K is for Kidnapping

by Peter on June 16, 2013 · 9 comments

photo credit: Eastlaketimes via photopin cc

photo credit: Eastlaketimes via photopin cc

I had to take a sabbatical from the Crime Fiction Alphabet meme but I’m back this week. If you are unfamiliar with CFA, it is a challenge run by Kerrie over at Mysteries in Paradise, so head on there and sign up, or click on some links and read what others have to say. This is my second time at this Karnival (I had to begin with a K!)  and I have chosen to focus on topics related to crime fiction rather than books and/or authors.

K is for Kidnapping

Really, there isn’t much I can add to kidnapping but here are some things to keep in mind when you have a kidnapping in your story

  • Kidnapping is a federal crime so make sure the FBI is involved (if the novel is set in the USA)
  • Kidnapping came under federal jurisdiction after the highly publicized and ultimately tragic Lindbergh Kidnapping.
  • There are many different kinds of kidnapping. Here’s a list that details some of them and the differences between them.
  • Consequently, there are also different charges for kidnapping from First Degree Felony to False Imprisonment  depending on the circumstances, so make sure your court scene reflects that.

And a final bit of trivia: In Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, the victim is also an alleged kidnapper and murderer himself.

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Google Reader Alternatives

by Peter on June 15, 2013 · 2 comments

photo credit: Hamed Saber via photopin cc

photo credit: Hamed Saber via photopin cc

If you haven’t heard already, Google Reader is going offline at the end of June. I have been looking at a few alternatives and here’s what I found:

Feedly – Probably the most popular of the lot. It is very slick but I didn’t like it because it just throws too much stuff at you. I don’t want fancy gadgets and animations and three hundred buttons (Get off my lawn!). That said, Feedly has everything covered, including apps for iOS and Android and all that jazz. However, I read all my feeds on my computer so these aren’t a selling point.Feedly is also “social” and lets you share your stories with friends, kinda like your Facebook Wall. Finally Feedly needs to be installed as an in-browser app.

NewsBlur – The other big player in the market. A lot like Feedly. Has apps for iOS, Android and even Nokia MeeGo. Also Social. Also has too much stuff for me. NewsBlur is only free for upto 64 sites. Any more and you have to pay for it, but they charge you only $2/month. Well worth paying if you enjoy using NewsBlur.

NetVibes – NetVibes is browser based like Google Reader, doesn’t seem to have the extra shiny stuff. It also has an iGoogle like homepage that you may like if you ever used iGoogle (remember that?). I haven’t used NetVibes but I have heard good things about them.

theoldreader – This is what I use currently. It preserves a lot of the look and feel of Google Reader. Simple and straightforward. Perfect for an old fart like me.

If you want to learn more or figure out how to migrate your feeds over from Google Reader, there is a LifeHacker article that can help you out.

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Mirror, Mirror

by Peter on June 12, 2013 · 2 comments

Today I’m starting on my next book tentatively titled Mirror, Mirror. This will be book 2 in the Dieter Fox series. Right now I’ll still revising the plot but I hope to start writing early next week. I’m hoping for a full length novel (~60,000 words) and a November release. We’ll see how that works out.

As far as updates about the book, there is now a brand new progress bar on the right of the blog that I’ll keep updated (hopefully).

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New Cover for The Natural Victim

by Peter on June 10, 2013 · 2 comments

New cover for the book. I love the brighter colors, the new font and the series title on the toe tag. What do you think?

The Natural Victim cover 2

 

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Reviews of The Natural Victim

by Peter on June 9, 2013 · 0 comments

photo credit: thebarrowboy via photopin cc

photo credit: thebarrowboy via photopin cc

The Natural Victim now has a review each on Goodreads and Amazon, and since these are my first reviews ever, I’m going to post them on here. A huge thanks to both my reviewers. It’s often a gamble reading a book with no reviews especially one written by a new author. I’m thankful these folks did it and, more importantly, stuck around to write a review.

Goodreads (4/5 stars)

The only reason I picked up this book was because of the Agatha-Christie like vibe. Call me old-fashioned, but the new age murder-mysteries have all been revolutionized by the leaps and bounds taken in science. While it’s all very well to see on TV –who doesn’t like glowing, spinning, green images of a reconstructed bullet?– I prefer my crime books to be about people: detective, victims, suspects and their motivations.

The author, Peter Reynard, spins a compelling mystery which does exactly that. Sure his detective isn’t a groundbreaking fellow, with groundbreaking ideas, and sure the sidekick follows the cliche to fault, but the story is interesting enough to bring out the best in them and put aside all worries of being a rehash of famous works.

Besides, there’s a reason a formula became a formula in the first place.

A quick read, The Natural Victim, ticks all the check boxes for me. I had a lot of fun reading this book, (did it one sitting in fact) and even tried my hand at solving the case. The clues are all there, the puzzles sufficiently puzzling, and the characters ask the right questions without feeling too scripted.

This reads like an honest man’s account of following a realistic murder and is keeps you hooked all the way. It’s simple but not boring, formulaic, but not predictable. This is a murder mystery through and through – nothing more, nothing less. Don’t go into it expecting epiphanies about the human psyche, or social commentary on violence, because you’re not going to get that.

You’ll get a lovely story, and really, sometimes, that’s exactly what you need.

Amazon (5/5 stars)

This effort pretty easily stacks against some of the mainstream mystery novels, except for the length. I read it in one sitting, and I imagine it could be read in an hour or two. However, the nice thing is that I didn’t want to put it down at all, for that entire 2 hours. Really entertaining, and a fresh take on the whole Sherlock type of character without making him out like a super genius. It’s refreshing to read a mystery that you can actually put the pieces together on your own.

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