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Posts by Katie H

Sweet Anticipation for April 2022

Sweet Anticipation graphic for April
New Releases for April

It’s spring(ish) time, and time to turn thoughts to new beginnings. Publishers relish this time of year, as April marks the start of the big push to for new titles. This year is no different, and along with a lot of familiar names, there are plenty of new authors who have been waiting, after the ups and downs of the pandemic years, to see readers back in bookstores and libraries to discover their new works.

Apr 5, 2022

Complicated legacy

Cover of The Last Slave Ship: The T
A review of The Last Slave Ship: The True Story of How Clotilda Was Found, Her Descendants, and an Extraordinary Reckoning by Ben Raines

Though slavery ended in 1865, the importation of Africans as slaves was outlawed nearly fifty years earlier in 1808 with an act of Congress banning the practice. The truth, like most everything in history regarding race, is far from black and white. Environmental journalist and Alabama waterman Ben Raines sheds light on just how the ghosts of the slave trade, long thought well-buried, exist surprisingly close to the surface both literally and figuratively in The Last Slave Ship: The True Story of How Clotilda Was Found, Her Descendants, and an Extraordinary Reckoning.

Mar 16, 2022

Murder is messy. So who are you going to call?

Cover of The Maid
A review of The Maid by Nita Prose

Molly Gray doesn’t see the world like other people do. The eponymous maid in Nita Prose’s debut mystery, Molly also knows that most people don’t see her either. Not really, at least. At the luxury hotel she works at in Manhattan, her single-minded devotedness to her job mostly makes up for that deficiency, and as long as she can keep the Regency Grand in tip-top shape and maintain her A+ devotion to employee excellence, she can cope with the problems that crop up.

Feb 3, 2022

When she fell, she bounced back

Cover of Madam: The Biography of Po
A review of Madam: The Biography of Polly Adler, Icon of the Jazz Age by Debby Applegate

If one were to check the wallets of some of 1930s New York more prominent male citizens, it’s likely one would find a business card bearing simply a sketch of a parrot and a phone number. This card might be inscrutable at first glance, but to those in the know, that card would lead to the home of one Polly Adler, New York’s most notorious and successful madam during the city’s hedonistic Jazz Era.

Dec 29, 2021

Cold cases and basket cases

Cover of The Awkward Squad
A review of The Awkward Squad by Sophie Henaff

Anne Capestan knew she’d be punished for her itchy trigger finger, but the sentence is like no other she’d ever heard of. After firing one too many bullets, the Parisian police commissaire was lucky to still have her job, but is stunned when she learns that she is to lead a new police squad in charge of cold cases. But Capestan’s squad consists entirely of the police officers that have run afoul of the police judiciare, and since they cannot be fired, they can at least be relegated to some brigade, starved of funds and support until they quit in frustration.

Dec 2, 2021

Who was Peggy Smith?

Cover of The Postscript Murders
A review of The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths

There’s nothing particularly unusual about Peggy Smith. She’s an old lady living in an assisted living facility beside the sea, spends her days noting passersby in her notebooks and reading her beloved crime novels that fill her apartment. Even her death isn’t out of the norm--sudden and apparently peaceful in her chair overlooking the sea. But something about the death unsettles her carer, Natalka. How could a woman who was still spry enough to climb flights of stairs die of heart failure when her pills were within reach? Why are so many of the books in Peggy’s apartment dedicated to her,

Nov 23, 2021

Strange and wild songs

Cover of Matrix
A review of Matrix by Lauren Groff

Early in Matrix, Lauren Groff’s stunning new novel, Marie of France recalls a nightingale that Queen Eleanor had raised by hand, caged among the ladies of the English court. She despises this bird, which sings the same song, unlike the wild birds that Marie knew from her days when her mother and aunts were alive, free and fierce to pursue a life away from the strictures of court and the stringent roles of the ladies there. Marie herself defies easy categorization, as both bastard and royal, the product of rape from the lanky Plantagenet king and her Amazonian French mother.

Nov 1, 2021

A new meaning for moonshot

Cover of The Apollo Murders
A review of The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield

Kazimieras “Kaz” Zemeckis was bound for the stars.  At least, that was the plan before a bird strike on a routine fighter training flight left him with a glass eye and a job shepherding astronauts through the sort of space flights he was supposed to be on himself. By 1973, the Apollo missions are winding down as budget cuts take their toll, but the Apollo 18 trip promises to be like no other.

Oct 18, 2021