Fiction & Literature Book Reviews

The Journey From Ennuied by Donald Braun
Released: Dec. 8, 2015

"A protracted parable about finding your true nature while on the road to strange places."
A debut novel offers a nestled allegory about a soul-awakening journey. Read full book review >
Protecting Paige by Deby Eisenberg
Released: Dec. 24, 2015

"A sentimental but moving family saga."
A young girl lives with her uncle after the tragic loss of her parents and helps him to seek love again. Read full book review >

Play on Words by Mike Harrison
Released: Sept. 18, 2015

"While some portions prove of limited interest, this tale encompasses a number of surprising landscapes."
A debut satirical novel explores the commercialized modern world. Read full book review >
Cult of Ku by Bill Fernandez
Released: Jan. 2, 2016

"An edifying novel that explores cultural conflicts in Hawaii between the world wars that is hampered by an overly ambitious, frequently turbid plot."
Fernandez (Kapa'a, 2015, etc.) incorporates Hawaiian history, folklore, and labor struggles into a 1920-set mystery packed with violence and murder.Read full book review >
Tuesday's Child by Damian Smith

"A novel that methodically works its way to the end, ensuring a well-whetted appetite for mystery."
An Oregon lawyer learns that he has a 5-year-old daughter but soon finds himself a murder suspect when the girl's mother turns up dead in Smith's debut thriller. Read full book review >

Melting the Blues by Tracy McGhee

"A brave, musical story rich with Southern history."
In McGhee's debut novel, an African-American musician learns that there are many ways to get the blues. Read full book review >
Hyenas by Michael Sellars
Released: July 20, 2015

"The start of an exhilarating new series and a stirring addition to the zombie canon."
Sellars evokes both classic literature and classic horror in this post-apocalyptic debut novel. Read full book review >
A CONTRIVED WORLD by Jung Young-Moon
Released: April 15, 2016

"A contrived world? A contrived book, though, if such a thing is wanted, an inducement to torpor and despair."
Does Korean literature have a slacker-novel genre? If so, here's its archetype. Read full book review >
PANTHER'S PREY by Lachlan Smith
Released: April 5, 2016

"Fans of this estimable series already know that Smith is much better at digging his hero into deep holes than devising plausible explanations for his often dumb behavior or providing clues to the real killer. Newcomers are advised to hang on for one wild ride."
San Francisco public defender Leo Maxwell just can't catch a break. In fact, he can't even cut himself loose from the selfsame villains that have been dogging him through three previous cases (Fox Is Framed, 2015, etc.).Read full book review >
SINEW by John Arends
Released: Nov. 4, 2015

"Though some poems misfire, many in this collection offer thoughtful, linguistically deft perceptions."
These 32 poems anatomize the connections that people both make and miss with themselves, others, and the human condition. Read full book review >
Lord Souffle by Vaughan Wiles
Released: Oct. 8, 2015

"A wistful, brightly imagined tale of a young man on the make."
A young graduate moves from South Africa to England to kick-start his career in Wiles' debut novel. Read full book review >
DARK SKY by Joel Canfield
Released: Aug. 15, 2015

"A detective story whose imperfect protagonist boasts endearing qualities just below his rakish exterior."
A former CIA agent tries to prove a dead war hero isn't actually dead and runs afoul of a private security company that may want to silence him in this thriller. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >