Review: A Killer Past

Title: A Killer Past
Author: Maris Soule
Publisher: Robert Hale, London
ISBN: 978-0-7198-1490-7

Car trouble in the small town of Rivershore, Michigan shouldn’t be a source of concern. Seventy-four year-old Mary Harrington has to walk only two blocks to reach the safety of her home. But, too many houses have been abandoned with the economic downturn. Gangs and drug dealers have staked their claim.

Author Maris Soule doesn’t make the short walk easy for her captivating, wily protagonist. Mary uses skills she acquired in her youth to sidetrack her assailants. Rushed to the hospital with their tails between their legs, they are too ashamed to admit an old lady kicked their asses.

Suspicions arise, though, when Sergeant Jack Rossini responds to the call about gang violence. He’d like to nail the gang members to the wall yet, Mary won’t cooperate. Mary lives in relative peace and kubotan, nunchucks and stealth killers are best kept secrets.

In A Killer Past, author Soule doesn’t pull any punches. She acknowledges both Mary’s strengths and her weaknesses. Thus, you can never be quite sure if the cautious Mary will outwit her assailants no matter how much she works out or lifts weights.

When a co-worker from the chilling past arrives on the scene, Mary is doubly troubled. Her cover might be blown so Soule takes the story to another level of intrigue. Did the government have a role in Mary’s killer past? If so, Mary could meet her maker sooner than she’d like.

The pace is ideal for a cozy mystery but the suspense is on the run. You won’t know who or why until Mary and Sergeant Rossini end up on a long dark trail. Whom can you trust? For sure it’s Maris Soule, who writes a well-developed story. A Killer Past is her best to date.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Z is for …..Z…….

Oh Glory Day! Z is the 26th letter of the English alphabet and thus, the end of this challenge. What a zany day, what a zany letter! I’ve zigged and zagged to get here. Stopped in the middle of the road, dashed out a note; finished dinner mid-way and cut to the chase. The task at times zapped my energy as I zeroed in on a subject. One day I ate ziti and sipped zinfandel while I toiled at the task. With zest and zeal I forged on to write a witty line. I left out zero and zinc and zip-codes to not be mundane. I ruled out ziggurat and zeolite and zinjanthropus to keep from sounding pompous. I thought of zinger and zipper to bring humor to the subject. But in the end, I settled for Zenith: the point of the celestial sphere that is directly opposite the nadir and vertically above the observer. This, dear ones, is the culminating point! The acme of my writing powers…the end! I’ve reached my zenith.

At least for this challenge.

What is your Z word for the day?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Y is for …..Yahoo

I could have gone for the obvious and written about youth but decided against it because Youth seems to be wasted on the Young. Walk through a Mall—get my drift? Granted, it could be because I’m no longer Youthful or Yearning to be so. Yep, the age of reason has settled in my bones, flows in my veins like honey. I don’t Yearn for much except good food, good wine and eight hours of sleep. So I’ve chosen Yahoo—a catchy word, even with its Youthful connotation. I get email at Yahoo. I say Yahoo on occasion: my team wins, a great movie, a nice walk in the park. Yahoo requires a youthful expression when it’s spoken—an elixir of sorts. Yet, Yahoo’s origin is far from the likes of the cajoling, frolicking crowd. Have you read Guliver’s Travels? Pat Yourself on the back. Swift referred to the members of a brute race as Yahoos. They all had the form and vices of man. Boorish, crass, stupid. I’ve known a few real Yahoos. It is great fun to write about them, disguised as characters in a book. There’s a couple in my book, Fatal Mistake, close to home, but would they think I have mimicked their blundering behavior? Okay, I’ve Yacked enough about this Y word. I’ve got to get my Yankee butt on the move so my husband will quit Yapping at me. He wants Yams for dinner. Those tuberous roots are Yawners for me. Yeah, I’ll be his Yes-man tonight but first I have to check email. Yahoo!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

X is for Xenophile

X is for…..Xenophile

Yes, I’ll admit it: I’m attracted to foreign things—style, food, people, places. As a kid I would stare at someone who looked different. Yep, literally gawk until a thunk on the head eased me back into reality. When I got older, I took every opportunity to travel, explore and engage in those foreign ‘things’. You’ll see tidbits of foreign adventures in my home. A statue from Xian, China, a rug from old Yugoslavia, stoneware from Tuscany, a brot bowl from Villiprott. Come for dinner on Saturday,an authentic Thai meal straight from a villagers cookbook However, I’m not inclined to write about foreign subjects. I’d rather stick close to home. Emotions run deeper in familiar places. But here’s a thought, do we really need the 24th letter in our alphabet? X is difficult. First argument, you have to put a dash after X to make a word everyone understands. X-ray comes to mind. No one relates to xanthone, xeric, or xenolith. Xanthippe? No, you don’t want to be familiar with that word. Xanadu isn’t eXactly or escactly spontaneous. Even if X is at the end of a word, it doesn’t need to be there. For instance: Box—why not Bocks? We wear socks, not sox. Or Facks, not fax—except when you abbreviate. Focks—why Fox? Rocks—only Rox if you’re in a musical. Tacks works good for Tax—it hurts just as much. Secks for Sex? Okay, let’s leave Sex alone. It packs a wallop with or without an X.

What is your X word?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

W….is for Will

Victor Hugo said “People do not lack strength, they lack will.” Oh my goodness, if I’d only known the difference between strength and will when I was young. Will or won’t, it’s the meat of the matter; can get you through a difficult time in life, take you to the next level for goals or dump you on the side of the road. It takes will to tackle a tough job. Little will to go along with a task you don’t like. It takes will to stick to a commitment. Little will if you do it to save face. Everyone says they have free will and, yet, give it up at the drop of a hat. For instant gratification, for money, for sex, for fame, to be part of a group. They even give it up when they vote or don’t vote. Will or won’t? A Chinese proverb sets the tone for me: ‘Great souls have will, feeble ones only have wishes.’ What will you do with your day?

And your W word is….?







Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

V is for ….Viewpoint

A viewpoint has a lot to do with eyes and ears. Generally, a viewpoint is an accumulation of sights and sounds and then put into passionate words or deeds. What is casually or carelessly read or what people say and not do can lead to a viewpoint of little substance. The ‘battle’ between the sexes is a striking example of opposing viewpoints. Perhaps an anomaly of nature. Two different subjects, males and females, and yet, many expect the same viewpoint at every turn. She saw it as round, red and with soft edges. He said it was a flat surface with a bright orange light. He sees an opportunity. She sees a feckless venture. Is it relevant? Isn’t it all in the perception? Argue about substance and views change. Offer someone hope or offer them a job. Vote for traditional values or shake the foundation and watch it crumble. In a discussion, viewpoints can get nasty. For the most part, our own viewpoint is the most important. Of course, there’s always the someone who shakes a finger, metaphorically, at the person they don’t agree with and tells them outright they are categorically wrong. Sometimes they are. So I leave you with this thought: “A desk is a dangerous place to view the world.” John le Carre made that pithy statement. Strange—he’s a successful writer, always at a desk, and writes about significant problems in the world. Writers love to write various viewpoints, passion filled, either angry or joyous, and not reveal their own. So have those eyes and ears checked, dear ones, make sure they are working well for you.

What’s your V word.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

U is for UNFAIR


Oh, what a sorrowful word. Unfair. It’s about as disheartening as unequal. Uneasy isn’t as disquieting but Unfair does make me Uneasy. So maybe we have to understand fair to know unfair. Sports, stock market, politics, education, wages? Can’t seem to come up with a good example of ‘fair’. Fair weather? Nope, it’s fickle. Even if you believe in climate control and think man can master it, it’s still a crap shoot. Unfair. Is it a state of mind or a reality? Why do so many cry Unfair? Did the ref really make those calls to right a wrong or give the underdog a leg up? Did the teacher really lower the bar on tests so the perceived disadvantaged would pass? And if so, who gained in the long run? How about the fact that no matter how fast you run, someone else can run faster. Or how sick you’ve been, someone is more ill. How smart, how slim, how fat, how slow, how cute, how poor, how rich….there’s always someone who is more or less of the whatever. So, it’s a state of mind, right? Life is. On a light note here’s something to consider: “Girls have an unfair advantage over men. If they can’t get what they want by being smart, they can get it by being dumb.” Unfair? Surely, that will make some of you laugh. A few will say it’s a bad rap for girls. Oh well. Unfair or not, Yul Brynner thought it was true. Life is unfair. Death is unfair. It is what it is.

What is your U word?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

T is for Tact

Oh, this word can get one in a lot of trouble. Some have tact, some don’t. Tact can ride with a low tide, so subtle it only tickles your toes, or the lack of it strikes like lightning and knocks you flat. I think the universal truth is you need a little insight into human nature to practice the art of tact. Politicians are often so tactful, their promises slip from their mouths like melted butter. Not much good if there’s no toast with it. I heard an acquaintance tell a co-worker ‘make up does wonders for a plain face’. Now that kind of tact brings the claws out. How about the person who always accuses others of being judgmental. Isn’t that the essence of being judgmental? The person didn’t earn a degree in tact from a ‘smart’ school. But I like this definition: “Tact is the art of putting your foot down without stepping on anyone’s toes.” Laurence J. Peter gets credit for that. Writers don’t worry about tact, they let their characters say anything they want. That’s great fun and some might say tactless. If a reader only knew the source of a character’s remarks…like the in-law who says, ‘well, (huff, huff) you don’t…’ You should rebuke with ‘you’re so open-minded’ but really you know she has a hole in her head. If said, it would cause trouble at the family potluck dinner but it makes others laugh in a good story. Trouble—a word to avoid. So I’ll stick with tact and try real hard to describe others as they see themselves.

What’s your T word for the day?      Fatal Mistake by Wil A. Emerson,, Kindle

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

S is for….Self-Discipline

A difficult subject, this thing called self-discipline. It’s not about what you do, but what you choose not to do. There’s power in self-discipline. To say no, to take a stand, to work beyond your perceived capacity, to deny instant gratification—those are wow moments. Self-discipline negates weakness, leaves behind a sense of well-being—not a behind of greater proportion. It offers peace of mind instead of a sense of failure. It offers pleasure, too. More pleasure than the high of sugar or the self-prescribed drug of choice. The pleasure of a job well done, accomplishment, wearing a pair of pants your body is supposed to fit in, money saved instead of wasted on cigarettes, the completion of a task that is important for you or others. Master over your own mind. Self-discipline…a good thing. Writer’s live by it…so on to the next day of this A-Z challenge..gotta do it…gotta do it….                                                 What’s your S word?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

R…is for Right

Heavy words in the R category: respect, responsibility, religion, rules, rumors, ridicule. But my finger landed on right.

Funny word, right is. I can turn right, live right, right a wrong. I can give up a right or I can allow you a right. I can in some circumstances take away your right. I wish could write right so I wouldn’t sit here and wonder if I wrote the right word or not. Right doesn’t come easy. Sometimes you have to work for it even if it is a constitutional right. Sometimes you have to fight for it even if it’s an inalienable right. Left and right may be at odds over rights and sometimes rights can be wrongs. Thus so, Robert Frost said ‘I hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to hell in his own way’. Right now, I’m pleased most of my rights have not been trampled on. Guess it’s because I live in the right country, in the right time and place, for all the right reasons. I’ll leave you with this thought: “The greatest right in the world is the right to be wrong.” The credit goes to Harry Weinberger, born in 1888, written in “The First Casualties in War.” Around 1917. Fits the day, doesn’t it?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment