“Trampoline: An Illustrated Novel,” by Robert Gipe

Reviewed by Phyllis Wilson Moore Back in 2015 I received an advanced copy of Robert Gipe’s novel Trampoline and proceeded to read it. The author, Robert Gipe, was new to me and the first-person story featured some of his line drawings scattered in appropriate places. They were different. I’m not a fan of illustrations in […]

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 […]

“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 […]

“Riding on Comets,” by Cat Pleska

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Though her family was hardly perfect, Cat Pleska leaves readers feeling uplifted rather than grungy from being dragged through the dirty laundry in her memoir, Riding on Comets. In part, the warm tone results because she never doubted that her parents wanted the best for her. Without words, they implied that she […]

“Crum,” by Lee Maynard

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Even though the West Virginia town I grew up in is nothing—nothing—like the town of 219 residents Lee Maynard describes in his 1988 novel Crum, I related strongly to this coming-of-age story. The novel is now, deservedly, in its third printing through Vandalia/WVU Press. It is the first volume of a […]

Allen Mendenhall Interviews Amber D. Tran, Author of “Moon River”

AM: So glad for the opportunity to talk to you about your debut novel, Moon River. Before we get into the book, I want to ask about your background.  I noticed you’re a graduate of West Virginia University.  I studied English for my master’s at WVU and graduated from law school at WVU.  Did you […]

“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 […]

“Honey from the Lion” and “Allegheny Front,” by Matthew Neill Null

Reviewed by Donna Meredith The land itself and male characters dominate the early works of West Virginia author Matthew Neill Null. They include the literary novel Honey from the Lion (Lookout Books, 2015) and a short story collection, Allegheny Front (Sarabande Books, 2016), which won the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. If there is […]