“Key West—A Lush and Magical place for Cozy Mysteries,” by Claire Hamner Matturro

Review essay by Claire Hamner Matturro  Key West. Ah, just read the words in a mystery novel and a certain whirl and whoosh of coconut-scented, warm, moist air seems to fly off the pages. From the lush tropical landscape and the complex history to the raucous party atmosphere, from the old-world elegance of the Hemingway […]

November Read of the Month: “Christian Bend,” by Karen Spears Zacharias

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Karen Spears Zacharias writes with remarkable sensitivity and insight. She is so profoundly in touch with her fictional people that she can present a tale from multiple points of view with an acuity and heart-felt honesty that soon makes her characters feel like close friends to the reader. Because of […]

“All the Lovely Children,” by Andrew Nance

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Andrew Nance does two difficult things in All the Lovely Children (Red Adept, 2018), and he does both exceptionally well. First, he infuses the often formulaic serial killer subgenre with fresh, new energy by providing innovative twists, a setting that juxtaposes beauty and horror, and sharp, clean writing. Second, he […]

“Undercurrents,” by Mary Anna Evans

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Author Mary Anna Evans never disappoints. That’s rare for authors of a long-running mystery series because the confines of the genre, compounded with the repetition of characters, often leads to staleness. But Evans’s Faye Longchamp archaeological mystery series is emphatically not stale. Evans proves as much in her eleventh novel […]

“All the Lovely Children,” by Andrew Nance

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Andrew Nance does two very difficult things in his new book, All the Lovely Children (Red Adept, 2018), and he does both exceptionally well. First, Nance infuses the often-formulaic serial killer subgenre with fresh, new energy by providing innovative twists, a lush setting that juxtaposes beauty and horror, and sharp, […]

June Read of the Month: “The Last Trial,” by Robert Bailey

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro In a literary landscape increasingly littered with mediocre (or worse) legal thrillers, Alabama attorney Robert Bailey did something impressive: He wrote an excellent, classic legal thriller with The Last Trial (Thomas and Mercer, May 2018). Its brilliantly complex plot portrays compelling, intriguing characters, pretrial murder and mayhem, courtroom drama, edge-of-your-chair […]

“Specter of Seduction,” by Carolyn Haines

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro In Specter of Seduction (KaliOka Press, November 2017),” the third book in Carolyn Haines’s Pluto Snitch series, human villains, living and dead, and a demon from another sphere collide with force and sparks. At the center of the storm, a talented young girl child appears to be possessed, or merely […]

April Read of the Month: “Fixing Boo-Boo,” by Pat Stanford

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Ultimately a story of grace and transcendence, Fixing Boo Boo (Southern Yellow Pine Publishing, 2017) details a reluctant caregiver’s journey with her brain-damaged older sister, Barb. It gets messy along the way, and Barb is often her own worst enemy. But Pat Stanford tells the story with a deft and […]