WE NEED NEW NAMES by NoViolet Bulawayo

NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut novel, WE NEED NEW NAMES, is the story of Darling, a young Zimbabwean girl living in a shantytown called Paradise. She is feisty ten-year old, an astute observer of her surroundings and the people in her life. Bulawayo structures her novel more like a series of linked stories, written in episodic chapters, told loosely chronologically than in one integrated whole. In fact, the short story “Hitting Budapest,” that became in some form an important chapter in this “novel,” won the prestigious 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing.

In addition to Darling, the stories introduce her gang of close friends. They are vividly and realistically drawn and we can easily imagine them as they roam free in their neighbourhood and also secretly walk into “Budapest,” a near-by district of the well-off…

January 5, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Coming-of-Age, Man Booker Nominee, Short Stories, US Midwest, World Lit

THE GREAT LEADER by Jim Harrison

Once, many years ago when I was living in Northern Michigan, Jim Harrison walked into the restaurant where I was dining. He didn’t so much walk in, in retrospect, as lumber in. It was the Blue Bird Cafe and I confess that I’d been hanging out there in the hopes of catching a glimpse of him.

October 30, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Literary, Mystery/Suspense, US Midwest

VERY BAD MEN by Harry Dolan

David Loogan lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his girlfriend, Detective Elizabeth Waishkey and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Sarah. Loogan edits a mystery magazine, and he has made the mental leap from writing and critiquing stories about crime to tracking down villains in real life. In Harry Dolan’s latest novel, VERY BAD MEN, David tells us a story that will explain “the motives people have for killing one another.” As we will see, the reasons for taking someone’s life can vary from a matter of convenience to a thirst for revenge. Loogan, who is a witty first person narrator, gets embroiled in his latest adventure when someone drops an unsolicited manuscript at his office, in which the anonymous writer confesses to committing murder and even provides the name of his next victim.

August 7, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Sleuths Series, US Midwest

ONCE UPON A RIVER by Bonnie Jo Campbell

Odysseus was a legendary and cunning hero on a journey to find home, and lived by his guile. Annie Oakley was a sharpshooter with an epic aim, living by her wits. Siddhartha traveled on a spiritual quest to find himself, and defined the river by its timelessness—always changing, always the same. Now, in Bonnie Jo Campbell’s adventure story, we are introduced to sixteen-year-old Margo Crane, gutsy, feisty survivor who manifests a flawed blend of all three heroes, who lives once and inexorably upon a river.

July 18, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, US Midwest, Wild West, y Award Winning Author

MISERY BAY by Steve Hamilton

After a wait of 5 years and 2 non-series books, including last year’s Edgar award winning THE LOCK ARTIST, Steve Hamilton has brought back Alex McKnight in MISERY BAY, the eighth book in this excellent series. While relaxing at the Glasgow Inn in Paradise, Michigan with the owner Jackie Connery and his friend Vinnie “Red Sky” LeBlanc, Alex’s evening is interrupted by a man he didn’t expect to ever see there, Chief Roy Maven, who surprisingly asks for Alex’s help. Chief Maven, the head of the nearby Sault Ste. Marie police force, wants Alex to help his old state trooper partner, Charles “Raz” Razniewski, determine why his son Charlie would hang himself in a remote part of Misery Bay, Lake Superior on the Upper Peninsula part of Michigan.

July 3, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Sleuths Series, US Midwest, y Award Winning Author

STARVATION LAKE by Bryan Gruley

Chicago Wall Street Journal bureau chief Gruley has hit on a winning combination for his debut novel – visceral amateur hockey and in-your-face small-town newspapering.

Narrator Gus Carpenter, hockey goalie and editor of the Pilot, isn’t too happy about either role. He had escaped insular Starvation Lake, Michigan, and landed a job at the Detroit News intending never to look back. But the big story that was supposed to win him a Pulitzer earned him a one-way ticket back home in disgrace instead.

May 16, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, Mystery/Suspense, Sleuths Series, US Midwest