“How We Disappear” by Tara Lynn Masih

Tara Lynn Masih’s exceptional short story and novella collection How We Disappear (Press 53, 2022) presents a sprawling range of characters, unique voices, and exotic settings. Take the first story, “What You Can’t See in the Picture.” The protagonist is a woman with a most unusual career, stemming from her super power: she can recognize […]

“The Orchid Tattoo” by Carla Damron

The pages of Carla Damron’s The Orchid Tattoo (Koehler Books, 2022) whiz by so fast, so easily, I have to say it is one of the best nail-biters I’ve read in a while. Not only that, this well-crafted thriller features a smart, likeable hospital social worker—Georgia Thayer—as protagonist. She is pitted against a human trafficking […]

September Read of the Month: “Loving the Dead and Gone,” by Judith Turner-Yamamoto

Judith Turner-Yamamoto’s debut novel Loving the Dead and Gone (Regal House, September 2022) is a 2020 Petrichor Prize finalist. There’s more than one aching heart in this excellent story exploring the generational effects of love, loss, betrayal, and redemption. The story opens with middle-aged Clayton finding a young man’s body after someone smashed into the […]

“Hannah and Ariela” by Johnnie Bernhard

Providing a blueprint for a rich, fulfilling life after the loss of a loved one was not likely Johnnie Bernhard’s main intent in writing her latest novel, Hannah and Ariela, (TCU Press, 2022). Yet this compassionate novel set near the Texas border does exactly that. Seventy-three-year-old Hannah Duran stars in this story, although the chapters […]

“Dead Letters from Paradise” by Ann McMan

Dead Letters from Paradise (Bywater Books, 2022) by Ann McMann blends literary mystery, historical fiction, and romance with entirely delightful results. There are no dead bodies in this mystery, and there’s no overt sex in the romance. Yet here are two reasons—among many—to love this novel. First, the crisp, yet lyrical prose style, coupled with […]

Change of Leadership at SLR

After devoting more than a decade of service to Southern Literary Review, including serving as editor-in-chief and publisher, Allen Mendenhall is stepping down from those roles. Allen has written and published over one hundred of his own book reviews and author interviews on SLR, most recently moving from Q/A print interviews to a video format. […]