Book Review for The Margaret Ellen, A Karen Cobia Mystery by RC Burdick
I've discovered a new favorite author, and his name is RC Burdick.
The Margaret Ellen is an ocean-drenched mystery, filled with vibrant characters, palpable sea breezes, and spine-tingling suspense. It's a story that lingers in the reader's mind for days, conjuring up images of blustery sky and sea, saltwater-dampened hair, and personalities that spring to life from the rapidly turned pages. Like a great film, it's over far too soon.
Karen "Seaweed" Cobia is in a dilemma. Treading water in unsatisfactory relationships, Seaweed knows something has to change. As the charming, boyish charter boat captain sets out to right the wrongs in her life, she finds herself smack dab in the middle of a juicy murder investigation.
Seaweed and soon-to-be-ex boyfriend, Angus Loman, discover a body bobbing in the surf off Hangman's Key, an island on the west coast of Florida. Eva Park, local well-known philanthropist, is found face down in the surf with her hands and feet bound and a bullet in her forehead. Because Seaweed was raised by her sea-loving father, owner of Cobia's Bait, Tackle, and Charter Service, her resultant marine expertise aids in the murder investigation. The crusty local detective, Myers, begrudgingly accepts her assistance. Nicknamed "Grim Lips," Myers continues to seek out Karen's help as his regard for her skill intensifies.
As the mystery unfolds, a peculiar woman approaches Seaweed for help, embroiling her more deeply in the intrigue. Seaweed tries to balance the life she craves on the ocean with the promise to help the young woman, but instead is catapulted toward a dangerous liaison with the devious culprit who wants her dead.
Mr. Burdick's first mystery is a masterpiece - the sense of place is alive and tantalizing; the scenes are vibrant and tangible. I still taste the salt from the onion rings; feel the condensation on the café tabletop; and sense the rolling of The Margaret Ellen as it moves through the swells. Burdick's knowledge of boats, waterways, fishing, and life on the Florida coast is dazzling, and lends credibility to the work.
The Margaret Ellen is reminiscent of John D MacDonald's Travis Magee series. As much as I love Travis Magee, I must say that I felt closer to Burdick's characters and more securely at the helm of The Margaret Ellen than I did with Magee's houseboat, The Busted Flush. Is that a travesty?
The natural dialogue is brilliantly set to the rustling of sea oats and whistling Austrian pines. The interplay between Seaweed and her father is priceless, emotive, and genuine. Evocative of real life, it brings to mind my own precious relationships with my three daughters. When I finished The Margaret Ellen, I was left with the paradox of deep satisfaction coupled with a strong yearning for more. I cared about these characters, and want to know what happens next. Mr. Burdick has hinted at a sequel and will undoubtedly have a long line of readers anxiously awaiting its release!
Aaron Paul Lazar resides in Upstate New York with his wife, three daughters, two grandsons, mother-in- law, two dogs, and three cats. After writing in the early morning hours, he works as an electrophotographic engineer at NexPress Solutions Inc., part of Kodak's Graphic Communications Group, in Rochester, New York. Additional passions include vegetable, fruit, and flower gardening; preparing large family feasts; photographing his family, gardens, and the breathtakingly beautiful Genesee Valley; cross-country skiing across the rolling hills; playing a distinctly amateur level of piano, and spending "time" with the French Impressionists whenever possible.
Although he adored raising his three delightful daughters, Mr. Lazar finds grandfathering his "two little buddies" to be one of the finest experiences of his life. Double Forte', the first in the series, was published in January 2005. Upstaged, number two, is in production. With eight books under his belt, Mr. Lazar is currently working on the ninth, which features Gus LeGarde and his family. www.legardemysteries.com">http://www.legardemysteries.com
In what has become an annual rite under the Trump administration, the president's fiscal year 2020 budget proposal calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. Trump's initial budgets for both fiscal 2018 and 2019 also called for cutting the NEA, but each time the House restored funds for the organization and last year gave the NEA a $3 million increase.
According to researchers, the English language might never have enjoyed a richness of F-words had it not been for early farmers and the food processing they favored. Dairy products and other soft foods, such as gruel, porridge, soup and stews, helped shape our faces, the researchers claim, and allowed us to form the sounds "f" and "v", known as labiodental fricatives...
After skipping 2018's announcement due to scandal, the Nobel Foundation has announced that the Nobel Prize in Literature will be awarded in 2019 - and that Laureates will be announced for both 2018 and 2019.
According to the press release: "During the past year, the Nobel Foundation has had a close dialogue with the Swedish Academy about the problems that arose in late 2017 and early 2018. Several important changes have been implemented since then. The Academy's regulations have been amended, making it possible for members to resign. The statutes have been clarified. Several new members have been elected. The Academy also no longer includes any members who are subject to conflict of interest or criminal investigations."
The longlist for The Women's Prize for Fiction 2019 have been announced. The winner will be declared in June.
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton
My Sister, the Serial Killer Oyinkan Braithwaite
The Pisces Melissa Broder
Milkman Anna Burns
Freshwater Akwaeke Emezi
Ordinary People Diana Evans
Swan Song Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
An American Marriage Tayari Jones
Number One Chinese Restaurant Lillian Li
Bottled Goods Sophie van Llewyn
Lost Children Archive Valeria Luiselli
Praise Song for the Butterflies Bernice L. McFadden
Circe Madeline Miller
Ghost Wall Sarah Moss
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Across America, small theaters are canceling productions of Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," citing a threat of litigation from a powerful, sharp-elbowed Broadway producer related to a contract that dates back half a century.
The theaters were planning to stage an adaptation of the novel by the playwright Christopher Sergel, which has been widely staged by adults and students for decades. Lawyers for the producer Scott Rudin, backed by the Lee estate, are telling the theaters that their productions are no longer permissible because there is a new adaptation, by the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, which opened on Broadway in December...
The Guardian has a fun article on Susan Rennie's book, Roald Dahl's Rotsome and Repulsant Words, which is worth a read for all Dahl fans, and particularly lovers of his 1982 classic, The BFG:
If a small child were to walk up to the lexicographer Susan Rennie in the street and call her a slopgroggled grobsquiffler, she would know exactly how to reply. "You squinky squiddler!" she would shout. "You piffling little swishfiggler! You troggy little twit! Don't you dare talk pigsquiffle to me, you prunty old pogswizzler!" ...
Silicon Valley billionaire, philanthropist and author Michael Moritz and his wife Harriet Heyman's charitable foundation has been announced as the new sponsor of the Booker prize, a month after the Man Group revealed it was ending its 18-year sponsorship of the prestigious award for literary fiction.
Moritz and Heyman's foundation, Crankstart, has committed to an initial five-year exclusive funding term for the Booker, with an option to renew for a further five years. It will not give its name to the award, which will revert to its old name of the Booker prize from 1 June, when the Man Group's sponsorship ends.
We are pleased to announce the publication of
The Inner Lives of Book Clubs!
This fascinating report is the first to really get to the heart of the book club experience. It's the result of two surveys of more than 5,500 people, combined with BookBrowse's more than 15 years of book club experience and research.
Its 56-pages are packed with interesting and usable information that is relevant to librarians, authors, publishers, booksellers and, of course, book clubs.
Among much else, you will discover:
- The attributes most successful book groups share.
- The demographics of public book clubs compared to private groups.
- What people want from their book club.
- The elements book clubs look for when picking books.
- The 12 most common book club challenges, and how groups resolve them.
- The link between discussion length and happiness.
- The percentage of book clubs that use library book bags.
- What people interested in a book club but not in one want from a group
- What causes people to leave book clubs.
Prolific author William E. Butterworth III, who wrote under the name W.E.B. Griffin, has died aged 89.
The writer Andrea Levy, who explored the experience of Jamaican British people in a series of novels over 20 years has died, aged 62, from cancer.
After starting to write as a hobby in her early 30s, Levy published three novels in the 1990s that brought her positive reviews and steady sales. But her fourth novel, Small Island, launched her into the literary big league, winning the 2004 Orange prize, the Whitbread book of the year and the Commonwealth Writers' prize, selling more than 1m copies around the world and inspiring a 2009 BBC adaptation.