The 11:05 Murders Book Review

Set in Northern Ireland, with an immediate sense of the tensions and politics unique to the region established by the author, the story opens with a brutal rape in the prologue then quickly gets down to business with the first gruesome murder for police to solve.

O’Hare introduces us to a remarkable character, Woman Detective Sergeant Denise Stewart. Throughout the story, more of her personality and background are gradually revealed. We start out knowing she has sworn off men, although plenty keep eyeing her because she’s rather attractive, and we know she is a straight shooter, having turned in a superior for corruption. As time moves on and the investigation continues, we follow some interesting plot lines revolving around her.

The tale is well written, with snappy dialogue, filled with Briticisms that will delight American readers. Characters have strong traits and interesting quirks like Sheehan’s sciatica and another detective’s stutter.

The1105Murders

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The Empathic Detective Mystery Thriller

The Empathic Detective: A Mystery Thriller is a cross-genre science fiction detective thriller. In the near future, an empath named Gerald Bryce serves as a police detective in Austin, Texas. He works in homicide and is the best detective on the force, using his powers to find and arrest the bad guys.

But his latest suspect is also an empath. Not only that, she is far more powerful than he is. She can control the emotions of others, influencing them to do things for her. When he arrests her for the murder of her husband, she starts sending people out to get him.

Unbeknownst to the two of them, higher powers are watching. The feds and foreign police agencies get involved, along with the Russian mob, as the city becomes a psychic battleground.

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Kalibrgun Ocelot Review

I was pleased to be able to recently obtain a KalibrGun Ocelot from the good people at Wild West Airguns. KalibrGun is a Czech Republic airgun company well known for their highly regarded Cricket bullpup and carbine airguns, and the Colibri Hummingbird mini-bullpup. As an owner of all three, I was very interested in the Ocelot, a pistol offered along the famous lines of KalibrGun quality and reliability.

Steve at Wild West Airguns sent a cordial e-mail concerning the availability of the KG-300 KalibrGun Ocelot Pistol for $995.00 plus $16.00 shipping back in September. After sending the funds, the new Czech pistol arrived at my door a few days later.ocelot3

Why pistols?
Since the widespread availability and affordability of pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) airguns in the United States, helped in large part by Crosman’s decision to produce the Benjamin Discovery and later the Marauder to domestic buyers, interest has grown among aficionados for ever more compact PCPs. (Disclosure: if you click on the Amazon links and order something, they send me a small percentage of the sale.)

Crosman finally came out with their own version of the Marauder pistol, however it seems to be essentially a carbine version of the Marauder (I own one). The biggest knock critics have is, it’s very big for a pistol.

So, the search continues for a compact, pistol-sized and weighted PCP that can be used at the range or while hunting, offering the performance capabilities of a PCP airgun in a lightweight and compact package. The Ocelot fulfills many of those requirements.

The Ocelot First Look
Upon receiving my delivery from WWAG, I was pleased to note the Ocelot came in its own padded hardcase. The case is very nice, of high professionally made quality, and will not be tossed aside. I keep the Ocelot in the case, although I’ve thrown in a couple of dehumidification packets. Also included were the fill probe and a couple replacement O-rings.ocelot1The .22 caliber Ocelot I bought has a relatively small fill tube, which is to be expected for a pistol. The probe is inserted after pulling the end cap up, revealing the probe entry. The air gauge is at the end of the tube, as is common with European PCPs. It goes up to 350 bar.

To load, one cocks the hammer back and thumbs the release to the left side of the gun. The chamber cover then is moved to the left, revealing the loading port. It’s a single shot mechanism, there are no magazines or bolts to work. Once a pellet is pressed flush into the barrel, the chamber cover is pushed back to the right and the pistol is ready to fire. ocelot4

The trigger is very nice. Not too sensitive, and certainly not too loose. If you like the triggers on KalibrGun’s bullpups, you’ll like the one on the Ocelot.

Noise is acceptable for most backyard use, in my opinion. Certainly it is not overly loud. No hearing protection is needed.

Things I liked
The size and weight of this pistol is great. Accuracy and quality of manufacturing is top notch. I enjoy shooting it more than any other airgun pistol I currently own. I particularly like the grips, which are fitted from the factory for right handed shooters. Other pistols I own, like the IZH 46M, do not come with decent grips, and people often send them off to be fitted or try to do it themselves.

Things I didn’t like
Loading is a little cumbersome. I have not enjoyed KalibrGun’s persnickety magazines on their bullpups and carbines, although that has not been a deal breaker for me. Since the Ocelot pistol dismissed with magazines, one would think it might provide a better experience loading. But, loading the Ocelot is not an exceptionally enjoyable experience. I have to admit, though, it gets the job done.

It’s not a terribly difficult experience. It’s just a fact of life that preparing a pellet to travel this fast from a small package will require some finger manipulation before shooting, and that’s going to be true regardless of the brand of airgun you choose.

Conclusion
Well worth the money, and it’s my favorite airgun pistol at the moment.

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ProChrono Digital Chronograph Review

ProChrono

I needed a chronograph to use in testing my airguns. Chronographs are handy for airgunners for a variety of reasons. Here are some of them:

Knowing an airgun’s pellet speed lets you compare between models. It helps when tuning a gun, trying to attain a consistent maximum or minimum pellet velocity. It lets you know performance in a pre-charged pneumatic model as the air pressure goes down over a shot string. Finally, it helps you troubleshoot guns, and keep comparison stats of an airgun’s performance over time.

So, off to Amazon I went in search of a new Chrony. I settled on the ProChrono Digital Chronograph from Competition Electronics. Full disclosure: if you buy the model off Amazon by clicking on a link in this review, Amazon will send me a small percentage of the sale price.

Among the buying options on Amazon, I decided on the Bluetooth bundle. My reasoning was simple. I wanted a wireless printout and recording of the shot strings, so I was going to get the Bluetooth unit anyway. But the bundle was cheaper at the time I purchased it, rather than buying the chrony and the wireless adapter separately. So, that’s the route I took.

Installing the guide rods couldn’t be easier. Four metal rods were included, and they simply slipped into holes on top of the unit, forming to Vs to shoot through. Diffuser hoods were included to help on particularly sunny days, but I didn’t install them yet.

You could opt to set the unit up on a table in front of your shooting spot, at or about the same height you are shooting. I chose to mount the unit on an old tripod I had lying around.

The unit records shot velocities in its internal memory. It can handle 9 strings of 99 shots each. You don’t have to shoot 99 shots in a string, you can change to a new string by pressing the “String Change” button. Say you had a PCP rifle and you figure you can get 40 good shots before the air pressure drops too much. You could run 10 shots from fully charged, change the shot string and note how much air you have left, shoot 10 more times, and repeat. In this way, you could see how the lower air pressure affects the speed of your pellets.

Next I turned to the Digital Link Bluetooth Adapter for the ProChrono Digital Chronograph. The unit requires 3 AAA batteries, and plugs into a port on the side of the chrony. It also comes with a Velcro strap, and four rubber feet to attach to the bottom of the chrony, so that if you have it set on a table the strap won’t affect the level.

I downloaded the free app for the unit. You have to search for “Digital Link” in the appstore, and look for the app by Competition Electronics. The chrony and the Bluetooth adapter quickly synced with one another once the app was downloaded and installed on my phone. Make sure Bluetooth is activated on your phone.

Digital Link

I set my tripod up outside, grabbed a springer and some pellets and fired off a shot … and nothing happened. The chrony read “0.” I tried again, and nothing happened. After the third or fourth shot I figured because it was sunny outside, maybe the diffuser hoods were needed after all. They simply attached to the top of the guide rods. I shot another round, and voila! A reading of 915 feet per second showed up on the display.

I decided to do a quick comparison of the speeds for some .177 caliber Crosman Premier Hollow Points with some Crosman lead free Silver Eagle Hollow Points, and fired off a quick few rounds of the former. Then, I simply pressed the “String Change” button on the face of the ProChrono, and fired off several of the lead free pellets.

As expected, the lead free pellets were much faster than the heavier lead pellets. The lead free pellets “cracked” the air as they broke the sound barrier.

Heading back inside, I checked my phone for the wireless transfer of data. Alas, I discovered that in order for the phone app to start recording data, you first need to create a shot list. So, I named a shot list, and started filling in the requested details, the first of which was a name for the shot list.

Digital Link

There were spaces for notes, temperature, barometric pressure, US or metric measurements, and bullet weight in grains. I gave a quick name, and assured that now my data would be stored on the phone, I went back outside to shoot some more. This time, I only shot 3 of each pellet, although on my last shot of the lead free pellets, I noticed I’d loaded a poorly shaped pellet. The first two shot at 1283 and 1246 fps, respectively, but this one shot at a comparatively paltry 1084 fps.

Since this was an anomaly, I decided to delete the results, so I used the “Delete Shot” button on the face of the chrony. However, when I got back to my phone, I noted the shot was not deleted on the app, and remained in its data.

I was able to go back in and delete the shot off the phone, later. I simply pressed on the offending shot, and the app gave me the option to delete. But, deleting from the chrony did not automatically delete it from the app.

Also, the app did not automatically sort my shot strings. It threw all 6 shots into one data file. You have to manually start a new shot string on the app as well as pushing the button on the chrony.

Neither one of those are deal breakers, and the extra computing power is probably not worth the expense, but it’s worth noting. So, my first shot strings were separate on the chrony, but not on the app, and that’s something you should be aware of starting out.

A neat thing about the app is it will flash the shot’s fps in big numbers on your phone’s screen. Since the LED display on the chrony is not lighted, I could see this being useful.

So now I wanted to get the data to a computer in order to look at it and maybe print it out. The app lets you share the data in either text format, CSV spreadsheet format, or in pdf as a full summary. You can e-mail the data to yourself, beam it by Bluetooth or wifi to a compatible printer if you have that set up, or store it in the cloud.

The app also makes a neat little chart of your shot string. But, it is not included to share in the text data. You have to go an extra step and choose to share it, as well.

Overall I give both the chrony and the Bluetooth adapter five stars. Despite my missteps and early trial and error, once I got the units configured properly, they worked flawlessly. Despite the fact deletions on the unit don’t transmit to the app, I found the app easy and useful and worth the extra money. My biggest gripe with the app is it can’t automatically tell when you are starting a new shot string, and you have to tell both the chrony and the app you are starting a new one. But, that’s a minor detail and not a deal breaker.

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Introducing Ed Bok’s Airgun Reviews

Today I’m introducing a new blog called Ed Bok’s Airgun Reviews.

With the continued success of my book, Collecting Firearms for Fun & Profit, I’m in the beginning stages of considering to write a new one focused on airguns.

Airguns are a huge industry, and offer an entry into the shooting sports otherwise denied to city dwellers and those living where firearms are otherwise restricted. A wide variety are available, from sub-$100 models using spring power, to more advanced models perhaps using CO2 or specialized pistons, to more expensive models ranging to hundreds or even thousands of dollars, many of which use high pressure air.

In this blog, I hope to review a number of airguns and related items. My goal is to review them straight out of the box in most cases, much as you the consumer would find the items if you were to purchase them yourself. I’ll give my honest opinions, and hope to provide enough information to help you make informed purchases.

Ed Bok, October 2015

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Secrets to Etsy Success

I’m happy to offer a new book on seller secrets for Etsy. How to make money on Etsy, or how to make more money if you’re already using Etsy, is the focus of this little book. It’s quick and to the point, with little in the way of clutter. Here’s the Amazon blurb:

Quick and to the point, this little book on Etsy offers several ideas and sources of inspiration to help your handcrafted items business grow. It’s a quick and useful Etsy guide for new and old sellers alike.

Some sellers have turned their Etsy business dreams into reality. Some make thousands of dollars a month on the site. How do they do it? This mini-book looks into real world strategies and examples for gaining more sales from your shop and experiencing Etsy selling success.

For Etsy marketing, this mini-book offers an introduction to harnessing the power of social media, SEO, as well as your own websites, along with ideas for real world promotions and sourcing materials.

A quick read and a fair price, this mini-book offers several tips and practical solutions for those seeking to start an Etsy business for beginners, or those with an established Etsy shop.

Selling on Etsy doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark. Follow the tips in this mini-book for better results.

We plan to always offer this book at a discount. Download your copy today.

 

etsy

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Exciting new young adult science fiction cyberpunk thrillers

It’s been an exciting time here at EDBOK. We have two new books from author Jaxon Reed to tell you about. The first is his debut book, Redwood: Servant of the State.

Young Servant of the State Marcus Savitch lives on Redwood, a restricted outer planet in the Janus String where humans are confined to one isolated city. Extraordinarily bright, a computer hacker and spaceship pilot, Marcus holds a dark secret. Afflicted with hematophagia, a forbidden condition compelling him to feed on blood, he lives in constant fear of eradication by the State. When his secret is exposed, he escapes and heads toward the giant trees at Redwood’s center. There, despite restrictions, a team of specialists from New Texas has been conducting clandestine research for decades on the mysterious creatures living deep in the forest. When revolution erupts on the outer planets, Marcus finds himself going back to the city he escaped from, this time with a small army at his side.

His second book is even better! It is Redwood: Twelver.

In this exciting sequel to Redwood: Servant of the State, Marcus and his friends who survived the Battle of Redwood have moved to the planet of New Texas to attend New Texas A&M University. Fame and popularity lead to problems with privacy and the paparazzi. Even worse, terrorist forces for the State still plague the planet, and more of their attacks seem to be centered around Marcus and Dee Dee.

A secret society, known only as 12, reaches out to help, inviting them into a hidden world of mystery and intrigue. Soon they uncover pieces of Dee Dee’s past, and find the State has one final secret connecting New Texas with Old Earth, and a plan to end the University Revolution once and for all.

Finally, he has both volumes in one book, Redwood Planet, available for a limited time at one low price.

Grab a copy of one or both today!

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The Parable of the Fisherman and the Golden Fish

A fisherman and his wife lived in an old dirty hut alongside a lake in Bavaria. Every day the fisherman went out to the lake and every day he returned with his catch.

One day, the fisherman’s net caught a golden fish. The fish spoke to him and said, “If you throw me back, I will grant you any wish you desire.”

The fisherman thought about it, and being of simple means he could think of no want, so he let the fish go.

Upon returning to the dirty old hut that night, he told the tale to his wife.

“You should have asked him for a nice cottage,” she said. “I would love to move out of this filthy hovel.”

So the next morning, the fisherman approached the lake and called out for the fish. The water bubbled and the fish surfaced. It asked, “What do you want?”

“It’s not for me, but my wife. She would like a nice cottage to live in.”

“Your wish is granted. Go home and see.”

The fisherman returned home, and sure enough their filthy hut was replaced with a nice cottage.

The next morning his wife said, “Go back and ask that fish for another wish. I want to be the Princess of Bavaria and live in a fine castle!”

The fisherman said, “Oh no, wife. That is too much. Do not make me ask the golden fish for such a thing. Let us be happy in our nice cottage by the lake.”

But his wife insisted and persisted, and eventually he agreed to ask the golden fish for this wish.

He went down to the lake, and the water was choppy. He called for the fish and its head appeared above water. It said, “What do you want?”

“It’s not for me, but my wife. She wishes to become Princess of Bavaria and live in a fine castle.”

“Your wish is granted. Go home and see.”

The fisherman returned home, and sure enough the cottage was replaced with a castle. There were battlements and guard towers and soldiers all around. His wife greeted him splendidly dressed as a princess.

The next morning his wife said, “Go back and ask that fish for another wish. I want to be Empress of Prussia and live in a grand palace!”

The fisherman said, “Oh no, wife. That is too much. Do not make me ask the golden fish for such a thing. Let us be happy in our Bavarian castle.”

But his wife insisted and persisted, and eventually he agreed to ask the golden fish for this wish.

He went down to the lake, and the water was boiling and turbulent. He called for the fish and its head appeared above water. It said, “What do you want?”

“It’s not for me, but my wife. She wishes to become Empress of Prussia and live in a grand palace.”

“Your wish is granted. Go home and see.”

The fisherman returned home, and sure enough the castle was replaced with a grand palace. It was larger, with more soldiers, more battlements, and more guard towers.

He went in to see his wife and said, “Surely you are happy now. There is nothing greater than being the Empress of Prussia, and no palace greater for you to live in.”

She said, “We shall see. I want to sleep on it and discuss it on the morrow.”

In the morning, she roused the fisherman and said, “Go back and ask that fish for another wish. I want to be the Pope, and live in the grandest palace of all.”

The fisherman said, “Oh no, wife. That is too much. Do not make me ask the golden fish for such a thing.”

She said, “Why not?”

“Well, for one thing, they only let men become popes.”

But his wife insisted and persisted. He said, “Let us be happy in our Prussian palace!”

But she said, “I want to become like God, and order Nature to do my bidding, and tell the sun and moon when to rise and command the stars in the sky above!”

She extolled and cajoled, and eventually he agreed to ask the golden fish for this wish.

He went down to the lake, and the water was dark and roiling. He called for the fish and its head appeared above water. It said, “What do you want?”

“It’s not for me, but my wife. She wants to become like God.”

“Go home. She is sitting in your filthy old hut.”

So the fisherman returned home, and all was as before. He and his wife cleaned the old hut, and lived out their days in peace.

 

Adapted from “Von dem Fischer und syner Fru,” (“The Fisherman and His Wife”), in Kinder – und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales, aka Grimms’ Fairy Tales), No. 19. Published 1857.

Resources:
http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm019.html
http://www.yankeeweb.com/library/storytime/grimmbros/grimmbros_19.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_the_Fisherman_and_the_Fish http://www.storynory.com/2006/08/27/the-golden-fish/


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An Author’s Guide to Horse Riding

For those who’ve never been on a horse, here are a handful of things to keep in mind before writing.

Horses are traditionally mounted on the left. This would be the horse’s left side. If you are standing behind a horse, it would be on your left, and if you are standing in front of the horse, it would be on your right.

English saddles typically won’t have a horn for roping cattle like Western saddles, but there are exceptions. Also, when riding English style, the reins are carried in one hand. While riding Western style, they are carried in two hands.

Horses are measured by height in “hands.” This has been standardized to four inches, rather than using actual hands which vary in size from person to person.

Beyond walking, horses may trot, canter, or gallop, with canter being the middle gait. Here’s the Wikipedia entry for it if you’re still unclear on the concept.

In order to ride well, a rider needs to learn how to move with the horse. Keeping ones body in sync with the horse’s gate will help one avoid becoming “saddle sore.”

The term “horsepower” came from a need to compare the energy produced by Watt’s steam engines to that of draft horses.

The American quarter horse is the most common one in movies, rodeos, and ranches. Thoroughbred horses are used for racing, while mustangs are often feral and free roaming in the western US.

Additional reading:
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/horse/
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/horses/introduction/3153/
Complete Horse Riding Manual
How to Think Like a Horse

 


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The 99¢ Book Review Blog

With all the changes to the site and all the new blogs, I should leave a post here to explain the 99¢ Book Review. Not all books reviewed cost 99¢, even though that lowest price for Amazon e-books was the inspiration for naming the blog. In fact, I don’t think any of the books so far reviewed have been priced that low. Nonetheless, I like the name so we’re keeping it. Hope you enjoy.

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