Publisher: Prometheus Books

#WaitingOnWednesday No.6 | Book Review | “The Bloody Black Flag” (Book One: of the Spider John Mysteries) by Steve Goble

Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

a word about ‘waiting on Wednesday’:

#WaitingOnWednesday badge created in Canva by Jorie using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

I have decided to start participating in this book blogsphere meme with a few small changes of how it’s regularly blogged about by my fellow book bloggers. I will either be introducing my current reads of upcoming releases as I am in the process of reading them and/or I might be releasing a book review about a forthcoming title by which I had been blessed to read ahead of publication. The main purpose behind the meme is to encourage readers and your fellow book bloggers to become aware of new books being released which caught your eye and which held your interest to read. Sometimes if your still in the process of reading the books, its the titles which encouraged your bookish heart. I look forward to spending the next seasons of the year, talking about the books I have on hand to read, the books I’ve been reading and the books I might not even have a copy to read but which are of wicked sweet interest to become a #nextread of mine.

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Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Borrowed Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction.

Whilst I was browsing through upcoming titles this Autumn [2018] I spied a #piratefiction title I had overlooked last year [2017]!! The sequel is forthcoming this September which is why I quickly checked to see if I could ILL (inter-library loan) this through my local library and happily found I could! I had to remain patient whilst this title was fetched from an out-of-state library and then, had the wicked anticipation of hoping it would be a) as quirky as watching Captain Jack Sparrow in the film series ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ whilst b) owning to the genre it befits and would give me a sweet swashbuckling adventure!

The copy of “The Bloody Black Flag” I borrowed via interlibrary loan through my local library was not a title I was obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

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Why a #PirateFiction title sounded wicked good!

Ever since I was quite young, I’ve been fascinated with stories of Pirates! It started when I saw my *first!* Gabriel Bryne film where he was of course, a ‘pirate’ and his character felt real enough to scare me during the scenes he was featured! Fast forward to when Johnny Depp portrayed ‘Captain Jack Sparrow’ and you could say, it was all down-hill from there! There quirkiness of Cap’t Jack, the heart of the film series for me was inter-connected to Sparrow’s character – I went to the theater *four!* times to see the first one, twice for the second & at least three times for the third whilst only one viewing of the fourth – yet, by the time the fifth came out I was worried the integrity had left – thus, it remains the ONLY one I’ve not seen!!

I am unsure how this particular series slipped past me – as I have found *Seventh Street Books* to be publishing the kind of Historical Mysteries I can find myself curled inside more oft than other publishers – they are publishing my current favourites you see! You’ve most likely have seen my gushing praise over the Hiro Hattori, Anna Blanc, Samuel Craddock and my beloved Marjorie Trumaine series – two of these are dramatic crime series & the other two are what I refer to as ‘Cosy Historical Mysteries’ – where the focus isn’t on the grittiness of where a crime story could alight you but rather, the historical backdrop in which we alight to walk beside the lead characters!

This ‘Waiting on Wednesday’ is about discovering a #newtomeauthor and getting caught up inside the first novel of a new series which whet a thirst of curiosity to be reading ahead of the second installment’s release!

Part of me was slightly concerned this title might become a bit ‘too much’ for me – as when it comes to ‘pirates’ & #piratefiction, I will definitely be the girl whose more into the glossing over the rougher bits than to have any of the stories (by book or film) to be more graphically explicit. Still. There was something uniquely alluring about ‘attempting to read outside my comfort zone’ which is where the #SpiderJohn Mysteries fall under for a girl who loves high seas adventures but sometimes falls a bit short of fully embracing the cutthroat lifestyles therein!

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#WaitingOnWednesday No.6 | Book Review | “The Bloody Black Flag” (Book One: of the Spider John Mysteries) by Steve GobleThe Bloody Black Flag
Subtitle: A Spider John Mystery
by Steve Goble
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL)

Agatha Christie meets Patrick O’Brian in the first book in a new series of swashbuckling historical mysteries featuring Spider John Rush, a most reluctant pirate.

1722—aboard a pirate ship off the American Colonial Coast.

Spider John Rush never wanted to be a pirate, but it had happened and he’d learned to survive in the world of cut and thrust, fight or die. He and his friend Ezra knew that death could come at any moment, from grapeshot or storm winds or the end of a noose. But when Ezra is murdered in cold blood by a shipmate, Spider vows revenge.

On a ship where every man is a killer many times over, how can Spider find the man who killed his friend? There is no law here, so if justice is to be done, he must do it. He will have to solve the crime and exact revenge himself.

One wrong step will lead to certain death, but Spider is determined to look into the dying eyes of the man who killed his friend, even if it means his own death.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633883598

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Amateur Detective, Crime Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Pirate Fiction


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 12th September, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 237

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Steve Goble

Steve Goble is the author of The Bloody Black Flag and The Devil’s Wind in the Spider John mystery series. A former journalist, Goble now works in communications for a cybersecurity firm. Previously, he wrote a weekly craft-beer column called Brewologist, which appeared on USA Today Network–Ohio websites.

The Spider John Mysteries:

Series Overview: Historical mystery series featuring a reluctant pirate who doubles as an amateur sleuth whilst setting sail on the high seas.

The Bloody Jack Flag by Steve GobleThe Devil's Wind by Steve Goble

The Bloody Black Flag | Book One

The Devil’s Wind | Book Two | Synopsis ← forthcoming release 11th September, 2018!

Converse via: #SpiderJohnMysteries OR #SpiderJohn + #HistoricalMystery and #piratefiction

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 29 August, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Memes, Boston, Colonial America, Content Note, Crime Fiction, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Pirates and Swashbucklers, Prometheus Books, Vulgarity in Literature, Waiting on Wednesday

Blog Book Tour | “Trial at Mount Koya” (Book No.6 Hiro Hattori novels) by Susan Spann A beautifully atmospheric #HistoricalMystery atop a sacred mountain during a harrowing blizzard lends a suspenseful backdrop to evolving drama!

Posted Friday, 13 July, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction.

I asked to join the blog tour for ‘Trial at Mount Koya’ as last Summer, I was meant to participate on the tour for IGA before it was cancelled. I love celebrating this series, as despite the fact I originally received both CLAWS & BLADE on a blog tour, I am never certain which story I tip my hat to read is going to become a ‘beloved series’ of mine. Each story which touches my heart is truly a special discovery as I am quite particular about what I read and the kind the stories I hold quite dear.

This Spring, when I received the book in the post, one thing happily surprised me! I was quoted on the Press Release for the first time in relation to my prior readings of the series itself! Talk about a moment where your brilliantly gobsmacked to see your quote and the words you used to fuse your thoughts to your blog in reference to how reading about Father Mateo and Hiro Hattori resonates with you directly! I was both humbled and excited knowing my words are reaching others as this lovely novel takes flight into the world and into new reader’s hearts!

I received a complimentary copy of “Trial at Mount Koya” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. Whilst I am participating on the blog tour hosted by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours of which I am an avid hostess as Historical Fiction and the eclectic route I take through the subgenres therein is a blissitude of its own!

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Why I personally love *devouring!* the Hiro Hattori Novels:

Series Overview: Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo investigate crime in medieval Japan, from the palaces of the samurai to the colorful world of Kyoto’s theater district—and beyond. The series weaves fictional plotlines through one of the most exciting—and dangerous—times in Japanese history.

Ms Spann has created a series for the historical reader at heart! A bit of a backstory about my ardent admiration for this portal into 16th Century Japan:

I still marvel at how I came to know of the series through the second release Blade of the Samurai whilst being blessed to have read the series from the beginning in Claws of the Cat. Each step along the way my heart has felt pulled into the drama and the suspense behind how the friendship Father Mateo and Hiro Hattori have shaped their lives – there is a lot going on in the series, from a historical perspective and from the world’s point of view of where Ms Spann has alighted us into her lovely 16th Century world. Her world-building is what makes this such a keen series to feel a part of as you nearly take for granted it’s not the 16th Century each time you place yourself in step with her characters!

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On where we left Father Mateo & Hiro Hattori:

I loved seeing Father Mateo react to Hiro’s relatives – from his grandmother to his mother to his cousin – each in turn showed a different side to Hiro but they also revealled a bit about themselves. Such as when the priest realised he was amongst those who are emotionally removed from the crime committed here because they themselves are trained for such crimes as shinboi. They have such a different life compared to the kind of life a priest would accept or understand; something he finds difficult to process time to time such as now. As he gathers information about certain aspects of what transpired he is put into uncomfortable positions to overhear things which do shock him a bit to learn.

Finding Hiro’s grandmother Akiko had taken in an orphaned girl and named her Tane was an interesting twist to the main plot. Especially as Ms Spann showed how the girl could only communicate through Sigh Language – as it spoke to homegrown signs the girl devised herself and used to speak on her behalf to to the family she lost. It also pointed to the fact, those who are hard of hearing or are unable to speak were not limited to only occupying later centuries but were alive during previous generations as well. It was interesting to hear the reasons why these persons were kept from records and observations in regards to populations. Sadly this is still being practiced today – of removing marginalised persons from historical records in an ill-attempt to have them erased from our memory.

Poisons are a tricky beast – they are effectively one of my favourite devices used in mysteries because of how diverse the choice of poisons are to be found irregardless of the century a story is told. In this one, what was interesting is the layers – of how one crime led to another (a near miss) and how if you looked at these from a distance, there was a layering of how someone wished harm to some but not to others; as if there was a message being carried out in the delivery of the crimes.

This is how Ms Spann holds my attention – she makes me endeavour to sleuth a bit ahead of her characters – daring me to seek out the hidden threads of how everything connects giving me an intellectually robust mystery I readily find enjoyment in engaging inside. I love seeing how her mind ferrets out her secondary story-lines – of how all the pieces of each character’s tapestry is finely orchestrated to be revealled bit by bit and even then, there are surprises for us – either in their character’s heart or the will of how their perspective might change as they live through different experiences.

She holds a particular attention towards detailed continuity and of evoking an enlarged sense of the wider world in which feudal Japan existed; of how all the branches of individual lives were being affected by the rise of power and of the augmentation of shifting tides of alliances therein. There is a hefty potboiler of dramatic revelation and exploration of what makes a country tick from the inside out whilst not to be overshadowed by the pursuit of a humbled priest who takes his personal mission deeply seriously as his soul’s intended journey for this life he’s led. As we weave in and out of the series, we see the landscape of Japan shifting, of how lives are being affected by the shogun currently in reign and of how even the shinobi themselves were not immune to the growing changes within their world.

-quoted from my review of Betrayal at Iga

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On my connection to Susan Spann:

I started visiting the chats hosted by @LitChat in the latter months of 2013, as it was around the time of the conference at The Betsy in which I started to cross paths with regular chatters, amongst whom were Natalia Sylvester (début novelist of “Chasing the Sun”) and Susan Spann. I am unsure which month I first started to notice Ms. Spann as a friendly presence who always reminded me of myself — someone who provided cheerful commentary, engaging questions for each visiting guest author, and a wicked knowledge base on a variety of topics. Generally speaking, I always click-over to read a person’s Twitter profile, but whilst engaged in those #LitChat(s) I felt like it was this magical rendezvous for the bookish and those who are attuned to bookish culture.

In this way, it wasn’t until I learnt of Blade of the Samurai was going on a blog tour that I decided to discover a bit more about her! In so doing, I learnt who she was ‘behind the curtain’ so to speak! I always considered her one of my ‘friends in the twitterverse’ but I never disclosed this to her until I was on the (Blade of the Samurai) blog tour in September 2014! Such serendipity as the tour brought us a bit closer and I am grateful that Twitter is a social-positive method of reaching past our distances in geography to connect to people who share a passion for the written word. We have continued to remain in touch although we do not get to ‘meet-up’ on Twitter as often as we once did due to our schedules in recent years.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms Spann through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst attending #LitChat or in private convos. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author, whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their series in sequence of publication.

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Blog Book Tour | “Trial at Mount Koya” (Book No.6 Hiro Hattori novels) by Susan Spann A beautifully atmospheric #HistoricalMystery atop a sacred mountain during a harrowing blizzard lends a suspenseful backdrop to evolving drama!Trial on Mount Koya
Subtitle: A Hiro Hattori Novel : A Shinobi Mystery
by Susan Spann
Source: Direct from Publisher

Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo head up to Mount Koya, only to find themselves embroiled in yet another mystery, this time in a Shingon Buddhist temple atop one of Japan’s most sacred peaks.

November, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo travel to a Buddhist temple at the summit of Mount Koya, carrying a secret message for an Iga spy posing as a priest on the sacred mountain. When a snowstorm strikes the peak, a killer begins murdering the temple’s priests and posing them as Buddhist judges of the afterlife–the Kings of Hell. Hiro and Father Mateo must unravel the mystery before the remaining priests–including Father Mateo–become unwilling members of the killer’s grisly council of the dead.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633884151

Also by this author: Author Q&A : Susan Spann (on behalf of her Shinobi mysteries), Claws of the Cat, Blade of the Samurai, Flask of the Drunken Master, Interview with Susan Spann (FLASK), The Ninja's Daughter, Author Interview (Hiro Hattori Novels), Betrayal at Iga

Also in this series: Claws of the Cat, Blade of the Samurai, Flask of the Drunken Master, The Ninja's Daughter, Betrayal at Iga, (Interview) Trial on Mount Koya


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 3rd July, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 256

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Ms Susan Spann

Susan Spann

Susan Spann is the award-winning author of the Hiro Hattori mystery novels, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo.

Susan began reading precociously and voraciously from her preschool days in Santa Monica, California, and as a child read everything from National Geographic to Agatha Christie. In high school, she once turned a short-story assignment into a full-length fantasy novel (which, fortunately, will never see the light of day).

A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts.

Susan’s interest in Japanese history, martial arts, and mystery inspired her to write the Shinobi Mystery series featuring Hiro Hattori, a sixteenth-century ninja who brings murderers to justice with the help of Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest.

Susan is the 2015 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year, a former president of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime (National and Sacramento chapters), the Historical Novel Society, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is represented by literary agent Sandra Bond of Bond Literary Agency.

When not writing or representing clients, Susan enjoys traditional archery, martial arts, photography, and hiking. She lives in Sacramento with her husband and two cats, and travels to Japan on a regular basis.

In 2018, whilst under contract with Prometheus Books, Ms Spann is travelling throughout Japan to climb the #100Summits. She blogs her mountaineering adventures, shares her photography on both Instagram and Twitter and is writing the book which will debut in 2020 under the tentative title: 100 Summits.

Converse via: #HiroHattoriNovels + #HistoricalMystery or #HistMyst

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 13 July, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 16th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Equality In Literature, Feudal Japan History, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, History, Japan, Japanese Fiction, Japanese History, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity

Book Review | “Idyll Fears” (Book Two: of the Thomas Lynch Novels) by Stephanie Gayle

Posted Friday, 4 May, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of “Idyll Fears” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. The copy of “Idyll Threats” I borrowed via interlibrary loan through my local library I was not obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

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On why I thought I’d enjoy this series and how I approached starting to read it:

As this is a series in progress, I wanted to seek out the first novel in the series Idyll Threats – seemingly easy at first, as it was simply a matter of queuing into my ILL-cat (ie. Interlibrary loan catalogue) to fetch a copy and then awaiting the book to arrive. However, the trouble ensued shortly after it was borrowed as for whichever reason, the copy I had been sent by the lending library not only smelt oddly but it was difficult to read – the ordour and the condition of the pages were quite horrid – I could barely handle reading a few passages, so I skipped around a bit in the opening chapters, trying to ascertain an instinct of insight into the lead character: Thomas Lynch before returning it to the library with a critical complaint on its condition.

What I gathered in my short readings was a man who reminded me of Jesse Stone but without the warm sympathetic personality; Lynch was hardened, not just due to life but due to the fact he was living within a region where there is staunch prejudice towards different lifestyles – as he’s an openly gay police chief, you can well imagine the difficulties he faces on the job and in his down-time.

I was a bit concerned with the undertone of the series, as at first reading, I noticed the series is ‘clipped and short’ in both temper and style. It’s hard to put it into words, but this had a decidedly ‘different’ approach to telling a police procedural story. In many regards, I was aching for Jesse Stone to walk into scene as Lynch himself is hard to approach – his personality is edgy at best but it’s his dedication to the job and to the citizens he’s protecting which does (sort of) win you over. I say this as even before I picked up Idyll Fears, I had a keen suspicion what I forethought about the series was ill-placed, as this could soon become a DNF for me instead. Still. Despite the false-starts, I kept trying to begin reading it – to see if I could gleam insight into who Lynch is and to gather a better feel for how Gayle plots us through his life.

In essence, wherein I warmed immediately to Marjorie Trumaine, Anna Blanc, Hiro Hattori and even Samuel Craddock – the four investigators I love most from Seventh Street Books authors, Lynch unfortunately was a hard person to feel inclined to know more about simply because I found the series more than a bit off-putting by how it was told and developed. It had nothing to do with Lynch being openly gay either – as I regularly read LGBTQ+ stories wherein there are many lead characters who are gay or lesbian including my beloved sleuthing series spearheaded by the lovely Willa Cather and Edith Lewis. No, it has to do with tone, delivery and the undercurrents of how this series is set to life – it just didn’t jazz well with me to be honest.

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Book Review | “Idyll Fears” (Book Two: of the Thomas Lynch Novels) by Stephanie GayleIdyll Fears
Subtitle: A Thomas Lynch Novel
by Stephanie Gayle
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL), Direct from Publisher

Police Chief Thomas Lynch investigates the disappearance of a six-year-old boy with a serious medical condition while coping with disrespect from townspeople and colleagues who don’t like the fact that he’s gay.

It’s two weeks before Christmas 1997, and Chief Thomas Lynch faces a crisis when Cody Forrand, a six-year-old with a life-threatening medical condition, goes missing during a blizzard. The confusing case shines a national spotlight on the small, sleepy town of Idyll, Connecticut, where small-time crime is already on the rise and the police seem to be making mistakes left and right. Further complicating matters, Lynch, still new to town, finds himself the target of prank calls and hate speech that he worries is the work of a colleague, someone struggling to accept working with a gay chief of police.

With time ticking away, Lynch is beginning to doubt whether he’ll be able to bring Cody home safely…and whether Idyll could ever really be home.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781633883574

Genres: Crime Fiction, LGBTQIA Fiction, Police Procedural


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 5th September, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 320

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Stephanie Gayle

Stephanie Gayle Photo Credit: Sayamindu Dasgupta

Stephanie Gayle is the author of Idyll Threats, the first Thomas Lynch Novel, and My Summer of Southern Discomfort, which was chosen as one of Redbook’s Top Ten Summer Reads and was a Book Sense monthly pick. Gayle has also published stories and narrative nonfiction pieces, including two Pushcart Prize nominees.

Photo Credit: Sayamindu Dasgupta

The Thomas Lynch Novels:

Series Overview: A gay police chief in small-town Connecticut must deal with close-minded attitudes and threats to his career while he investigates serious crime.

Idyll Threats by Stephanie GayleIdyll Fears by Stephanie Gayle

Idyll Threats | Book One | Synopsis

Idyll Fears | Book Two

Idyll Hands | Book Three | Synopsis ← forthcoming release September, 2018!

Converse via: #ThomasLynch + #Mysteries

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Posted Friday, 4 May, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Prometheus Books, Small Towne USA, Texas, Vulgarity in Literature

Book Review | “The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake” (Book No.5 of the Samuel Craddock Mysteries) by Terry Shames

Posted Monday, 12 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Borrowed Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction.

I was happily surprised finding “A Reckoning in the Backcountry” arriving by Post; as this is one title I hadn’t remembered requesting. I tried to back-track if I had requested it but never could sort out if this was one title the publisher felt I might enjoy as I read quite a few of their Mystery authors or if I simply had forgotten one of my requests. Either way, I decided to sort out which installment this was in the sequence – finding the series has five titles previously released. Unfortunately, my local library didn’t have a copy of any of them thereby giving me the chance to seek them through inter-library loan. As I pulled together the synopsis of each of the novels, I uncovered a pattern of interest threading through three of them which seemed to speak to the greater whole of the series: A Killing at Cotton Hill (Book One); Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek (Book Three) and The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake (Book Five). I knew I wouldn’t have time to borrow all five and felt by moving in and out of the sequential order with these three I could have a proper overview of the series before moving into the sixth release “A Reckoning in the Backcountry”.

I borrowed the fifth novel in the Samuel Craddock series “The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake” in trade paperback from my local library via inter-library loan through the consortium of libraries within my state. I was not obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

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on why i am loving reading #samuelcraddock mysteries:

 As I move through the series, I notice different things about Craddock’s character – how tenacious he is to solve crimes using clues which you could almost overlook as ‘clues’ (reminding me of why I love watching Det. Goren, Columbo and Due South‘s lovable Mountie Fraser) whilst he strives to keep his personal views at bay even if there are moments where he struggles with this balance. He also has a lot of compassion for the people involved as life is never cut and dry nor are the circumstances which put people into situations which can alter the course their lives will take. He’s the kind of Chief of police you truly feel empathy for whilst watching how he handles the cases and tries to seek the truth out of complicated crimes. In this way, he does remind me a heap of Jesse Stone who always led with his heart and strove to improve the lives of his community whilst realising sometimes his community will break his heart, too.

There is a truly poignant change of opinion about the previous Chief, the one who was giving Craddock the most angst in A Killing at Cotton Hill and the one where he felt might be a fair share too incompetent to do the work well whilst avoiding his addictive habit as anything more than a secondary interest when it was really overtaking his life. Now, as the tides have turnt against Rodell, Craddock sees how broken he is after he’s had time to address his health. In this, Craddock realises no man is an island – even those who have a harder walk to live and a major crisis of health to overcome have a point where the choices they made eventually catch up to them. The interesting bit is how Craddock reacted to a favour Rodell asked of him and how this proves the truer heart of Craddock of being a man for the people without having a prejudicial heart.

I *knew!* I loved Craddock – yet the way in which he realises a misguided youthful joyride was not befitting the start of a criminal life is what gives your heart a squeeze of joy! He sees people – just as they are and the potential for what they could be – he doesn’t judge out of hand nor does he quickly assess their reasons. He let’s the people he’s speaking to find a way to feel comfortable round him, giving them the chance to lead with something they might wish to impart to the Chief of police but without having to outright put them on the spot. He’s wicked good at his job but it’s how he’s trying to effect change even in subtle ways which makes him a keen role model for his small towne.

-quoted from my review of Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek

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Book Review | “The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake” (Book No.5 of the Samuel Craddock Mysteries) by Terry ShamesThe Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake
Subtitle: A Samuel Craddock Mystery
by Terry Shames
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL)

Nonie Blake is back home from a mental institution where she has spent the last twenty years, and people are worried. Maybe too worried, for within a week of her return, Nonie is murdered.
Police Chief Samuel Craddock thinks the only possible suspects are members of her tight-lipped family. Ever since Nonie tried to kill her sister when she was fourteen and was sent away to the institution, the family has kept to itself.

Clues are scarce and Craddock is stumped. So he checks with therapists at the mental hospital to see whether they can add anything useful to his investigation. But he discovers that she has not been there for ten years. Now Craddock has to find out where Nonie has been all this time.

Soon Craddock finds himself dealing not only with murder, but layers of deception and secrets, and in the midst of it all—a new deputy, one Maria Trevino, sent by the sheriff to beef up security in the small town of Jarrett Creek.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633881204

Also by this author: A Killing at Cotton Hill, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek

Also in this series: A Killing at Cotton Hill, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek


Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 12th January, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 270

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Terry Shames

Terry Shames Photo Credit: Margaretta K. Mitchell

Terry Shames is the Macavity Award-winning author of the Samuel Craddock mysteries A Killing at Cotton Hill, The Last Death of Jack Harbin, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek, and A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge. She is also the coeditor of Fire in the Hills, a book of stories, poems, and photographs about the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire. She grew up in Texas and continues to be fascinated by the convoluted loyalties and betrayals of the small town where her grandfather was the mayor. Terry is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Photo Credit: Margaretta K. Mitchell

The Samuel Craddock Mysteries:

Series Overview: The well-respected, retired police chief of a small Texas town is called upon to solve crimes that the current chief is unwilling or unable to solve.

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock | Prequel | Synopsis

→ I hadn’t realised this series had a prequel when I first went to gather my ILLs from the library; therefore I missed getting the chance to read the prequel ahead of ‘Cotton Hill’.

A Killing at Cotton Hill | Book One (see also review)

The Last Death of Jack Harbin | Book Two | Synopsis

Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek | Book Three (see also review)

A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge | Book Four | Synopsis

The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake | Book Five

A Reckoning in the Backcountry | Book Six | Synopsis

Converse via: #SamuelCraddock + #Mysteries

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Posted Monday, 12 February, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Prometheus Books, Small Towne USA, Texas, Vulgarity in Literature

Book Review | “Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek” (Book No.3 of the Samuel Craddock Mysteries) by Terry Shames Otherwise known as the series Jorie is wicked thankful to have become introduced too! (thanks Prometheus!)

Posted Saturday, 10 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Borrowed Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction.

I was happily surprised finding “A Reckoning in the Backcountry” arriving by Post; as this is one title I hadn’t remembered requesting. I tried to back-track if I had requested it but never could sort out if this was one title the publisher felt I might enjoy as I read quite a few of their Mystery authors or if I simply had forgotten one of my requests. Either way, I decided to sort out which installment this was in the sequence – finding the series has five titles previously released. Unfortunately, my local library didn’t have a copy of any of them thereby giving me the chance to seek them through inter-library loan. As I pulled together the synopsis of each of the novels, I uncovered a pattern of interest threading through three of them which seemed to speak to the greater whole of the series: A Killing at Cotton Hill (Book One); Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek (Book Three) and The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake (Book Five). I knew I wouldn’t have time to borrow all five and felt by moving in and out of the sequential order with these three I could have a proper overview of the series before moving into the sixth release “A Reckoning in the Backcountry”.

I borrowed the third novel in the Samuel Craddock series “Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek” in trade paperback from my local library via inter-library loan through the consortium of libraries within my state. I was not obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

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on why i am loving reading #samuelcraddock mysteries:

Straight off the bat, I smiled realising how the series was meant to unfold – the quirky titles for the series are actually a homage to the setting – Cotton Hill, Jarrett Creek and Bobtail are actual ‘places’ within the series itself. I liked how she approached crafting the series together – it reminds me of why I love Southern Lit and being this is set in Texas it does have quite the Southern appeal to how it’s being conveyed. There is the laid-back feel of how time and hours are not generally clicking off the clock at high speed but rather, there are idle hours where a person can appreciate what their doing without feeling the pressure of a deadline. It is here we alight inside the #SamuelCraddock Mysteries – partially reminding me of how I felt when I saw my first Father Brown episode – as this is a small towne where everyone knows everyone else but with an unease about how the sense of safety and security can become shattered overnight by ominous events.

Ms Shames entreats us to pull close to her lead character, Craddock as he regales us with his knowledge and his ability to see past what others are overlooking. He has a keen mind and retirement hasn’t dulled his sense of justice. In this way, he is a winsome character as he’s just a bit unexpected (like Father Brown) but with a genuinely earnest nature to do right no matter what the cost; the kind of character you can rally behind simply because he takes the duties of his job seriously even if he’s not officially in the same capacity to investigate as he had been previously.

I liked how this story evolves forward at a slower pace – similar to the Marjorie Trumaine Mysteries I love so much – whilst recognising this, I can see why the publisher was inclined to think this would be a good match for me! Both authors share a joy of giving us nuanced information about their settings of choice – of tucking into the folds of ordinary days and the slow ache of shifting through the bits and bobbles of clues which cannot be coaxed out easily from whatever is left behind. Either in tangible evidence in the person’s residence or in the living memories of those who knew her best.

I can see I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next novel in sequence – I might even fancy borrowing the three novels I hadn’t been able to this year when the seventh novel releases! It will be my own quirky tradition of celebrating the series! For now, I’m wicked thankful I’ve had the proper chance to ‘meet’ Craddock and settle into his life! You truly do disappear into Jarrett County, walking beside him and watching how he puts all the pieces together. He’s an interesting character with an artistic hobby and an unwavering admiration for the wife he lost too soon. What makes him inspiring to read is how he refuses to give up living and finds new purpose in his retirement. I truly appreciated how Ms Shames wrote this series and how she’s giving us a new dramatic series to love reading!

-quoted from my review of A Killing at Cotton Hill

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Book Review | “Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek” (Book No.3 of the Samuel Craddock Mysteries) by Terry Shames Otherwise known as the series Jorie is wicked thankful to have become introduced too! (thanks Prometheus!)Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek
Subtitle: A Samuel Craddock Mystery
by Terry Shames
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL)

The small town of Jarrett Creek is bankrupt. Samuel Craddock thought he was retired but now he’s been asked to return as police chief. Gary Dellmore, heir apparent to the main bank, is dead, apparently murdered. Dellmore supposedly had a roving eye, although his wife says he was never serious about dallying. Still, Craddock wonders: Did the husbands and fathers of women he flirted with think he was harmless? What about his current lover, who insists that Dellmore was going to leave his wife for her?

Craddock discovers that Dellmore had a record of bad business investments. Even worse, he took a kickback from a loan he procured, which ultimately drove the town into bankruptcy. Many people had motive to want Dellmore dead.

Then the investigation turns up another crime. As Craddock digs down to the root of this mess, many in Jarrett Creek are left wondering what happened to the innocence of their close-knit community.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781616149963

Also by this author: A Killing at Cotton Hill, The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake

Also in this series: A Killing at Cotton Hill, The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake


Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 7th October, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 265

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Terry Shames

Terry Shames Photo Credit: Margaretta K. Mitchell

Terry Shames is the Macavity Award-winning author of the Samuel Craddock mysteries A Killing at Cotton Hill, The Last Death of Jack Harbin, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek, and A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge. She is also the coeditor of Fire in the Hills, a book of stories, poems, and photographs about the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire. She grew up in Texas and continues to be fascinated by the convoluted loyalties and betrayals of the small town where her grandfather was the mayor. Terry is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Photo Credit: Margaretta K. Mitchell

The Samuel Craddock Mysteries:

Series Overview: The well-respected, retired police chief of a small Texas town is called upon to solve crimes that the current chief is unwilling or unable to solve.

An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock | Prequel | Synopsis

→ I hadn’t realised this series had a prequel when I first went to gather my ILLs from the library; therefore I missed getting the chance to read the prequel ahead of ‘Cotton Hill’.

A Killing at Cotton Hill | Book One (see also review)

The Last Death of Jack Harbin | Book Two | Synopsis

Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek | Book Three

A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge | Book Four | Synopsis

The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake | Book Five | Synopsis

A Reckoning in the Backcountry | Book Six | Synopsis

Converse via: #SamuelCraddock + #Mysteries

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

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Posted Saturday, 10 February, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Prometheus Books, Small Towne USA, Texas, Vulgarity in Literature