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Lo Patrick

Sixty seconds with Lo Patrick...

Former musician, model scout, concert promoter, and lawyer, Lo Patrick lives in Georgia with her husband and two children and writes from the cluttered sanctuary of her home office—mostly while listening to music and thinking about the past.

RTE: Describe yourself in a sentence?

Patrick: There’s no there there.

RTE: What's the one record you'd take to a desert island?

Patrick: The Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street

RTE: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Patrick: An actress

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Anna Downes

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September 30, 2022

As I write this editorial, I cannot help but think of those of our readers in Canada and the United States who won't be seeing it, thanks to that dreadful couple, Fiona and Ian. We all hope they will be back with us shortly, power restored and damage repaired.

BACK TO THE GARDEN, by Laurie R. King is not part of her Russell/Sherlock series but the start of a new one that Barbara Fister says will please fans of the Kate Martinelli books and King's standalones. The garden of the title was once the site of a 1970s commune, the history of which receives careful attention.

Lately. I've been coming across a fair amount of of what can be called vigilante fiction - books in which anonymous groups of various individuals devote themselves to inflicting punishment on those who deserve it but whom ordinary justice cannot reach. The ethics of this sort of activity are certainly open to question, but a fair number of people must find satisfaction in seeing justice done where society is unable to act. The latest in Jussi Adler-Olsen's Department Q series, THE SHADOW MURDERS, is unequivocal in observing that the line between justice and revenge is faint. But the author makes his point quietly in this expertly plotted book. On the other hand, A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO MURDER, by Rosalind Stopps, takes quite a different tack. Here a group of ageing women take on a sexual exploiter of young women, deciding that he really must be killed. P.J Coldren was happy to see older women being portrayed as capable of action and able to cooperate to get something done. THE DEAL GOES DOWN, by Larry Beinhart, takes quite a different tack. It presents a deal between Beinhart's returning anti-hero and some abused and neglected wives in which the erring husbands will be killed and the wives will pay handsomely for the service from their inheritances. Rebecca Nesvet found too many improbabilities to convince her that it would actually work.

The tide in Ann Cleeves' THE RISING TIDE is a real one and refers to an island in Britain that can be reached by causeway only at low tide. Vera Stanhope doesn't believe a woman who was swept away died by accident. Anne Corey says that there are so many suspects, possibilities, and scenarios, that "even the most careful, clue-obsessed reader cannot guess the real murderer." Now there's a challenge.

Some crime fiction writers are especially good at natural description. The pressing reminders we're getting lately about the effects of climate change make their work especially poignant. Barbara Fister calls Virginia Hartmann's debut THE MARSH QUEEN "an elegantly-written love letter to the mangrove swamps of the Florida panhandle and the people who live there." The temperature is quite different in Patricia Skalka's Wisconsin-set DEATH CASTS A SHADOW. Sharon Mensing felt the need for a sweater while reading Skalka's description of the ice and snow of a Door County winter. There's a serious storm in Sarah Pearse's THE RETREAT as well, so powerfully described that Sharon could not put the book down till it was over. Still she did have serious reservations about the believability of the plot.

Too much nature? You can turn to New York City and the death of a trending social media star in LIKE A SISTER by Kellye Garrett. Jim Napier enjoyed this "fast-paced tale of a sassy, streetwise, and independent woman trying to make sense of her sister's death and her own life." At the other side of the continent, Meredith Frazier remarks there is a lot wrong with Jincy Willett's AMY AMONG THE SERIAL KILLERS but nothing that is any reason not to read the book. Meredith enjoyed it for its wit, its take on writing groups, its subtle humour, and its "quiet, yet sparkling, imagination."

Until I read P.J.'s review of DEATH ON THE ARGYLE by Anne Canadeo, I didn't know there were knitting cozies, but there are and P.J. says this is a good one. Plus it has some patterns. Ruth Castleberry says that Ellery Adams creates the kind of settings and characters that you want to know. Her MURDER ON THE POET'S WALK is centered on rare books and a venue for them, Storyton Hall resort, where competitors in a writing contest are found killed and staged in poetic scenes. The protagonist of Leslie Karst's THE FRAGRANCE OF DEATH, chef Sally Solari, has suffered a (happily temporary) loss of taste and smell. Nevertheless, she is able to track down a murderer. Not only is this a satisfying mystery, says P.J. but it has a complete set of recipes for an entire dinner including a cocktail.

It may be a month too soon, but Halloween is coming and Gretchen Rue's STEEPED TO DEATH is certainly relevant. Ruth Castleberry says that this debut in which Phoebe Winchester discovers her powers as a witch is "an intriguing paranormal cozy that effectively combines mystery with magic."

If you're looking for a collection of short stories, Lourdes Venard can recommend MARPLE: TWELVE NEW MYSTERIES. Interestingly, there is no editor named - but the list of authors is impressive. Lourdes assures us that each of the stories is equally wonderful and the whole enterprise is a fitting homage to Miss Marple.

Our guest this month in the Sixty Seconds With... spot is Lo Patrick. No photo this time but all the questions are answered.

Our friends across the sea have been keeping up with what is going on in British crime. You can find out what they thought of it at CRIMEREVIEW.

We'll be back just before Halloween next time, all treats, no tricks. Please join us then. And let us hope for clear skies and calm winds for us all.

The Editors:

Yvonne Klein

Rebecca Nesvet

P.S. If you wish to submit a book for review, please check here before contacting us. Please note that we do not review self-published books.

Our mascot and masthead is Smokey the Cat. Smokey the cat went to the great playground in the sky on April 29, 2008, at 3:30 p.m. He was about 13 years old, had diabetes and only 11 teeth left. He is much happier now. He will remain as our masthead and mascot.

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Since RTE first appeared, some twelve years ago, the business of books has changed out of all recognition. Then, books were reviewed in the print media for the most part, though Amazon was encouraging readers to post their reviews of the books they read. Now, newspapers across North America have reduced or eliminated the space they allot to books and, with certain notable exceptions, only best-selling authors are likely to get noticed. As a result, electronic reviewing has become increasingly important and, due to the somewhat slippery question of online authorship, occasionally problematic.

For this reason and in view of a recent article in the NY Times detailing a reviews-for-hire enterprise, it's probably wise for RTE to reiterate its position on reviewing. While our reviewers receive galleys, ARCs, or finished copies of books for review, they are otherwise unpaid. Furthermore, they are asked to disclose any special interest they might have in a book or an author they are reviewing. No one, including the editors, receives any compensation for the work they do. All our reviewers are encouraged to express their honest opinions, whether positive or negative, about the books they are reviewing. None of our reviewers uses a pseudonym and all are who they say they are. Nor do we employ rating systems (stars, grades, "highly recommended," or the like) in the belief that our reviews deserve to be read in their entirety. Since RTE does not review self-published or digital-only releases, we are perhaps less vulnerable to offers to pay for reviews, but it seems a good idea to make our policy clear. Finally, in the years that I've been editing RTE, I have never once been approached by a press or a publicist to violate this principle in any way.

Contact: Yvonne Klein (

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