Monday, July 21, 2014

Ken Dalton - Brother, can you spare a dime? - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

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.

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.

My Review

I like an author who writes what he knows and pays attention to detail. Ken Dalton is a connoisseur of the human experience. He captures those little tidbits of life that make us laugh, that make us shiver, and holds them up to the light for all of us to enjoy and examine. He picks up on signature personality traits and oddball behavior as well as the sights, smells and sounds of a location that are the things we remember the most about the people we meet and the places we've been. It's the stuff we tell others about when we get back from a trip or how we explain the impression someone makes on us when we encounter someone interesting. It's all about those small, stand out moments that not many writers write about. And that's why I like Ken Dalton.

For me, the plot was secondary. I know that in a murder mystery it should be of the utmost importance, but I had a feeling that Bear and Flo would solve the case for Pinky and every wrong would be righted, so I wasn't too concerned about the outcome. I just liked following them all around the world whether it was from Nevada to North Carolina or from Hawaii to China. I laughed at Bear getting sick of having hushpuppies at every meal in the South while tracking a lead at what seems like a hole in the wall coin shop. I enjoyed soaking in the perfect air temperature with Pinky poolside in Hawaii while he inwardly bemoaned his failed marriage while trying to hit on a bevy of young flight attendants. I admired Flo's knowledge of Buddhist customs and communist history while trying to find one woman in the midst of a billion people. These three proved to be just as enlightening as they are entertaining.

But I was thrilled after finishing BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE A DIME? to read that Ken Dalton traveled to China and even visited Tibet. I loved how he included pictures from his trip in the author's notes at the end of the book. For me, this added such a layer of authenticity to his story and one - as a reader who hasn't seen much of the world - I deeply appreciated. He made me yearn for a glimpse of the sun through the pollution laden air of Beijing. He left me gasping for breath amid the dizzying heights of the Himalayas. He had me cringing at encountering a dried-up bat on a stick. The clash of cultures is vividly portrayed even as our guide, Joe, keeps assuring us that everything is, "five stars, top class, very American" while the stench coming from the public restrooms makes it clear that it's anything but. I have an inkling that Dalton was told much the same thing during his Asian excursion, and nothing makes for great fiction like the stuff of life.


Brother, can you spare a dime? can be purchased at:
Amazon, (personalized inscription and free shipping)

Prices/Formats: $4.99 ebook, $14.95 paperback
Pages: 310
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Release: April 9, 2014
Publisher: Different Drummer Press
ISBN: 9780578140391
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

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?

Links to connect with Ken:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Dear "City Girl":
    Thank you for your excellent review.
    You are correct. I have traveled to China, and Tibet, and North Carolina, and the Kona Coast.
    I spend time in each location, or locations, where I set all of my Pinky and Bear mysteries.
    So if you want to travel to the highlands of Scotland,or exotic Bakersfield, California, be sure to read the four earlier books in the series.
    Ken Dalton
    P. S. Be sure to enter the cliff hanger contest. If you win, I will send you a signed copy of all five books so you can read them all.