Lightning Strike by William Kent Krueger

I confess, I love Krueger, as a writer, storyteller, plotter, master of setting and character. I bought his first Cork O’Connor novel, Iron Lake, while at Bouchercon in Milwaukee, just after he won the Barry Award for best first novel. I loved it, and have bought and read each  new one as it’s been published. I’m an unabashed fanboy when it comes to Kent Krueger.

So it’s no surprise I pre-ordered this one and got it on publication day. I did wait until I finished the book I was reading before starting it, and once started stayed up late to keep reading and finished it in two days, which is fast for me.

The plot:
This novel is a prequel to Iron Lake. Thus it may be listed as Cork O’Connor 0

Aurora is a small town nestled in the ancient forest alongside the shores of Minnesota’s Iron Lake. In the summer of 1963, it is the whole world to 12-year-old Cork O’Connor, its rhythms as familiar as his own heartbeat. But when Cork stumbles upon the body of a man he revered hanging from a tree in an abandoned logging camp, it is the first in a series of events that will cause him to question everything he took for granted about his hometown, his family, and himself.

That’s all I’ll say except that Cork’s father is the Sheriff of Aurora and that is a main plot point, as it’s Lliam who is as much the main character here as Cork.

My take:
This was one of those books I didn’t want to end.

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Short Story Wednesday – Best Eaten Cold

Best Eaten Cold and Other Stories: A Murder Squad Anthology, First published by The History Press UK. This ebook edition first published in 2011

The Blurb:
Best Eaten Cold and Other Stories showcases a group of highly regarded, award-winning crime writers who all share a special passion for crime, which is reflected in this superb volume. Funny and sad, atmospheric and dark, ingenious and frightening, each of the thirteen stories in this collection will thrill lovers of crime fiction.

I have read the introduction and the first three stories so far. Very good.


  • Introduction by Martin Edwards
  • “The Habit of Silence” by Ann Cleeves
  • “The People Outside” by Martin Edwards
  • “Boom!” by Cath Staincliffe
  • “The Message” by Margaret Murphy
  • “Best Eaten Cold” by Stuart Pawson
  • “Basic Skills” by Ann Cleeves
  • “Laptop” by Cath Staincliffe
  • “Act of Contrition” by Margaret Murphy
  • “The Case of the Musical Butler” by Martin Edwards
  • “Mud” by Ann Cleeves
  • “Riviera” by Cath Staincliffe
  • “Sprouts” by Stuart Pawson
  • “InDex” by Martin Edwards

I especially liked the first Cleeves story, which featured Vera Stanhope. I’ll be reading the rest of this anthology in the coming weeks.

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Fall is Here

Here it is the end of Summer, beginning of Fall, and though our drought is undiminished, rain is predicted for late next week. Meanwhile, we’ve had our high-dose flu shots, and will get Covid boosters  at the end of September when our 6 months are up.

Barbara has read the newest by Louise Penny, while I read and very much enjoyed William Kent Krueger’s latest, Lightning Strike. I have books in hand from the library, but though I wanted to read them when I asked for a hold, I can’t get started on them now. I may try something else later today, as it’ll be high 80s and I’ll be indoors. Meanwhile, here’s a picture from last week in our front garden. It’s the last of the Lilies.

I hope all who read this blog are well and content.

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Art Fitzpatrick & Van Kaufman – Masters of the Art of Automobile Advertising

200-page hardcover book – released August 23rd – chronicling the work of automobile advertising illustrators Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman.

This is the definitive book about the greatest artists in automobile advertising history. Produced in cooperation with the estates of Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman, this 200-page hardcover volume includes 196 illustrations, with many images newly-photographed from the original artwork.

Unprecedented access to the artists’ archives reveals never-before-published sketches, reference photos, and color studies. Based on years of research and many hours of interviews, Art Fitzpatrick & Van Kaufman finally tells the story of the people, processes, and techniques that produced these masterpieces of advertising illustration. Available in the US only at this time.

From my first glimpse of the automotive art of this pair, not knowing at the time who they were or anything about them, I loved the art. After years of hoping for a comprehensive book on their artwork, finally, here it is. If you like, or love, automotive advertising art, this book is a must for you, as it was for me.

It’s expensive, but worth it. You can purchase it here: (U.S. only)

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short stories: Silver Waves of Summer

The Silver Waves of Summer, edited by David M. Olsen, Kelp Books 2021 short story anthology, mystery

The stories here are all set on or near the beach, as the title suggests. All but one is set in the late 1960s or the 1970s, and, since I grew up in southern California, I was able to recognize many places, named highways and so on, which added to the reading experience.

I bought this 99⊄ ebook on a whim. Of the eleven stories I’d rate nine fair and two stinkers.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • “In the Bank” by Antoine Wilson
  • “Off the 405” by Naomi Hirahara
  • “Summer of ’86” by Todd Goldberg
  • “Mody’s Dock” by Steve Winn
  • “The Naked and the Dead” by Charles Ardai
  • “The Five Thieves of Bombay Beach” by Rob Roberge
  • “Lighthouse Seen for Miles” by Michael Scott Moore
  • “The Crossing” by Oliver Brennan
  • “Bad Moon Rising” by David Olson
  • “Sundays are for Robberies” by Samantha Tkac (particularly brutal)
  • “Wasteland” by Alex Webb Wilson
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“You’re alibi sounds suspicious to me.“

Posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books, Short Stories | 4 Comments

It’s the end of Summer…

…so here’s an end of Summer-y image for you.

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Doing Time by Jodi Taylor

Doing Time by Jodi Taylor, Headline 2019 (UK), 2020 (US) trade paper science fiction novel, first in series. 468 pages

Jodi Taylor is the author of the delightful and popular time travel series The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, which is up to 10 books so far. Though I’m behind on my reading of that series, I have them all in hand and look forward to reading them when I can. This book is the beginning of a new series, The Time Police.

The Time Police have been mentioned in more than one of the St. Mary’s novels, and not usually in a particularly friendly way. Think of them – St. Mary’s and the Time Police – as adversaries with dissimilar goals using similar methods. In this first book we meet Matthew Ferrell, Jane Lockland and Luke Parrish, new recruits who will form Team 236. They are very different people with different reasons for joining the Time Police, but they need to jell to form a successful team. It’s not easy; some think they are the worst recruits in Time Police history.

After many weeks of training and classwork, they are ready for their first assignment. It seems it should be easy, but things do not go smoothly. Success is…questionable. But there is more going on in the Time Police organization than the routine assignments given to Team 236 and the other, more experienced teams. There is entrenched opinion about the methods the institution has, is and should use to accomplish their goals. Nothing is as obvious as it first seems, as our team tries to succeed in the Time Police. And then there is the murder.

Taylor’s writing is wonderful, full of humor, insight into character and the plot keeps the reader turning the pages. I read this in just over a day, very fast for me, and enjoyed every bit of it.

The next book in the series, Hard Time, is scheduled to be published this coming January, 2022.

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niggles & peeves

  1. Texas doesn’t want you to vote – or have an abortion. Damned GOP State legislature and damned GOP Governor taking away rights of persons of color and women. I’m steamed! I guess Texans get what they vote for, but damn, super right-wing reactive Republicans sure make it hard on lots of people Not Like Them.
  2. Anti-vaxxers. / anti-maskers are a pack of idiots. Their ignorance and gullibility affect the rest of us, and they don’t know or care. Damn it, get vaccinated and put on a mask!
  3. it was time and past time we got out of Afghanistan. Biden did the right thing. People saying we did it wrong or should have stayed have excrement pudding for brains.

I really feel it for everyone suffering from Hurricane Ida. But… Louisiana had decades to learn from the past, and still the entire city of New Orleans and surrounding cities have no power or safe water? WTF?

Posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books, Short Stories | 15 Comments

Multiverse: Exploring Poul Anderson’s Worlds


republished from The Broken Bullhorn:

Multiverse: Exploring Poul Anderson’s Worlds edited by Greg Bear and Gardner Dozois [Subterranean Press 2014 hardcover, cover and illustrations by Bob Eggleton, purchased new] – science fiction.

Friends and regular readers of this blog know that Poul Anderson is one of my favorite science fiction writers. I have all of the fine NESFA collections of his short fiction and a copy of just about every novel he wrote. Not every one is great, but most are very good or excellent, and I’ve read some of my favorites several times. So when I saw Subterranean Press was publishing this, it was a mandatory addition to my shelves, and will have pride of place thereon.

Poul Anderson (1926-2001) was one of the seminal figures of 20th century science fiction. Named a Grand Master by the SFWA in 1997, he produced an enormous body of standalone novels (Brain WaveTau Zero) and series fiction (Time Patrol and Dominic Flandry books) and was equally at home in the fields of heroic fantasy and hard SF. He was a meticulous craftsman and a gifted storyteller, and the impact of his finest work continues, undiminished, to this day.

full cover by Bob Eggleton

full cover by Bob Eggleton

Multiverse: Exploring Poul Anderson’s Worlds is an all-original anthology; a mixture of fiction and reminiscence. It contains thirteen stories and novellas by some of today’s finest writers, along with reflections by – among others – Anderson’s wife, his daughter and his son-in-law, novelist and co-editor Greg Bear. (Bear also writes the introduction, “My Friend Poul”.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction: My Friend Poul by Greg Bear
  • Outmoded Things by Nancy Kress
  • The Man Who Came Late by Harry Turtledove
  • A Slip in Time by S. M. Stirling
  • Living and Working with Poul Anderson by Karen Anderson
  • Dancing on the Edge of the Dark by C. J. Cherryh
  • The Lingering Joy by Stephen Baxter
  • Operation Xibalba by Eric Flint
  • Tales Told by Astrid Anderson Bear
  • The Fey of Cloudmoor by Terry Brooks
  • Christmas in Gondwanaland by Robert Silverberg
  • Latecomers by David Brin
  • An Appreciation of Poul Anderson by Jerry Pournelle
  • A Candle by Raymond E. Feist
  • The Far End by Larry Niven
  • Bloodpride by Gregory Benford
  • Three Lilies and Three Leopards (And a Participation Ribbon in Science) by Tad Williams

If you like the work of Poul Anderson, or just good solid science fiction, this is a book for you.

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