“House of Memory,” by Carolyn Haines

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Something profoundly sinister is on the prowl in central Alabama. It’s the time of the Jazz Age, a spirited respite between national disasters, but what lurks and stalks young women will not be tamed by exuberant dancing or bathtub gin. Whether the evil is spectral or human—or both—is just one […]

“The Language of Vision,” by Joseph R. Millichap

Reviewed by MW Rishell In The Language of Vision: Photography and Southern Literature in the 1930s and After, Joseph R. Millichap mines a rich stock – the literature of the South – and finds a comparatively new vein, that of photography supporting the cultural aura of kudzu and long memory.  Bringing visual rhetoric and the […]

“Ill-Mannered Ghosts,” by Nicole Sarrocco

Reviewed by Bestsy Randolph Nicole Sarrocco’s Ill-Mannered Ghosts is literary fiction at its finest. Sarrocco manages to combine verisimilitude (she herself claims to have seen ghosts) and the paranormal in a freakishly awesome effort to render the semi-credible story of a southern woman (her sometimes real self) who has the uncanny ability to see, hear, […]

June Read of the Month: “Abraham Anyhow,” by Adam Van Winkle

Reviewed by William Bernhardt I am particular about how Oklahoma is portrayed in fiction. Perhaps I’m unduly defensive, but at this point, having written more than almost thirty novels set in Oklahoma, in a variety of time periods, I think I’ve earned the right. I chafe when I hear editors, upon hearing that the novel takes […]

“Letters from Paris,” by Juliet Blackwell

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard Juliet Blackwell’s Letters from Paris is solid reading entertainment with a lovable protagonist, Claire Broussard, whose small-town Louisiana beginnings lead to tragedy. Blackwell builds suspense without sacrificing seriousness or believability, two common victims of the mystery genre. Perhaps that’s the key to Blackwell’s novel – everything about it is “just right.” […]

“The Myth of Water,” by Jeanie Thompson

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Award-winning writer Jeanie Thompson is a brave, bold poet. In The Myth of Water (University of Alabama Press 2016), she presents a remarkable and evocative series of thirty-four poems to tell a deeply personal story of the iconic Helen Keller. And if the concept of historical persona poems wasn’t daring […]

“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 […]

“This Vast Southern Empire,” by Matthew Karp

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl Few today would recognize the name George Washington Lafayette Bickley. He lived an adventurous life which included practicing medicine in Virginia although there’s evidence he lacked the credentials. His larger interests were Southern; in the late 1850s he traveled throughout the South promoting a militia campaign to seize Mexico. A […]