Thursday, July 24, 2014

Searching for Spare Change w/ Ken Dalton

It's welcome back time here at the blog!

Author Ken Dalton has written a hilarious series of books - the Pinky and Bear Mysteries - that I've had the pleasure of reading and reviewing.  When the Tribute Books call went out for his latest offering, I immediately chimed in and claimed a spot on his blog tour.  It's always nice to revisit fun and enjoyable characters and read the sharp wit with which Ken writes them.

And this time you, dear readers, can help determine the outcome of the cliffhanger at the end of Brother, can you spare a dime? - but you've got to read it first.

Cliff hanger contest:
Brother, can you spare a dime? ends with a prize winning cliff hanger that defies all logic.

Let Ken know how you would answer the question and he will choose the two answers he likes the best.  Both winners will receive a complete paperback set of his Pinky and Bear mystery series.

The Bloody Birthright
The Big Show Stopper
Death is a Cabernet
The Tartan Shroud
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Five books, each one personally inscribed!

Email your cliff hanger answer to and in a couple of months Ken will post the winners' names on his Facebook page.

So now that we've got this little contest to whet your appetite, let's move onto the novel, shall we?

Book Summary:
Bear’s planned afternoon of beer and baseball is interrupted by a phone call from a man he hardly remembers from their years at Elko High. So begins the tale of a cold-blooded murder and the theft of a dime worth two million dollars!

Faced with bi-coastal murder suspects, Pinky hands Bear, and Flo the sweaty task of tracking down one of the suspects along the hot, humid North Carolina shoreline while he chooses to pursue the other on the Kona coast of Hawaii. But Pinky, after imbibing too many Mai Tai’s with a bevy of sky-goddesses, and a moved-up court date, is forced to return to Carson City, sans suspect.

Bear and Flo hit pay dirt and with the identity of the killer in hand they fly across the Pacific Ocean to the smoggy Beijing airport where they meet Joe, the uncle of Pinky’s Chinese secretary. The enigmatic Joe quotes Confucius and Shakespeare as he purposefully guides the dynamic duo to their final destination— oxygen sparse Lhasa, Tibet.

My Review:
Like I said before, it's always nice to revisit familiar characters I've grown to love.  We've got J. Pincus Delmont - or Pinky - that narcissistic, blowhard of a lawyer or enjoys nothing more than fleecing his clients in order to afford his favorite blend of expensive coffees.  Then there's Bear, the loveable oaf of brawn and little brain who likes nothing more than beer, baseball and staring at Flo's boobs.

Who's Flo you ask?  She's the feminine side of the dynamic duo with the smart-as-a-whip mind and equally smart and acerbic tongue to go with it.  Flo is the love of Bear's life and the bane of Pinky's existence.  She's a force to be reckoned with because only she can slip greenbacks out of Pinky's tight fist faster than a Midwestern tornado.

And in this book, Flo is given some major page time.

Which did make this story feel a bit different from the prior novels in the series.  The mystery really isn't a mystery that has to be solved but more of a chase as they cross the globe to bring the assailant back and save Pinky's client - and Pinky's perfect acquittal record.

But it's still a ride worth every second.

Once again, Bear's perfect afternoon of watching his beloved Red Sox while Flo is spending a day at the spa is interrupted by a murder.  An old high school chum calls to beg help after visiting his coin collector brother only to discover a bullet through said brother's brain.  The news gets worse when the chum admits to touching the gun, stepping in the blood, and leaving all sorts of forensic evidence all over the crime scene.

Oh, and there's a dime missing.  Not just any dime.  A rare dime.  A very rare dime.  A dime so rare it's worth two million dollars.

At that price, it's well worth Pinky's time to take on a new client, even though the interruption just put a damper on Pinky's lunch with Willow, his favorite ex-wife and Carson City's District Attorney.  With the DA nearby, just speak in hypothetical terms, please and thank you, until the brother is officially a suspect.

Brother captured, Pinky, Bear, and Flo jet set across the fruited plain to track down two possible suspects to protect Pinky's precious reputation and record.  But Willow throws a wrench into Pinky's plans and forces him to return from Hawaii, providing Bear and Flo carte blanche to take a little vacay from North Carolina to Hawaii then China and Tibet, with Pinky yelling along the way about the cost of business class.

Will they capture the real criminal in time, or will Bear die first from oxygen deprivation among the ridiculously high altitude of Tibet?  And when will Pinky ever be able to keep a legal secretary longer than a week?

The back and forth among the characters is always the best fun when reading a Pinky and Bear novel.  It was also nice to see Flo actually get a point-of-view scene when Bear took a nasty turn in Tibet.  But as I said before, this novel did feel a bit different from the priors in the series due to the focus shifting more toward Bear and Flo and not as much with the haughty Pinky.  There was really no mystery to solve either, but the globe-trotting to China and Tibet was amazing - especially with the fact that Ken Dalton wrote these scenes from personal experience.  Can I have an oxygen mask please (and not just for Tibet)?

 One thing I also appreciate going into a book by an author I've previously read is that Ken knows proper structure when it comes to showing vs. telling and proper point-of-view delineation.  The only thing negative I'd say is that this novel had quite a few more editing errors than I'm used to seeing in this series, but these could easily be fixed in later editions.

Once again, thumbs up on a job well-done in this latest installment of the Pinky and Bear Mysteries.  Now if I can just figure out how the cliffhanger should continue in the next release.  Hmmm...

Prices/Formats: $4.99 ebook, $14.95 paperback
Pages: 310
ISBN: 9780578140391
Publisher: Different Drummer Press
Release: April 9, 2014

Kindle buy link ($4.99):

Amazon paperback buy link ($14.95): paperback buy link ($14.95):
personalized inscription and free shipping

Author Bio:
Ken was born in 1938 at Hollywood Hospital. He grew up in Los Angeles with his parents, his older sister
and younger brother.

In a turn of bad luck, the dreaded Polio virus attacked Ken at the age of five. By the age of sixteen, after eleven years of operations, therapy, and braces to mitigate the effects of Polio, Ken’s luck changed when he met the girl of his dreams. A few years later they married, produced three wonderful children, and settled into a happy life in Southern California.

In 1966, Ken and his family moved to the green hills of Sonoma County where they bought a home surrounded with apple trees.

Some time later, Ken, designed, built, and operated a small winery that produced award winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Then, in a moment of madness, Ken began writing. His first article was published in Golf Illustrated. Many more golf articles followed in national and regional magazines including Golf Magazine and Fairways and Greens. Eventually Ken felt the urge to write his first novel.

Now, after the publication of The Bloody Birthright, The Big Show Stopper, Death is a Cabernet, and The Tartan Shroud, Ken has published his latest Pinky and Bear mystery, Brother, can you spare a dime?

Follow the Tribute Books blog tour:

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  1. Dear D A:
    Thanks for your kind words. I love that you picked up Flo has more "screen time" this book. She is a very complex woman and that makes writing her scenes with both Bear and Pinky a lot of fun.
    And thanks for entering the cliff hanger contest. Good luck

    1. Ken,

      That was great getting to be in Flo's head a little bit. Thanks for that moment. :-) I'm looking forward to the next release now.

  2. I'm with you, D A! Ken wrote those Tibetan scenes so realistically they left me gasping for breath too :) Thanks so much for continuing along with these characters and for another wonderful review!

    1. I know, right? I found myself almost holding my breath once! Thanks for allowing me to participate in Ken's tour.