It was a pleasure to work with Theolyn Brock on Lake City: Stories From a Country-Ass Town, a collection of fiction based on her family’s lore. And though fiction, you’ll recognize the truths contained in the stories of love and loss, quirkiness and quiet resolve, ambition and desperation that unfold between the covers.
Eric Beetner first introduced readers to the Iowa-based McGraw and Stanley clans in Rumrunners (280 Steps), in which eighty-six-year-old McGraw patriarch Calvin had pretty much garaged his ride for the last time and the family business—driving for the Stanley clan’s off-the-books enterprises—was being handled by his son, Webb. And even though Calvin was drawn back into things over the course of the wild ride that was Rumrunners, you couldn’t help but wonder what he was like in his prime. Well, wonder no more.
There’s certainly no fun going on in ex-cop/PI Jackson Donne’s life, and any freewheeling taking place is of the acting in desperation to stay alive variety rather than the footloose and fancy-free type.
After watching his life implode over a series of decisions gone from bad to worse, Donne finally gave in and accepted the fact he could no longer stay one step ahead of the avalanche that had been bearing down on him for so long.
Ashley (Ash) McKenna has been fighting dragons of one kind or another his entire life. When readers first met the Staten Island born and bred McKenna in series debut New Yorked, he was a man who had allowed long-simmering anger to creep in on and rule his life, driving him to abuse both substances and those around him. After bringing his personal investigation into the murder of his longtime friend and unrequited love, Chell, to a violent conclusion, McKenna pulled up his stakes and headed for Oregon.
There’s the easy way to do things, and there’s the hard way to do things. And then there’s the Dominick Prince way to do things. If given the choice and easy’s not an option, take the hard way over the Prince way.
Lying Blind, the sixth entry in the Nan Vining series by Dianne Emley, opens with an absolutely stunning description. Pink rose petals blown by the Santa Ana wind drift lazily on the crystal clear water of an infinity pool behind a Spanish Colonial Revival mansion on a hilltop overlooking Pasadena and Los Angeles. Underneath an equally crisp, blue sky, the scene presents “the illusion of a waterfall flowing over the edge of the world.”
Over the years I’ve both read and reviewed Sam Hawken’s novels, as well as worked with him on his Camaro Espinoza novellas. Camaro made her full-length novel debut in The Night Charter (2015), and I was honored to work with Sam on an early draft of its sequel, Walk Away (Mulholland Books).