“Riding on Comets,” by Cat Pleska

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Though her family was hardly perfect, Cat Pleska leaves readers feeling uplifted rather than grungy from being dragged through the dirty laundry in her memoir, Riding on Comets. In part, the warm tone results because she never doubted that her parents wanted the best for her. Without words, they implied that she […]

“Crum,” by Lee Maynard

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Even though the West Virginia town I grew up in is nothing—nothing—like the town of 219 residents Lee Maynard describes in his 1988 novel Crum, I related strongly to this coming-of-age story. The novel is now, deservedly, in its third printing through Vandalia/WVU Press. It is the first volume of a […]

July Read of the Month: “Parade of Horribles,” by Rhett DeVane

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Once again, Rhett DeVane captures the essence of life in a small southern town in Parade of Horribles, the seventh installment in her beloved Chattahoochee series. DeVane mines the debilitating nature of fear and the need to forgive in this deeply appealing novel. Jake Witherspoon, familiar to readers of DeVane’s earlier […]

“Brutal Silence,” by Margaret Dardess

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Hidden in plain sight, human trafficking occurs in American neighborhoods where few expect that such a crime could exist, in the world of shopping malls and classy restaurants. But someone—a banker, a motel owner, a health care worker—surely suspects what is happening and fails to speak out. Margaret Dardess gives voice […]

March Read of the Month: “The Last Treasure,” by Erika Marks

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Erika Marks’s latest novel, The Last Treasure, is a delicious romance, well-timed to capitalize on the current Hamilton frenzy. Hamilton assassin Aaron Burr’s daughter Theodosia is one of those lost aboard the Patriot, a schooner which disappeared without a trace in 1813 off the Carolina coast during a storm. The novel’s […]

“The Velvet Hours,” by Alyson Richman

Reviewed by Donna Meredith In The Velvet Hours, Alyson Richman explores two different eras in Paris, the Belle Epoque and the lead-up to Hitler’s Nazi invasion, each rendered with meticulous attention to detail. The novel would be a fine read as a multi-generational romance, but it soars beyond that convention because it was inspired by […]

“Honey from the Lion” and “Allegheny Front,” by Matthew Neill Null

Reviewed by Donna Meredith The land itself and male characters dominate the early works of West Virginia author Matthew Neill Null. They include the literary novel Honey from the Lion (Lookout Books, 2015) and a short story collection, Allegheny Front (Sarabande Books, 2016), which won the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. If there is […]

“Charlotte’s Story,” by Laura Benedict

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Charlotte’s Story (Pegasus Crime, 2015), by Laura Benedict, takes your classic Southern gothic novel and spices it up a notch with a whodunit. If you like gothic and mystery, this spooky tale is sure to entertain. The story takes place in 1957 in Old Gate, Virginia, on a picturesque estate complete […]