Monthly Archives: January 2015

Boston Shadow


By Tijani Fulani


Irene Blake is on the case and has found her missing person, a musician, dead and possessing an unknown blue powder. Soon, she’s with the FBI, on the trail of a smuggler. When they track him to the Boston docks, the case takes a supernatural turn. What is she dealing with – drug dealers, statue makers, or something worse, such as Elder Gods? Blake is not only fighting to solve the case, but fighting for her life…because she’s inhaled some of the powder.

A little bit of noir, a little chemical weaponry, a little nod to Lovecraft. Not sure what to make of it but it is different


Irene Blake: private investigator, tall, thin, brunette, mid 30s,

Frances: Blake’s assistant, short, frizzy blonde hair, attended Stanford, mid 20s,

O’Neil: detective, mustached,

Brandt: detective, big frame, salt and pepper colored hair, smokes, former military, mid 50s

Samuel Reyer: associate doctor at Harvard, short black hair,

Ostler: FBI special agent, thin, tall, balding, wears tiny glasses

Many characters don’t have first or last names. Not too much back story on anybody. Didn’t get a clear picture of anybody except for some physical descriptions.


Ira has a little cynicism and I like Frances’ energy and intelligence.


Titled chapters have numbered subsections. Some minor profanity. Some capitalization and spelling problems. This is a short book, quick read and ends with a cliffhanger.

This has the potential to be a good series if only there was more detail. Physical, structural, environmental, sensory. I wasn’t really pulled into the story because of the lack of details. Being a Lovecraft fan I caught on to the mythos right away and wanted more.

My Rank:

Camouflage Belt



Survival Of The Fittest


By C. L. Clark



Alex Freedman: a serial killer whose mission is to rid the world of persons he views as ‘defective’.

Gillian: blind since birth and Alex’s latest target.

But Alex won’t just come right out and kill her. He’ll have his fun first.


Gillian: blind, owns a seeing eye dog, has a sister, works as clerical support in the justice department, brown eyes, auburn hair, father dead

Alex Freedman: abused as a child, grew up on a farm, obsesses about cleanliness, father dead

Ryesam Jesiah Bryant: police investigator, dark brown hair, blue-gray eyes, 6′, father dead

Good variety although I didn’t feel the ‘tough’ cop of Rye. Especially with that kind of name I expected hard-nosed and raw.


Pretty good voices. It’s a small cast so everybody comes through. I did enjoy-for awhile-some of Alex’s internal dialogue.


No profanity. Some Christianity layered throughout.

One problem I had was that for much of the book, Gillian is out of danger. She and Bryant go on a road trip to her mother’s house, thereby removing her from the vicinity of Alex. Sure, Alex is a bad guy while she’s gone, but there’s no tension, no imminent danger. There are long passages where Alex’s criminal madness and idiosyncrasies are shown but for the most part, it’s repetition. By Chapter 7 and beyond, the reader already is familiar with him. After the third incident between Alex and Gillian until the climax, there isn’t anything for the reader to worry about. Just a lot of romance. I’m not against romance, although I thought the relationship between Gillian and Rye moved a bit fast (and I don’t mean sex), and was a bit over the top with some of the repetitious material regarding their love. There is any problem that temporarily drives them apart, something that they have to work through. Sure, Gillian is hesitant about revealing stuff about her childhood, but that isn’t presented as a possible obstacle that will keep them apart. In fact, it’s solved in short order. I would have enjoyed this more if the attraction and the ‘moving along of the romance’ were parsed throughout with the constant danger from Alex.

My Rank:

Green Belt


Whiskey For Breakfast

whiskeyfb ebook cover hi res

By Dominic Stabile

web photo


Nick Dioli takes an assignment from a judge to bring back a runaway teen named Chelsea. When he arrives in Gatlinburg to visit the girl’s grandmother at the woman’s bakery shop, he discovers the woman is more than a cupcake maker. Then he’s hired by the grandmother to prove the judge killed his wife. When Diloi looks into the case, he finds infidelity, politics…and murder.

I’ll read PI stories till I die and never tire of them as long as they’re good tales. This one is pretty good. It has all of the expected intrigue and suspects. A little noir, a bit of pulp fiction.


Nick Dioli: private investigator, former cop, mid thirties, broad shoulders, owns a Smith and Wesson MP Shield 9mm, drives a ’96 Taurus, widower

Kim Riley: 35, bartender, has a son

Virginia: Chelsea’s grandmother, short, frail, wears glasses, owns the Cupcake Factory, owns a model 1911 gun, blue eyes

Chelsea: teenager, father is a judge, mother dead, long blonde hair,

Lindsay: Virginia’s niece, detective, strawberry blonde, 5’10”

James Tully: Chelsea’s father, smokes, former business law professor, attended Ole Miss,

Parker: reporter, part time professor, wears glasses

Good cast. I didn’t really get an image of Diloi other than a couple physical descriptions. I don’t learn his last name until almost halfway through the book. Other characters I wish had stuck around longer because they were pretty good.


Nice voices. These types of stories have plenty of dialogue because it’s usual fo the PI to conduct interviews. So, you know when he speaks to someone, there probably is something important oing to be revealed, even if it’s a red herring.


First person from Dioli’s POV. There’s no build up, it just starts with Dioli in trouble. The tale is a fairly quick read with some of the expected developments. Not that that is bad if the story is good. I did enjoy the story but wanted more all around detail. Yes, I could imagine Kim’s bar, but Dioli’s office wasn’t described too much. There were other settings where I wanted more.

The story itself was fine. It gave the expected action and familiar twists. One I didn’t expect was the last line of the second to last paragraph in the book. It was a smack upside the head that left me jolted. The author was lucky it was three in the morning when I read it because I was ready to track him down and demand an answer. Sigh! I guess I and anybody else who reads this will have to wait for the next adventure of Dioli. Grr! Lol.

My Rank:

Purple Belt


The Belialish Incident


By D. B. Crawford



Restauranteur and former amateur private eye Vince Bocca is asked to investigate an embezzlement by the president of his bank. Mark Overdale, a former employee, was convicted. Bocca teams with Mark’s wife, Nancy, who discovers Overdale has a connection to the art world. Boccas finds another connection to the art world, a dealer named Rubinski, who is subsequently almost killed. Questions abound: Where is the money? What do Gaugin paintings have to do with the case? What measures will Vince and Nancy take to solve the mystery?

I like a good mystery and I like a good PI. Give me a stereotypical fedora and trench coat wearing PI and I’m usually happy. Give me someone who is an amateur or a reluctant PI and I take a cautious but optimistic step. Vince, however, is someone I can like. The plot is complex enough to be intriguing without being confusing.


Vincenzo Bocca: late 40s, Boston restauranteur, former private investigator, wears reading glasses, curly hair, father-dead-owned a restaurant/gambling joint, divorced

Mark Overdale: blue eyes, graying temples, 6’2”, slim, handsome, in prison for embezzlement, has two sisters

Nancy Overdale: Mark’s wife, cleaning woman, former bank branch manager, straight black hair, owns a cat, father-dead-was a physician

Thomas A. Walker: bank president, 50s, pale, thin white hair, gray eyes

Hannah: dark hair, nurse, Bocca’s lover, pale blue eyes

Fred Dahl: police lieutenant, married, brown hair and eyes

Rupert Invers: runs an auction house for art

Joyce Chandler: works for the Museum of Fine Arts, married, gray shoulder length hair, fine features, widow

As I mentioned above I read a lot of mysteries where the PI is someone ‘off the street’ as it were, or has another job other than police or PI work. Most are okay, some above average. Vince is a guy I can like. He’s easy going, sensitive, and intelligent. He copes with his dad’s connection to the mob and I would have enjoyed a bit stronger tie in since it was mentioned. Maybe an old enemy coming back to haunt him. However, I can’t be writing other authors stories, just thinking about stuff. Lol. Doesn’t affect my liking Vince or my ranking of the story, just thinking about stuff. Lol.

The character name of Tom was used for two different people and I became a bit confused at one point. (Egads, and to think I did the same thing with John in one of my stories. Lol,)


Some of the tag lines are: was saying. These could have been just: he said. To me, ‘was saying’ might work if a character comes in during a conversation already happening. Ditto with the phrase: had been listening.


One problem right at the beginning is Nancy has a flashback to a trip two years previous. The flashback shows a scene with Mark’s interest in art, but Nancy wasn’t present at the time.

There is one scene where Vince and Dahl agree to meet at a storage locker in the morning. I would think for something important, the cop would track down the owner and want to investigate as soon as possible.

Minor profanity but not much. Good all around story.

My Rank:

Purple Belt