisco, where the purchase of an old pirate manuscript puts them into a dangerous battle with a rival treasure hunter, Charles Avery, who will stop at nothing to recover lost family treasure. From Arizona on to Jamaica and finally to England the Fargo’s find themselves beaten to the end result at every turn.
With all their moves scuppered before they get started, the Fargo’s surmise that one of their trusted team members is suspect, but who and why? Caught up in the legend of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest the intrepid couple tiptoe through long lost caves and tunnels and you’ll accompany them, holding your breath alongside.

This is the first novel that these two awesome scribes have collaborated on and I can’t wait to see what adventures they build for us in the future.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Critic in Me

I've been called a critic from a large magazine. I regularly post in Suspense Magazine.

" Many people look to you for advice regarding what to read, and your endorsement means a great deal." Isabella Maldonado, author of Blood's Echo that I called a "high-octane thriller."

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I cover blurbed Deborah Ledford's police procedural series as "Raising suspense to a higher level," "White-knuckle suspense at an electrifying pulse," and " Standing round of applause for this blast of a thriller." She is now an Edgar Award winner and three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize.

I hit the cover again with John Lescroat's novel, penning Damage will leave you gasping.

The Someday Quilts Mysteries by Claire O'Donohue got her protagonist, Nell           Fitzgerald, dubbed ” A modern day Jane Marple on steroids.”

Outpost Hell by Jake Bible - "a darkly comical sci-fi battle for survival...  put H G Wells creations The Island of Dr. Moreau to shame"

John David Bethel's Blood Moon "... will leave you wondering about the depravity of humans for the sake of blood money."

Kill 'Em With Kindness by C S DeWildt, "A true pulp fiction tale of redneck noir "

"2016 book of the year by far." The Rabbi's Knight by Michael J Cooper.

No Angel (My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hell's Angels) by Jay Dobyns. 

"Gritty, raw, explicit's like a wreck you know is going to happen but you can't look away ..."

Until Her Darkness Goes by Rana Kelly "...fresh exposé on an old, worn theme, sex, drugs and rock and roll."
Don't Talk to Strangers by Amanda Kyle Williams "
an electrically charged plot, sinister and evil, one jolt after another, keeping the reader amped."

J. E. Gurley's Shadow Walker  "Street-tough guide to the netherworld"

All examples of what I can do for you so why are you not having your publishers send your latest and greatest to me today. Reach me at markpsadler@gmail

Monday, February 29, 2016

What do mystery writers read? Or do they?

During Left Coast Crime 2016 #LLC2016 I was a little, I was going to say alarmed, but lets cut it down to concerned, to hear comments to the point that as authors we don't read very much anymore; we are too busy writing. Makes you wonder do we read each others books? Mystery writers are very friendly willing to help their fellow writers with advise, marketing ideas, passing on of knowledge etc. but to what avail if we don't stop and smell the book glue?
Doubling duty as a reviewer as well as author, I do read many of my friends books and there are some magnificant books to be consumed. I also feel that even as genre writers we don't need to pigeon-hole our style and should feel the ability to pass on a little literature into our work. I asked some if they had read particular authors that I have made a habit of reading just because they are gosh, just darn good storytellers and was surprised to be met with blank looks.
Now while these authors names may not trip off the tongue as easily as say John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Wouk, Norman Mailer, Daphne du Maurier, Graham Greene, John Le Carre, Stephen King the following as especially worthy of your attention (recommended books in parentheses). Nevil Shute (A Town Like Alice; The Pied Piper; The Chequer Board), Jim Crace (Harvest; Quarantine; The Pest House; All That Follows), Jennifer McMahon (Winter People; Dismantled; Promise Not To Tell), Jo Nesbo (the Harry Hole detective series), David Morrell - pick any you can't go wrong, Paul Cleave (his Theodore Tate detective series), Luis Alberto Urrea (The Hummingbird's Daughter; Queen of America; Into The Beautiful North).
It’s okay to put down the laptop for a little while and get lost in someone else’s world for the moment. It may expand your horizons and expand the grey matter and who knows, improve your writing.

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