Saturday, August 1, 2009

Four Texas Novelists Spin Readable Tales

Texas is full of great stories, and fortunately we have some terrific story-tellers to tell them. Here are four you might want to check out:

The Color of Lightning by Paulette Jiles (William Morrow, $25.99 hardcover).

Jiles has written two best-selling novels,Stormy Weather and Enemy Women. Her latest novel is based on the true story of ex-slave Britt Johnson, who settles in Comanche territory in West Texas in the 1860s.

While the Civil War rages, Johnson faces his own trials as his family is attacked by Comanches while Britt is away on business. He vows to bring his family back together again, and that is the principal plotline of this fast-paced historical novel.

Blood Lines by Kathryn Casey (St. Martin’s, $24.99 hardcover).

Casey has written several true crime books, and last year she penned her first novel,
Singularity, starring a new heroine, Sarah Armstrong, a criminal profiler with the Texas Rangers and a single mom.

Casey and Armstrong are back for a sequel in Blood Lines. The story follows two cases Armstrong is tracking – the apparent (maybe too apparent) suicide of oil businesswoman Billie Cox and the threatening e-mails sent by a stalker to teen pop star Cassidy Collins in advance of her upcoming Texas concerts.

Casey knows how to keep readers turning the pages to get to the stirring conclusion.

Don’t Let It Be True by Jo Barrett (Avon, $13.99 paperback).

The third novel from Texas author Jo Barrett is a fun read and offers plenty of over-the-top Texas stereotypes.

Don't Let It Be True is the tale of Houston socialite Kathleen King, who has a dirty little secret -- she's flat broke.

Kathleen manages to put up a good front, with her boyfriend footing the bill for her fancy apartment inside the loop, and her stylish wardrobe coming from vintage clothing stores.

However, everything falls apart when her boyfriend's oil fortune is lost, and Kathleen must still manage to put on her famous King Foundation annual dinner, lavishly done with all the bells and whistles expected by creme de la creme of Houston society.

Although predictable, this novel is a relaxing summer read -- perfect for an afternoon by the pool.

The Summer Kitchen by Lisa Wingate (New American Library, $15 paperback).

Wingate, the popular and prolific author from Clifton, has a new novel just released in July.

The Summer Kitchen is the second book in the Blue Sky Hill Series, which began last year with A Month of Summer. Set in a transitional Dallas neighborhood, this story is told in alternating chapters in the voices of two very different characters.

SandraKaye Darden is a suburban mom whose comfortable life is coming unraveled. Cass Blue is a runaway from foster care with her older brother Rusty, trying to make it on their own in Dallas.

Soon their lives intersect and are changed in profound ways. As always, Wingate’s stories are uplifting and wholesome, dealing with matters like friendship, grace, and the power to make a difference in other’s lives.