Friday, July 18, 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

Sometimes a plot is driven by dialogue. When an author is as pitch perfect as Ken Dalton is with the voice of his characters, it is a pleasure to sit back and enjoy a master at work. Now that he's several books into writing this mystery series, it's clear that he's honed the back and forth banter down to a science. I love how it reads like a screenplay or an off Broadway theater production. I can definitely envision Bear, Pinky and Flo going through their verbal acrobatics onstage, leaving the audience in stitches. What fun that would be!

"The boss came up with a plan that worked? Damn that's a first."
- Bear, talking about Pinky

"The man's IQ is slightly below that of a three-toed sloth."
- Pinky, discussing Bear

"That man is the cheapest person I've ever run across."
- Flo, on Pinky

As you can see, Bear and Flo are firmly in one camp and Pinky's square in the other. It's a classic battle between the haves and the have nots. Pinky's the big shot lawyer with multiple condos and souped up cars. He has expensive tastes, and he doesn't like to share. He likes to lord it over his underlings, but Flo doesn't beg for her and Bear's fair share—she takes it. She makes sure they're booked in business class on long international flights. She finagles her way onto the payroll. She gets Pinky to give them a substantial raise, plus paid time off and benefits by getting Pinky's ex-wife to make them a counteroffer. She's shrewd. Pinky's definitely met his match when it comes to pulling one over on someone, too bad she's already with Bear.

But Bear's a lovable oaf, even if he can be quite dangerous when he gets violent. He's a criminal mastermind in his own right, knowing the ins and outs of security protocol even if he can't operate a computer. He's the muscle you want when facing a shady customer. He has a hilarious tendency to use the wrong vocabulary in a sentence, trying to sound smart, but his loyalty to Flo is tantamount. He'd do anything for her, as she would for him.

And that's the part of the book I liked the best. Pinky might have all of the material goods and trappings of wealth, but he's miserable and alone. He's messed up so many of his marriages, putting his job first that he drowning in regret. He's successful on the outside with a perfect acquittal record, but on the inside he feels like he's made one too many mistakes. He wants one of his ex-wives back, but she won't have him, leaving him with no one to share his good fortune with.

While Bear and Flo know how lucky they are. Flo even says to Bear, "Pinky talks like a gentleman, but he's a lot further from being cultured than you are." I really liked that statement. It shows how astute she is, and I think most readers would readily agree with her. Deep down, Bear is a pretty great guy. He has simple tastes, give him a beer and his Red Sox and he's all set. He comes to her rescue whenever she takes a risk on a case and gets in trouble. But most importantly, he thinks she's the hottest thing in the universe. What woman wouldn't want that?

But the scene that hooked me on these two was the one in their Tibetan hotel room when Bear develops a severe case of altitude sickness. It shows just how much Flo cares about him, and how much he means to her. It was a painful thing for Bear to have to endure, but it's a beautiful chapter that strengthens the bonds of their relationship. I know it made me root for them all the more, and I can't wait to see where Ken Dalton takes them next.


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. Thanks for the review! I'd love to see Bear, Pinky and Flo in an off Broadway show :)

  2. Thank you for your kind words. Let me know if you have any movie, TV or Broadway producers in your back pocket. I would love to see my characters on stage and/or the big screen.

    1. Carol:
      Be sure to enter the cliff hanger contest. I would love to send you the five book set.