Hello From Texas
The winter solstice comes on Tuesday, December 21, 2021. This is the astronomical first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and our shortest day of the year. The winter solstice is the “shortest day” of the year since it is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight in the entire year. Thankfully, once we reach the winter solstice, the days begin to once again grow longer and longer until we reach the summer solstice—the first day of summer. The winter solstice marks the official beginning of “astronomical winter,” as opposed to “meteorological winter,” which starts about three weeks before the solstice. So, you might say we have already been in the winter 2021 season since December 1.
Early winter can be unpredictable where I live. As an example, I went to the mall with my sister Thursday for some last minute Christmas shopping and we were both wearing jackets. Then, on Friday, when I took my daily four-mile walk, I was comfortably attired in shorts and a tee shirt. Today, for my walk I had to wear track pants and a sweatshirt. So, you never know what you’re going to get. Whatever winter is like where you live, I hope you and yours are staying safe and well.
What's Done Is Done Out in Print
What’s Done Is Done, the ninth book in the Malone series is now available in print here from Amazon and here from Barnes & Noble. The eBook version publishes on January 04, 2022, and is available to preorder from all major booksellers. From the writer’s perspective, I think this is my favorite Malone title since Foul Play. At least, I enjoyed writing it.
Fourth T. J. O'Sullivan Novel Coming in February
Frisky Business, the fourth book in the T. J. O’Sullivan series, publishes after the first of the year. The print version will be out on January 4, 2022 and the eBook version on February 8, 2022. You can preorder it now on Amazon. The T. J. books have always done well in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, so we’ve chosen to enroll it there for the first 90-days, even though we’re removing all the earlier T. J. O’Sullivan novels from Kindle Unlimited. We will publish those earlier titles at all other retailers after the end of the year. The final cover just arrived from the designer on December 18, so we’re switching it out for the concept cover I noticed is still showing on Amazon.
Rick Bishop Series
Dead End, the second installment in the new Rick Bishop series, also drops on February 08, 2022. It’s available to preorder here from all booksellers. We’ve left the first book in the series, The Girl on the Beach priced at only 0.99 at all retailers as we hope to gain more visibility for the series. For those who haven’t read The Girl on the Beach yet and want to save a buck, it’s offered as a free download through the end of December 2021 as part of Smashwords End of Year Sale. Grab a free copy on Smashwords here.
Right now, I’m working on Darker Angles, the third installment in the Howard Drew police procedural series. Darker Angeles is scheduled for release in the summer of 2022.
What I've Been Reading and Enjoying
Here I wanted to mention two books I’ve read and enjoyed recently, and one I’m reading right now. First off, I really liked Michael Connelly’s new book, The Dark Hours. As a longtime Harry Bosch fan, I was sad that Harry featured so little in the book, but on the Renée Ballard side, I think this is the best book yet. And, let’s face it. Harry is in his seventies and Ballard is his replacement. Even if you too are a diehard Bosch fan, I think you will enjoy this book. Ballard has won me over.
Next up, For Reasons of Their Own by award-winning New Zealand author Chris Stuart is easily my favorite crime thriller of the year. It’s twisty and suspenseful with a host of interesting, realistic characters. I really liked the main character, Australian Detective Inspector Robbie Gray. She is from the same mold as Renée Ballard. Stuart is a fabulous writer that anyone who loves a good crime thriller will enjoy. For Reasons of Their Own is available here on Amazon.
Finally, I’m about halfway through the latest Spenser novel, Robert B. Parker’s Bye Bye Baby by Ace Atkins. I’m a longtime fan of Parker and especially like his Spenser and Jesse Stone novels. If you’re not familiar with this series, bestselling author Ace Atkins took over writing it after the passing of Robert B. Parker in 2010. It took Atkins a couple of books to find his footing, but today his Spenser novels have become almost indistinguishable from the originals written by Parker himself. Unfortunately, here again is cause for sadness. Atkins announced earlier this month Bye Bye Baby is his last Spenser novel as he has other projects he plans to pursue. It will be interesting to see what becomes of this series, arguably Parker’s most popular. Like Harry Bosch, Spenser has aged since Parker created him. Actually, he is even older than Harry Bosch who is a Vietnam veteran in Connelly’s novels. In comparison, Spenser is a Korean War veteran. But since Parker never made much of Spenser’s age, it’s still easy to imagine him as late forties or early fifties. Of course, the Robert B. Parker estate won’t be coming to me for advice, but if I were handed this series to write, I believe I’d return to setting the novels in the past when Spenser was in his prime. Since Adkins has focused the last several books on prominent current headlines, that shortens Spenser’s remaining time as a credible detective considerably because of his advancing age. But I am enjoying this novel so far, which I learned today is attracting some controversy. Bye Bye Baby comes out January 11, 2022. I was fortunate enough to snag an advance readers copy from the publisher.
From my view, 2021 has been a disappointing year on so many levels. First, like many others, I thought we would turn the corner on the pandemic this year and life would return to something approaching normal. Obviously, that hasn’t happened, and now I know it never will. The philosopher Plato once said, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Likewise, those of us alive today should understand “Only the dead have seen the end of coronavirus.” The best we can hope for is that as the virus mutates, the variants will become less capable of causing serious illness and less lethal. In the meantime, take what steps that make sense to you to protect yourself and your family. The government cannot save you. They could never do so. That was only another lie from the politicians. I hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a better 2022. Thanks so much for your support in 2021.