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review 2016-08-25 00:00
The Conundrum of the Decapitated Detective (The Hugh Kerr Mystery Series)
The Conundrum of the Decapitated Detective (The Hugh Kerr Mystery Series) - S. L. Kotar,J. E. Gessler
The Conundrum of the Decapitated Detective is a return to the thrilling days of noir mysteries set in the 1950s. It was a time when people still checked out phone booth coin slots hoping to find loose change, when phone numbers began with words like “Metropolitan,” and when Saturday morning TV was all cartoons. In this novel set in 1955, attorney Hugh Kerr and his secretary, Ellen Thorne, investigate whether or not a dismembered corpse belongs to their longtime private detective friend, Jack Merrick. The story is a bit like what Perry Mason and Della Street might have done if Paul Drake had disappeared.

This isn’t to say S.L. Kotar and J.E. Gessler are Earle Stanley Gardner imitators. For one thing, we aren’t told whether or not plucky Ellen Thorne has shapely legs or not, a detail Gardner wouldn’ have neglected. On the other hand, like Mason, Kerr tends to pace around his office, has no problem with illegal breaking and entering or withholding evidence, and doesn’t like to cooperate with the police or district attorney. With good reason. Then again, Hugh and Ellen’s relationship has a tad more physical and emotional ardor than Perry and Della ever shared. Mason didn’t cheat at Solitaire like Kerr. Most importantly, Kerr doesn’t have a client—he’s the one running from a death threat. And there’s no dramatic courtroom scene where a defense attorney can show off their surprising revelations. We never see Kerr in court at all.

In a very real sense, this novel continues to broaden the literary scope of S.L. Kotar and J.E. Gessler who’ve written TV scripts (Gunsmoke), non-fiction books on steamboats, ballooning, and cholera, as well as Westerns and romance novels (The Hellhole Saga, Kansas Pirates Saga). With this track record, again, it wouldn’t be fair to diminish the cast of The Conundrum of the Decapitated Corpse as mere clones of Earle Stanley Gardner’s immortal players. But readers who like those types of classic, if contrived, stories of gumshoeing detective work should enjoy the first of this new series.

Even if you’ve never picked up an Earle Stanley Gardner mystery, Conundrum should appeal to modern readers with a taste for old-fashioned if roundabout plots. I admit, the book seems a bit padded with a long section on the road where little happens, one interrogation scene is extremely repetitive, and the so-called criminal charges leveled at our heroes are based on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence. But these foibles are typical of this literary tradition. It’s the characters and reader interest in them that matter. Oh, if we don’t learn whether or not Ellen Thorne has nice legs, we’re told her mother does. With such genes, I’m certain Kerr’s Girl Friday has great gams just like her literary predecessor, Della Street.

This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com
By Wesley Britton, author, The Beta-Earth Chronicles

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review 2016-04-01 19:43
The Vane-Martin Conundrum by Phillip Strang
The Vane-Martin Conundrum - Phillip Strang

Two government analysts are presented with a conundrum. The Islamic State is creating chaos in England with a concerted bombing campaign. The current Prime Minister, Clifford Bell cannot resolve the situation. Do they allow his assassination to continue or do they let him live?


His deputy will take his position, and she will declare war and fight back. She is the only hope, but to condone an assassination. There are no options; they know what they must do.

A nuclear-powered submarine has been lost. A cathedral prevented from destruction at the last minute. Shopping centres and churches throughout the length of England subjected to random attacks, patrons at public houses enjoying a quiet night’s drink slaughtered.

The Master, the head of the Islamic State in England is orchestrating the attacks. Durrani, the bomb maker, is giving him the weapons of destruction. Shafi, the murderer and drug dealer is out on the street aiming to infiltrate the Islamic State, and the Master’s daughter, the beautiful Sara, seduces her future husband, and forces him to sabotage his submarine after she has inadvertently fallen in love with him.

The lead policeman, DCI Isaac Cook of Jamaican heritage and Anne Argento, the Deputy Prime Minister are heading towards a romantic entanglement where their professional proprieties conflict with their personal feelings.








My Review:

This book was actually written very well I'm just not for these kinds of stories right now.

4 Star book, 2 Star interest.. 3 Star rating..





My Rating:





Krissys Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

Received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review from The Author

If any of Krissys Bookshelf Reviews has been helpful please stop by to like or let me know what you think! Thank you!


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review 2015-08-29 00:00
The Earth Conundrum
The Earth Conundrum - Jeff Sims The Earth Conundrum - Jeff Sims This is one of those books that popped up in my recommendations on Amazon. Usually I have enough in my pipeline to not bother about those but occasionally I do go for them just to expand my horizons a bit. Quite often I find some new author that I like or at least another good book. This time I am afraid that my in the spur of the moment purchase was a bit of a mistake.

I am not sure whether the author wanted to make this book a comedy or if he was aiming for the young adult segment and aimed too low or whatever. In my point of view he failed with whatever he tried to do. This book is definitely not a book for adult military sci-fi readers and certainly not for hard core sci-fi fans. The story and especially the aliens are downright silly. Well, the core of the story is actually one of my favorite type of stories but the implementation is so nonsensical and silly that it is simply not fun to read. The book seems to float in some no-mans-land between a children’s book and a young adult book.

Note that the rest of this review might contain a mild spolier or two.

For starters the aliens believe that humans eat aliens. Not only the children believes this but the adult aliens of a star faring species, who allegedly have watched Earth for 300 years, actually believe that humans will eat them. Another little twist is that some of the aliens on the bridge of a military starship are having emotional fits and starts to cry every now and then. Apparently this is a racial trait. Yeah right, “sorry commander I missed the enemy battleship because I was crying at the time”. Not funny.

Then we have the alien navy in general, or whatever goes for a navy in the Alliance. Military discipline is non-existent and a commander can never rely on his orders being executed. When launching fighters he never knows if and when the fighters will launch since the pilots might be too scared that someone might shoot back at them. What the fuck! He even has to argue with defense and trafic control computers in order to be able to go where he is ordered to go. His XO is baffled when he is asked to get a corridor on the ship painted and in the end asks a civilian relative to do it…in a military stardock! Pilots have to haggle with some useless computer AI to get the missile loadout they need. Of course the alien pilots are totally clueless so they never know what they need but as you surely realize from the book blurb the humans are about to enter into the equation. Needless to say the humans do know what they need.

The nonsense continues when the Alliance council orders a mission to Earth, a mission vital to the survival of the Alliance, and assigns the mission to a small team who by all means are fairly likable but who are clueless about what is actually required for the mission to be a success and are, of course, not properly briefed about this in any way. To make matters worse these people go off on their own to make a few bucks and starts various businesses on Earth. As I wrote above the story is simply too nonsensical to be any fun. The authors knowledge of military matters seems to be next to none as well. The ludicrous alien navy might be an attempt to be funny but destroyers suddenly being larger than cruisers indicates to me that his military “expertise” comes from watching Star Wars.

It is really a shame with all this nonsens since the core of the story is a good one and it could have been a good book. There are a few saving graces. After all the fumbling around, stupidity and aliens running away as soon as the humans try to approach the them (humans eat aliens, remember?) eventually the humans finally gets the chance to show the alien nincompoops how a real military behaves. The results are highly predictable and these parts of the book was actually somewhat enjoyable to read. Not very realistic but quite fun.

Apart from these parts I struggled with dragging myself through most of the rest. I am afraid that this book, while managing to stay out of my rubbish shelf, ends up among my 2 out of 5 stars ratings on Goodreads where, so far, only 4 other books reside today (out of 79 books this year). This book ought to be more clearly marked as a children’s or, at least very very young adult, book on Amazon.
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photo 2015-04-02 12:44
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