Online Issue 8


On the book front…

Paul D. Brazill talks about Last Year’s Man while I weigh in with my quick take on Brazill’s latest

Anne Frasier is back with The Body Counter and she shares her music soundtrack with us

Do you know who Brian Cohn is? If you don’t, time to go buy a book! Brian talks about his latest, The Unraveling of Brendan Meeks, while I share my thoughts on his other book, The Last Detective

Reviews of Bearskin * Death of an Honest Man * Head Wounds

Did you miss it?

Brian’s latest Music Monday post is right here

I also shared some very personal things about my latest writing projects and myself over at Crimespree


It’s easy to sound like you have principles until you have to take a stand. A lot of my friends on social media have been saying that if you’re okay with children being kept in cages then unfriend them. This came to a head yesterday on Facebook when an author made a letter-of-the-law post about crossing the border being a misdemeanor and then went on to point out that nobody arrested gets to keep their kids with them in a cell.

Mr. Lofland then cried victim because some people unfriended him.

Look, if people on your friends list are saying ‘get off my lawn’ if you’re okay with kids in cages and then you make a post like that, you were asking for it. And for Lee to suggest it wasn’t political is asinine. Of course it was.

Journalism is as much about what you don’t say as what you do say. Making that post and failing to point out that when someone is arrested for solicitation or for being suspected of murder we do not take their babies and put them in cages. We don’t tell the staff who have to care for those children not to comfort them.

What also was not discussed was how these families were treated until a matter of months ago.

It wasn’t a post about the letter of the law. It was a post justifying putting those children in concentration camps.

Mr. Lofland has had many followers flock to his defense calling those who disagreed with him names in comment after comment. Meanwhile, Mr. Lofland has blocked myself and others.

And I’m okay with that. If you’re okay with kids being kept in cages then either have the common sense to keep your mouth shut about it if you don’t want to find out who has a moral problem with that or find the door. I suspect I’m not the author for you, because I have moral issues with things like that, and I have no interest voluntarily engaging with your warped world view.

And for some, it’s time to buck up or shut up. I really didn’t think I needed to say that if you’re okay with putting these children in cages best we go our separate ways. I thought that my friends list had been thinned out over politics already, but apparently not. Authors who have been railing against this policy can put their money where their mouth is and hit the unfriend button and boycott The Writer’s Police Academy.

The fact that Lofland blocked myself and others because we disagreed with him is more than enough to tell me his post had a clear agenda. But he wanted to come off like a victim and get sympathy in the process.

I’m not a victim for being blocked by him for simply stating my issues with his post (and not calling him any names).

The victims are children taken away from their parents and stuck in cages.



Friday’s “Forgotten” Books: Anne Frasier Edition

I’ve been an Anne Frasier fan for quite some time. Revisiting her work is a reminder of her ability to put a reader on the edge of their seat, have them jump at the slightest unexpected sound and keep turning the pages well past their bed time. Two of her works that I’ve reviewed in the past are worthy of rereads and prove that the original spell they cast on me is just as effective the second time around. My reviews are just my thoughts – read the books to see what you think about Frasier’s suspenseful, scary stories.


Pale Immortal weaves family drama with vampire lore into a compelling tale that’s hard to put down. New murders raise old suspicions. It isn’t just individuals who are haunted by the past; the town lives in the shadow of ghost stories and legends that refuse to die.



“Old Tuonela was a scary campfire story, a flashlight under the chin.” Lines like that resonate with the child in each of us that sat by the firelight in the dark night, not wanting to admit we were scared senseless by silly stories of murderers and monsters. Frasier taps into those real fears, allowing us to empathize with the struggle the characters face as they sort out the real horrors from the imagined.

Stepping into the mind of the boy, we find him thinking, This is what it was about. These moments that crept up on you out of nowhere and whispered mysterious unformed promises that made you want to live for something you didn’t even know existed. Passages like that grabbed me. I could relate to these characters and their challenges, fears and frustrations.

The story is anything but predictable and filled with twists and turns. This is the kind of book that builds to a slow boil, and then bubbles incessantly and will keep you turning pages to the end, desperate to find out what happens.


I don’t want to give any spoilers or delve too deeply into the plot, but my usual routine is to read a book, write up a ‘quick and dirty’ review and then let it sit for a week. I go back, look over my initial thoughts, and then write the proper review. It gives a book a chance to settle. It tells me if it’s utterly forgettable, or the kind that lingers with you long after you’ve read the last page.

Pale Immortal is the kind that lingers. The characters are rich, complex. It’s been 12 years since I first read it and the story lives on for me today.


HUSH by Anne Frasier

When Ivy Dunlap’s long-held secret comes back to threaten her current life she’s pulled into a murder case in Chicago that forces her to confront events from her past.

Chicago homicide detective Max Irving isn’t thrilled to have Dunlap participating in his investigation. He’s also dealing with personal issues of his own and dealing with Dunlap only adds to his stress. Irving thinks she’s there because she’s an expert on related killings but when he learns her secret the situation is even worse. He fears the killer will target Ivy and with both Ivy and his son at risk, Irving nears his breaking point.

The personal and professional tensions add to the intensity of Anne Frasier’s 2002 thriller HUSH. It’s well worth revisiting.

Anyone interested in studying the art of building suspense should learn from a master and there are few who consistently deliver the goods to their readers the way Anne Frasier does.


Parts of these reviews previously appeared at Spinetingler.