This fast-paced and gripping novel is part thriller, part crime story, part mystery. It tells the story of Bobby Drake, a deputy sheriff in a small Pacific Northwest town trying to outlive the sins of his larger-than-life father, Patrick. He is doing a good job of it, until his father is let out of prison and the cycle of crime and violence begins again—threatening the peaceful existence Bobby has created.
Christina Baker Kline's many fans packed the house for her session at the 2014 Southern Festival of Books. BookPage had the pleasure of speaking with the author about the book's runaway success and what she's working on next.
One might describe Oregon as a mélange of Haight-Ashbury, Appalachia and Yankee nouveau riche. Valerie Geary’s first novel, Crooked River, follows this interplay between the state’s radicals, rednecks and arrivistes. It begins when a journalist with the WASP-y name of Taylor Bellweather drowns. And the prime suspect is a beekeeper with a beard and a penchant for whiskey.
Question: How does one possibly attempt to add to the crime canon of Agatha Christie, whose 80 mystery novels and short story collections have sold more than two billion copies, trailing only the Bible and her countryman William Shakespeare? Answer: Very. Very. Carefully.
In her debut novel, Season of the Dragonflies, Sarah Creech delivers a masterly portrayal of sisterly sibling rivalry, Southern style. Creech’s own experience growing up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in a house brimming with women storytellers with a penchant for the mystical inspired the novel’s setting and plot, which unfolds as the latest generation of Lenore women are swept up into a fragrant family crisis.
M.P. Cooley’s first novel Ice Shear is a solid, convincing mystery set in the snowy shadows of Hopewell Falls, New York. The story follows June Lyons, a former FBI agent who traded her big badge for the life of a small-town police officer to care for her sick husband, who has since passed. In an attempt to spend more time with her daughter and to fall in better with the police force, she volunteers for the graveyard shift. Her nights pass with no more excitement than driving drunks home and buying doughnuts for the morning shift.
Though the “overnight success” story tends to make headlines, debut novels are more often the result of years of hard work and dedication. This month, we’re highlighting four debuts that deserve some time in the spotlight.
Lawyer Carrie La Seur makes her debut as a novelist this month with The Home Place, a searing novel about the power of family bonds that is also a compelling whodunit. Set against the stark backdrop of rural Montana, a place that big-city lawyer Alma Terrebonne thought she’d escaped forever, the novel follows Alma’s search for the reasons behind her estranged sister’s untimely death. We asked La Seur a few questions about writing, Montana and the draw of family.
Judith Frank’s second novel is a powerful tale of a family working its way through unthinkable tragedy. It opens as Matt Greene and his partner, Daniel Rosen, are flying to Tel Aviv—Daniel’s twin brother and his wife have just been killed by a suicide bomber. Ilana and Joel left behind two small children, 6-year-old Gall and baby Noam. A devastated Daniel knows that his brother and sister-in-law wanted Matt and Daniel to raise the children if anything ever happened to them.
Three new mysteries toy with family ties, love and loyalty. How far would you go to protect a family secret? What do you stand to lose if it’s revealed? Those themes lead to deliciously twisted complications.