The Bitterroots by C.J, Box (Mystery/Crime Novel in Modern American West, 2019). A best-selling and multiple award-winning author, C.J.Box here tells yet another uncompromising and disturbing, even brutal yet ultimately thrilling tale of crime and punishment in modern-day Montana. This is his 4th Cassie Dewell novel. Cassie is a former deputy sheriff who quit in […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: The Bitterroots"
Much-honored mystery writer Simon Brett returns yet again to the somewhat funky English coastal town of Fethering for his latest tale of cozy murder and wry wit. As usual, the local police are mostly faceless and ineffective. So when Leonard Mallett takes a fatal tumble down the stairs at his house, they’re inclined to write […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: The Killer in the Choir"
The coffeehouse at Windber’s Grand Midway Hotel has been a weekly rollercoaster since we recently reopened on Saturday nights. Last week was very encouraging with a very decent number of paying customers, including people seeking guided tours of this small Pennsylvania coal town’s famously haunted late 19th Century hotel and buying some esoteric gift items/souvenirs. […]Read more "COFFEEHOUSE NIGHTS: 21 September 2019"
Peach Clobbered by Anna Gerard (Cozy Mystery Novel, July 2019). This is the first in a new cozy mystery series, set in a small touristy town in Georgia. Although the author has published no less than ten previous novels, Peach Clobbered is the first to appear under this name. The earlier books, comprising three separate mystery series […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: Peach Clobbered"
With Blair Murphy on a ‘secret mission’ (of a literary nature, possibly leading to something big–and yes, that is all that Our Glorious Leader would tell any of us), I was in charge of the weekly coffeehouse at the Grand Midway Hotel. I was ably assisted by Synthia (in a black promotional t-shirt dating back […]Read more "COFFEEHOUSE NIGHTS: 14 September 2019"
After taking a couple months off for improvements, Windber, Pennsylvania’s haunted hotel, The Grand Midway, has re-launched its weekly coffeehouse. The re-opening was last night, Saturday, September 7. We’ll be open each Saturday evening, 6 till (at least) 10 PM through Halloween. And since this coming Friday is the 13th, we’ll be doing a bonus […]Read more "REVIVING COFFEEHOUSE NIGHTS: 7 September 2019"
Cherokee America by Margaret Verble (Historical Novel, 2019). Maud’s Line, Margaret Verble’s debut novel, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. I haven’t read that one, but I gather it was, like Cherokee America, a historical novel inspired in part by the novelist’s family history. As Verble explains in a 3-page Author’s Note after the book, Cherokee America‘s plot is entirely […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: Cherokee America"
This week’s coffeehouse coincided with the official opening of Windber’s annual Miner’s Memorial Days, which honors local history and always climaxes on Father’s Day (which is this Sunday). I approached the evening in a very good mood. Having one of my short stories being published (in a hardcover anthology of SF/F for kids) and a […]Read more "Windber Coffeehouse Nights: 13 June 2019"
The second weekly coffeehouse of the season at Windber’s Grand Midway Hotel was in many ways a disappointment. Attendance was well off from the previous week’s promising beginning, despite the presence of a handful of stalwart regulars. Yet there were some positive aspects worthy of mention. In honor of this week’s 50th anniversary of the […]Read more "Windber Coffeehouse Nights: June 6, 2019"
First an apology: I fully intended to post this recap of last Thursday’s coffeehouse within 24 hours of the event. Other factors intervened, some writer related (like the June 1st deadline on my bimonthly column for the PennWriter newsletter) or other more general life issues. Anyway……. The first coffeehouse of 2019 was, on the whole, […]Read more "Windber Coffeehouse Nights: 30 May 2019"