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The Ghost Daughter, by Maureen O’Leary
In 1971, a wounded young man runs with his daughter in the woods at night. As he collapses, he tells the little girl to run, and she does.
Eighteen years later, in October 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake buries twenty-two-year-old Angel Kelley under a collapsed building. Her adoptive mother Judith is diagnosed with cancer while her deepest secrets surface in national news. In nearby Silicon Valley, Reese Camden loses her husband in an accident that kills him and critically injures their five-year-old daughter Madison.
As news images of Angel’s rescue emerge, Detective Laura Redleaf recognizes Judith from an unsolved missing child case. She travels to Santa Cruz and learns from Judith that Reese is actually Angel’s biological mother Teresa, who has always known that Judith had her child. But Teresa has already fled and reinvented herself yet again, leaving her second daughter Madison in the hospital. Facing a kidnapping charge, Judith refuses medical treatment and bars Angel from visiting her in prison.
For life to move forward, Teresa must reclaim her identity and confront her terrible past. In the end, it will take more than tons of rubble to crush the spirits of these four strong-willed women as they fight for their families, seek redemption, and find love.
Going Dark: Selected Stories, by Dennis Must
“Writers aren’t exactly people … they’re a whole lot of people trying to be one person.” In Dennis Must’s third story collection, Going Dark, the narrators mirror F. Scott Fitzgerald’s observation by drawing the reader into their dissimilar yarns, earthy or exalted, practical or fanciful. An aging actor looks back on his life, but whose life does he recall? A couple finds a novel way to spice up their marriage, but then the fantasy takes on a life of its own …. Middle-aged men struggle to cope with distracted wives and terminal loneliness. They look back on hapless childhoods to come to terms with what drove their parents or siblings to suicide, infidelity, or madness.
Post World War II Midwest is the predominant setting, and Must’s poetic gift captures its moods, textures and odors and gives it form and substance in vivid colors and dramatic shades of gray.
Their author has been variously compared to Franz Kafka, Flannery O’Connor, Nathaniel West, and Nathanial Hawthorne.
Minding the Muse: A Handbook for Painters, Composers, Writers, and Other Creators, by Priscilla Long
Minding the Muse is a practical handbook for the artist or writer—highly experienced, aspiring, or somewhere in between. Long draws from her extensive background as a poet, writer, and master teacher, but also gathers the insights and practices of a wide range of high-achieving artists, including mystery writer Raymond Chandler, choreographer Twyla Tharp, poet and performance artist Patti Smith, and the painter Joan Miró.
Beginning with the first sparks of artistic creation—“Gathering, Hoarding, Conceptualizing”—Long moves through the various stages to “Completing Works” and “Poet as Peddler, Painter as Pusher: Marketing.”
Every creative worker will find something here to take to heart and into the studio or workroom.
Beauty and the Breast: A Tale of Breast Cancer, Love, and Friendship, by Merrill Joan Gerber
When Merrill Joan Gerber was diagnosed breast cancer, she set out on a journey familiar to too many women. It began with denial that her precious breasts, those shining birthrights that appear in adolescence and promise beauty, sex and the love of men, could become the agents of terror and even death. What followed was a parade of doctors and their treatments, of surgery, the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy, and the dangerous but life-saving beams of radiation to her breast. She found new friends in her cancer support group but lost three to the disease. Merrill recorded intimate conversations with her husband and daughters, took photographs of her breast in various stages of treatment, and also of the machinery that dispensed the treatments.
Merrill faced the complicated day-to-day topics—where do I get a wig, what can I eat, how will I sleep? She found a new appreciation for the blessings in her life, her beloved husband, their daughters, and their daughters’ children. As she recalled her parents’ illnesses, her childhood in Brooklyn, and her complicated relationship with her own breasts, she reflected on long-held notions of fear and death.
Merrill Joan Gerber is the author of thirty books and many short stories. She is the winner of an O. Henry Prize and the Ribalow Award from Hadassah magazine. In Beauty and the Breast, she bares her soul and her breasts as she navigates the terrors of cancer and learns with courage and gratitude what it means to be a survivor.
Many have reported on the cancer wars, but Merrill’s memoir delivers a special contribution of humor, passion, candor, real-life photos, and a poetic gift to the reader.
Enter by the Narrow Gate, by David Carlson
A teenage girl has vanished in Santa Fe. Nearby, in the Trappist monastery of St. Mary of the Snows, a beautiful young nun is stabbed to death. Father Nicholas Fortis is on sabbatical at St. Mary’s, and when Lieutenant Christopher Worthy of the Detroit Police Department is flown in to help find the missing teenager, the Orthodox monk asks his friend to delve into the nun’s murder as well. The two men make a perfect team: the monk’s gregarious manner opens hearts and the detective’s keen intuition infiltrates psyches.
The Book of Matthew refers to the “narrow gate” that leads to heaven. Each of the key players in these two cases was rattling heaven’s gate in a frantic and even dangerous quest for salvation. Lieutenant Sera Lacey of the Santa Fe Police, with her captivating looks and insight into the Native Americans and cultures of the Southwest, proves both a boon and a distraction for Worthy. As Father Fortis navigates the social hierarchy of the monks of St. Mary’s, he begins to fear their secret agendas. Bowing to the pressure to solve both cases, the investigators let the clues lead them in opposite directions. At the end of one of those paths, Death awaits.
Book one in a new detective series featuring Christopher Worthy and Father Fortis.