“The Heathens: A Quinn Colson novel,” by Ace Atkins

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Quinn Colson, the bold, ethical, and driven sheriff of Tibbehah County, Mississippi, is the worthy protagonist in a well-received eleven-book series by Ace Atkins. In the newest in the series, The Heathens (Putman 2021), a petite seventeen-year-old female, TJ Byrd, and her charming, thieving boyfriend, Ladarius, steal the show. As […]

December Read of the Month: “Wild Spectacle,” by Janisse Ray

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Janisse Ray’s writing has always been robust and rich with that magical, evocative touch that pulls her readers into a scene, a thought, an emotion, or an insight. Just as in her acclaimed Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Ray’s insightful, eloquent writing shines in Wild Spectacle: Seeking Wonders in a […]

“The Incredible Winston Browne,” by Sean Dietrich

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Sean Dietrich’s newest novel, The Incredible Winston Browne (Thomas Nelson 2021) reads as if it is a gift from Dietrich to his readers. It is singularly beautiful. Rich with Dietrich’s trademark everyman eloquence and his profound insights into the human condition, Winston Browne tells the story of a dying man […]

November Read of the Month: “When Women Danced With Trees—35 Unexpected Stories,” by Marina Brown

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Versatile, talented Marina Brown once more has written a stunning gem of a book with her collection of short stories in When Women Danced with Trees—35 Unexpected Stories (Gilberte Press 2021). Here, the extraordinary and the unexpected collide with the ordinary and the everyday. With the occasional appearance of magical […]

October Read of the Month: “N.O.K.,” by Bruce Ballister

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro North Florida author Bruce Ballister takes his readers on a scenic, suspense-filled fast ride through the Forgotten Coast of north Florida, in N.O.K (May 2021). Myriad things about the state make it a perfect setting for crime novels, and Ballister deftly makes use of most of these: the heat, the […]

September Read of the Month: “The Committee,” by Sterling Watson

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro With eight books to his credit, Sterling Watson has long been a powerful author, but he raises the bar considerably in The Committee (Akashic Books 2020), a compelling historical novel about the havoc the so-called Johns Committee wreaked on the University of Florida in the late 1950s. With impeccable accuracy […]

“The Wrong Side,” by Robert Bailey

Reviewed by Claire Matturro The Wrong Side (Thomas and Mercer 2021) is very much a Robert Bailey legal thriller—which is to say it is a riveting book full of intrigue, last ditch chances, compelling characters, an enthralling, well-paced energetic story line, and a plot twist at the end readers won’t see coming. Bailey, as an […]

“When Stars Rain Down,” by Angela Jackson-Brown

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro When Stars Rain Down (Thomas Nelson April 2021) is a delicate yet brave coming-of-age novel by Angela Jackson-Brown. Delicate in its tenderness and kindhearted embrace of its characters and their culture, the book is warm, loving, and evocative in its depictions of family life in the Deep South. It also […]