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 […]

“Our Love Affair With Murder”: Donna Meredith Reviews Five Mysteries

Reviews by Donna Meredith Sex sells, but crime pays too—at least for writers. Mystery and crime stories earn upwards of $730 million a year in book sales. That’s a lot of love for dead bodies, sales figures topped only slightly by the live bodies found in the romance genre. From the earliest mysteries penned by […]

Claire Hamner Matturro Interviews Michael David Blanchard

CHM:  Mike, do you perceive a difference between being a poet and being a person who writes poetry? If so, into which camp would you put yourself—poet or person who writes poetry? MDB:  A person who writes poetry. That phrase better connotes someone for whom the creation of literary art is but one of many […]

“Naming the Silence: New & Selected Poems,” by Michael David Blanchard

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro When by his own admission Michael David Blanchard was a sensitive, introspective teenager, he began writing poetry as a student at Baton Rouge High in Louisiana. He continued composing in college and twice won the University (of Virginia) Union Fine Arts Award for Poetry. In his professional days after earning […]

“Lisbeth,” by Marina Brown

Reviewed by Claire Matturro As with her stunning debut novel, Land Without Mirrors, Marina Brown has, with her newest book, Lisbeth, plumbed the emotional truths of diverse and conflicting characters as they struggle through chaos, peril, and change. Lisbeth is a big, bold, intense, and intensely complex Southern Gothic, with lyrical writing, lushly described settings, […]

August Read of the Month: “Hopscotch,” by Steve Cushman

Reviewed by Claire Matturro Someone draws a hopscotch board on a sidewalk by a hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina. The hospital CEO with a Grinch persona orders it cleared off and a recently released felon, John Deaver, glad for his job as a janitor, erases it. But the chalk hopscotch board reappears on the sidewalk—again […]