“Burdy,” by Karen Spears Zacharias

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro “Burdy didn’t set out that morning aiming to get shot by the end of the day.” So begins Burdy (Mercer University Press, 2015), a sequel to Karen Spears Zacharias’s best-seller Mother of Rain (Mercer University Press, 2013). The title character does get shot in one of those increasingly common random […]

Claire Hamner Matturro Interviews Robert Bailey, Author of “Between Black and White”

CHM: Robert, my goodness, you’ve done it again with Between Black and White. Great story, great characters, authentic sense of place, edge-of-the-chair pacing and a completely surprising ending. So I have to ask to start by asking—the old writers’ adage of “write what you know” is no doubt in play here with the Deep South […]

“Between Black and White,” by Robert Bailey

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Following the success of his powerful debut legal thriller, The Professor (Thomas & Mercer 2015), Bailey offers a second, stunning story in the series. In his novel Between Black and White (Thomas & Mercer March 2016), Bailey establishes beyond doubt that he is an author to be read and reckoned […]

Claire Hamner Matturro Interviews Celeste Fletcher McHale, Author of “The Secret to Hummingbird Cake”

CHM: The Secret to Hummingbird Cake rings with authenticity. I know you are Southern, so your ability in capturing the charm and culture of Louisiana makes good sense to me. But aside from the setting, the emotions and plot line are so vivid and evocative, I have to ask: Is the story based upon something in your […]

February Read of the Month: “The Secret to Hummingbird Cake,” by Celeste Fletcher McHale

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro The Secret to Hummingbird Cake (Thomas Nelson, 2016) by emerging Southern author Celeste Fletcher McHale manages to do a very difficult thing: It spins a loving tale about enduring female friendships in a small town in the Deep South without engaging in stereotypes or sentimentality. Replete with the poignancy of […]

“The Professor,” by Robert Bailey

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Move over, John Grisham, there’s a new kid on the legal thriller playing field. Robert Bailey, an Alabama trial attorney and graduate of The University of Alabama School of Law, returns the kickoff for a 100 yard touchdown with his debut novel, The Professor. The football reference is apropos as […]

“Isolation,” by Mary Anna Evans

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Isolation is Mary Anna Evans’s writing at its finest—which is saying a lot for this award-winning author. Evans has long been adept at blending history, archaeology, mystery and domestic drama into riveting tales, smoothly written and well laced with the homegrown humidity and lushness of her native South. She’s conjured […]

“Cutting Loose in Paradise,” by Mary Jane Ryals

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Cutting Loose in Paradise (Pineapple Press, 2015) by Mary Jane Ryals is a charming, quirky Florida environmental mystery full of local color, intriguing and unique characters, poetry-quality language, lushly evoked landscapes, a twisty-turny plot, and just the right touch of wry humor. Though Ryals is the author of several books […]