Archive for the ‘US Northwest’ Category


A provocative thriller will fasten a reader to the proverbial edge of the seat, either by laying a trail of clues to “whodunit” or leading us on a mad and oscillating cat-and-mouse chase through the landscape of the novel. In the case of Urban Waite’s contemporary, reflective and rousing cat-and-mouse debut, I was glued to the pages of perilous pursuit and quickened by the torn and haunted rogue heroes–Deputy Bobby Drake, and ex-convict and owner of a struggling horse farm, Phil Hunt.

February 7, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Posted in: Debut Novel, Mystery/Suspense, Noir, Thriller/Spy/Caper, US Northwest, Wild West

EDIBLE STORIES by Mark Kurlansky

Most readers would consider this a book of short stories. But the title sports a subhead that reads, “A Novel in Sixteen Parts.” So, for the sake of the book’s integrity, we’ll call it a novel. (It’s a book of short stories, though.)

The 16 stories gathered together here in EDIBLE STORIES are organized around some form of food and/or eating theme, but it’s never heavy-handed or in-your-face. Kurlansky uses food as a way into the story, not as the thing he wants to explore. Food creates a kind of bond around which the characters interact; it’s natural and normal – until it’s crazy.

December 8, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Short Stories, US Northwest

HEALER by Carol Cassella

In HEALER, by Carol Cassella, forty-three year old stay-at-home mom Claire Boehning had been living a charmed life with her biochemist husband, Addison, and their only daughter, fourteen-year-old Jory. After Addison sold his biotech company, he and his wife bought a beautiful lakeside house in Seattle, where Jory attended private school, took ballet lessons, and enjoyed hanging out at the mall with her friends. Suddenly, everything turns sour, and mother and daughter are forced to retreat to their vacation home in the mountains of Washington State, while Addison scrambles to recoup the losses that Claire knew nothing about until a store rejected her credit card.

October 17, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, Reading Guide, US Northwest

THE WILDING by Benjamin Percy

Although Justin Caves is a grown man now, one incident from his childhood in Oregon regularly returns to haunt him: he once comes face-to-face with a wounded bear in the woods outside his house. Worse, his father encourages him not to be a “pantywaist” but to aim his rifle carefully and shoot it. The all-consuming terror and helplessness he felt then, has never gone away.

September 28, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Literary, US Northwest


David Vann’s LEGEND OF A SUICIDE consists of a novella and short stories that are semi-autobiographical. Vann spent his early years in Ketchikan, Alaska where his father had a dental practice. His father sold the practice and bought a fishing boat that he hoped would provide a living. His father invested unwisely and lost a lot of money. On top of that, the IRS was after him for some investments he made in other countries. Vann’s parents divorced when Vann was about five years old because his father was unfaithful. Vann was witness to some horrific fights between his parents. His father was mercurial of mood, likely with manic-depression that appears to have been undiagnosed. After his parent’s divorce, Vann moved to California with his mother and sister. When Vann was thirteen years old, his father asked him to spend a year in Alaska with him. Vann declined. Two weeks later, his father shot himself. This book is Vann’s attempt to get his head around his father’s suicide, along with his own feelings of guilt, shame, anger, denial and fears.

August 15, 2010 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Short Stories, US Northwest

WORK SONG by Ivan Doig

These days, one of the more famous attractions in Butte, Montana, is the Berkeley pit—a crater full of acidic water and toxic heavy metals. Now one of the costliest Superfund sites in the country, the pit is a remnant of what was once a roaring industry in the city—copper mining. Before the open pit mining technique as exemplified by the Berkeley pit took over the countryside, much of the copper mining in Butte was carried out underground.

It is this underground copper mining industry that forms the backdrop for Ivan Doig’s latest novel, Work Song. Set around 1918 and early 1919, shortly after the end of World War I, it includes a colorful assortment of characters and backdrops. Chief among these is the protagonist, Morrie Morgan, who, as the novel opens, has just arrived in Butte to make a fortune from “The Richest Hill on Earth.”

June 29, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Reading Guide, US Northwest, Wild West