Wednesday, July 8, 2009

So Many Beach Books, So Little Beach Time

So you’re looking for a good beach, mountain or poolside read?
Well, here are three to consider:

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo (St. Martin’s, $24.95 hardcover) is more than fast-paced enough for men or women readers.

Although Castillo is known as a romantic mystery writer, there isn’t a lot of romance in this one, but there is plenty of suspense.

The principal character is Kate Burkholder, police chief in a small town with a dominant Amish influence. Kate herself was Amish before she strayed from the fold after the violent assault that has remained a family secret all these years.

Now that assault figures prominently in a series of murders that rocks Burkholder’s small town, threatens to reveal her family’s secret, and puts her life in danger.

Unidentified Texas Objects: Tales from the Weird, Wild West is Carol Walt’s latest book (AuthorHouse, $16, softcover).

The novel is a collection of short stories and a novella set in the fictional town of Brangus, Texas, which has certain similarities to the West Texas town of Cross Plains.

“The stories are meant to be amusing, perhaps thought provoking, and some of them have a little surprise for the reader,” she writes.

This is Walt’s fifth novel, and if you read one of her books you will probably go back for more. She is that good.

Carol is autographing books Thursday night (July 9) from 6-7:30 at Texas Star Trading Company. E-mail Texas Star at if you would like a signed copy.

Unidentified Texas Objects begins with a story set at an Abilene Air Force base (called Dugeness instead of Dyess). Tillie, from Brangus, has an appointment with a general to tell him about these weird sightings she has witnessed.

He seems to take her seriously, and in fact he takes her more seriously than she is led to believe. Meanwhile, all evidence of her visit to the base is obliterated.

“Buck and Sissy” is a tale of two lovers who turn out to be – well, let’s not spoil the story.

Walt even features herself as the main character in one story, “Stranger Than Fiction,” that involves investigators from the Department of Public Safety and the federal Homeland Security office.

Dog Nanny by Ann Whitaker (Wild Rose Press, $14.99 softcover) is the first novel by a Waco (formerly Abilene) author and teacher.

Whitaker combines her love of dogs, romance and mystery to weave a tale revolving around Julie Shields, a vet tech at an Abilene veterinary clinic who is called to Waco to help save a marriage.

Huh? Well, the wife in the marriage is so attached to her poodles that she gives them the total run of her mansion, including the bedroom. Her macho husband gives her an ultimatum: get the dogs under control or he will leave her.

Julie is called in to train the dogs, but the wife places unreasonable restrictions on how she can do that. Meanwhile, there is this very charming pilot who flies Julie to the mansion and takes an obvious interest in her. He is not what she is looking for in a husband, but, oh, how the sparks fly.

The sparks almost ignite a blaze during a passionate bedroom scene until, well, you might say there is doggus interruptus.

Whitaker will sign books from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, during the Dog Days ArtWalk downtown at Texas Star Trading Company.