“How We Came To Be,” by Johnnie Bernhard

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Forget the Father Knows Best clichés of the 1950s—they are so yesterday. Set in contemporary Houston and Austin, How We Came To Be (Texas Review Press, 2018) is a witty, insightful study of the forging of a twenty-first century family. A finalist in the 2017 International Faulkner-Wisdom Competition, the novel was […]

“The Guy in the Box,” by Iain S. Baird

Reviewed by Donna Meredith True confession. I have long been a fan of Iain Baird’s writing, so I approached his new short story collection, The Guy in the Box, with high expectations. Baird more than met them. I was already familiar with a number of these stories because they won awards in the Seven Hills […]

“Calusa Spirits,” by SR Staley

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Instead of losing steam, the hero of SR Staley’s Calusa Spirits gains depth and stature in this third installment of the Pirate of Panther Bay series. In some respects, the captain of La Marée Rouge is a classic pirate yet in other ways defies convention. The captain proves bold and brave […]

Donna Meredith interviews Gale Massey, author of “Girl from Blind River”

DM:  What inspired a writer from Florida to set a story in New York state?   GM: The very first images that came to me at the onset of writing this novel were of ice, sleet, and a young woman in a decrepit trailer. I stuck with those images because they spoke to me of poverty […]

“Girl from Blind River,” by Gale Massey

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Florida writer Gale Massey’s debut novel, Girl from Blind River, is being compared to Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone. The comparison is apt. Both feature a teenage girl determined to help family members survive in a community roiled by poverty and addiction. Nineteen-year-old Jamie Elders is caught between conflicting desires: to take […]

October Read of the Month: “Finding Joe,” by Rebecca Hunn

Reviewed by Donna Meredith If you’re looking for an entertaining mystery crafted around a strong setting and unusual characters, check out Finding Joe, Rebecca Hunn’s debut novel. The protagonist Donna Cain is “an oil and gas leasing agent—part sleuth, part genealogist, part salesperson,” who believes she has “the best job in the world.” She lives […]

Donna Meredith Interviews Chuck Kinder

DM: Do you see yourself as a James Dean type character?  CK: Yes. Sort of a rebel seeking a cause, I suppose. I guess you could say my books are part of this search. All art is a search when you consider it. I am reminded of T. S. Elliott – Something on the order […]

“Snakehunter” and “Last Mountain Dancer,” by Chuck Kinder

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Snakehunter and Last Mountain Dancer: Hard-Earned Lessons in Love, Loss, and Honky-Tonk Outlaw Life, by Chuck Kinder, offer a glimpse into the wide-ranging styles mastered by one of West Virginia’s most talented authors. Each of his four books is unique and wholly original in approach. His writing eschews the formulaic, the […]