Log In

Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the Table-of-Contents Database.

Get a digital subscription to Publishers Weekly for only $18.95/month.

Your subscription gives you instant access exclusive feature articles on notable figures in the publishing industry, he latest industry news, interviews of up and coming authors and bestselling authors, and access over 200,000 book reviews.

PW "All Access" site license members have access to PW's subscriber-only website content. To find out more about PW's site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time.

The Last Road Rebel and Other Lost Stories: Growing Up in a Small Town—and Never Getting Over It

Robert Gilberg. True Directions, $20.95 (354p) ISBN 978-1-4917-5723-9

First-time author Gilberg’s memoir of life growing up in the 1950s in the small town of New Bremen, Ohio, is like taking a leisurely Sunday drive down a country road. The impetus of his book was a reunion in his hometown of friends he hadn’t seen since 1958, “fifty-five years earlier.” The Road Rebels were teens who, inspired by James Dean and the early days of California hot-rod car culture, decided to get “some shirts, bumper plaques, and a club name” to be both “cool and different from all the other teenagers in New Bremen,” as well as show the town that the Road Rebels “could be organized and do something important.” As a group they helped stranded motorists and organized road rallies and car shows. Gilberg’s life revolves around the group, as well as typical teenage activities like school and dances, but his memoir isn’t a warmed over American Graffiti. He delivers a sympathetic look at his desire to leave his small town for the bigger world of Ohio State University where he first hears Joan Baez’s “incredible, crystal-clear, haunting voice” drifting down his apartment hallway. While he ends up in California designing microcircuits for mainframe computer companies, his heart clearly is back in Ohio. Gilberg’s book beautifully evokes 1950s small-town America. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 06/22/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
Road Whiz

Darcy Pattison. Mims House, $5.99 (178p) ISBN 978-1-62944-098-9

Jamie Kruger hates being so big, towering above the other eighth-grade students at his Arkansas middle school. He’s growing constantly, hungry all the time, and bullied by other kids, especially rival Chan Maxwell. Jamie’s father, who travels for long stretches of time, doesn’t notice Jamie’s growth or isolation, and his mother is sad about her husband’s most recent work assignment: a year or more in Poland. To help allay the physical and emotional toll of being on their own, Jamie and his mom start running together. Meanwhile, greyhound Road Whiz’s racing days are over; when Forever Homes for Greyhounds visits Jamie’s school, Jamie persuades his mom to adopt the retired dog. Everyday life remains a challenge, however, until a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot teaches Jamie and his family about love, understanding, and what’s truly important. Pattison (the Blue Planets World series) attempts to connect worthy themes of alienation, bullying, competition, friendship, and family relationships into a coming-of-age story, but a lack of focus results in a missed opportunity to make a strong point. Ages 10–12. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 06/22/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
Infinite Us

Eden Butler. Eden Butler, $2.99 e-book (296p) ASIN B06XKMKZ2J

Butler (Fall) beautifully weaves three interracial romances into a single satisfying work. Brooklyn programmer Nash Nation is focused on getting his company started to the detriment of everything else, including sleep. When his attractive neighbor Willow helps him finally get some rest, he dreams of Prohibition-era New Orleans, seeing through the eyes of black delivery girl Sookie as she falls in love with her rich white neighbor, Dempsey. Willow, meanwhile, dreams of 1967 Washington, D.C., where university tutor Riley is falling for her student Isaac despite her abusive ex-boyfriend and the tensions of the civil rights movement. As Nash and Willow’s relationship becomes more passionate, they realize that the dreams they share are actually memories, pointing their way to a happy ending. Butler’s lush descriptions evoke the love and terror the past couples feel as they face violence that threatens their relationships and lives. The complex structure crystallizes into an impressive resolution that ties up loose threads hidden in the very first pages. This splendid story is destined for many a keeper shelf. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 06/22/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
Chinawoman’s Chance: A Portia of the Pacific Historical Mystery

James Musgrave. EMRE, $9.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-94345731-1

In Musgrave’s promising historical and series launch, fear of job losses leads to the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the first major law restricting immigration to the U.S. Two years after the law takes effect, tensions between San Francisco’s white and Chinese-American populations heat up after the murder of Mary McCarthy, a 19-year-old prostitute, whose killer flayed her corpse, leaving only skeletal remains behind. The authorities focus on the Tongs, arresting 14 of their leaders on suspicion of some involvement in the atrocity. Reporter George Kwong, the son of one of his community’s wealthiest members, is later charged with the killing. The only people standing between George and execution are two real-life historical figures: Capt. Isaiah Lees, of the SFPD, and Clara Foltz, a pioneering female attorney who successfully advocated for women to be allowed to practice law in California. Several clever plot twists guide Isaiah and Clara to the real killer. Readers will look forward to their next adventure. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 06/22/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
Terminal Rage

A.M. Khalifa, read by Scott Brick. Mavenhill Audio, , unabridged, digital download, 10.5 hrs., $29.99 ASIN B07D5J4H6W

The audio production of Khalifa’s twisty thriller begins with a terrorist takeover of a Manhattan skyscraper and features a spirited reading by Brick. Former FBI agent Alex Blackwell initially sounds annoyed as he is dragged from retirement to handle a hostage situation in a New York City high-rise. His attitude shifts to that of a determined professional when Seth, the terrorist leader, demands a safe escape and a trade —the kidnapped daughter of an influential senator for the release of two bombers imprisoned in Egypt. Once the deal is struck and completed, Blackwell vows to hunt down Seth, and his quest is interrupted by chapters featuring Sam Morgan, a Southern California software developer who’s lured to a new job in New York City. The way the stories connect is clever and shocking. The plot hops around the globe, giving Brick’s international accents a workout—from credible Australian, Egyptian, and German accents to a questionable Caribbean one. Brick’s clipped, precise performance smooths out some rough spots in Khalifa’s prose and, more importantly, makes the most of the surprising finale. The result is a totally satisfying audiobook. A Mavenhill paperback. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 06/22/2018 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Soul Mender

R.S. Dabney. Red Pen Warriors, $14.99 trade paper (380p) ISBN 978-0-692-47201-9

A familiar science fiction theme—a parallel reality populated by alter egos of the inhabitants of our own—gets a fresh spin in this intriguing variant of a dark fantasy. Since childhood, Riley Dale, an environmental scientist living in Boulder, Colo., has been plagued by visions. Then she unexpectedly crosses over into the world of her imaginings with the help of a magic ring left to her by her grandmother. Partnering with Oz, a drug-addicted ne’er-do-well who represents the other half of her divided soul, and protector Zachary Stone, who’s a serial killer in her own world, Riley travels cross-country to Los Angeles, the terrorist-bombed capital of this alternate U.S., to learn the crucial role she must play in events rocking the parallel world. Dabney’s writing is crisp and confident, and her characters—including both of their personalities—are well-developed. She introduces more subplots than can be resolved by the novel’s end, making this a promising start for a projected trilogy. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/04/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Hunting in the Zoo: A Detective Pete Nazareth Novel

R.H. Johnson. Hampton, Westbrook, $17.95 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-5323-0214-5

Johnson’s suspenseful third novel featuring Det. Pete Nazareth of the NYPD (after A Measure of Revenge) places presidential candidate Archer Grande, who boasts that he could “stroll naked down Fifth Avenue, and my supporters would still vote for me,” in the crosshairs of an assassin. Nazareth is half of a team dubbed the Dynamic Duo, after he and fellow detective Tara Gimble amassed an impressive record for “not only closing the toughest cases but also for putting themselves in harm’s way again and again to get the job done right.” New York City’s mayor taps the pair to go after Stone Jackson, an expert sniper who has begun taking out child molesters, starting with the Little League coach who abused him. As Nazareth and Gimble search for Jackson, the killer ups the ante after concluding that Grande is a dangerous demagogue. Unexpected developments ratchet up the tension en route to a dramatic climax. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/04/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Flame Eater

Barbara Gaskell Denvil. Gaskell Publishing House, $4.99 e-book (424p) ASIN B01B8SEC3S

This meticulously detailed romantic thriller portrays two flawed families in medieval England whose less moral members are victims of a murderer/arsonist. The families are united in 1485 when heiress Emeline Wrotham marries Nicholas Chatwyn, an earl’s son and the aloof, scarred younger brother of Emeline’s true love, Peter, who was murdered. On their wedding night, the castle is engulfed in flames, and Nicholas is injured. Emeline and Nicholas, who is still recovering from extensive burns, depart for his cousin’s Nottingham home while the castle is being repaired, but an outbreak of the plague sends them away, eventually to London. During their travels, the marriage is consummated, and they become true partners, in love and in adventures. Charismatic and witty, Nicholas is the heart of Denvil’s novel; he works undercover for King Richard, rooting out political threats while maintaining the persona of a lazy drunkard to his disapproving father, whose favorite son is dead. Denvil’s numerous minor characters are as intriguing as Nicholas, infusing vitality and never detracting from the story. Everyday 15th-century life is richly evoked—the clothing, food, travel, habits—providing substance to a winning narrative. Family dysfunction is deftly woven into a mélange of murder, politics, and romance, with a wickedly realistic, often comical portrayal of kinship. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/04/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
American Tango

Jennifer Vandever. Melograno, $14 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-0-9966795-2-7

In her enjoyable second novel, Vandever cleverly meshes strikingly eccentric characters with everyday situations. Rosalind Plumley, a 37-year-old Oregonian, is an artist trapped in a retail job that caters to snobby hipsters. She’s the middle child in a bohemian family and married to a sweet but sad man who has a budding marijuana addiction. Amid her failing marriage and struggles with her neurotic family, Rosalind fantasizes about escaping her life and moving to Buenos Aires. She signs up for a tango class in preparation for her imagined future, and what follows is a story about love and reevaluating your dreams when reality comes crashing down. Rosalind can be amusingly gloomy and the story is seasoned with salty wit—she describes a pair of shoes as appearing to have been “dipped in the shimmery gold powder used to kill off a Bond girl,” and when her liberal mother considers a late-in-life romance, the greatest drawback is that the man voted for Romney. Vandever (The Brontë Project) writes smart, interesting characters who gradually mature in believable ways. Perceptive, bittersweet, and sometimes darkly funny, this is light enough for a quick read, yet it has enough depth to leave a satisfying impression. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/04/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Tough Girl: An Olympian’s Journey

Carolyn Wood. White Pine Press (Oregon), $18 paper (306p) ISBN 978-0-9977828-0-6

In this scattered debut work, written after hiking the Camino de Santiago, Wood reflects on the struggles of youth as the root of her courage and strength necessary to push on in later life. Wood, a competitive swimmer in her early years, attempts to relate a life of hard lessons that got her to the 1960 Junior Olympics in Rome and helped her through adolescence in the mid-1960s. However, while Wood thinks fondly of her time in the pool, swimming feels like something she did in between more important life happenings. Wood depicts herself in turn as a daughter in a strained relationship with a mother recovering from cancer, an athlete constantly pushing to be and do better, a lesbian finding comfort in her own sexuality, and a middle-aged woman looking to the next phase of life. Making stops at every trying life obstacle from childhood to late adulthood, she introduces so many charged elements that the novel feels unsure of which story it is trying to tell. The sections on swimming, her mother, and her lesbianism are thought provoking, but this is mostly an aimless journey in the present while dipping into the past, with a number of rhetorical questions that read as though she’s trying to figure out her life as she’s writing it. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 11/04/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

Parts of this site are only available to paying PW subscribers. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here.

To subscribe, click here.

PW “All Access” site license members have access to PW’s subscriber-only website content. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. To find out more about PW’s site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com.

If you have questions or need assistance setting up your account please email pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time for assistance.

Not Registered? Click here.