Archive for the ‘Character Driven’ Category


I’ve become an avid fan of Gene Kerrigan’s Irish mysteries. They are literate page-turners that are complex in plot with wonderful characterizations. This is the second one that I’ve read and I plan on reading each of them.

In this novel, Danny Callaghan has gotten out of jail seven months ago after serving an eight year term for manslaughter. He beat a man to death with a golf club when he was 24. He is now 32 and trying to live by the letter of the law, working for his bar-owning friend Novak, doing pick-ups and deliveries of people and materials. While he was in jail, his marriage to Hannah ended in divorce and he is alone with little support except for Novak, who is his confidante. While he was in jail, Novak was basically the only person who visited him there.

January 4, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Ireland, Literary, Mystery/Suspense, Noir

LET HIM GO by Larry Watson

The simple plotting of Larry Watson’s Let Him Go – the quest of Margaret and George Blackridge to reclaim their young grandson, who lives with his mother and rotten-to-the-core stepfather – belies the strong emotional impact of this exquisitely powerful book.

December 31, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, Character Driven, Contemporary, End-of-Life, Literary, Wild West

THE ORCHARDIST by Amanda Coplin

In this understated and emotionally raw novel of a family born as much from choice as from blood, debut novelist Amanda Coplin explores themes of love, loyalty, courage, compassion, revenge, and honor, as well as the lifelong, traumatic impact of both childhood abuse and loss.

December 22, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Debut Novel, Facing History, Reading Guide, US Frontier West, US Northwest


From the opening pages, it is evident that Gilbert can write with lyricism, confidence, and substance. I was afraid that her mass popularity would lead to a dumbed down book with pandering social/political agendas or telegraphed notions. I am thrilled to conclude that this was not the case. Gilbert is a superb writer who allows her main characters to spring forth as organically as the natural world that they live in.

December 5, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Facing History, Family Matters, Reading Guide, United States, US Mid-Atlantic

MURDER AS A FINE ART by David Morrell

MURDER AS A FINE ART by David Morrell is one of the best mystery books I’ve read this year. It is historically based, taking place in the nineteenth century. As some of you may know, Morrell is best-known for his book, First Blood, upon which the the Rambo movies are based. Murder as a Fine Art is very different from his first writings. It is literary fiction and page-turning at its best.

December 3, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Facing History, Literary, Mystery/Suspense

LAMB by Bonnie Nadzam

David Lamb has the emotional life of a Rubik’s Cube. All the pieces are there but it seems impossible at times to get his emotional life organized, put together, and working well. He’s like a chess game played by one person, every piece under his dominion, tutelage and control. Only he can checkmate his own self. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

October 12, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Literary, US Frontier West, US Midwest