Home | About | Reviews | Search | Submit | Subscribe
December 15 2018
Well, here it is, the middle of December and we come to our final issue for the year. It's not really a particularly seasonal one - aside from Rik Shepherd's review of the British Library's Classic Crime release, the collection edited by Martin Edwards called THE CHRISTMAS CARD CRIME AND OTHER STORIES, most of what we covered this time would be suitable reading any time of the year. And that's fine. You can have too much Christmas crime just as you can have too much Little Drummer Boy, though maybe not quite as quickly.
We start off with two historically-oriented novels, one which should make us very happy that we didn't live in Scotland in 1847, while the other will perhaps cast some light on a current issue. THE WAY OF ALL FLESH is by Ambrose Parry, the pseudonym adopted by the husband and wife writing team of Chris Brookmyre and Dr Marisa Haetzman. More history than mystery, and set in a far from genteel Edinburgh, it provides a engrossing picture of the development of one vital medical practice, the use of anaesthetics, especially in childbirth. The other, which Jim Napier says is clearly one of the finest reads of the year, is THOUGH THE HEAVENS FALL, by Anne Emery, set in Belfast just as the peace process that would put an end to much of the violence of the Troubles was getting underway.
Another book to try to grapple with current events is THE FERAL DETECTIVE, by Jonathan Lethem. While I thought it had some serious flaws, it still was a fascinating attempt to express the shock and anger provoked by the election of Donald Trump. THE BIG EMPTY, by Stan Jones and Patricia Watts, takes place in Alaska and deals sensitively with the concerns of Native Inupiat culture. Barbara Fister enjoyed it.
Steven F. Havill's 23rd Posada County story LIES COME EASY, does have a bit of a Christmas setting, but it focusses more on the personalities and relationships of the inhabitants of its small New Mexico community. Anne Corey found it an engrossing read.
Opinions vary on the wisdom of continuing a popular author's work after he or she has unavoidably left the scene, but Ruth Castleberry was very pleased that Mike Lupica has resurrected Robert B. Parker's Sunny Randall with BLOOD FEUD.
British domestic suspense continues alive and well in Lisa Jewell's WATCHING YOU, which Keshena Hanson tells is suspenseful and satisfying. Keshena also was impressed with NOT OF THIS FOLD, by Mette Ivie Harrison, despite the fact that she was coming late to the series and unfamiliar with its Mormon content.
Animals, both dogs and horses, also make their appearance this time, but the dogs are not fetching house pets but serious working animals, while the horses are horses. The pooch in Susan Furlong's FRACTURED TRUTH is a Human Remains Detection dog, whose handler is ex-Marine Brynn Callahan, a Traveller. Though PJ Coldren is rapidly tiring of police suffering from PTSD and substance abuse issues, she still found this a very compelling book. The dog in Sara Driscoll's third K9-FBI series, STORM RISING, specializes in trying to find the living and this time he and his handler are looking for survivors of a massive hurricane. Diana Borse applauds the fast pace, strong plot, and effective writing of a series that she sees developing very nicely. I do believe that the amateur detective of Lisa Preston's THE CLINCHER must be unique - she's an itinerant female farrier (and for you city folk, that's someone who shoes horses). PJ Coldren confesses she knows next to nothing about horses, but she didn't have to to enjoy this book.
This week's "Sixty Seconds With..." feature is a bit of a departure. We began running this about ten years ago and there are any number of interesting contributions that have long since been forgotten. I'd like to bring some of them back occasionally, and this time we begin with a writer who is a personal favourite of mine, Reginald Hill, who sadly passed away some years ago and far too soon.
Our friends at CRIMEREVIEW are continuing to survey the UK crime fiction scene and you should drop by to see what they are saying about it.
And so it's (almost) Christmas and then December 31st and the prospect of a whole new year ahead of us. We won't be back till the middle of January and hope to see you then. In the meantime, we wish you a very happy holiday, whatever one you celebrate or none at all.
Please drop us a line if you feel the urge.
P.S. If you wish to submit a book for review, please check here before contacting us. Please note that we do not review self-published books.
Our mascot and masthead is Smokey the Cat. Smokey the cat went to the great playground in the sky on April 29, 2008, at 3:30 p.m. He was about 13 years old, had diabetes and only 11 teeth left. He is much happier now. He will remain as our masthead and mascot.
We have thousands of reviews archived on this site. Use the form below to search by title, author's name, or keyword (e.g., noir, cozy, PI, female, thriller, gay, cats).
PLEASE READ BEFORE ASKING US TO REVIEW A BOOK
Publishers or authors wishing to submit books for review should contact the editor. Please note, before approaching us, that the publishing house must be a print publisher, pay advances and issue royalty statements, edit books, create covers, neither solicit nor accept financial payments from its authors, never copyright an author's title under the publisher's name, and never expect or ask authors to buy a certain number of copies of the author's books. As a general rule we will only consider books for review which have been published by publishers listed on the Mystery Writers of America approved list. We can never guarantee that a review will appear. And our reviewers are given a free rein to express their opinions constructively and honestly.
Please note that we review crime fiction and selected science fiction and horror. We have a policy of not accepting any religious books—and that includes religious crime fiction. We are unable to review any ebooks, unbound galleys, PODs, or PDF files or self-published work.
OUR REVIEWING PRINCIPLES
Since RTE first appeared, some twelve years ago, the business of books has changed out of all recognition. Then, books were reviewed in the print media for the most part, though Amazon was encouraging readers to post their reviews of the books they read. Now, newspapers across North America have reduced or eliminated the space they allot to books and, with certain notable exceptions, only best-selling authors are likely to get noticed. As a result, electronic reviewing has become increasingly important and, due to the somewhat slippery question of online authorship, occasionally problematic.
For this reason and in view of a recent article in the NY Times detailing a reviews-for-hire enterprise, it's probably wise for RTE to reiterate its position on reviewing. While our reviewers receive galleys, ARCs, or finished copies of books for review, they are otherwise unpaid. Furthermore, they are asked to disclose any special interest they might have in a book or an author they are reviewing. No one, including the editors, receives any compensation for the work they do. All our reviewers are encouraged to express their honest opinions, whether positive or negative, about the books they are reviewing. None of our reviewers uses a pseudonym and all are who they say they are. Nor do we employ rating systems (stars, grades, "highly recommended," or the like) in the belief that our reviews deserve to be read in their entirety. Since RTE does not review self-published or digital-only releases, we are perhaps less vulnerable to offers to pay for reviews, but it seems a good idea to make our policy clear. Finally, in the years that I've been editing RTE, I have never once been approached by a press or a publicist to violate this principle in any way.
Contact: Yvonne Klein (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[ Home | About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]