Sunday, November 14, 2010


Too Many Clients
By David Walker
ISBN: 9780727869302
Published by Severn House,
2010, 214 pgs.
Another sparkling crime novel in the Wild Onion series. It’s always a
pleasure to open a book knowing you are in the hands of an experienced storyteller. Author David Walker has been around the block a few times and he has the accolades to show for it. His latest does not disappoint. Here we have a pair of wise and witty practitioners who are married to each other. In less sure hands, the marriage of two characters often lets a lot of steam
out of a relationship and sends readers searching for other divertissements.
Not this time. Private investigator Kirsten, married to uber-relaxed lawyer
Dugan, takes on her husband as a client, after a bad cop is found murdered.
Dugan, never a careful person, has blundered into the thing in such a way he
becomes a suspect. And while Dugan can act odd at times, almost the
antithesis of the hard-driving lawyer of many crime fiction novels, he is
far from the only character. There’s Larry. Larry Candle is a partner in
Dugan’s office. He just doesn’t come off as someone whom you’d want to
represent you in court for anything more serious than a mistaken parking
ticket. Yet Larry manages to get the job done all the while irritating
nearly everyone around him
As the days pass, Dugan and Kirsten continue to collect new clients who
somehow all want them to locate the killer of this bad cop. To Kirsten and
Dugan’s collective thinking these new clients don’t seem to be entirely
above suspicion, either. Meanwhile the cops continue to zero in on Dugan.
Gradually, as Kirsten digs deeper into the people who knew or knew about the
dead cop, the story takes on wider and wider implications, tangling mob
figures with international activities, a prominent churchman and….well, you
get the idea. Twists on top of fascinating complications.
The novel is well-paced, complicated, and a truly fun read. I look for more
cheeky stories in Walker’s wild Onion series.
Carl Brookins,
Case of the Greedy Lawyer, Devils Island,
Bloody Halls, more at Kindle & Smashwords!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NANCY LYNN JARVIS-Realtor turned Murderer

Author Nancy Lynn Jarvis has been a Santa Cruz, California, Realtor® for more than twenty years. She owns a real estate company with her husband, Craig.
After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager of Shakespeare/Santa Cruz.

Nancy’s work history reflects her philosophy: people should try something radically different every few years. Writing is her newest adventure. She invites you to take a peek into the real estate world through the stories that form the backdrop of her Regan McHenry mysteries. Details and ideas come from Nancy’s own experiences.

Take it away, Nancy.

OK. You seem nice. You seem like someone I could talk to, like someone who would understand. I have a confession to make. I like to kill people sometimes.

Until about three years ago I sold houses — that’s right — I was a Realtor. But then the market tanked and I took a break from real estate. I got bored pretty quickly and started having these fantasies about murdering people.

It’s not that much of a stretch, real estate agents and murder, I mean. Realtors really do find bodies — sometimes dead bodies, sometimes just naked bodies — people don’t always get notified when their houses are going to be shown — but it’s an interesting business. And after twenty years I had seen a lot of things to feed my fantasies.

So I decided, just as a way to fill time, to write mysteries from a real estate agent’s perspective. I figured I could tell you about some of the things I had seen — some of the funny or crazy things — and about the bodies.

It turns out murdering people is fun. Instead of just taking a time-out from being a Realtor, I’ve retired…or moved on…and am killing for a living.

I have three books out now and am working on the fourth. I can’t tell you too much about the books because they are mysteries, but you’ll like reading about killing people the way I do it. I’m not big on graphic gore, although I do enjoy researching ways to get rid of people. I guess that’s not surprising — I do like CSI — but I’m more of a fan of the Mentalist. I like the way Patrick Jane solves mysteries: by noticing things others overlook, asking questions others aren’t asking, and by reading people. That’s how my protagonist, Regan McHenry solves mysteries and murders, too.

I just had a great idea. I know how I can introduce you to my books without giving too much away. Why don’t you go to my website and take a look? Read the beginning chapters of my books. You can do it for free. You’ll start to see how my mind works and get a better sense of how I write than by reading anything I can say here. (But since book four isn’t ready to be posted yet, I will have to tell you about how it will begin.

It starts on Halloween with a person dressed as death passing out cards to partygoers. All the cards have future dates on them except for one man’s. His has a time on it, a time just about an hour in the future.)

Oh, and there’s a recipe for Mysterious Chocolate Chip Cookies on the website in case you’re into chocolate with your murders. Come on — just between us — I bet you are, aren’t you?

Nancy Lynn Jarvis

SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE - a Carl Brookins Review

Set The Night On Fire
By Libby Fischer Hellmann
ISBN: 978-0-98406-5-7
Trade Paperback from
Allium Press, Chicago, 2010
346 pages.

Every so often a novel comes along that connects with the reader in such a
visceral way that it is like a punch in the stomach. This is such a story. If you lived through the nineteen-sixties and your memory is reasonably intact, or you learned even a small amount about those turbulent times, you will connect with this story.

On one level this is the story of Lila Hilliard. Forty-some years after a particular series of spectacular and dangerous events in Chicago that revolved around a nasty far-off war and a political convention, a mysterious fire has robbed her of the only family she has ever known. At about the same time, a man named Dar Gantner, just released from prison, returns to Chicago from prison to reconnect with a few of his former companions from the same era. One, a woman named Rain, tells Dar that another of their mutual friends has just met with an odd fatal accident. It is clear in their conversation that Rain doesn’t entirely believe that it was an accident.
From that moment on it becomes apparent that dark and unknown forces are at work. But why? Who are these people we meet at the beginning of the book, who targets them and why? Through a series of small and then progressively longer flashbacks we are transported to a time when young people believed the rhetoric, that they could indeed change the outcomes of momentous happenings, that they could affect the course of the most powerful nation in the world. Some of those players, whatever they believed, moved on to build calm and substantial lives of commerce, and politics, and contemplative existences. They don’t want to relive any part of that time.
Most readers alive today will have memories of the Chicago convention of 1968, or of the riots and will begin again to remember the emotions of the time. And even if not, the measured, artful, portioning out of connections, of information, will bring those emotions to the surface. On another level, this is the telling of the great events of the late sixties, the crimes and the abuses and the trails that descended from them, not from the newspaper headlines or the televised reports, but through the eyes and hearts of some of the young people at the center of the conflicts. But this is no polemic, nor is it an attempt to change the record. What the author has done is produce a cracking good thriller that grips a reader by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final pages. One after another the revelations keep coming, and as the central characters struggle to stay alive long enough to solve their mysteries, the author maintains our interest in the love story, the history and the dynamics of the times.
It doesn’t matter your political beliefs, then, or now; the characters and their trials will reach off the pages of this fine novel and touch you in ways that are basic to our existence as human beings. This is a fine, fine novel that well deserves the accolades it will surely receive.
Carl Brookins
Case of the Greedy Lawyer, Devils Island,Bloody Halls, more at Kindle & Smashwords!