Via her Facebook page, a friend recently asked for book recommendations for summer reading. Although our reading tastes differ, she will find something she likes from the featured authors. If you plan to be on the beach or to spend a lazy afternoon in the hammock, you’ll do the same.
First, Lowcountry Bribe by C. Hope Clark. This is her first published novel and I’ll say it is a good one. Set in Charleston County, South Carolina, the main character is Carolina Slade, who works for the US Department of Agriculture making loans to rural residents. Ho-hum job until she is offered a bribe by one of those residents and becomes the target of a government investigation. It’s a page-turner and I stayed up all night to finish it. A sequel is in the works.
Another Southern writer, Emily Sue Harvey, just published her latest book, Cocoon. I was unfamiliar with her and her work so I activated my little quirk. I had to read her first book, Song of Renewal, first. This is the story of a married couple drifting apart over the years and are finally torn apart by their daughter’s paralyzing car accident. I put this book in the column of Christian books, which I usually avoid because they are too sappy and cliche. Song of Renewal lacks sap and deals with the life of this couple realistically with redemption as a theme.
The redemption theme also occurs in Forty Lives by Suzanne Johnson. The book is a series of letters between a woman whose husband and son were killed in a car accident, and the man in prison who caused it because he chose to drive drunk. The book opens with a wonderfully written letter written by the man. He was full of grief for having caused her grief. Her response? Go to hell! Again, no sap running here.
A Deeper Darkness by J.T. Ellison is my final recommendation of Southern writers for this post. I haven’t read the book yet but I am familiar with the main character, Samantha Owen, from reading Ellison’s other series main character, Taylor Jackson. The two women are best friends. Taylor is a lieutenant in the homicide division of the Nashville, Tennessee Police Department and Samantha is the medical examiner. Samantha Owen is called to Washington, DC after she loses her family during the devastating flood of 2010. I have enjoyed the Taylor Jackson novels and expect to do the same with Samantha Owen. It is the first in the series. Okay, so I’m a little OCD.
My final recommendation today is Alaskan writer Dana Stabenow. I was a school kid when Alaska became the 49th state. Yes, I’m that old. When I bought my first Nook I was thrilled with the number of freebies available from Barnes & Noble. Then I figured out free didn’t mean good. A Cold Day for Murder was the exception. I had never heard of Dana Stabenow and was surprised to learn that Restless in the Grave is her nineteenth book featuring Kate Shugak, a native Alaskan. Kate lives in the old homestead in The Park with her half-husky, half-wolf dog named Mutt. Did I mention there is no indoor plumbing? Kate has to deal with nature’s elements as well as problems caused by humans. Stabenow also has a series of books with Liam Campbell, an Alaska state trooper, as the main character. I love Liam Campbell! In Restless in the Grave Kate and Liam team up to investigate a plane crash.