The Official Southern Literary Review 2022 Holiday Gift Guide

Donna’s Picks For readers who liked Where the Crawdads Sing:  In the Lonely Backwater by Val Niemen For fans of graphic novels: The third in a series by Robert Gipe, Pop For Tony Soprano fans and fans of dark financial world fiction: Coyote Loop by L. C. Fiore For Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil fans: The […]

“Hell of a Book” by Jason Mott

You’d think it would be easy to write a hell of a book review for a book titled Hell of a Book (Dutton, 2021). It isn’t. Jason Mott pulls off a literary magic trick that’s hard to define. Mott manages to swirl humor, imagination and lyrical language through the grim story of a Black child […]

“Creole Soul: Zydeco Lives” by Burt Feintuch and edited by Jeannie Banks Thomas

I first encountered zydeco on a visit to New Orleans. I was enthralled by the banging beats of Buckwheat Zydeco. The Cajun music I had heard previously in NOLA was good enough, but I could take it sitting down. Zydeco demanded that I get up and dance.  Zydeco combines the energy of rock and roll […]

November Read of the Month: “Milk Blood Heat” by Dantiel W. Muniz

In Milk Blood Heat (Grove Press, 2021) Dantiel W. Muniz serves up a savory, delicious stew of short stories in an outstanding debut collection. The stories are set in the steamy cities and suburbs of Florida centered on Black residents and their communities. Female voices and themes predominate. This collection is a rare gem in […]

“The Kingdoms of Savannah” by George Dawes Green

The Kingdoms of Savannah (Celadon Books, 2022) reads like a fine literary suspense novel, a top-tier mystery. But Kingdoms triumphs in extending the boundaries of the genre. George Dawes Green unearths so many long-buried layers of history with such drama, such flair, such artistic skill that readers may not even be aware they are reading […]

“The Whispering Women” by Trish MacEnulty

The Whispering Women (Prism Light Press, 2022) by Trish MacEnulty features two lively female investigators who represent distinct social classes. Richly drawn characters, the vibrant historical setting, and a suspenseful mystery create strong currents that pull readers into this delightful novel. But it’s the women’s issues—as relevant today as they were in the early 1900s—that […]