Archive for the ‘Debut Author’ Category

January is time for the Edgar Award nominations. Of course, true to form, I’ve read relatively few, but here are my thoughts on the few I did read.

Best Novel:


Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash – Unlike his previous book, The Land More Kind than Home, I didn’t love Dark Road to Mercy. I’d be interested in your views.




CopTownCop Town by Karin Slaughter – I really liked Cop Town I thought it was well written and a great story. Not only does it have a murder, but it deals with sexual inequality, bigotry and religious  bias.




I must admit though, that there are books published in 2014 by Bruce DeSilva (Providence Rag), John Harvey (Darkness, Darkness), Archer Mayer (Proof Positive), for example, that should have been on the list.


Best First Novel:

InvisibleCityInvisible City by Julia Dahl – This is the only one I read from the list and I loved it. The story was unique. The characters were good. I love mysteries set in New York. Great all around. By all means it is worthy.



Best Young Adult Mystery:


Fake ID by Lamar Giles – As with Invisible City, Fake ID was the only Young Adult Mystery I read that was nominated. Again it is totally worthy.




So along with a 50 best all time mystery list, I now have a whole new list to work through. I’m betting you do as well.

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Olivene Love, 13, is the eldest daughter of Everlasting and Susanna Love.  With a name like Everlasting Love, what could her father be but a traveling preacher in the South in 1957.  Their stop in Binder, Alabama was supposed to be like every other stop, 3-days of revival meetings and move on. 

But Ollie meets Jimmy Koppel who follows her during her walk into town from their campsite and that changes everything.  Jimmy’s mother, Virginia, is in jail for confessing to the murder of his father, a man no one likes and who beats her.  Once Virginia is moved to the county jail, Jimmy will be forced to live with an aunt in Tennessee who he never met.  Jimmy is convinced of Virginia’s innocence and convinces Ollie as well, who then convinces her father to get involved in trying to save the Koppels.

Tess Hilmo’s debut novel With a Name Like Love is a charming read for late elementary schoolers.  Ollie and her four sisters disagree with each other, as sisters do.  Her parents seem to be the perfect parents, understanding their children, holding family councils, knowing what the ‘right thing to do’ is and instilling this understanding in their children.  The townspeople run the gamut from the kindly Ms. Mahoney to the distasteful Esther Carter.  Thus, Hilmo’s characters are real, some fun and endearing, some not so nice.  Her plot is plausible and her writing is descriptive, drawing you in from the beginning.  And without preaching (no pun intended), she instills upon the reader the desire to do the right thing, something we need more of in this world.  Hilmo’s story and writing remind me a little of Richard Peck, a little of Kathy Appelt, and a little of Clare Vanderpool, in other words, good company.

We can use a little more love in this world, so read With a Name Like Love.

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