What we've been reading lately

Welcome to the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association redesigned Killer Books page. Below, you will find selections from members' blogs and webpages that post mystery reviews. If you've read the book discussed, or would like to, we welcome your comments.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fun House and other reviews

Fun House – John Ceepak Series by Chris Grabenstein
Available in Hardcover - $25.00 – Pegasus Books
Recommended by Jay Catherman, Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop, Mechanicsburg, PA – MysteryBooksOnline.com

          Although it has been two years since the last installment of the John Ceepak mysteries, I'm happy to say that it was worth the wait.
          This time, Danny Boyle and Ceepak face some of the most desperate characters ever. No, not criminals … reality show contestants! Sea Haven, NJ is hosting the TV show "Fun House" sort of Jersey Shore meets Big Brother. The contestants are rude, loud and obnoxious – definitely good for ratings if not the peace of Sea Haven. When a contestant is killed it falls to Ceepak and Danny to both protect the rest of the contestants and solve the crime.
          The mystery is well-crafted and Danny's observations are as funny as always. Chris has another winner, the only bad new…it's anther two years until the next one.
Dear Mr. Holmes – Holmes on the Range Series by Steve Hockensmith
Available in Trade Paperback - $9.99 – Createspace
Recommended by Jay Catherman, Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop, Mechanicsburg, PA – MysteryBooksOnline.com
          I was a big fan from the debut of Steve Hockensmith's "Holmes on the Range" novels. Let's face it, stories of two cowboy brothers in the 1890s who solve crimes by emulating their hero, Sherlock Holmes, and whose adventures are almost always hilarious, doesn't get much better than that for me.
          In fact, I only ever found two disappointments. The first being that the author ended the series after only five books. The second was that I had missed the short stories that preceded the novels and were published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Fortunately for all of us who missed those, we have a second chance at some of them in Dear Mr. Holmes, a collection of seven short stories previously published in magazines and starting with "Old Red's" and "Big Red's" first story. They are all in the form of letters sent by Otto "Big Red" Amlingmeyer to various publishers and even to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
          These stories cover the span of "Old Red's" "Holmesifyin" adventures including some references to the stories in the novels. As in the novels, the stories become less cowboy oriented, but Old Red always proves that even if you take a cowboy out of the West, he's still a cowboy. They are as excellent and entertaining as any of the longer stories and should not be missed by fans of the Amlingmeyers. If you're not already a fan, these stories are an excellent introduction for you and are sure to make you a fan.
As the Crow Flies – Walt Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson
Available in Hardcover - $25.95  - Viking Books
Recommended by Jay Catherman, Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop, Mechanicsburg, PA – MysteryBooksOnline.com
          Absaroka County Sheriff, Walt Longmire, is planning his daughter's wedding when he learns that the location she chose for the ceremony on the Cheyenne Reservation has just been usurped by a tribal elder. So he and best friend, Henry Standing Bear, need to find a replacement location. During their search, Walt witnesses a woman and her infant son fall from a cliff, but was it an accident? Since the death occurred on the Rez, it isn't in Walt's jurisdiction, but the head of the Tribal Police is new to the job and doesn't want Walt's help even though she knows that she needs it. So Walt helps with the investigation while Henry concentrates on the wedding plans. Complete with mystery, adventure and humor, As the Crow Flies is book number eight and a welcome addition to Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire Series.
          On June 3, 2012 the show "Longmire" premiered on A&E TV. Although the plots are not taken directly from Johnson's books, the series is remarkably true to the books with strong characters, beautiful scenery and good mysteries.
Books you might have missed…
The Alto Wore Tweed – Hayden Konig Liturgical Mystery #1 by Mark Schweizer
Available in Trade Paperback - $12.95 – SJMP Books
Recommended by Jay Catherman, Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop, Mechanicsburg, PA – MysteryBooksOnline.com

          Hayden Konig is the police chief of St. Germaine, NC. He is also the organist/choir director of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church; but, what he wants to be is a mystery writer. To this end he purchased Raymond Chandler's typewriter in the hope that through it he might receive inspiration. It didn't work! Hayden's stories are terrible yet at the same time hysterical. For that matter the murders that occur in his real life job as police chief are equally hysterical. Author Mark Schweizer has an ecclesiastically twisted sense of humor in this series that he calls the "Liturgical Mysteries." There are several books in the series and each contains two stories … one Hayden writes and one that he solves. Every page has a chuckle and every chapter a belly laugh. Highlight recommended both the mystery and the humor.

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