Deadly Dunes

July 2, 2016 at 3:53 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Title: Deadly Dunes51ldRn0Us+L._UY250_.jpg

Author: E. Michael Helms

Genre: Mystery

Length: 220 pages

E. Michael Helms has done it again. He’s written a fun, spunky mystery involving Mac McClellan, and I find myself crushing on him much like the overly spirited cop, Dakota.  Mac is the token ex-marine turned P.I., equal parts gentleman and appropriate amounts of perve. Cunning, but not too lucky.

I like that in this installment, Helms works in the fact that private investigators don’t have the luxury of only working one case at a time if they want to get paid. Mac has to take time away from the big case everyone is grumbling about to an unseemly one that will cut him a check.  As per the norm with Mac McClellan books, it was easy to get into, a breeze to read, and satisfying to finish.

My only lament was due to my over excitement at the possibility of more archaeological tidbits. I love archaeology and was anticipating Mac going a little more Indiana Jones in this book than usual due to the nature of the big case.  This is to no fault of Helms, who included what was appropriate for the story and the characters, merely a personal disappointment.

As usual, I look forward to the next Mac McClellan book. He’s a personal favorite of mine and made a great addition to my summer mystery binge reading.

Be sure to follow E. Michael Helms on twitter: https://twitter.com/EMichaelHelms

Permalink 3 Comments

The Further Adventures of Mac McClellan!

May 14, 2015 at 11:01 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

5129Niw-m5L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Deadly Ruse
Author: E. Michael Helms
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Genre: Mystery/ Suspense
Length: 237 pages

Retired marine, private eye, sexy girls, whiskey, drugs, diamonds, casinos, the good ol’ South… what more could you ask for in a genre crime novel?

I enjoyed my second adventure with Mac McClennan. Despite the self-depricating B-movie references to its own plot points, closing a Mac McClennan book always leaves me wanting more Mac.

Of course, Mac has women fawning over him and his older gentleman charm. His girlfriend can take care of herself, but still finds it in herself to swoon into a faint in the opening chapters. Our heroes tote guns, our villains are scum. It’s all around good, fast-paced fun set in the sun, with just the right amount of danger.

I look forward to Mac’s next adventure, since he’s on the verge of being an official P.I. now…

Permalink Leave a Comment

E. Michael Helms Does It Again

November 13, 2014 at 3:08 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

deadly catchTitle:Deadly Catch

Author: E. Michael Helms

Genre: Mystery

Length: 207 pages

I always have fun reading an E. Michael Helms novel – but this latest one was by far the most fast paced.  MacArthur McClellan is clever, well-trained, and his personality is as snugly as a bear.  I enjoyed tromping through crime scenes and fishing sites with him and his side kick Just Kate Bell.

Although I’m pro-legalization of marijuana and found myself rolling my eyes at some of the locals when they discovered someone “they thought they knew” smoke marijuana or ate a marijuana brownie, the story was filled with all sorts of memorable characters and crazies.

The bookstore I work out of most often is near an international airport.  I find myself selling flight reads more often than not.  I highly recommend this for a quick domestic flight.  I also think it would behoove the airport bookstores to carry it in stacks.

I also really liked the character of Bocephus Pickron, especially his first name.  I can’t discuss my thoughts on him further without giving away too many spoilers.  I’m looking forward to seeing what investigations Mac will stumble into next and wonder how many of these weekend mysteries Helms has in his back pocket.  I think he could write Mac mysteries for years… I’d read them.

Permalink 2 Comments

Revisiting Of Blood and Brothers

August 27, 2014 at 9:51 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , )

blood and brosTitle: Of Blood and Brothers: Book Two

Author: E. Michael Helms

Publisher: KoehlerBooks

Genre: Historical Fiction

Length: 265 pages

“I swallowed the last of my coffee, reached for the pot and poured another cup.”

Cup after coffee cup, I drank and read the second installment of E. Michael Helms Civil War series.

When life is hard, it’s nice to escape into another century’s problems.  I suppose that’s the root of the issue when it comes to historical and science fiction lovers.  We like to flee into other eras when humans are the same, but the world is so different.

My favorite tidbit about Helms series is that he was inspired by two elderly brothers he once knew as a boy, who had a Confederate veteran father.  On his acknowledgements page he tells them, though they are long gone, that “It was your voices that gave rise to the voices of Daniel and Elijah Malburn.” As a fiction writer myself, those tiny details make my heart swoon, because so often we writers are asked where our ideas come from, and so often we are unable to precisely pinpoint it.  Ideas sort of sprout and grow from nothing more than a vibe or a passing fancy, very rarely rooted in much of substance other than things our subconscious has gathered and created from nearly thin air.  That Helms remembers these gentleman who told him stories as a boy is marvelous to my scattered mind.

This is a great piece of fiction to add to a high schooler’s American Civil War studies.  The mind wraps itself around facts and truths of an era so much better when the facts are rooted in a riveting story.  My favorite thing to do when I study any time in history is to read a biography or political piece side by side with a bit of fiction.

Well done, Helms! Looking forward to reading Deadly Catch, one of another series by Helms that I can’t wait to get my teeth into.

 

Permalink 2 Comments

Two Brothers, A Reporter, and the Civil War

August 9, 2014 at 12:02 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , )

of-blood-and-brothersTitle:Of Blood and Brothers

Author: E. Michael Helms

Publisher: Koehler Books

Genre: Historical Fiction

Length: 269 pages

“It was war, I said, and war makes people do bad things.”

Historical fiction that involves research and spans time within a story is always my favorite.  Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale, any of Kate Morton’s novels, A.S. Byatt’s Possession… these are among my must own forever books.

So, of course, I was pleased to discover E. Michael Helms’ Of Blood and Brothers series, which follows reporter Calvin Hogue (from 1927) as he researches the story of the Malburn Brothers (who fought in the Civil War).

As a child from the South, I adored Civil War tales.  I didn’t care whether they were written from our perspective or the Yanks, I just couldn’t get enough of it.  Gentle Annie and Red Badge of Courage were both beloved titles during my elementary school years.  I played Colonel Shaw in the school play of Glory.  Part of my obsession with Little Women was the mid-to-post war setting.

E. Michael Helms took me back in time to Elijah Malburn, and I got to experience being stolen from by the Confederates, being interrogated by the Union soldiers, and working at the saltworks.  I traveled with Jefferson, the Malburn’s slave and found it oddly appropriate that the rift that doomed the brothers wasn’t just a political one, but one that included a girl.

I could easily turn this review into a political debate – there’s plenty to talk about, especially with me being from the south and having all sorts of views on the Confederacy.  But that wouldn’t do Helms’ work justice.

Of Blood and Brothers is about people and homes being torn apart by circumstances outside of their control.  It’s about being a soldier and not always being one because it’s what you believe in, but because it’s what saves your backside.  It’s about protecting your loved ones and lamenting their departure from this world…

It’s a darn good book and I’m looking forward to the sequel.

 

Permalink Leave a Comment