The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen

>> Friday, September 30, 2011

The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen
The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen

Genre: Suspense (with a touch of Science Fiction)
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 437
Source: Copy provided by publisher

The Short Version:
A time traveler from the future is in present day Washington, D.C to ensure that horrible events of his past happen without intervention of revisionists from his own time.

Why I Read It:
When I read an excerpt of the first chapter on the Mulholland Books website I was hooked and knew I had to read the book. I was lucky enough to get a an early copy.

The Book
Zed is a protector of the events. Other people he calls ‘Hags” are trying to alter the events. Events such as The Holocaust and 9-11 are the kinds of thing the Hags want to prevent. Zed and his co-workers from The Department of Historical Integrity are here to stop the Hags and allow the events to happen because that’s how the Perfect Present that Zed was born in came to be. If the events aren’t protected, the Perfect Present might not exist.
Leo Hastings is a former CIA agent who got drummed out of the agency for having a conscience. He happens to meet a young Indonesian girl who is in the country working from a South Korean diplomat and his North Korean wife.

Tasha is a corporate lawyer who discovers something awful about and organization represented by her firm. She weighs her loyalty to her firm against her feelings about military men like her late brother and picks the dangerous option.

Sari is the Indonesian girl who meets Leo in the grocery store. She’s dependent on her employers but at the same time terrified because they treat her like a slave and she sees no way out of her circumstances.

All of these stories weave in and out of each other in near present day Washington , DC as the ‘Great Conflagration’ that Zed is there to protect nears.

My Thoughts:
This was a fascinating story. It starts out as a primarily science fiction and time travel story along the lines of The Terminator in that people from the future are here to alter or protect events that are important to their own existence. What I didn’t expect was that it would turn out to be primarily a contemporary suspense thriller despite the presence of characters from the future.

I enjoyed the way Zed’s presence and his background was woven into a story taking place in near present time. The science fiction elements were there but not overpowering to the basic suspense and tension of the story. The glimpses into his time are spare and limited to moments of his personal history and his workplace which keeps him isolated from the majority of his own contemporary society who his role is to protect. The intrigue was all about how the multiple stories and characters would intersect or intertwine and whether any or all of them would be part of the events leading up to what Zed knows as The Great Conflagration,

I’ll admit that Mullen tricked me. About 2/3 of the way through the book I had a pretty good idea about how some major parts of the story were going to play out. I was completely wrong. I love it when an author can lead me one way, but then take the story another and still leave me with a feeling of satisfaction from having read a well done story.

This one is intriguing and the science fiction type elements do not overpower the story enough to keep me from considering it a contemporary suspense story. It’s definitely worth your time to read it.


Rating 4/5

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Wordless Wednesday #104

>> Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Inside the light: Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Newport, Oregon


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Confessions of a Serial Reader – The Guilty Pleasures

>> Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Confessions of a Serial Reader

For today’s purposes, let’s go with the Wikipedia definition of Guilty Pleasure:
A guilty pleasure is something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The "guilt" involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one's lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes.

Scanning my list of current series on FictFact reveals a few of these. I’ve always been a bit of a genre jumper in my reading. While I read primarily mysteries and suspense books, I also read plenty of historical fiction, general fiction and occasionally at least one or two of most genres. While I like to think of this as eclectic reading I readily admit that more than a few literary snobbish type would sneer down their noses at some of the books I read. They’d probably swoon at some of the series I return to again and again. My reaction to that is a big fat “So What”. If I enjoy a book or series I’m going to keep reading it. I like to have a bit of variety in my reading buffet. Here are a few series I enjoy and continue to toss into the mix occasionally just to poke at the literary snobs.

All of these are series that I would never read back to back or too close together but are books I like to pick up when I need something that’s a change of pace, or in some cases a light quick read between heaver books. Often it’s just because I enjoy returning to admittedly formulaic or predictable plots because I simply like the characters and feel like they’re old friends by now. Images and links are the most recent I've read from each series.

The Dirk Pitt series and The Kurt Austin series by Clive Cussler and a variety of co-authors:
Black WindPolar Shift

As I said in my review of Polar Shift last week, these are the Saturday afternoon old movie adventure stories of my reading habits. After listening to the audio version of Polar Shift as read by Scott Brick I’m fairly certain that these will both be audio only series for me from now on.


The Cedar Cove series and The Blossom Street series by Debbie Macomber
1105 Yakima StreetSummer on Blossom Street

Yes they’re light and predictable and overly sappy and everyone ultimately ends up happy, but they’re still enjoyable and comfy like a cup of tea and an afternoon chat with a friend you haven’t seen in several months. Macomber is ending the Cedar Cove with the latest book and it’s time. The Blossom Street series is a bit less enjoyable, but I do like the knitting tie in and have made one baby afghan from a pattern used in this series.


The #1 Ladies Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party

I probably wouldn’t like these if I read them too close together or in print, but once a year to have Lisette Lecat read to my while I’m driving is quite enjoyable.


The Eve Dallas Series by J.D. Robb
Purity in Death
Roarke. ‘Nuff said.

(Well, except I do have to add that Delia Peabody is becoming more and more my favorite character as the series progresses. She cracks me up.)


The Alex Cross series and the Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson and various co-authors
Mary MaryThe 6th Target

I know, I know. But when I’m having short attention span issues, I need a book that is fast paced, has short chapters and I can finish in a couple of days no matter how busy I am. Patterson is perfect for that. Besides, I like Alex Cross and most of the women in the Women’s Murder Club series.



Now it’s time for you to confess. What are your Guilty Pleasure series

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Short Story Monday – The Water Indian by Steve Hockensmith

>> Monday, September 26, 2011


Dear Mr. Holmes a fun collection of 7 short stories about two old west cowboys who are inspired by the stories of Sherlock Holmes that they read in magazines.

Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range MysteriesThe Water Indian by Steve Hockensmith
Part of a collection published as Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries
Published: 2011


This is the fifth of the seven stories in this collection and I like Old Red and Big Red Amlingmeyer (also known as Gustav and Otto) more and more with each story. I’m looking forward to reading the first of the novels featuring them once I finish these short stories. The nods to Sherlock Holmes wrapped up in stories of a couple of old west cowboys is quite delightful.

In The Water Indian, Otto (Big Red) Amlingmeyer is writing to an acquaintance the brothers met in Montana. He alludes to some troubles at The Bar VR related to murders but doesn’t elaborate. Otto is writing to Mr. Brackwell to tell him of some recent adventures the brothers have encountered since Mr. Brackwell has returned to England. Otto thinks the story mighf be a good one for Mr. Brackwell to use when telling his friends in England about life in the American West. After leaving Montana the Amlingmeyer brothers make their way though Idaho and into Utah. Mentioning, the Holmes story A Study in Scarlet they hope to not become involved in any troubles between Mormon and non-Mormon settlers in the area. What they end up encountering however might be even more troublesome. They catch glimpses of what appears to be frightening creature. A nearby farmer and his daughters claim it’s the embodiment of a spirit that lives in the lake known as a Water Indian. Otto may be a bit edgy, but Old Red puts his Holmes inspired deducifying skills to work on the mystery,

These are enjoyable short stories and I recommend the collection if you’re looking for something light and refreshing to toss into your reading mix between other books.


Short Story Mondays is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.

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Weekend Update: September 24, 2011

>> Saturday, September 24, 2011


Weekend Update
This week: I haven’t finished any books this week. I’m still reading the same books as last week, but at least I’m closer to finishing than I was. The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen is fascinating me more with each passing chapter. So far, it’s primarily a contemporary thriller with a light dose of science fiction inserted just to spice things up a bit. I’m still working on the short story collection Dear Mr. Holmes by Steve Hockensmith. I haven’t read much this week of Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove finale: 1225 Christmas Tree Lane, but will pick that up again soon.

My new audiobook is Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. I am so glad I paid attention to my twitter friends who recommended the audio version for this one. I’m enjoying the slightly twisted and dark humor. I’m also getting a kick out of the audio format as read by the author. She’s doing a great job with the accents of the various characters and has just right amount of snarky tone in all the right places.

Other than books and reading:

Last week I showed you the scarf pattern I picked out for my The Night Circus inspired red scarf. This week I actually went to my favorite local knitting shop and bought the yarn. Isn’t that just a gorgeous red? I also think The Knitting Bee is a great name for a yarn shop.
red yarn

Of course I’ve promised myself that I cannot start this scarf until I finish the crocheted throw I’ve been working on for a couple of years between other projects for friends. As soon as the throw is done, I’m going to start knitting the scarf.


I can’t resist sharing this photo. One of the perks of working an early schedule is that for much of the year I get to see the sunrise. The alarm going off at 5am is not a fun, but the payoff of some amazing sunrises makes it not quite so awful. I took this Thursday morning. As I was pulling into a parking spot at the park and ride lot this was the view out my windshield. This was worth stopping to take a photo before heading down to catch the train. I was very happy with how this turned out for an iphone photo.
Sunrise
(click the photo for a bigger view)

Added to my TBR List (To Be Read) this week:

Catherine the Great
by Robert K. Massie
Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie
Robert K. Massie is responsible for my fascination with the Romanov Dynasty ever since I read Nicholas and Alexandra when I was in High School. I also liked his epic biography of Peter the Great. I’ll definitely read this one.

The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak
The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak
Timing is everything. A new historical fiction featuring Catherine is due out too. I’d prefer to read the non-fiction first, but I’m not making any commitments. It might be a matter of which one lands in my hands first.

The Damage Done by Hilary Davidson
The Damage Done by Hilary Davidson
Between an Anthony Award for best first novel and strong encouragement from Jen at Jen’s Book Thoughts I really couldn’t resist this one.


Purchased this week:

I didn’t buy anything again this week. I’m still focused on what I already have in the house these days.

I just have one book in the library stack this week. It’s one of the few hold requests I didn’t suspend until later because it’s fairly short. This story was just so fascinating that I can’t resist the book.
library stack

Hope you're having a great weekend!!

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Audiobook – Polar Shift by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos

>> Friday, September 23, 2011

Polar Shift by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos

Polar Shift by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos

Genre: Adventure
Series: #6 in the Kurt Austin Series
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Date: 2005
Read by: Scott Brick
Source: Library

The Short Version:
In typical Clive Cussler style someone intent on controlling the world has the plot discovered by the NUMA special assignments team and only they can save the world and get the girl.

Why I Read It:
I have been reading a couple of Clive Cussler’s series for years. This one and the Dirk Pitt series are the ones I’ve stuck with over time. A twitter conversation convinced me to give the audio version a try.

The Book:
From the Publisher:
Polar shift: It is the name for a phenomenon that may have occurred many times in the past. At the very least, it disorients birds and animals and damages electrical equipment. At its worst, it causes massive eruptions, earthquakes, and climatic changes. At its very worst, it would mean the obliteration of all living matter, and if that happens—exit Earth.
Sixty years ago, an eccentric Hungarian genius discovered how to artificially trigger such a shift, but then his work was lost, or so it was thought. Now, the charismatic leader of an anti-globalization group plans to use the work to give the world's industrialized nations a small jolt, then reverse the shift back again. The only problem is, it cannot be reversed. Once the shift starts, there is nothing anyone can do about it.
Austin, Zavala, and the rest of the NUMA Special Assignments Team certainly have faced dire situations before, but never have they encountered anything like this. This time…even they may be too late.

My Thoughts:
Clive Cussler books always take me back to Saturday afternoons watching old adventure movies on TV. The plots are always about devious megalomaniacs plotting to control world. Sure they’re over the top and unbelievable, but they’re still a ton of fun in a purely escapist adventure story kind of way. There’s always some opening story from the past that has implications for the present day. The heroes are handsome, smart and witty. The fun part about Cussler is that the stories always have a major part of the story involving the ocean or water filled setting. This allows for some fun and interesting toys and technology.

I like Kurt Austin and his sidekick Joe Zavala. I think I may like them better than Dirk Pitt, which is saying a lot. Yes the books are incredibly formulaic, and yes the outcome is a given, but the story is still fun and perfect for an escape from my day.

I think that’s why I’ll continue with this and the Dirk Pitt series on audio. I do all my audiobook listening in the car and turning this on after a day of work or while running errands makes the day enjoyable. Scott Brick does a wonderful job of telling the story. He makes an over the top plot work.


Rating 3.5/5



SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.

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Wordless Wednesday #103

>> Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Heceta Head Lighthouse just after sunset
near Yachats, Oregon


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You Don’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl by Celia Rivenbark

>> Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternYou Don’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl by Celia Rivenbark

Genre: Humor
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 242
Source: Copy provided by publisher/publicist

The Short Version:
A collection of humorous essays by Celia Rivenbark that is similar to but maybe a little sharper than her syndicated weekly newspaper column and full of her unique Southern wit all the way through.

Why I Read It:
I’ve been a fan of Celia Rivenbark for years. Ever since I read an earlier collection of her work called “Bless Your Heart, Tramp”, I’ve been a regular reader of her weekly column. I haven’t read her other books but when I was offered a copy of this one I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

The Book:
This is a collection of snarkily humorous essays, with a distinct Southern flavor. Subject matter ranges from her ventures into a yoga class that inspired the title of the book to her take on the celebrity or political figure of the moment. She’s got particular fondness/snark for any and all Kardashians, Sarah Palin, Kate Gosselin, and pretty much the entire cast of both The Learning Channel and People Magazine.

Along the way through this book she offers her attempts to curb her verbosity in the world of twitter, her adoration of her snuggie, a few jabs at Oprah, and a 50th birthday letter to Barbie

My Thoughts:
As I said, I was already a fan of Celia Rivenbark even before this book came along. This was just fun all through for me. I’m not sure I’d recommend reading this straight through. Each chapter really stands by itself as an individual piece. I read a few at a time in between other books or a couple as bedtime reading. I’d really recommend reading this that way. I think that reading them straight through might dilute some of the humor and the sharpness of her observations and style.

I giggled my way all the way through this punctuated by more than a few laugh out loud moments. Yes, there were several sections that I just had to read to The Hubster. It’s fun in 28 small doses that I’d really recommend reading as recess material between other things you’re reading or doing.

It’s just fun, funny, sarcastic, timely, and makes me want to live next door to Celia Rivenbark so I could have her over for coffee on a regular basis. In the meantime I need to go back and catch up with the rest of her books.


Rating 3.5/5

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Short Story Monday – Two more from Dear Mr. Holmes by Steve Hockensmith

>> Monday, September 19, 2011


This is such a fun collection of 7 short stories about two old west cowboys who are inspired by the stories of Sherlock Holmes that they read in magazines.

Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range MysteriesWolves in Winter and Dear Dr. Watson by Steve Hockensmith
Part of a collection published as Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries
Published: 2011


So far I’ve read four of the seven stories in this collection and I must say it’s been a great introduction to the characters of Old Red and Big Red Amlingmeyer (also known as Gustav and Otto). Steve Hockensmith has written 5 novels featuring then and the short stories have made me more eager to read the full length novels. I’m getting a kick out of the style and humor as well as the blend of Sherlock Holmes techniques and style as interpreted by a couple of cowboys.

In Wolves in Winter, Otto (Big Red) Amlingmeyer sends another lettet to Harper’s Weekly suggesting that since they didn’t approve his last story submission for publication perhaps this tale will suit their needs. He then tells of the time that he and his brother have a run in with a pack of wolves while traveling and end up taking shelter in a lonely cabin. They soon discover that things aren’t quite as they seem at first and the two men they meet at the cabin spark Gus to put his Holmesian deducifying techniques into gear.

In Dear Dr. Watson, Otto writes to Dr. John Watson (as in Sherlock Holmes’ sidekick) to tell him about the time that he and Gus attempted to join the Pinkerton Detective Agency and were turned away. The ‘Pinks’ referred them to another detective agency in town where they were hired on as consulting detectives. The case turns out to be a maze of lies and false trails that Gus manages to work his way through to the truth of the matter.

I’m enjoying the heck out of these stories and once I read the remaining three, I’ll be moving along to the novels featuring the Amlingmeyer brothers. They’re a unique blend that is great entertainment.


Short Story Mondays is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.

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Weekend Update: September 18, 2011

>> Sunday, September 18, 2011

Weekend Update

This week:
I’m still reading several books. I’m enjoying being able to pick up whichever fits my mood. I finished You Don’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl by Celia Rivenbark. As usual with her, I giggled my way through the collection of humorous essays. I’m still reading The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen which has a very interesting premise but I don’t like to pick it up unless I’ve got a good chunk of reading time ahead of me. My current short story collection is Dear Mr. Holmes by Steve Hockensmith. I also started the final book in Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series which is 1225 Christmas Tree Lane.

I’m in between audiobooks at the moment. On Friday I finished listening to Polar Shift by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos. It’s read by Scott Brick. I think I’ll be sticking with audio for Cussler’s books because I really enjoyed this on in audio format. This week I’ll start listening to Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. I’ve had several folks on Twitter recommend audio for this one.


Other than books and reading:
It’s Fall so my thoughts are turning toward football and yarn. I love college football and any Saturday we’re not at Autzen Stadium watching the Oregon Ducks you can pretty much count on us watching plenty of games on TV. Knitting and crocheting go well with football watching for me. I don’t do much knitting or crocheting during the warm weather but I’m getting the itch these days.

I’m trying to finish up a crocheted lap afghan for myself that I’ve been working on in between other projects for a couple of years now. Last week I went to my little local yarn shop and signed up for a couple of classes that start later next month. The first is a ‘beyond the basics’ class that will be a great follow up to the beginners class I took last winter. After that class I’ll be taking a ‘first socks on the magic loop’ class. I’m excited to learn how to do socks.

Speaking of yarn and books:, I’ve had an uncontrollable urge to knit a red scarf ever since I finished reading The Night Circus. I think I’ve found the perfect pattern so all I need is some great red yarn. I think this is a perfect Night Circus inspired red scarf:
The pattern is here.


Added to my TBR List (To Be Read) this week:

1222 by Anne Holt
1222 by Anne Holt
This one is the US debut of a series from a Norwegian author and described as a 'Suspenseful locked-room mystery'. That's enough for me.

The Spy Who Jumped off the Screen by Thomas Caplan
The Spy Who Jumped off the Screen by Thomas Caplan
This looks like a fun spy thriller.

Just My Type by Simon Garfield
Just My Type by Simon Garfield
The more I hear about this one, the more I think I want to read it. This is what put me over the edge.

The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol
The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol
I'd heard about this one a while ago but was reminded by a Shelf Awareness newsletter. It's just the kind of book to grab my attention.

Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
I read about this one in a Shelf Awareness newsletter It looks like interesting non-fiction about James Garfield and his assassin.

Watership Down by Richard Adams read by Ralph Cosham
Watership Down by Richard Adams read by Ralph Cosham
I had heard from a friend earlier this year about it but had forgotten. Read and enjoyed the book back when it was first out. Love Ralph Cosham and curious as to how re-experiencing this one in audio format will be.

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin
The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb
by Melanie Benjamin
This fictionalized story of a real person caught my interest in a libary newsletter. I may try the audio verson of this one.

Purchased this week:
I still haven’t bought anything for a while. I’ve got so many books here in front of me that I really want to read soon, that I’m not in the mood to buy lately. As you can tell from above, it’s not slowing down the rate at which I’m adding books to the To Be Read spreadsheet at all.

I’m also adding books to my library wish list but other than audiobooks I’m leaving them on the wish list for now and not moving them to the request list.

Hope you're having a great weekend!!

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Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman

>> Thursday, September 15, 2011

Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman
Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 296
Source: Copy provided by publisher through NetGalley.

The Short Version:
Tom Violet deals with his troubled marriage, corporate America, his Pulitzer Prize winning Dad, and his secret novel in a book that is as funny as it is touching.

Why I Read It:
I’d heard enough pre-publication buzz about this one to request it through NetGalley followed by many positive reviews from people I trust.

The Book
Tom Violet is a copywriter for one of those corporations that no one really knows what they do but it involves a lot of buzzwords and corporate doublespeak. As the book opens though, his primary concern is that his ‘mild erectile dysfunction’ diagnosed via online questionnaire from his office computer.

His dad is a famous author and serial marryer of increasingly younger women. His mother has decided to take a break from his stepfather. His day job is writing buzzword filled drivel but he refuses to consider this his real job because he’s been secretly writing a novel for the past five years. His dog is suffers from separation anxiety. His dad has moved in after leaving his latest wife, and oh by the way just won a Pulitzer. Yeah, that helps Tom’s feelings of inadequacy a whole lot.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this book. There was enough dark and sarcastic humor to balance out the parts that were more heart tugging. Tom started out as someone I didn’t like much, but as the book moved on, I was rooting for him to get his act together. His marriage troubles are well portrayed and feel real within the darkly humorous surroundings of the story.

It’s a mixture of a lot of storylines and at times is more dark comedy and at others a bit more of a thoughtful look at a man and his family at multiple crossroads.

I’ve heard a lot of praise for this one. I enjoyed it, but maybe not as much as other folks. I liked the dark humor, I enjoyed the snappy dialog. The final third of the book was heavier and a bit predictable in places, but there were enough injections of fun to keep my interest.

It’s was fun to take a break from heavier books with this one.


Rating 3.5/5

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Wordless Wednesday #102

>> Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mossy Bench along the Marquam Trail
Portland, Oregon

Mossy Bench

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Short Story Monday – Gustav Amlingmeyer, Holmes of the Range by Steve Hockensmith

>> Monday, September 12, 2011


I’m continuing with this collection this week. I was hoping to have two more stories read, but I ran out of time, so maybe next week I’ll have two. I’m enjoying the style quite a bit. It's an interesting combination of Sherlock Holmes and a couple of Old West cowboys.

Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range MysteriesGustav Amlingmeyer, Holmes of the Range by Steve Hockensmith
Part of a collection published as Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries
Published: 2011


Steve Hockensmith has written 5 novels featuring Gustav and Otto Amlingmeyer, better known as Old Red and Big Red. They are brothers and cowboys in the old west. This is a collection of some short stories featuring them. It's a fun and interesting blend of Sherlock Holmes and a couple of Old West cowboys.

In Gustav Amlingmeyer, Holmes of the Range, Otto (Big Red) Amlingmeyer sends a letter to Harper’s Weekly explaining exactly why stories featuring both cowboys and detectives would be popular and should be considered for publication. He sends along a perfect example for them to publish if they choose and it just happens to be a true story about his older brother.

Big Red and Old Red had earned enough money from cattle drives and various other jobs over the years to consider settling down. Big Red (Gustav) decides to invest their savings in a restaurant near the stockyards in Billings, Montana. . Otto’s initial worries about their lack of cooking skills was eased when Gustav assured him that Starchy’s Cafay had a cook who would stay on and work for them and they just had to handle the rest of running the business. As they settled in to business ownership they get to know their varied clientele and their feisty cook known as Crazy Kathy for her habit of settling down rowdy customers with a well timed brandishing of her meat cleaver.

When an unpleasant regular at the restaurant dies in the middle of his meal, suspicion is immediately aimed at Crazy Kathy and by extension the Amlingmeyer brothers. While Otto is all for cutting their losses and packing up and moving out, Gustav isn’t so eager. He determines that this is just the situation for him to put the detective skills he’s learned from Sherlock Holmes stories to use to find out who the killer really is. He’s sure it’s not Kathy.

The story plays out in a fun and interesting way.

I’m finding these stories a lot of fun and decent little mysteries as well. I’ll definitely be reading the novels featuring Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer when I’m through with these short stories.


Short Story Mondays is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.

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Weekend Update: September 10, 2011

>> Friday, September 9, 2011

Weekend Update

This week:
I’m enjoying having several books going at once. I’m not sure yet whether I’m a converted book polygamist but I like having books of different styles and settings to choose from so I can switch back and forth whenever I need a change of pace.

I finished Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman and enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m still reading The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen, Dear, Mr. Holmes by Steve Hockensmith and You Don’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl by Celia Rivenbark. Dear Mr. Holmes is short stories and Celia Rivenbark’s book is a collection of humorous essays so I need to pick another novel to toss into the currently reading mix.

My current audiobook is still Polar Shift by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos. It’s read by Scott Brick and I think I’m a convert to the audio format for Clive Cussler’s books. They’ve always read like adventure movies to me and I think the audio option works well.


Other than books and reading:
We took ourselves on a bit of hometown tourism last weekend and did the “Portland 4T” the four “T”s stand for Trail, Tram, Trolley and Train.
(click on the photos to see them full size)


This is a fun way to spend an afternoon. We started up by the zoo and took a couple of trails through the greenspaces and parks of the city.
The first destination was Council Crest which is the highest point in Portland. It was a clear sunny day, but there was a haze in the air from forest fires in the mountains and we couldn’t see the mountains through it. It was still a gorgeous view of both the city and on the other side the valley just west of Portland.

After another trail hike where at points we could only hear the birds and not the noise from the city that surrounded us we ended up at the top of the hill at Oregon Health Sciences Center.

This is where the upper station of Portland’s Aerial Tram is. We’ve talked about taking the tram ever since it opened but never have managed to do so yet. Right next to the Tram station is an observation deck with another beautiful view.
The tram ride down to the waterfront was pretty and fun.

Our next T of the afternoon was the Portland Streetcar (also called the Trolley). We took this into downtown. By this time we were more than ready for a late lunch and to rest a bit.

A conveniently located Pizza shop was a perfect place for a break.

The final T was the Light Rail Train back to our starting point. This is basically my routine commute on the days I work downtown so wasn’t anything novel for me, but was still a nice end of the loop.

It was a great way to spend a nice afternoon. Both Council Crest and the upper Tram station are places I want to go back to when we have one of those clear crisp days without fire related haze so I can get some photos of the mountains and the full range of the views.

It’s a great combination of hiking and riding that I’d recommend to both folks who live in Portland as well as visitors. I’ve included a few photos for today, but I plan to put together a full album of the photos I took and will post a link here on the blog when I get that done.

Added to my TBR List (To Be Read) this week:
Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman
Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman
I read about this one in a Shelf Awareness newsletter and it sounded like a delicious blend of Southern Gothic and Horror story that definitely has my interest.

Tilt-A-Whirl by Chris Grabenstein
Tilt-A-Whirl by Chris Grabenstein
When both BethFishReads and Jen from Jen’s Book Thoughts tell me they know I’d like a series I pretty much know I need to read it. This does sound like my kind of series so I trust them.

Into the Silence by Wade Davis
 Into the Silence by Wade Davis
Ever since I read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air I’ve been fascinated with stories of Mt. Everest. Last year I read Ghosts of Everest which was about both the 1924 Mallory Expedition and the Expedition that found his body on the mountain in 1999. This new book due out in October looks like a thoroughly researched history of the British climbers and their efforts to summit Mt. Everest in the 1920s

Purchased this week:
Once again, I didn’t buy anything this week. I’ve got so many books already in the house that I really want to read soon that it’s taking something really special for me to move from the ‘add to TBR list’ stage to the ‘buy it now’ stage of book interest.

I also returned the two library books I had out because there was just no way I was going to get to them before they were due back. They’ll both be coming back sometime soon.

Have a great weekend!!

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