The Americana Series Monthly Challenge – November 2019: Kansas

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The Americana Series Monthly Challenge – November 2019: Kansas

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1bhabeck
Edited: Oct 27, 2019, 8:45pm

Each month, we will visit a different state in the United States of America for the Monthly Reading Challenge in the Mystery & Suspense Extra! Group. This month, we take a short trip across the river from Missouri to Kansas.

The Americana Series Monthly Challenge – November 2019: Kansas


History

Kansas is a state in the midwestern United States of America; its capital is Topeka and the largest city is Witchita. Kansas is ranked 15th in area at 82,278 square miles (213,100km square) and is the 34th most populous state with approximately 2.9 million residents based on the 2010 census.

The area currently known as Kansas was inhabited by Native Americans for a millennium. The first European to enter the area was Spanish conquistador Francisco Vazquez de Coronado who explored the area in 1541. In 1803, most of modern Kansas was acquired by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Southwestern Kansas remained under the control of Spain until 1848 when the area was ceded to the US after Spain was defeated in the Mexican-American War.

Kansas was first settled by Americans in 1827 with the establishment of Fort Leavenworth. The pace of settlement accelerated in the 1850s, in the midst of the political wars over the slavery debate. When the area was officially opened for settlement by the US government in 1854 with the Kansas-Nebraska Act, abolitionist Free Staters from New England and pro-slavery settlers from neighboring Missouri rushed to the territory to determine whether Kansas would become a free state or a slave state. The, the area was a hotbed of violence and chaos in its early days as these forces collided, and was known as Bleeding Kansas. The abolitionists prevailed, and on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state.

Following the Civil War, the state became part of the newly opened Chisholm Trail and the Wild West-era began in Kansas. Wild Bill Hickok was a deputy marshal at Fort Riley as well as Hays and Abilene. Dodge City was another wild cowboy town and both Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp worked as lawmen in the town.

Geography


Kansas is land-locked and bordered by four states – Nebraska to the north, Colorado to the west, Oklahoma to the south and Missouri to the east. The state is located equidistant from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and, in fact, the geographic center of the 48 contiguous states is located near Lebanon, Kansas.

Nearly 75 miles of the state’s northeastern boundary is defined by the Missouri River. The western two-thirds of the state lay in the great central plain of the United States and is generally flat or has an undulating surface. The eastern portion of the state has many hills and forests.


Fun Facts

The First United Methodist Church in Hutchinson was built in 1874 during the time of the grasshopper plagues. The grasshoppers came during the construction of the churches foundation but the pastor continued with the work. As a result, thousands of grasshoppers are mixed into the mortar of the original building's foundation.

There is a grain elevator in Hutchinson Kansas that is half a mile long and holds 46 million bushels of grain.


The term “red light district” comes from the Red Light Bordello in Dodge City, Kansas. The front door of the building was made of red glass and produced a red light glow to the outside world when lit at night.
The name carried over to refer to the town’s brothel district.

Kansas produced a record 492.2 million bushels of wheat in 1997 – enough to make 35.9 billion loaves of bread (enough to give everyone on earth 6 loaves)


The first woman mayor in the United States was Susan Madora Salter. She was elected to office in Argonia, Kansas in 1887.

The Arkansas River may be the only river whose pronunciation changes as it crosses state lines. In Kansas, the river is called the Arkansas (ahr-KAN-zuhs). On both sides of Kansas (in Colorado and Oklahoma) it’s called the Arkansaw.

The Geodetic Center of North America is about 40 miles south of Lebanon at Meade's Ranch. It is the beginning point of reference for land surveying in North America. When a surveyor checks a property line, he or she is checking the position of property in relation to Meade's Ranch in northwest Kansas

Kansas ranks second nationally in average number of tornadoes per year (60) and third in tornadoes per 1,000 square miles (44). In 2007, a tornado leveled, or destroyed, 95 percent of Greensburg, Kansas. It path of destruction was 26 miles long, nearly 2 miles wide and the caused $250 million in damage. It was the first tornado to be rated EF5.


In Kansas, farmland covers more than 88 percent of the total land.

Notable Residents

Amelia Earhart, the first woman granted a pilot’s license by the National Aeronautics Association and the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean was from Kansas.


Kansas is the birthplace of a number of musicians: Joe Walsh, guitarist of the Eagles and Danny Carey drummer for Tool are from Kansas. Additionally, the following singers hail from Kansas: Melissa Ethridge, Martina McBride, Janelle Monae, Jennifer Knapp and Jerrod Niemann. As you may have guessed, the rock band, Kansas, was formed in the state with several of the band’s members from Topeka.

Dorothy Gale, the main character in the novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is from Kansas. The Little House of the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder is set in Kansas. The 1965 bestseller, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, chronicles the events and aftermath of the 1959 murder of a wealthy farmer and his family who lived in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas. And, don’t forget that Clark Kent, aka Superman, was raised in Smallville, Kansas.

Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower (1890-1969) was an American army general who was a 5-star general in World War II and served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe. He was responsible for the planning and supervising the Invasion of Normandy in 1944-1945. Eisenhower became the 34th US President and held office from 1953 to 1961.


In honor of KANSAS, read a Mystery/Suspense book (any sub-genre will do!) that satisfies one or more of the following:

• A Mystery/Suspense book with “Storm,” “West,” “Free,” or “Center/Central” in the title or a flat-featured landscape on the cover;

• A Mystery/Suspense book where the story takes place in a rural, sparsely populated area or where a significant character is a prostitute;

• A Mystery/Suspense book where the author's initials (BOTH the first AND last) can be found in KANSAS

Happy Reading

2bhabeck
Edited: Nov 17, 2019, 7:59pm

Brenda's November 2019 Americana Challenge - Kansas
3/3 Complete


In honor of KANSAS, read a Mystery/Suspense book (any sub-genre will do!) that satisfies one or more of the following:

• A Mystery/Suspense book with “Storm,” “West,” “Free,” or “Center/Central” in the title or a flat-featured landscape on the cover;
Free Fall by Robert Crais; 11/17/19; 4 stars

• A Mystery/Suspense book where the story takes place in a rural, sparsely populated area or where a significant character is a prostitute;
Widowmaker by Paul Doiron; sparsely populated area; 11/14/19; 4 stars

• A Mystery/Suspense book where the author's initials (BOTH the first AND last) can be found in KANSAS
The City: Lucas and the Killer by Aaron Kelsay; 11/7/19; 1 star

3Olivermagnus
Edited: Oct 27, 2019, 9:23pm



Lynda and Oliver Believe There's No Place Like Home

In honor of KANSAS, read a Mystery/Suspense book (any sub-genre will do!) that satisfies one or more of the following:

• A Mystery/Suspense book with “Storm,” “West,” “Free,” or “Center/Central” in the title or a flat-featured landscape on the cover;

• A Mystery/Suspense book where the story takes place in a rural, sparsely populated area or where a significant character is a prostitute;

• A Mystery/Suspense book where the author's initials (BOTH the first AND last) can be found in KANSAS

4Carol420
Edited: Nov 6, 2019, 6:35am



📌 3/3 - Done
Carol Finds A Tornado of Books in Kansas

📌1. A Mystery/Suspense book with “Storm,” “West,” “Free,” or “Center/Central” in the title or a flat-featured landscape on the cover;
Deep Storm Lincoln Child - 4.5★

📌2. A Mystery/Suspense book where the story takes place in a rural, sparsely populated area or where a significant character is a prostitute;
The Shape of Night - Tess Gerritsen - 5★ (Takes place in a small coastal town in Maine)

📌3. A Mystery/Suspense book where the author's initials (BOTH the first AND last) can be found in KANSAS
The Final Silence - Stuart Nevill - ★ (S & N)

5EadieB
Oct 28, 2019, 8:09am

One other famous person who came from Kansas was my mom, Neola Edmiston Milich. She was born in Emporia, Kansas and moved to Philadelphia and met my dad, John Milich, on the original Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941. They married on December 21, 1942.

6bhabeck
Oct 28, 2019, 9:54am

7Carol420
Nov 1, 2019, 6:37am

#2 Takes place in a sparsely populated area


The Shape of Night – Tess Gerritsen
5★

In the isolated seaside mansion, Ava finally feels at peace . . . until she glimpses the long-dead sea captain who still resides there. Rumor has it that Captain Jeremiah Brodie has haunted the house for more than a century. Ava soon learns that the house she loves comes with a terrible secret… a secret that those in the village don’t want revealed.:

Meet Ava… a cookbook author with a big fat Maine coon cat named Hannible., and a load of guilt. Ava isolates herself in a century and a half old house called Brodie’s Watch. At first she was sure that the house didn’t want her there…but she soon learned that the house had another resident that very much wanted her there…And so the terror and the story begins. She feels that her initial reactions were all wrong. Indeed, she is most welcome…as the shadows in her bedroom coalesce into the shape of a man, a man who may well be the ghost of Capt. Jeremiah Brodie. He stalks the house most nights, seducing Ava into not only the passions of love, but also atonement through punishment meted out for her sins. In a moments notice the story shifts from a murder mystery and right into a Gothic thriller…replete with an unsteady widow’s walk…a secret alcove…strange smells…ominous sensations…and a ghost that may well be something more evil and menacing than any ordinary ghost. This book has it all: a murder mystery…a supernatural element… romantic nights (with the ghost!) and a lovable, brave cat. All ghost story enthusiasts will absolutely love this standalone novel by this fantastic author.

8gaylebutz
Nov 2, 2019, 5:01pm

I'm going to read Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo, which has a flat-featured landscape on the cover.

9Carol420
Nov 2, 2019, 6:27pm

>8 gaylebutz: Good choice. I really like Linda Castillo's books.

10bhabeck
Nov 2, 2019, 6:56pm

>8 gaylebutz: I've read all the Kate Burkholder books and am waiting for the next one to come out. I really like the series

11Sergeirocks
Edited: Nov 27, 2019, 2:33pm

1. 6 November - Storm Warning - Jack Higgins 4.5★s ("Storm" in the title)
2. 8 November - Why Shoot a Butler? - Georgette Heyer 4.5★s (set in a rural area)
3. 27 November - London Calling - Sara Sheridan 4★s (Author's initials found in 'KANSAS')

12Carol420
Nov 6, 2019, 6:37am


The Final Silence - Stuart Neville
Belfast Novels Book #4
4★

Rea Carlisle, daughter of influential Northern Irish politician Graham Carlisle, has inherited a house from an uncle she never knew. It doesn’t take her long to clear out the dead man’s possessions, but when Rea forces open a locked room, she finds a leather-bound book. Tucked in its pages are fingernails and locks of hair: a catalog of victims. Horrified, Rea wants to go straight to the police, but her father intervenes—he’s worked too hard to have his brother’s twisted legacy ruin his promising political career. Thwarted by her father, Rea turns to the only person she can think of: disgraced police inspector Jack Lennon. Meanwhile, Lennon finds himself the lead suspect in a murder investigation led by one of the force’s toughest cops, DCI Serena Flanagan. His implication in the murder, coupled with the story Rea has brought to him, leaves Lennon more than slightly suspicious that the two are part of a grisly conspiracy.

I was very hopeful at the start for this book to get a 4.5 or 5 star rating...but after the murder it began to loose momentum. I became very disillusioned with the police investigative team as they refused to listen to reason having already made up their minds. To make matters worse Jack Lennon had already been tried and found guilty by most of his co-workers for previously killing a fellow police officer that was trying to kill him. I just didn't get how they came to that conclusion. Stuart Neville has portrayed his characters to fit very well into the environment of Belfast and the unrest of this beautiful little island that was present at the time that this story took place. Overall, it was a good solid thriller in spite of a few loose ends at the conclusion. I believe that there is going to hope for Jack and his little daughter reflected in future books.

13Carol420
Edited: Nov 6, 2019, 7:07am


Deep Storm - Lincoln Child
Jeremy Logan series Book #1
4.5★

Twelve-thousand feet beneath the Atlantic Ocean . . . scientists are excavating the most extraordinary undersea discovery ever made. But is it the greatest archaeological find in history—or the most terrifying? Former naval doctor Peter Crane is urgently summoned to a remote oil platform in the North Atlantic to help diagnose a bizarre medical condition spreading through the rig. But when he arrives, Crane learns that the real trouble lies far below—on “Deep Storm,” a stunningly advanced science research facility built two miles beneath the surface on the ocean floor. The top secret structure has been designed for one purpose: to excavate a recently discovered undersea site that may hold the answers to a mystery steeped in centuries of myth and speculation. The discovery of Atlantis might, in fact, be a cover for something far more sinister . . . and deadly.

I always enjoy this author rather he writes alone or with his co-author Douglas Preston. There was a lot of science in he book...however Lincoln Child did an excellent job of explaining it and giving it to us a little at a time. Dr. Crane was our protagonist. I felt rather sorry for him. I think that he found his role in the project confusing at times...and he didn't always have the final say which was strange for a man that was supposed to be in charge of something this big. The story remained exciting until the very end. The reader just has to find out what this project was actually about and it really was more mystery than science fiction. There are numerous things at play in the book producing a steady feeling of suspense and paranoia. Anyone that has read the books that Lincoln Child has written with Douglas Preston will like this offering.

14Carol420
Nov 6, 2019, 6:58am



Thanks Brenda.

15bhabeck
Nov 6, 2019, 9:06am

>14 Carol420: congrats Carol!

16Sergeirocks
Nov 8, 2019, 3:31am

>14 Carol420: 👍🙂

17Carol420
Nov 8, 2019, 6:03am

18gaylebutz
Nov 18, 2019, 5:47pm

Has a flat-featured landscape on the cover.

Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo
4 ★

A rainy night, an Amish father returning home with his three children, a speeding car hurtling toward them out of nowhere. What at first seems like a tragic, but routine car accident suddenly takes on a more sinister cast as evidence emerges that nothing about the crash is accidental. Desperate to find out who killed her best friend's husband and why, Kate begins to suspect she is not looking for a reckless drunk, but instead is on the trail of a cold blooded killer amid the residents of Painter's Mill.

This was an interesting story of Kate as she tries to figure out why someone would purposely kill the father and why they used a vehicle to do it. Kate had to talk with quite a few Amish to get information, which is always interesting to get glimpses of their culture and their distrust of Kate. There’s a subplot of a murder that Kate was involved with in the past that added suspense and was left as a loose end at the end of the book. Kate and Tomasetti continue their relationship which adds a good balance to the story. I enjoyed this and want to read the next one to see if the loose ends gets resolved.

19bhabeck
Nov 18, 2019, 9:10pm

20rhinemaiden
Nov 19, 2019, 4:07am

• A Mystery/Suspense book with “Storm,” “West,” “Free,” or “Center/Central” in the title or a flat-featured landscape on the cover; The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger

• A Mystery/Suspense book where the story takes place in a rural, sparsely populated area or where a significant character is a prostitute; Kansas Troubles by Earlene Fowler

• A Mystery/Suspense book where the author's initials (BOTH the first AND last) can be found in KANSAS The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

21Carol420
Nov 19, 2019, 6:34am

>19 bhabeck: >20 rhinemaiden:



Congratulations. Good work.

22rhinemaiden
Nov 19, 2019, 7:49am

>21 Carol420: Carol 420... thanks! This was/is fun... looking forward to more!

Here's additional Kansas lore:

Sara Paretsky, author of the V.I. Warshawaky novels and founder of Sisters in Crime, grew up in rural Kansas.

Sisters in Crime is an organization that has 3,600 members in 48 countries worldwide, offering networking, advice and support to mystery authors. Members are authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers and librarians bound by their affection for the mystery genre and their support of women who write mysteries.

Founder: Sara Paretsky
Founded: 1986

23Carol420
Nov 19, 2019, 8:59am

>22 rhinemaiden: You are welcome. Brenda is doing an excellent job on this challenge...making it educational, entertaining and above all...FUN. Interesting info about Sara Paretsky. I've read several of her books.

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