Good reviews, elves fill workshop shelves

good reviews continue for Chicago's Designs Good reviews continue to arrive for Chicago’s Designs,  the latest two from authoritative sources, encouraging our elves to keep the benefits flowing from the Greenskills workshop.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review, Oregon, Wisc., wrote:

A deftly scripted mystery with more unexpected twists and unanticipated turns than a Disney Land roller coaster, “Chicago’s Designs” is a compulsively compelling read from cover to cover. While especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Contemporary Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated mystery buffs that “Chicago’s Designs” is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

On Sunday, Nov. 24th,  fine feature article appeared in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, authored by none other than  military expert and mystery fan and veteran reporter, Harry Levins:

St. Louisans moonlight as thriller writers with new books

“Chicago’s Designs”, A novel by Peter H. Green

Architect Peter H. Green of University City occasionally sets aside his drawing board to turn to his keyboard as a mystery novelist. His continuing hero is — surprise! — a St. Louis-based architect, Patrick MacKenna.

But “Chicago’s Designs” finds a younger MacKenna based in Chicago. In this prequel, MacKenna stumbles onto a murder case in which the victim is a lawyer — and the killer may well hold mob membership.

That proves problematic for the young MacKenna. To begin with, he’s dating the daughter of a longtime mobster — and now, the mobster himself wants young MacKenna as the architect for a posh casino and resort the mobster wants to erect in a scenic rural area. To complicate matters, MacKenna finds himself cooling to the mobster’s daughter while warming to a young Irish woman newly arrived in America.

Green draws on his own experience to give readers some insight into an architect’s mind. A sample:

“You only have fun during that small percentage of your time when you’re designing — in the zone, your imagination free to invent a place as it might be, if you had enough money in the budget. And at every step you risk a lawsuit, angry clients or worse. Building failures, cost overruns or injuries to clients, workmen, or yourself. You don’t get rich, you don’t have much fun and you could even end up broke, hurt or dead.

“Every other month you wonder if there isn’t some easier way to make a living. Then your phone rings, someone shows up at the door and there stands a new face with a new problem, a new unmet need and a little bit of money.”

Alas, the author uses adjectives with the same heavy hand that led Victorian-era architects to overload their designs with gingerbread frills. Here’s a one-sentence example: “In an azure sky with fair weather cumulus clouds, the brilliant sun cast ultramarine shadows on a choppy sea, dotted with sails in swirl of myriad blues, white and golden sand.”

Still, Green gives readers a few nuggets of humor by quoting the mobster’s curious sense of English. An example: “I’ve had it with the hookeries and the massageries. It’s like Sodom and Glocca Morra.”

Near book’s end, when the young architect muses about moving to St. Louis, the author gives our region a boost:

“Mike recognizes the strategic location of St. Louis in the center of the American heartland and believes the region’s potential will soon be rediscovered. … St. Louis has natural advantages — a transportation crossroads, outdoor recreation amidst natural beauty and untapped natural and workforce resources. He moved to take advantage of a market ripe for expansion.”

And the author’s take on Illinois? Here’s a snippet of two-character dialogue:

“‘Has he applied for a gaming license?’

“‘He says he’s got a deal with Representative Ferguson.’

“‘Ferguson? He’s the crookedest representative in the House.’

“For Illinois, that was saying something.”

Author sends good reviews to reviewer

About those adjectives, I wrote back to Harry Levins:

Dear Mr. Levins,

I’m delighted you found merit in my latest effort, Chicago’s Designs. Your point about adjectives is well taken—I let down my guard in attempting to paint a visual image of that scene. I did recently catch James Lee Burke also using five adjectives in one sentence in A Morning for Flamingos.  However, your comment about Victorian decoration confirmed my wife’s long-held conclusion (she’s nine years younger than I) that my head is back in the fifties, or perhaps an even earlier era.

Thank you for your continued interest in my workPeter H. Green

Books make excellent gifts

One of our good reviews refers to Radio: One Woman’s Family in War and Pieces as “Laugh aloud funny” and a “wonderful gift book.” Come to think of it, Ben’s War with the U. S. Marines, also emphasizing the humorous side of war, would also make a good gift for anyone with  military experience.

  • Chicago’s Designs: A new Patrick MacKenna mystery. This one is a prequel to the series, in which Patrick gets a new design job form his girlfriend’s mobster father, he stumbles upon a murder caser the police think is a mob hit, as his ardor for his client’s daughter fades in favor of a lovely new waitress at his father’s Irish pub.
  • A new online store, Pete’s Bookshop, where I can personally autograph and include a personal message to the recipient. We’re still working out the bug, so if it doesn’t yield immediate results, please be patient. For your holiday gifts, I would suggest ordering my books from Barnes & Noble or Amazon to ensure receipt by Christmas.
  • A new online resource for writers and anyone who loves books. A Writers Journey is an overview of the rapidly changing world of writing and publishing-a Writer Insider’s look at this expanding and transforming industry

If you have any good reviews to add to our books on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, even a couple of lines of commentary, please don’t hesitate to comment on their websites on the detail page of any book on our list .

Connie and I wish you and your family the happiest of holidays and warmest wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year.


Peter Green (Chief Elf) and

Connie Green (Chairman of the Elves)


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