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 […]

August Read of the Month: “Wayward Girls,” by Claire Matturro and Penny Koepsel

Reviewed by Donna Meredith What dark secrets lurk behind the walls of Talbot Hall for Girls? Which adults might prove allies of the teens—and which ones can’t be trusted? Can the girls even trust each other? Sizzling with tension and intriguing characters, Wayward Girls, by Claire Matturro and Penny Koepsel, is set in a creepy […]

July Read of the Month: “Breath Like the Wind at Dawn,” by Devin Jacobsen

Reviewed by Charley Hively Devin Jacobsen’s debut novel, Breath Like the Wind at Dawn (Sagging Meniscus Press, 2020), opens with a garbled mixture of jarring Western lingo and syntax, graphic violence, and sexual innuendo, but one important detail slowly emerges: gold. Quinn and Irv, a pair of outlaw twin brothers, ambush and slaughter a group […]

June Read of the Month: “Coyote Loop,” by L. C. Fiore

Reviewed by Donna Meredith If you like larger-than-life, irascible, narcissistic, rich, foul-mouthed muckspouts—think Tony Soprano—you will like the narrator of L. C. Fiore’s Coyote Loop. Granted, the setting is totally different. The trading floor of a Chicago Board Options Exchange. The beginning of the 2008 recession. But John Andrew Ganzi, also known as JAG, rules […]

May Read of the Month: “The Tender Grave,” by Sheri Reynolds

Reviewed by Donna Meredith The Tender Grave, by Sheri Reynolds, not only offers interesting characters and strong imagery, but it also builds an unusual level of tension and suspense for a literary novel. Witness this early passage: She hadn’t been to bed, not all night, and though she’d brushed her teeth before she left, her […]

April Read of the Month: “The Memory House,” by Rachel Hauck

Reviewed by Honey Rand Three years ago, while training for a half-marathon, I listened to zombie books. I know, blasphemy, right? Audio and zombies, how low could I go? Then there is the success of Fifty Shades of Gray and its sequels in print and the movies. I can’t tell you the times I’ve heard […]