FALLING TO EARTH by Kate Southwood

FALLING TO EARTH is the kind of novel that makes me want to grab the very next person I see and urgently say, ”You MUST read this.” I read this rabidly with increasing awe and respect that Kate Southwood had the chops to create a debut novel with this degree of psychological insight, restrained power, and heartbreaking beauty.

The story centers on a tragedy of unimaginable proportions – a tornado hits the small Illinois town of March in 1925, causing devastation and grievous loss in the homes of every single resident of the town.

Except one.

March 5, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Facing History, Family Matters, Literary, US Midwest

THE KEPT by James Scott

From the opening line of this striking debut novel, the mood and voice are both haunting and laced with shame.

“Elspeth Howell was a sinner.”

It is three years shy of the turn of the twentieth century, upstate New York, bitterly cold and snowy with grey, smudgy skies. Elspeth is trudging miles from the train station to her family’s isolated home, and she is carrying gifts for her five children and pious, Bible-quoting husband. She’s been gone for four months, not unusual for her midwifery practice. As she rises up the crest of the last hill, she sees her house…

January 18, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Debut Novel, Family Matters, Literary

THE PROFESSOR OF TRUTH by James Robertson

On December 21, 1988, almost exactly twenty-five years ago as I write, Pan American flight 103 from London to New York was brought down by a bomb and crashed over the small town of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people aboard and eleven more on the ground. Although others may have been implicated, only one man was convicted of planting the bomb, a Libyan national who was released several years later on compassionate grounds; he died of prostrate cancer in 2012. His death may well have been the trigger for Scottish author James Robertson’s imaginative and morally profound novel; it is certainly the event with which it opens.

December 28, 2013 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Thriller/Spy/Caper

THE MAID’S VERSION by Daniel Woodrell

THE MAID’S VERSION by Daniel Woodrell is a small book but reads like a tome, with such literate and beautiful imagery that I was enthralled. The book centers around the mystery of the explosion at Arbor Dance Hall in 1929. The explosion killed 42 people, many unrecognizable in death with their bodies broken up or burned beyond recognition. Alma Dunahew lost her sister Ruby in the explosion and for years has been trying to discover the answer to what happened. Those years have been hard on her with several of them spent at the Work Farm in West Table, Missouri, due to her psychic breakdown caused by rage and grief …

December 21, 2013 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Noir, US South

THE SILENT GIRL by Tess Gerritsen

Forensic pathologist Dr. Maura Isles angers the members of the Boston Police Department when she testifies against Officer Wayne Graff. Dr. Isles maintains that Graff’s savage beating of alleged cop killer Fabian Dixon led to the suspect’s death. Although Maura knows that she will be ostracized because of her testimony, she tells the truth as she sees it: “I only concern myself with the facts…wherever they may lead,” she says. Her attitude irritates her good friend, Homicide Detective Jane Rizzoli, who can understand why Graff “lost it.”

July 5, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: NE & New York, Sleuths Series

A LONELY DEATH by Charles Todd

A Lonely Death, by Charles Todd, is one of the most haunting mysteries in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series. The year is 1920 and the First World War has taken an enormous toll on the young Englishmen who naively went off to battle, expecting excitement and adventure. What they found, instead, was terror and violent death. Those who returned were often shell-shocked and/or physically maimed; their families suffered along with the damaged soldiers.

January 23, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Psychological Suspense, Sleuths Series, United Kingdom