Before he became a mystery writer and reviewer, Brookins was a counselor and faculty member at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has reviewed mystery fiction for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press and for Mystery Scene Magazine. His reviews now appear on his own web site, on more than a dozen blogs and on several Internet review sites, Brookins is an avid recreational sailor and has sailed in many locations across the world. He is a member of Sisters in Crime, and Private Eye Writers of America. He can frequently be found touring bookstores and libraries with his companions-in-crime, The Minnesota Crime Wave. He writes the sailing adventure series featuring Michael Tanner and Mary Whitney, the Sean Sean private investigator detective series, and the Jack Marston academic series. He lives with his wife Jean of many years, in Roseville, Minnesota.
Where to find Carl Brookins online
Where to buy in print
The Inside Passage
Murder, love, loss, adventure on the high seas, and struggles for redemption mark Michael Tanner's journey.
A short story about a short detective, Sean NMI Sean, and his adventure chasing a drug-smuggling murderer through the horse barn at the great Minnesota State Fair.
The Case of the Stolen Case
Flipping! Foreclosures! Construction scams! Diminutive detective Sean NMI Sean takes on a roving band of thieves and murderers who come to town hoping to cash in on a variety of real estate scams. With tongue in cheek and gat in hand Sean is up to the task.
Mary Whitney and Tanner embark on a romantic sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands. During a quick swim off their chartered boat, Tanner finds three hundred dollar bills. Contact with the authorities leads to murder and a tense search for millions of missing dollars. Tanner is kidnapped, sending Mary on a frantic quest to save both Tanner and herself.
Daddy's Little Girl
College administrator Jack Marston (BLOODY HALLS) gets more than he bargained for when he responds to entreaties from a student's father. Upon entering the woman's apartment, he finds a distraught man and a dead body sprawled on the floor.
Winthrop was never meant to live ashore. When the barmaid he was seeing flirted with another guy there was a small dustup over her attentions. win knew if he didn't get to sea, at least for a while, he'd be in trouble. So he sailed off onto the Inside Passage alone, never dreaming this night would never end.
The Case of the Great Train Robbery
Diminutive P.I. Sean Sean is attacked in a suburban back yard when he unearths an old stash of cash and a weapon. Trying to discover the source of the money, Sean is led on a dangerous trail of conspiracy, corruption and long-delayed justice. Loosely based on a ninety-year-old Railway Express train heist in South Saint Paul, Minnesota.
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Smashwords book reviews by Carl Brookins
- Motherly Love
on June 23, 2010
Crisply written, this gem of a story would make a great mother's day gift, especially for those of us who are sure there are a lot of unanswered questions about our universe!
- Danger in Deer Ridge
on Sep. 24, 2011
I liked this novel a lot. Sure, there's a big fat coincidence early on, but these things happen in real life, so why not in our fiction as well. After enduring a really nasty abusive relationship with her husband for far too long, Elizabeth moves out with her son and goes deep underground. Readers will experience her terror at making a mistake and being found. And there's more at stake than "just" the lives of her son and herself. A nice job of building both a positive relationship and Elizabeth's growing apprehension as her husband draws closer.
- Pun-ishing Tales: The Stuff That Groans Are Made On
on Nov. 09, 2011
I don't do puns. I don't even like them all that much, especially when they appear in book titles. I was provoked, or challenged to read this one by the author. So I did.
Have you read Aesop's Fables? This volume is sort of like that, although maybe without quite as much depth or significance. It's a group of short or very short stories, many involved with crimes, including the crime of punning. I laughed as some, groaned at others. There are good puns and not so good puns or plays on words here. It's fun and worth every penny.
- Assignment: Nepal
on Dec. 28, 2011
Readers of this review should be aware that this press has published some of my crime fiction and I am acquainted with the publisher, though not with the two authors writing under a single pseudonym.
The protagonist is named Irene Adler. Not the woman who beat Sherlock Holmes at his own game, her modern namesake, a Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology at Boston University. Adler has a demi-cynical outlook on life and it turns out she supplements her income by playing poker; specifically Texas Holdem in the gambling parlors around the New England area. Irene Adler is a bright, smart, single woman, an endearing protagonist.
Her former advisor, a fellow faculty member, prevails on Ms. Adler to travel to Nepal to inquire into the life and times of a former fellow undergraduate student of Irene’s, a Margot Smith, who’s in Nepal doing research on one of that country’s goddesses, one Chwwaassa Dyo. The problem is that there appears to something awry with Margot and her physician husband and Adler is supposed to sort things out. What needs sorting turns out to be only part of the story. Irene agrees to go half-way around the world to see a woman she barely knows. From this most unlikely beginning, the plot drives poor Adler into one complexity after another.
Her assignment clearly has unstated dimensions about which neither we readers nor Irene Adler herself are clear. Now, Nepal is an exotic nation from which assaults on Mount Everest are mounted and the ubiquitous Sherpa play an important part, as do digital cameras, former Cold War adversaries, political unrest in the country, and a whole series of meddlesome individuals who seem to still show up on the fringes of the former English Empire.
The novel winds its way through a variety of conflicts among wanderers, a boorish American tourist couple, and murder and bomb blasts. At times the narrative suffers from a pedestrian pace and some lapses of editing discipline over the point of view. Still, the story is interesting, Irene is definitely a character to build a series around, the exotic setting in and around Katmandu is, well, exotic, and a satisfactory conclusion is fashioned. I think four stars in too strong a rating, but the novel is more enjoyable than three stars would indicate. Sample the novel and make your own judgment.
- Fatal Catch
on Aug. 11, 2012
In 1963, a ten—year-old girl named Missy Canfield, the narrator of this interesting tale, is confronted by one of the worst calamities imaginable. Her beloved father, Daniel, has been killed in an automobile crash. She is living in a small community somewhere in the central part of the United States. It doesn’t matter exactly where. It is universal small town America and the family is solidly rooted in all that implies, including a very marginal income. The children wear hand-me-downs, Missy’s surviving parent is a woman of questionable moral virtues, yet she works hard, clearly loves her children and struggles to meet her obligations to her family.
Wise beyond her years, readers will quickly become enamored of this child and her siblings. Her observations of the parade of “uncles” who take up temporary residence in the family, her “take” on ordinary family gatherings, by turns trenchant and naïve, propel the story forward in a way that almost requires we continue to read. A sense of foreboding permeates the atmosphere almost from the very first page and that foreboding grows.
Yes, there is murder, yes there is domestic violence, and menace toward the children and yet through adroit maneuvering there is a sense that the family will persevere. This novel is amazingly middle American in almost every sense. For all its occasional shifty flaws, the narrator is so endearing most readers will come away saying, she got it right. That’s really the way it was in those times. That’s who we were. There is not much more a writer can ask.