Category Archives: Reading

Mark of the Spider – Supernatural Thriller

The Mark of the Spider
by David L. Haase
© 2018

Mark of the Spider by David L. HaaseThe Mark of the Spider is an installment in David L. Haase’s Black Orchid Chronicles, a supernatural-thriller series. On a working trip to the Southeast Asian island of Borneo, photographer Sebastian Arnett searches for rare orchids to photograph. At the invitation of an Australian attaché on a mission to locate mineral deposits, Arnett joins his group’s forays into the interior. When an old, indigenous woman offers him a shot at the ever-elusive black orchid, Arnett and his mates take her up on it. But they get, and lose, more than they bargained for.

Arnett gets shot with a dart when he and his three cohorts stop at the old woman’s village. He wakes up with pain in his face and finds he has been tattooed and now apparently possesses an evil spirit and an unusual power. Arnett also finds his friends’ heads hanging from a pole. What follows—Arnett attempts to lose himself and the spirit, while the government wants him as a secret weapon. Various efforts to help come from Mike Owens, a Marine ordered by the military to keep tabs on Arnett. A Native American medicine man, Amanda Cox Campion (Arnett’s new love interest) and Tom (or T, to his friends), a son of Campion’s ex-husband, are also in the mix.

The Good and Not-so-Good

Overall, The Mark of the Spider marks a good beginning to this supernatural series. However, the pacing slowed at times, such as when Arnett found himself alone with the old woman after his friends had been killed. Part of that might have worked better as a flashback later, when Arnett attempted to get the tattoo altered. Occasionally, too much time was spent expostulating about Arnett’s attempts to stay off the grid such as when he broke into a house. Another instance of over-expostulation involves Arnett and T building a bunker in the last in a series of bolt-holes.

On the other hand, I would have liked Arnett to do a little sleuthing into southeast Asian spirit beliefs. That might have been woven into Arnett’s attempts to come to terms with what has happened to him.

On the whole, a fairly engaging read. I look forward to reading the second installment and learning the ongoing fate of Arnett, Campion and T.

CrimeReads – Mysteries, Thrillers and Crime

For those who love mysteries, thrillers and true crime, CrimeReads will satisfy your cravings. An offshoot of Literary Hub, CrimeReads presents news, essays and excerpts. This website offers discussions about mystery, noir/hardboiled, suspense, espionage/thriller and legal/procedural genres. For example, currently available is the 11/28/18 posting, “Writing Crime Fiction for the Podcast Generation: Chatting with Two Authors Who Are Bringing Mystery to the World of Scripted Podcasts.” Another is the 1/17/19 post by Lisa Levy, “Mothers and Daughters and Psychological Thrillers: The Rise of Mother-Daughter Noir.”

CrimeReads interviews Matthew Quirk about The Night Agent

For suspense and thriller readers, check out The Night Agent by Matthew Quirk, published this month by William Morrow. Also, check out the interview with Matthew Quirk on CrimeReads.

Like unusual protagonists? Look for Erica Wright’s 11/23/18 post: “Unexpected Investigators: 9 Mysteries That Challenge Our Expectations for Crime Fighters.”

The website partners with numerous publishers from Akashic to W. W. Norton & Co. and everything in between. Other partners include venerable groups such as the Baker Street Irregulars as well as up-and-coming Down & Out Books (and magazine). According to the website, “Each day, alongside original content and exclusive excerpts, CrimeReads is proud to showcase an editorial feature from one of its many partners from across the literary crime community, from publishers big and small, bookstores, non-profits, librarians, and more.”

So, check out CrimeReads. See what’s happening in your favorite genre and what new books are forthcoming. Plus, find out what books are nominated for the 2019 Edgar Awards. Or, listen to a horror or true crime podcast.

For other book-related websites and apps, take a look at my previous posts about Felony & Mayhem and Litsy.

Felony and Mayhem: Murder Abounds

Felony & Mayhem
felonyandmayhem.com

Sorry for the lapse in posts over the last few weeks. The holidays got in the way; a pleasant time, but busy. Anyway, during the holiday season, I found two websites for those who like to read mysteries, one of which I’ll discuss here.

Felony and Mayhem Abound

Patricia Moyes mystery offered by Felony and MayhemThe folks at felonyandmayhem.com bring out-of-print mysteries back to life by reprinting them. For lovers of Patricia Moyes, Ngaio Marsh and S. S. Van Dine’s Philo Vance series, this site is a must-see. Additionally, “The Felonious Backlist” boggles the mind with the likes of Robert Barnard, Simon Brett, Elizabeth Daly, Reginald Hill and dozens of others.

According to the website, they “also publish an increasing number of first paperback editions of books previously published in hardcover, and (particularly) first U.S. editions of books that initially came out overseas.” In recent years, they also “brought out [their] first original: Annamaria Alfieri’s The Idol of Mombasa, a historical mystery set in 1910s British East Africa, which will be followed by another title in that series in January 2018.”

Mystery readers and writers: Check this website out. You won’t be sorry.

As the mystery lovers at Felony & Mayhem say, “Life is too short to read bad books.” I couldn’t agree more.

Next time, I’ll talk about my other find: CrimeReads.

Book Swaps and Gifts for Everyone

My BookSwap Club offers unique book swaps and gifts for everyone.  According to their website, My BookSwap Club is a group of “enthusiastic bookworms who believe in sharing our books with fellow bookworms (or a novice reader).”

Currently, My BookSwap Club offers members a Christmas BookBox with a few options from which to choose. You purchase the box and respond to a questionnaire about your likes and dislikes. Then, sit back and wait in anticipation. Over the next few days, I will purchase this box and report on what I received.

received from book swapsMy BookSwap Club also facilitates book swaps. I have just joined My BookSwap Club, so I haven’t participated in their swaps, yet. But, over the past year, I’ve participated in book swaps using social media apps such as Litsy. (See my post about Litsy, here). At left are some of the books I’ve received. So far, I’ve been pleased with the choices my swap partners have given me.

If you have found any book-related websites, social media networks or phone apps, let me know by replying to this post.

Book Blogging – Guest blog post

Book blogging takes time—time to read, ruminate and write. Then it’s time to find a jpeg or graphic of the front cover, edit what you’ve written and boost the SEO. I recently wrote a guest post on book blogging for Mary Fiacco, owner of Filles Vertes Publishing (FVP), a traditional independent publisher. Her first book, Using Curse Words: Finding Unusual Solutions to Life’s “Worst” Problems, will be published in the near future.

My short post speaks about what I like about being a book blogger. Although reading the book, forming an opinion and writing the review take time, it’s not all hardship. As publishers produce more and more books each year, plenty of candidates from many genres vie for my attention. Currently, I deal mainly with mystery novels. In the future, I plan to include some literary fiction, poetry and nonfiction. I frequently request Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) through www.netgalley.com, www.librarything.com and www.goodreads.com.

I foresee myself book blogging for quite a while into the future. Here’s to meeting new literary friends in real life and through the pages of their books.

 

Litsy: Great app for readers, writers and bloggers

 

Litsy

A few months ago, I found a new social media app focusing on books. It’s a great app for readers, writers and book bloggers. Readers interact about what they’re reading and find new writers they like. New writers can interact with avid readers and build up a readership.

While mainly a mobile app for smartphones and tablets, there is a website that gives a short overview: http://www.litsy.com.

Great American Read

I watched the #greatamericanread on PBS last week. I’m glad to see that some of my favorite books (like Moby Dick and War and Peace, to name just two) made it onto the list. You can bet that I’ll be voting for them. I can’t believe that The Scarlet Letter didn’t show up on the list. Anyone else have favorites that didn’t make it? What are your favorite reads?