Sunday, July 10, 2016

Travel down John Hart's 'Redemption Road'

           John Hart’s “Redemption Road” rolls through the Southern countryside, twisting and turning into secrets, betrayal, violence and despair. It’s a road worth traveling, a non-stop voyage that will have your fingers white upon the steering wheel until the very end.
            Someone’s abducting women in this his latest thriller, and we get a glimpse of the murderer’s point of view as the book begins. Thirteen years prior a woman named Julia Strange was found murdered in an abandoned church and local cop Adrian Wall took the rap. His colleague, Elizabeth “Liz” Black, knew in her gut that Adrian was innocent but her efforts to find proof failed.
            As Adrian is released from prison 13 years later, a tortured and broken man, Julia’s son is set on revenge and confronts him in a bar. Meanwhile, Liz has charges of her own after brutally killing two men in a current abduction case. And then another woman’s body is found on the church altar, in the same pose as Julia Strange.
            The storylines weave in and out, constantly providing new insight into all of the cases, the author showing us a host of suspects as Liz works feverously to clear Adrian’s name once again and keep herself out of jail. Time is of the essence, as well, as forces come down on them both, so readers really do feel as if they are speeding down a road to redemption.
            Best-selling author David Baldacci said that, “John Hart can flat-out write…read this novel. And then go back and read all of his others. He’s that good.”
            He is that good and that’s exactly what I’ll be doing.

Louisiana Writers Retreat
Want to get away for a long weekend to write and think? Join Shift Key’s Jan Risher for the Louisiana Writers Retreat July 28-31 at Lake Cotile in Boyce. The retreat will feature unstructured writing time, facilitated writing workshops and nightly readings at two lake houses and will include accommodations and meals. The retreat also includes sending up to eight pages to an outside editor for feedback/edits and one-on-one sessions. The cost to attend is $435; email Risher at jrisher@goshiftkey.com for more information.

Book awards
Two Baton Rouge authors — M.O. Walsh and Greg Isles — won the 2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. Winners are: The Great Santini Fiction Prize: “My Sunshine Away” by Walsh; The Prince of Tides Literary Prize: “Above the Waterfall” by Ron Rash; The Beach Music Mystery Prize: “Bull Mountain” by Brian Panowich; The Lords of Discipline Thriller Prize: “The Bone Tree” by Greg Isles; The Pat Conroy Cookbook Prize: “Soul Food Love” by Alice Randall; The Death of Santini Nonfiction Prize: “Dispatches from Pluto” by Richard Grant; The Water Is Wide History & Life Stories Prize: “Jacksonland” by Steve Inskeep; Poppy’s Pants Young Adult Prize: “Mosquitoland” by David Arnold and Poppy’s Pants Youngster’s Prize Winner: “Serafina and the Black Cloak” by Robert Beatty. You can read some of these books reviewed at my blog, LouisianaBookNews.blogspot.com.

Faulkner Society
Two authors will discuss and sign their books from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. today at the Faulkner House, 624 Pirate’s Alley in the French Quarter of New Orleans. John Gregory Brown, a native of the city, will discuss his recent novel, “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere,” and Richard Grant will discuss his new memoir, “Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta.” The event is free and open to the public; RSVP to faulkhouse@aol.com.

Book events
Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble, a month-long celebration of pop culture with special events, will run through Aug. 7 at the Lafayette store. At 7 p.m. Friday the store hosts a Star Wars night with trivia, bingo, giveaways and more. Pokemon takes over beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday as the store celebrates 20 years of Pokemon with games and photos.
Paula Hutchinson will sign her books from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Between the Lines Bookstore in Baton Rouge.
            On Saturday, Barnes & Noble will launch new tokidoki back-to-school and stationery product lines, which will be sold exclusively at all Barnes & Noble stores nationwide. To celebrate its arrival, Barnes & Noble Lafayette will be giving away free limited edition character trading cards and buttons Saturday, while supplies last. Also on Saturday at the store, Manga artist Camilla d’Errico arrives at 7 p.m. and there will be activities, cosplay and giveaways.


Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country.” She writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.