Reviews of the Latest Books I've Read and Enjoyed
I just finished reading John M. Daniel’s anthology, Generous Helpings. The description line is Six Stories of California, Calamity, and Love. John is a wonderful short story writer and not only were the tales engaging but I enjoyed the fact that I’d been to the places he wrote about—though sometimes the centered on the seedier locations. I had fun reading it.
Thanks to Simon and Schuster I read South by Southeast by Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes. At first I thought the book was by the actor Blair Underwood because the cover has a depiction of a man who looks like him and in bold letters it says Blair Underwood presents above the title.
The hero, Tennyson “Ten” Hardwick, is an actor and part time private detective. He’s the mentor and guardian of a teen girl named Chela with a dark past. The book begins in Florida with the making of a movie and what seems to be the serial killings of young prostitutes. The action escalates right from the beginning and when it looks like Ten has found and taken care of the killer the book is only half over. Everything and the major characters move to California supposedly to safety. Of course, it’s just the opposite—and everyone Ten loves is threatened. I would have never picked this book out on my own—and at first I wasn’t sure I’d read it all the way through, but once I got started I couldn’t stop.
Another anthology I truly enjoyed was Fifteen Tales of Murder, Mayhem and Malice from the Minnesota Crime Wave.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading these very different tales by several authors I met while attending the now defunct Mayhem in the Midlands. Of particular interest to me was Carl Brookins, "The Horse He Rode in On" with one of the most interesting characters Carl has ever created. One of my favorite writers is William Kent Krueger and his "Woman in Ice" had a different twist on it. "Desperados" by Michael Allan Mallory held my attention to the end. I loved Marilyn Victor's "This Old House." And last but not least, Pat Dennis' "Minnesota Iced" had the most surprising ending. All the stories were great, but I loved reading those by people I visited with many times at Mayhem.
Last but not least, though I promoted this one earlier on my blog, I read through Digital Ink, Writing Killer Fiction in the E-Book Age. It covers most of the problems most new writers have with their writing. I recommend it to anyone starting out in this profession, to anyone who is having trouble getting published, and to those who plan to self-publish, read this first and make sure you haven't made any of the mistakes pointed out in this book.