“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 […]

May Read of the Month: “A Part of Me,” by Julia Nunnally Duncan

Reviewed by Joseph Bathanti Julia Nunnally Duncan’s incantatory new volume of poems, A Part of Me, is the lyric inventory of all that has passed before the poet’s eye, committed deftly to the page, a litany of praise-songs and elegies. If Memory (Mnemosyne, the Greek Titan Goddess) is indeed the Mother of the Muses, then Duncan […]

“The Tears of Dark Water,” by Corban Addison

Reviewed by Johnnie Bernhard The mastery of Corban Addison’s The Tears of Dark Water lies in its multi-tiered plot and timely social commentary, as well as its soulful examination of the human condition.  The external conflict of a father and son held hostage by Somali pirates resonates with the internal conflicts of a troubled marriage, […]

April Read of the Month: “Oh, Florida: How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country,” by Craig Pittman

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro With Oh, Florida, a book that defies easy categorization, award-winning journalist Craig Pittman has penned a definite winner. Oh, Florida is nonfiction, though its legends and lore add a devilish charm and a wicked-fast pace more commonly associated with Florida thrillers and their motifs of death, crime and gore; their […]

“The Promise of Jesse Woods,” by Chris Fabry

Reviewed by John S. Maguire Chris Fabry’s The Promise of Jesse Woods is a novel that deals with race, social inequality and the age-old story of star-crossed lovers. It is a complex read, weaving in and out of two time periods, but somehow Fabry makes it all work, twisting the usual response to these subjects […]