Category: Book Reviews

  • Pulling Free of the Roots

    A Review of Eli Cranor’s Ozark Dogs By Wiley Reiver Eli Cranor’s 2022 debut novel Don’t Know Tough rightly garnered impressive critical notice, being among USA Today’s “Best Books of the Year” and the New York Times’ “Best Crime Novels.” In addition, the Mystery Writers of America recently nominated it as a Best First Novel […]

  • Love, Loss, and the Lioness

    A Review of Mark Powell’s Lioness by Chris McGinley It’s rare to encounter a work with multiple, fully-developed characters, with clever and meaningful use of narrative time, and with a story that continually compels a reader forward.  It’s even rarer to be able to create a sense of place that genuinely shapes characters, something formative […]

  • The Danger of Isolation

    A Review of Sara Lippmann’s Lech By John Brantingham I downloaded Sara Lippmann’s new novel, Lech, on my Kindle immediately after having heard her at a reading in support of New Voices, a collection coming out in January by various poets and writers that hopes to reevaluate and reunderstand the Holocaust from a 21st century […]

  • But You Still Have To Live With It

    A Review of Scott Blackburn’s It Dies With You By Wiley Reiver Good crime novels are never really only about a crime. I’ll go further: Great crime novels aren’t even primarily about legal wrongdoing, its motivations and consequences for perpetrators and victims. The story of the impoverished St. Petersburg student with his borrowed axe and […]

  • We Are All Made of Stars

    A review of Jordan Harper’s The Last King of California By Justin Lee “See a scar of smoke across the belly of the sky.” That ominous opening line brings us into Jordan Harper’s The Last King of California. At the offset we are introduced to Beast Daniels, the big bad with bolts that is killing […]

  • Horror in the Hills

    A review of C.W. Blackwell’s Song of the Red Squire By Chris McGinley There’s a renewed interest in folk horror out there!  In literature, film, and television, artists are resuscitating the sub-genre . . . or maybe it never left us. Either way, it’s popular again.  Like any genre, there will always be debate about […]

  • Gould Climbs Out of the Saddle

    A review of Scott Gould’s The Hammerhead Chronicles By Jon Sokol Prize-winning author Scott Gould has a unique way of taking diverse characters found in everyday life and shoving them together in unbelievable, yet somehow awkwardly familiar circumstances to create stories filled with wickedly sharp humor, heart-rending grief, and soulful observations on the human condition. […]

  • Everything That Sinks Must Emerge

    A Review of Kelly J. Ford’s Real Bad Things By Wiley Reiver As I made my way through Kelly J. Ford’s stellar second novel, I kept thinking of how much Flannery O’Connor would have enjoyed and appreciated this story. Now, stay with me here. I’m entirely confident that as an artist with a cogent, comprehensive […]

  • Brutal and Beautiful

    A REview of CHarles Dodd White’s Lambs of Men By Chris McGinley Novelist Charles Dodd White knows the Appalachian mountainside.  He knows the flora, the fauna, the geography.  He knows the waterways and the weather.  He knows how the light hits the trees at different times of day, and the way the air of the […]

  • It Never Leaves

    A review of Curtis Ippolito’s Burying the Newspaper Man By Justin Lee There is a line from a City & Colour song that kept coming to mind while reading this story. It goes: “A haunted man who can’t outrun his ghosts. They’re in my skin and my bones.” I feel like that is a perfect […]