Sunday, July 02, 2023

June 2023 Additions to My Digital Security Blanket


I fell off my Austerity Wagon a bit last month, but I'm not particularly worried. For the past week and a half, I've been deleting my "special price eBooks" emails without even looking at them. Something must be wrong because I don't even blink at the thought of the wonderful bargains I may be missing. It probably has something to do with all the medical scheduling I have to keep track of. Hopefully, I won't have to install a revolving front door to take care of all the traffic!
I've grouped last month's purchases according to their genre/subgenre, and if you click on the link in the book title, you'll be taken to Amazon US where you can learn more about the book. (Just in case I tempt you...)
Let's see what I couldn't keep my hands off, shall we?
=== Police Procedural ===
Riccardino by Andrea Camilleri. Set in Sicily.
"At eighty, I foresaw Montalbano's departure from the scene, I got the idea and I didn't let it slip away. So I found myself writing this novel which is the final chapter; the last book in the series. And I sent it to my publisher saying to keep it in a drawer and to publish it only when I am gone." –Andrea Camilleri
Montalbano receives an early-morning phone call, but this time it's not Catarella announcing a murder, but a man called Riccardino who's dialed a wrong number and asks him when he'll be arriving at the meeting. Montalbano, in irritation, says: "In ten minutes." Shortly after, he gets another call, this one announcing the customary murder. A man has been shot and killed outside a bar in front of his three friends. It turns out to be the same man who called him.
Thus begins an intricate investigation further complicated by phone calls from "the Author" in tour de force of metafiction and Montalbano’s last case
♦ I've been a fan of this series since the very first book, and Riccardino is the 28th and last book in the series. I have five books left to read, including this one, and I doubt that I will read them quickly. I don't want to face the fact that my time with Montalbano will soon come to an end. 
Gone for Good by Joanna Schaffhausen. Set in Illinois.
The Lovelorn Killer murdered seven women, ritually binding them and leaving them for dead before penning them gruesome love letters in the local papers. Then he disappeared, and after twenty years with no trace of him, many believe that he’s gone for good.

Not Grace Harper. A grocery store manager by day, at night Grace uses her snooping skills as part of an amateur sleuth group. She believes the Lovelorn Killer is still living in the same neighborhoods that he hunted in, and if she can figure out how he selected his victims, she will have the key to his identity.

Detective Annalisa Vega lost someone she loved to the killer. Now she’s at a murder scene with the worst kind of déjà vu: Grace Harper lies bound and dead on the floor, surrounded by clues to the biggest murder case that Chicago homicide never solved. Annalisa has the chance to make it right and to heal her family, but first, she has to figure out what Grace knew—how to see a killer who may be standing right in front of you. This means tracing his steps back to her childhood, peering into dark corners she hadn’t acknowledged before, and learning that despite everything the killer took, she has still so much more to lose

♦ I read and enjoyed the first book in Schaffhausen's Ellery Hathaway series and had heard lots of good things about this first book in the Annalisa Vega series, so I decided to take advantage of its bargain price. Of all the books I purchased last month, this is the one from which I suffer a bit of buyer's remorse. My feelings have absolutely nothing to do with the author; I'm just trying to break the habit of stockpiling large numbers of books when I have no earthly clue when I'll get around to actually reading them. 

Red, Green or Murder by Steven F. Havill. Set in southern New Mexico.

Former Posadas County Sheriff Bill Gastner, now a New Mexico Livestock Inspector, is enjoying a day on Herb Torrance's ranch - soaking in the sun, counting a small herd of cattle, and thinking about meeting an old friend back in town for lunch. But suddenly a light breeze stirs the dust, a horse spooks, and Bill finds himself ferrying a broken cowpuncher in the back of his SUV, headed out to meet an ambulance.

Moments later, Bill's day goes from bad to worse. He is summoned by undersheriff Estelle Reyes-Guzman to investigate an unattended death. Too impatient to wait for Bill, his friend George Payton decided to eat lunch on his own. A couple of bites later, he collapsed - dead of an apparent heart attack. But something isn't right.

Then the small herd of cattle Bill had just counted is found wandering down a county highway. But there's no sign of cowpuncher Pat Gabaldon or his boss' $40,000 truck and livestock trailer. Forced into two tangled investigations, Bill faces one of the most complex cases in his 35-year career.
♦ This is next up in another favorite series of mine. (#11 of 25 so far.) Havill writes an excellent mystery, and the ensemble cast is one of the very best in crime fiction. 

===Short Story===

Hallowed Ground by Linda Castillo. Set in the Amish country of Ohio.
When a family dog brings home a human bone, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder finds herself on a desperate search for answers. Where did the bone come from? Who does it belong to? And perhaps most importantly, are the bones a result of foul play? With Halloween approaching, the unsettling questions garner uneasiness, rumors, and macabre theories among the residents of Painters Mill. Determined to get to the bottom of the case—and stop the ghost stories upsetting the town—Kate and her soon-to-be husband John Tomasetti embark on a sweeping investigation. Will their search for the source of the human remains uncover the truth? Or will it lead them to an even darker discovery buried on hallowed ground?
♦ I can't resist Linda Castillo's short stories featuring vignettes from the life of Chief of Police Kate Burkholder. For me, they're the literary version of a tasty snack. I rated this four stars on Goodreads.
Snakebit by Paul Doiron. Set in Maine.
When a teenager arrives at a Maine hospital with a rattlesnake bite, warden Mike Bowditch is baffled. Rattlesnakes have been extinct in the region for over a hundred years—so where did this one come from? Bowditch’s investigation leads him to a pair of eccentric married scientists who have a vested interest in rattlesnakes and their venom. Even more suspicious, their estranged daughter has accused them of carrying out grotesque experiments on her. As more rattlesnakes appear in the woods—and the case becomes increasingly mystifying—Bowditch finds himself running out of time to catch his exotic foe.

♦ Like Linda Castillo's short stories featuring Kate Burkholder, I can't resist Paul Doiron's about Game Warden Mike Bowditch. They are very tasty snacks. I rated this short story four stars on Goodreads.
=== Cozy Mystery ===
When interior decorator Madison Night finally meets the family of boyfriend and police captain Tex Allen, the circumstances are less than joyful. His sister’s broody botanist husband left Lily to raise their four rambunctious boys on her own, and she’s at wit’s end. The only bright spot is the mid-century ranch he gave her in their divorce settlement.

The soon-to-be-ex has one request: a face to face with Lily before he says goodbye. Madison offers to go along for moral support, but in lieu of signed settlement papers, she finds the ex’s body crumpled in the corner of the arboretum where he works. When swarm of angry bees sideline Tex, it’s Madison’s job to dig up the secrets that led to the murder — but if she’s not careful, the dirt she uncovers could fill her grave instead

♦ If you ever wonder what books are on my Pre-Order List, Diane Vallere's Madison Night series is one of them. The mysteries are good ones, but Madison herself is the lure that keeps me coming back for more.

Will I be back on the Austerity Wagon next month? Only time will tell!


  1. It's really bittersweet that there will be no more Montalbano books, Cathy. What a series! And it's funny; I haven't read Doiron's short stories - I should. I'll bet they're good...

  2. Sometimes you need a little bookish therapy. The short stories by Castillo and Doiron are the two that appeal to me the most. But they all look like good reads. :D

    1. The ones that appealed to you the most are the two that I read first. ;-)

  3. Yep, you did it again. Added still more to my non-ending TBR list. (Sigh.)

  4. My thinking is that the electronic versions don't take up physical space in your house and don't have to be dusted. So however many you might have is still a far smaller 'problem' than a TBR pile of actual books. And, as this post's title indicates, there's security in knowing you have plenty of reading choices for times when you can't get to a bookstore or library.

    1. Boy howdy-- with the hundreds of physical books and the hundreds of eBooks at my disposal, I have plenty of security! LOL


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