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 the summer of 2016, Curtis Dawkins, a felon who is serving a life sentence in Michigan for murdering a man during a botched robbery, got some unexpected good news. Scribner, one of the top literary publishing houses in the United States, wanted to publish his debut collection of short stories, and offered him $150,000.
When "The Graybar Hotel" came out last summer, he was praised as a gifted stylist whose stories illuminated the often overlooked lives of prisoners. The book was also a boon for his family: Mr. Dawkins directed the money into an education fund for his three children.
But his surprising literary debut also caught the attention of Michigan's attorney general, who now wants Mr. Dawkins, 49, to use his financial windfall to pay for his incarceration...
The Booker Prize Foundation has launched the Golden Man Booker Prize to mark its 50th anniversary. This special one-off award will crown the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the prize, as chosen by five judges and then voted for by the public.
The Golden Man Booker will put all 51 winners which are all still in print back under the spotlight, to discover which of them has stood the test of time, remaining relevant to readers today.
Barnes & Noble is trimming its staff, laying off lead cashiers, digital leads and other experienced workers in a company-wide clearing, CNBC has learned from sources familiar with the matter.
The news came abruptly for many workers who showed up Monday morning at various Barnes & Noble locations to be notified that they no longer had a job. The number of affected workers couldn't immediately be determined. As of April 29 of last year, Barnes & Noble employed about 26,000 people.
The American Library Association presented their annual book awards today.
The Newbery medal went to Erin Entrada Kelly for Hello, Universe (Greenwillow Books) and the Caldecott Medal to Matthew Cordell for Wolf in the Snow (Feiwel & Friends).
Nina Lacour won the Michael L. Printz Award for We Are Okay (Dutton Children's), and Angela Johnson won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature." The William C. Morris YA Debut award went to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray), which also won the Odyssey audiobook award. Deborah Heiligman's Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers (Henry Holt) won the Excellence in Nonfiction award, while Larry Dane Brimner won the Sibert Medal for distinguished informational book for the Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961 (Calkins Creek).
Jacqueline Woodson received the Wilder Award, honoring an author or illustrator whose books have "made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children."
Renee Watson received The Coretta Scott King award for Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury Children's), and Eloise Greenfield received the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Former Hong Kong-based Causeway Bay Books manager Lam Wing-kei said during an interview with a foreign radio station on Tuesday that it is almost certain that he will open a book store in Taiwan and if the operation of the store is smooth, he will consider going back to Hong Kong to open a new book store.
Lam is one of five men associated with publisher and bookstore Causeway Bay Books who disappeared at the end of 2015 and reappeared in China a few months later. He said they were kidnapped by Chinese public security. The incident directed the world's attention to the issue of China's heavy-handed suppression of free speech and press.
More than 1,100 new words were included in the latest update to the Oxford English Dictionary's online edition, with more than 100 of them relating to parenting.
"Mansplain" also enters the dictionary for the first time. According to the OED, just 10 years ago the word did not exist, "but the verb (of a man: to explain something needlessly, overbearingly, or condescendingly, especially to a woman, in a manner thought to reveal a patronising or chauvinistic attitude) and the concept it describes now have a firm foothold in the language".
Gui Minhai, the Hong Kong bookseller and publisher who has twice been seized by Chinese authorities--most recently on January 20--is being awarded the International Publishers Association's Prix Voltaire for "his bravery in continuing to publish despite the risks involved."
The National Book Foundation today announced it will present the National Book Award for Translated Literature, beginning this year at the 69th National Book Awards in November. This prize, which represents a fifth National Book Award category, will honor a work of fiction or nonfiction that has been translated into English and published in the U.S.
The poet and author Helen Dunmore, who died in June 2017, has been awarded the Costa book of the year for her final poetry collection, Inside the Wave.
Dunmore, who died last year aged 64, is only the second posthumous winner of the book of the year category in the prize's history, after her fellow poet Ted Hughes won for Birthday Letters in 1998, and only the eighth poetry collection to take the top award.
Inside the Wave considers her terminal cancer diagnosis and impending death.
Fantasy author Ursula K Le Guin has died at her home in Oregan, aged 88. A prodigious author, her career spanned more than half a century. She won numerous awards including the Nebula and Hugo science fiction and fantasy awards, the Newbery Medal, and the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. In 2000 the US Library of Congress designated her a Living Legend for her contribution to America's cultural heritage.