Thursday, February 23, 2023

Reading for the Winter Blahs

 It's a grey day in New York today, one of the many you can expect in the northeast this time of year. Even if winter has been warmer than usual, it's still chilly and damp and it still gets dark too early. I've not been exactly motivated to do much writing or reading for fun. 

So when I get mopey, I turn to some of my favorite comfort reads. Here are three great mystery series that deserve a much wider audience. All are available on kindle and other ebook formats. 

1) Hammerhead Jed Mysteries by A.J. Devlin

The newest series of the bunch, this follows the exploits of Hammerhead Jed Ounstead, former pro wrestler in Vancouver, BC. He's content to now spend his semi-retirement working at his family bar and helping out as an errand boy for his Dad's detective agency. But then one of his old wrestling buddies asks him to help find his kidnapped boa constrictor and he gets drawn back into the shady world of the squared circle. Each book looks at a new sport - book 2 is roller derby, book 3 is mixed martial arts. Great fun, with an engaging lead as a reluctant detective. Go buy them to encourage him to write more. 

2) Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith

If you like mysteries, you undoubtedly like Sherlock Holmes and some of the many imitators and incarnations. This series is the only one I'm aware of that takes place in the old west. Meet Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer. After finding an old copy of a Strand Magazine, Big Red reads the Red-Headed League to his older and smarter (though illiterate) brother. After reading the exploits of the world's greatest sleuth, Old Red is inspired to use Sherlock's techniques to solve a murder on the ranch they're working on. The mysteries always play fair, so you're free to puzzle along with Old Red and try and figure things out. The interplay between the brothers along with the clever mysteries make this a rootin'-tootin' good read. 

3) John Ceepak Mysteries by Chris Grabenstein

Stop me if you've heard this one:  There's a rookie cop partnered with a straight-laced veteran. I know, I know. But what makes this series so much fun is the location. The series is set in the fictional Jersey shore town of Sea Haven. Jersey Shore aficionados will recognize that this is a portmanteau of Beach Haven and Sea Bright, and it really is a stand in for any number of shore towns along the east coast. There are the restaurants and hotels with terrible beach puns in the name, run-down amusement parks, clueless tourists, a terrible town slogan ("Have a sunny, funderful day!") oh, and lots of murder. The characters are a lot of fun, too, in spite of the cliched set up. John Ceepak is a great lead - ex-army, come back to his home town to work on the force. He takes young, seasonal recruit Danny Boyle under his wing and turns him into a good investigator. It's a fun, breezy series, and quite literally the perfect thing to read at the shore. 

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have! If you have a personal favorite mystery series, let me know in the comments!

Victor Catano lives in New York City with his wonderful wife, Kim, and his adorable pughuaua, Danerys. When not writing, he works in live theater as a stage manager, production manager, and chaos coordinator. His hobbies include coffee, Broadway musicals, and complaining about the NY Mets and Philadelphia Eagles. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @vgcatano and find his books on Amazon

1 comment:

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Holmes on the Range. I've got to read that!

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