Books - Fiction

Jessica Strawser lives in Cincinnati-she was looking for the perfect setting for "Not That I Could Tell," her second novel. She decided that the ideal place for it would be a community that she enjoys visiting, the village of Yellow Springs, Ohio.

As this story of domestic suspense opens a woman has vanished along with her children and nobody seems to know where they might have gone. The missing woman had been going through a contentious divorce, she has been separated from her husband, a physician who is living in an apartment while the divorce proceedings are underway.

Laura Lippman's latest novel is a standalone noir that pays tribute to the work of the legendary James M. Cain. Lippmann got the theme for this one in part from a newspaper story that ran during her days as a journalist in Baltimore. During this interview she tiptoed around what that news story was actually about because knowing what it discussed would have been a bit of a spoiler

It is always a pleasure to interview an author who is making a literary debut with the publication of that first book. It is even more special when that author is someone you remember as a youth rambling the streets of your own town. Recently I had that experience when I conducted this interview with Moriel Rothman-Zecher.

Here's the review of his novel that I wrote for the Cox Ohio newspapers:

T.J. Turner returned to the program to discuss the second book in his series that imagines an alternate history of our American Civil War. In the first book "Lincoln's Bodyguard," the author created a story line in which President Abraham Lincoln was not assassinated at Ford's Theater in April, 1865. Instead, Lincoln had been saved by his bodyguard who is also the main protagonist in the first book and in this new one "Land of Wolves."

Paul Goldberg returned to the program to discuss his latest darkly humorous novel "The Chateau." His protagonist is a journalist named Bill who is about to lose his long-time gig as a science reporter for the Washington Post. Right at about that same moment he hears that his former college roommate, a plastic surgeon in Florida, has just made a fatal plunge from atop a tall building.

In this third volume in the author's "Orphan X" series Evan Smoak is living an undercover existence. He's hiding out because the highly trained assassins of the top secret government Orphan Program are looking for him. As Orphan X, Smoak was once a member of that organization. Now he's vanished and hoping to live a life that is more about performing good deeds instead of committing assassinations.

Alafair Burke returned to the program to talk about her new mystery novel "The Wife." I hereby declare that Alafair has written the most prescient novel of 2018. Here's a portion of my review that ran in the Cox Ohio newspapers:

Simon Sebag Montefiore is one of those rare writers who excels at both fiction and non-fiction. The last time I had him on the program it was for his epic history of the Romanov dynasty. The final czar, Nicholas II, died one century ago, along with his family, at the hands of Bolshevik assassins. With this centennial year underway we talked about the Romanovs for a bit as we began our conversation about Simon's new novel "Red Sky at Noon."

Elizabeth Berg had had enough. She was tired of reading bad news and hearing about things that were upsetting. She wanted to feel good and to think pleasant thoughts. So she sat down and wrote a thoroughly charming, feel-good book, "The Story of Alfred Truluv."

Arthur, her protagonist is a pleasant older man, a widower who is grieving for his wife. Most days he heads over to the graveyard where his wife is interred and has lunch with her. He talks to her. He even talks to some of the other people who have been laid to rest there. Arthur is lonely. The woman who lives next door to him seems interested in him. She's alone, too. Arthur isn't sure if he is ready to get involved in a new relationship. His late wife is still the center of his world.

Robert Crais returned to the program to talk about his latest installment in a mystery series that features Elvis Cole, a private investigator who Crais likes to call "The World's Greatest Detective." In "The Wanted" Elvis is contacted by a woman who is worried about her son. The youth is still in high school, he doesn't have a job, and lately he's been sporting some very flashy and expensive apparel. She got suspicious and searched his room. That is when she became really upset and very concerned. How did her son obtain a Rolex watch that would retail for forty thousand dollars?

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