Category Archives: Prose and Cons

Wry spy Prose and Cons

Print this articleWhat’s the recipe for a great summer novel? Page-turning suspense, for starters, and a plucky heroine for whom to root. Lyrical writing is a bonus, as are reversed roles and upended expectations. Mix in a Cold War setting … Continue reading

Published in Prose and Cons

An icy cool debut by a young Colorado author

Print this articleI approached Danya Kukafka’s effusively praised and wildly popular debut novel Girl in Snow with trepidation. I wanted very much to enjoy the book because Kukafka is a fellow Coloradan and, in her mid-twenties, is preposterously young to … Continue reading

Published in Prose and Cons

An affair to remember: The Sparsholt Affair, by Alan Hollinghurst Prose and Cons

Print this article“The evening when we first heard Sparsholt’s name seems the best place to start this little memoir.” That deceptively modest declaration begins The Sparsholt Affair, a novel of staggering depth and beauty from an author – Alan Hollinghurst … Continue reading

Published in Prose and Cons

A dark Texas under a high white sun

Print this articleDark, darker, darkest. Despite its title, that’s the extent of the color palette in High White Sun, J. Todd Scott’s second crime thriller starring Chris Cherry, at 26 the unlikely sheriff of Big Bend County, Texas. Those who … Continue reading

Published in April 2018, Prose and Cons

The other side of the fence Prose and Cons

Print this articleWhen Mike Muñoz was five and his father Victor was still around, Mike begged to visit Disneyland. Not just for the rides or the other attractions, but for the beautiful landscaping – “the big, perfectly-formed Donald Duck- and … Continue reading

Published in March 2018, Prose and Cons

A local shines on the national literary stage Prose and Cons

Print this articleIt’s nigh impossible to make it as an author of adult literary fiction. Yet that’s the goal Four Corners writer Mandy Mikulencak set for herself in 2009. Nine years later, Mikulencak has succeeded, brilliantly, with the release of … Continue reading

Published in February 2018, Prose and Cons

Beau knows Louis L’Amour Prose and Cons

Print this article“This book may drive you crazy.” So begins Beau L’Amour’s Introduction to Louis L’Amour’s Lost Treasures, Vol. 1, a 500-page compendium of his late father’s unfinished manuscripts, treatments, and notes. But in this, Beau misleads. Truer to have … Continue reading

Published in January 2018, Prose and Cons

Johnson mixes humor and intrigue in ‘Western Star’ (Prose and Cons)

Print this articleI can attest from experience that injecting humor into an otherwise serious tale of murderous intrigue isn’t easy. But Craig Johnson has been pulling off that enviable trick in his murder mysteries for well over a decade now, … Continue reading

Published in December 2017, Prose and Cons

Nativity (Prose and Cons)

Print this articleWe live in troubling times; nowhere more so than in the arena of women’s reproductive health. On his first day in office, President Trump signed a ban on federal money going to international aid groups that provide information … Continue reading

Published in November 2017, Prose and Cons

A fine Navajoland whodunnit (Prose and Cons)

Print this articleDespite confronting the bodies of four murdered young people at the start of Katayoun Medhat’s The Quality of Mercy, readers know they’re in for an enjoyable — if dark — ride by the end of the first chapter … Continue reading

Published in October 2017, Prose and Cons

Gothic ramblings (Prose and Cons)

Print this articleRace, like a flaming cross at a Klan rally, stands at the center of Sing, Unburied, Sing, casting shadows on all that transpires. The novel, Jesmyn Ward’s third and the first since her National Book Award-winning Salvage the … Continue reading

Published in Prose and Cons, September 2017

Rose invents a new genre with ‘Thief’ (Prose and Cons)

Print this articleAugustus Rose may have invented a new genre with his debut novel, The Readymade Thief, released Aug. 1 by Viking Press. Let’s call Rose’s creation a Young Adult novel for adults; rather than a YA novel, Rose has … Continue reading

Published in August 2017, Prose and Cons

Worth the weight (Prose and Cons)

Print this articleThere are many authors whose virtuosity inspires me to be a better writer. There are but a few, however, whose talent is so prodigious, so dispiritingly outsized, as to make me want to throw up my hands and … Continue reading

Published in July 2017, Prose and Cons

Grann’s ‘Killers’ chronicles murders of the Osage Indians (Prose and Cons)

Print this articleResidents of the Four Corners region generally understand the debt they owe the Utes, Navajos, Apaches and other Native Americans who inhabited the area before them. David Grann’s latest nonfiction bestseller, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage … Continue reading

Published in June 2017, Prose and Cons

Start spreading the News (Prose and Cons)

Print this articleThe year is 1870, and across the State of Texas, Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels from town to town performing live readings from newspapers to paying audiences eager to learn the news of the world. Seventy-two and widowed, … Continue reading

Published in May 2017, Prose and Cons

Anne Hillerman sings in ‘Song of the Lion’ (Prose and Cons)

Print this articleBy rights, it shouldn’t work. But it does. Beloved mystery author Tony Hillerman’s bestselling series, which featured Navajo Nation cops Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, ended with Hillerman’s death in 2008. Or so his devoted readers thought. There … Continue reading

Published in April 2017, Prose and Cons

Deadly dozen (Prose and Cons)

Print this articleThe cliché that certain crime novels “transcend the genre” is as shopworn as the genre itself can sometimes be. But there’s no disputing that a new generation of crime novelists, many of them women, are rewriting the rules … Continue reading

Published in March 2017, Prose and Cons

Winter’s Tales (Prose and Cons)

Print this articleNorse mythology permeates our Western culture, from the seven days of the Gregorian calendar (four of which are named for the Norse gods Tyr, Odin, Thor, and Frigg) to the symbolism of Biblical Christianity (Odin, the all-father of … Continue reading

Published in January 2017, Prose and Cons

Exploring the changing face of the Western world Prose and Cons

Print this articleAmid this year’s pre-holiday blizzard of book releases, British author Zadie Smith’s Swing Time stands out. Eagerly anticipated by her legions of fans, Swing Time is Smith’s first novel in four years, following 2012’s experimental NW. As a … Continue reading

Published in December 2016, Prose and Cons

Time in a bottle (Prose and Cons)

Print this articleIn their 2011 memoir We Wanted to be Writers, authors Eric Olsen and Glenn Schaeffer recount their experiences (in “Life, Love, and Literature”) at the storied Iowa Writers’ Workshop while arguing that their mid-1970s MFA classmates – a … Continue reading

Published in November 2016, Prose and Cons