Reviews for February 2006
Title: A Time to Cast Away (A Helen Black Mystery)
Author: Pat Welch
Publisher: Bella Books
Available From: Bella Books, www.bellabooks.com or Starcrossed Productions, www.scp-inc.biz
Helen Black, fresh from jail after having been convicted of a murder, trying to keep her nose clean and get her life back together, ends up doing just the opposite as this tale unfolds. She becomes a reluctant investigator in another murder when she finds Alice, a woman that she recently met in a bar, dead in Alice’s apartment a week after their initial meeting. Struggling to leave the mystery to the police, with one of the officers a former partner who is dealing with his own demons and taking out his anger on the former detective-turned-PI-now-ex-con. Helen is haunted by her discovery of Alice’s body and of the clues she’s found at the scene.
Helen engages the help of the beautiful MCC minister, Maggie Evans, all the while battling her feelings for this new acquaintance and wondering why she is willing to let her defenses down for this lovely, green-eyed woman of the cloth. The path the two women follow takes them from Berkeley to Napa—to an old, established wine-making dynasty—where Helen starts to unravel the connections between the dead woman, the wine-making Giorgi family, and the mysterious woman Helen encounters after Alice’s memorial service.
Questions abound. Will Helen be able to put it all together and find the murderer before any harm comes to Maggie or to Helen herself? Will she be able to stay out of trouble—and out of jail—in the process? And most important of all, will she ever be able to let someone into her life again? This engaging mystery keeps the reader wondering about all these questions and more.
Although there seemed to be one conflict that was never resolved—that of the clash between Helen and her old partner, Manny—the story itself is both intriguing and enjoyable. Helen Black fans will welcome this most recent entry by Pat Welch into the lesbian mystery genre.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado
||Title: Deep Cover
Author: C. Paradee
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises, www.regalcrest.biz
Available From: Starcrossed Productions, www.scp-inc.biz
Pages: 264 pages
Genre: Lesbian Fiction/Intrigue
Deep Cover by C. Paradee is a spine-tingling spy novel reminiscent of the celebrated Cold War spy novels of the 1960s and 1970s. The story immediately throws the reader into an assassination just to get the blood boiling. And that’s just the beginning for Deep Cover.
CIA analyst Shelby Carson has stumbled onto a case that may involve a rogue operative acting as an assassin. While Shelby is excellent at profiling, she is an inexperienced analyst being new to the CIA. To assist her, the Company pulls Kris Bartley, code name Blue, from the field to work with Shelby in uncovering the truth. Kris is not thrilled to be temporarily transferred to a desk position, especially stateside. Shelby is not told Kris’ code name and does not know that Blue is a ruthless killer and a possible suspect in the assassinations. The two begin an uneasy working relationship that quickly turns dangerous when Shelby is shot at in a Mall parking lot. To protect Shelby, Blue relocates to her apartment and becomes her bodyguard until they solve their case. With this unavoidable closeness, the attraction for each other grows.
Deep Cover is a tightly woven suspenseful story with complex multiple plots, including a romantic subplot. As we delve further into the story, the reader is left with more questions than answers. We do not know who is trying to kill Shelby. It may be her stepfather who was convicted of abusing her mother and is out on parole, but it may be the rogue operative. It may also be the Russians, and Paradee’s approach to this plot point makes this story similar to many Cold War spy novels, only updated to correspond with the times. Further complicating the story, there may also be a leak at the CIA. As they race to find the assassin, they cannot trust anyone within the Company, even Shelby’s boss.
Paradee is adept at in-depth characterization that doesn’t get bogged down with useless wordy descriptions. We discover who Shelby and Kris are through their dialogue, thoughts, and actions while the plot advances at a quick pace. The author baffles the reader when she adds that Kris may be hiding some very damaging and dangerous secrets. Paradee gives us just enough hints to keep us from guessing the truth accurately. While Paradee portrays Kris as ruthless and aloof, she complements Kris’ character with a sweet, sincere, seemingly innocent Shelby. But as the story expands, the reader sees contradictions with Kris and Shelby that spice up the plot even more.
Paradee has a winner with Deep Cover. The espionage and deception are totally absorbing. The story challenges us by revealing only what is necessary to move the story along. It is rare to find a spy novel today that is as well written and engrossing as Deep Cover.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman
||Title: Force of Nature
Author: Kim Baldwin
Publisher: Bold Stroke Books, Inc., www.boldstrokesbooks.com
Available From: www.bellabooks.com or www.scp-inc.biz
Genre: Lesbian Romance
Kim Baldwin returns with her second novel, Force of Nature, which is distinctly different from her award-winning debut work, Hunter’s Pursuit. The wonderfully entertaining Pursuit was primarily an action/thriller with the focal point being the one main character’s skill in survival at any cost. Force of Nature is action-packed, has fast-paced thrilling rescue scenes, but here the author has chosen to focus her character development on the two main characters.
Gable McCoy is a forty-six-year-old pharmacist who is also in her rookie year as a volunteer firefighter in a rural Michigan community. After having survived a tornado, she begins her task of search and rescue in the area. She comes upon the devastated home of Erin Richards, a thirty-nine-year-old teacher who has recently moved to the area. Erin is alive but unfortunately trapped in her basement bathroom. Completely surrounded by debris, Gable must await other rescuers before extricating Erin and taking her to safety. Throughout the long night, Gable keeps Erin occupied with conversational anecdotes and mutual family histories. This is no easy task since Erin is both claustrophobic and has a fear of the dark. However, as the hours wear on, a friendship develops, which, unbeknownst to either woman, will face even greater challenges as their story progresses.
Baldwin has a natural gift for creating a scene and immediately immersing the reader. Compelled by the tumultuous tornadic winds, both Gable and the reader hit that three-foot-wide drainpipe just in time to escape almost certain death. “It was upon her in an instant, trying to suck her from the pipe, tugging at her with fierce determination” (p. 15). The reader can feel the vacuum inside that pipe, can experience the hands sliding helplessly along the narrow algae-covered walls, and can feel the pelting stones and sticks as they assault the exposed legs. The reality of the situation is skillfully conveyed through the concise syntax and expert word choice.
Another hallmark of this novel is the manner in which Baldwin takes the mundane and prosaic events of everyday living and juxtaposes them with that thankfully rare catastrophic natural occurrence. These are ordinary women with jobs and lives; they are not superheroes in any way, and this very credible casting delivers much more of an impact for the reader. The suspension of disbelief is admirably achieved. It is also refreshing to read a novel where comely twenty-somethings are not cavorting across the chapters. Both Gable and Erin are attractive, professional, and responsible older women. That the author has chosen to write about this demographic is much appreciated by this reader.
Creating the uncertainty about Erin’s sexual identity and developing the necessary sexual tension between these two main characters could very easily have lent itself to the tried and cliché coming-out experience. However, Baldwin surpasses this hurdle with wonderfully humorous exchanges of dialogue. She has a gift for creating resonant and realistic conversations among her various characters as well as an accurate sense of what genuinely coincides with any given situation. There are many conflicts presented throughout the course of the novel, but Baldwin offers clear and appealing resolutions for all.
Force of Nature is an exciting and substantial reading experience which will long remain with the reader. Likeable characters with plausible problems and concerns, imaginative settings, engrossing events, and a well-tailored writing style all contribute to an exceptional novel. Baldwin’s characterization is acutely and meticulously circumscribed and expansive. It is indeed gratifying to see a new author attempt and succeed in expanding her literary technique and writing style. Kim Baldwin is an author who has achieved both in Force of Nature.
Reviewed by Arlene Germain
||Title: Galveston 1900: Swept Away
Author: Linda Crist
Publisher: Yellow Rose, www.regalcrest.biz
Available From: StarCrossed Productions, www.scp-inc.biz
From hopelessness to hopefulness and filled with as much love as there is hate, Galveston 1900: Swept Away by Linda Crist has what it takes to be a great historical love story.
Set in the months preceding the tropical cyclone that devastated Galveston in 1900, Rachel Travis works on the docks of the second busiest port in the U.S. while she moonlights as a bartender. Rachel has known she was different from other women ever since she ran away from home 8 years previously at age 15. She dresses like a man, works in traditionally male jobs and even secretly visits a prostitute named Lillie. While Rachel struggles with the implications of her uncommon behavior especially as viewed by the Church, she knows deep within that this is her true self.
Mattie Crockett is the opposite of Rachel in everything. While she is “allowed” by her physically abusive husband, Adam, to work in a tailor’s shop, she must not go anywhere else without him. She is captive in her own house and subject to Adam’s fists when he is not “pleased” with her. Mattie’s only hope is when Adam frequently goes out of town to Houston on business. It is one of those times when she decides to take a walk on the beach behind her house. And that is where she meets Rachel for the first time. Both are lonely and in need of a friend, and because of this, they form an unlikely friendship that is pursued whenever Adam is away on business.
Crist has written a historically strong novel. She has taken much care in presenting an accurate portrayal of the mannerisms, language and dress of the period and location. Her descriptions of the physical settings are genuine, and the tropical cyclone and the weather leading up to it is so chilling that it made this reader tense. I felt like I was right there. The depictions of how men view their wives and women in general, are meticulously precise. While Adam’s behavior is excessive even for 1900, he knows he can get away with the abuse because wives are property, and Crist explains this exceptionally well.
Rachel’s character succeeds in this time period because she acts like a man and therefore is treated like one for the most part. And this is where Mattie’s and Rachel’s romance rings the truest. It survives because of the traditional male-female roles the two exhibit with each other, but it flourishes because of the tenderness and uniquely feminine qualities that Rachel bestows on Mattie, especially with their lovemaking. Crist showcases this lovemaking with subtle references and actions to keep it authentic to the period. In Galveston 1900: Swept Away the reader is constantly reminded that it is 1900. Both women struggle with their relationship and how the Church and God may view it. Their choices are not easily accepted by them or others. The story also deals with the reality of Mattie leaving her husband, and Crist resolves this the only way she can for that time period.
Crist evenly paces the story throughout, and while Adam’s brutality is difficult to read at times, it fits right in. As I have written in other reviews, I delight in historical fiction especially a novel like Galveston 1900: Swept Away that is well written and sincere. Linda Crist has a bona fide hit with this outstanding story.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman
Title: Honor Reclaimed
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Available From: Bella Books, www.Bellabooks.com, or StarCrossed Productions, www.scp-inc.biz
Genre: Fiction/ Lesbian Intrigue/Romance
Honor Reclaimed is the fifth book in Radclyffe’s Honor Series, and if you have not read the previous four, now is the time. It has been said that it is difficult to make a sequel better than the original. Well, Radclyffe has written each one better than the last, culminating in a thoughtful, compassionate and captivating story in the aftermath of 9/11.
Honor Reclaimed continues where Honor Guards left off. It is two days after September 11. On that date, while horrific events were unfolding nationwide, an assassination attempt was made on the president’s daughter Blair Powell, resulting in the death of two secret service agents. Most of the secret service team, including the lead agent and Blair’s lover, Cameron Roberts, is removed from protecting Blair when it is determined that the attempt was an inside job. Only Paula Stark, the new agent in charge, remains on the team because she put herself in the line of fire. Cam is convinced that another strike is imminent and thus has Blair sequestered in a safe house. While Paula is protecting Blair, Cam is searching for answers with her newly formed team to prevent another attempt on Blair’s life. When another attempt is made, the weapon this time is bioterrorism, and Cam’s team must act quickly to save Blair. However, Cam still doesn’t know if there is a traitor in their midst, working against everything she is trying to protect.
Radclyffe skillfully describes how everyone involved is dealing with 9/11 in their very personal, as well as professional, way. They have their own demons to fight as they attempt to reach out to one another. The supporting cast is superb and adds depth to the story. FBI Agent Renee Savard is struggling with the memories of having been in one of the Twin Towers as it collapsed; her lover, Paula, is trying to cope with being Blair’s new secret service agent in charge. Cam and Blair do not have much time to explore their growing love as each is trying to protect the other. Diane Bleeker and Valerie Lawrence are just beginning to discover one another, but Valerie’s secrets threaten their tenuous relationship. Blair’s and Diane’s friendship is fleshed out too, demonstrating durability and an unwavering faith – the sort of alliance we all seek out.
Honor Reclaimed is honest and intense. Radclyffe balances passion with the uncertainty of each character’s future as well as the country’s. When Paula and Renee make love, they are seeking comfort and belonging. Each character is trying to find answers through their need to connect with another after their world is upended. The first passionate love scene between Valerie and Diane, where Valerie finally lets someone touch her, is moving and breathtaking. Allowing others to reach inside and comfort us when we feel lost is at the very core of Honor Reclaimed. It is a brilliant effort.
When an author tries to create a fictional event around history, her weaknesses can easily be exposed if the story is inconsistent with the events. When the event becomes part of a nation’s psyche, it is doubly important that the author knows what she is doing. To construct a fictional tale that understands the magnitude of the shocking and serious events of 9/11 takes a mature, gutsy, and sensitive author. Radclyffe has done just that with Honor Reclaimed. It is an incomparable story that parallels real life, which only a seasoned and gifted author could accomplish admirably. Bravo, Radclyffe!
(In order, the previous four books in the Honor Series are Above All, Honor; Honor Bound; Love and Honor; and Honor Guards.)
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman
Title: Journey’s End
Author: LJ Maas
Publisher: Intaglio Publications, www.intagliopub.com
Available From: StarCrossed Productions, www.scp-inc.biz
Genre: Lesbian Fiction/Romance
Journey’s End by LJ Maas is a sensual, sexy and charming story with one of the best opening love scenes that I have ever read. I devoured every word in this richly passionate tale of the Lord Conqueror and her slave Cassandra.
The story takes place in Ancient Greece where Aedon is a powerful leader and warrior. She controls everyone in her empire, especially her slaves. She has been known to use and abuse women and is characterized as heartless. When a spent slave, Cassandra, is offered to her, she takes her. But even in submission, Cassandra subtly changes and exerts power over Aedon, the Lord Conqueror. Cassandra immediately seems to know the Lord’s needs. For the first time in 20 years Aedon seeks out more than just a physical relationship with another woman, although well disguised so as to not draw suspicion and ruin her image. But the balance of power changes when Aedon asks Cassandra for a simple kiss, and with that request, the powerful uncaring leader is transformed.
Maas writes a deeply moving love story that deals with trust and moral issues. Her love scenes are highly erotic and full of tenderness and respect. Through words that make us breathless and wanting more, Maas captures Aedon’s changes perfectly. Aedon begins to really see her subjects and their poverty with the help of her slave. At the same time, she longs to give Cassandra her freedom, but is reluctant because she may lose her. Slavery is the device Maas uses in this story to illustrate how controlling another person stifles love and inhibits trust.
Both Cassandra and Aedon do not trust in love and this story is truly a journey for them in the discovery of love and trust. Maas’ brilliant prose reaches the depths of our souls. Our hearts beat faster as Cassandra and Aedon realize that they are falling deeper in love.
Maas gave us a warm, loving gift with Journey’s End; one that this reader will cherish as she rereads this story over and over again.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman
||Title: Midnight Rain
Author: Peggy J. Herring
Publisher: Bella Books, www.bellabooks.com
Available From: Bella Books, www.bellabooks.com, or StarCrossedProductions, www.scp-inc.biz
Four women with something in common come together with a purpose. Lupita Ochoa, Bridget McBee, Jane Whitley, and Gwen Bordovsky each have been attacked and nearly raped. Their bond? They all have been rescued by one gorgeous woman who leaves a calling card. Once each of their situations is under control, the woman in black flees the scene of the assault with the women’s attackers locked safely in the trunk of her Maserati Spyder, and with police and paramedics on the way.
When these four women meet, they ban together to try to find the woman they call Kate the Lesbian because of the calling card she leaves behind. Their sole purpose is to meet “Kate” and thank her for saving their lives, but they soon find out that their rescuer needs a bit of rescuing herself. The police are focusing on the fact that their attackers have been kidnapped and are missing, and among the missing are two prominent men, a judge and a banker.
The women who have been helped by Kate are ordinary folks. One has only begun to think of herself as a lesbian while the other three are more comfortable with their lesbianism. However, none of them would likely strike out alone and end up doing the things that they do as a group in pursuit of their goal—to find Kate.
As the story unfolds, we find that Bridget and Lupita are the voices of reason. Jane and Gwen are spontaneous and impulsive. This combination leads them all on adventure that brings with it healing from the trauma of their attacks and new meaning in their lives as they try to help the mysterious woman who rescued each of them. Only by taking an extreme measure, suggested by Lupita, do the women finally get their first break toward finding Kate. At times their interactions are madcap, at other times, poignant. In spite of themselves, some among the group find romance in the midst of the growing chaos that ensues.
This story is an entertaining, easy read. The characters are interesting, all of them very different from one another. The entire story is told from Bridget’s point of view, which is an interesting choice on the part of the author because she is the character with the most recessive personality. In the end, we find out that Kate the Lesbian isn’t who we thought she was, and more importantly, that the four women have grown and healed during the course of their adventure.
Don’t miss this new entry from Peggy J. Herring. It’s a quirky, thrilling little adventure with twists and turns. It will make you laugh and make you sigh, but most of all, Midnight Rain will make you root for this unlikely bunch to triumph.
Reviewed by Anna Furtado
Title: Protector of the Realm: Book One Supreme Constellations
Author: Gun Brooke
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books, www.boldstrokesbooks.com
StarCrossed Productions, www.scp-inc.biz
Genre: Lesbian Romance/Speculative Fiction
Gun Brooke has done it again with only her second novel; Protector of the Realm hooked me at once with the riveting opening scenes of an intergalactic space fight where Commodore Rae Jacelon takes Kellen O’Dal prisoner. The action never ceases until the last pages are read.
When Rae captures Kellen and holds her on her space station, she learns that Kellen is wanted on kidnapping charges. She has abducted Armeo M’Aido, a young boy, and future heir to the kingdom, supposedly in her care. Kellen’s accuser Ambassador M’Ekar claims that Armeo is a relative through his deceased wife, and has been pursuing Kellen. The story doesn’t ring true to Rae after she discovers that Kellen was seriously injured trying to escape from M’Ekar. With conflicting accounts from both parties, Rae Jacelon, with the help of her father, Admiral Jacelon, tries to get to the bottom of the truth, but there are forces working against her. To protect Kellen and Armeo from further injury or possible death, Rae is forced to marry her and remain that way for five years so she can become a Supreme Constellation citizen with rights. Neither woman is happy with that choice, but the young Armeo must be shielded from any potential harm.
Gun Brooke has fashioned an enticing love story filled with electrifying conflicts to get this reader’s heart racing. The action progresses from the rapid-fire battles, to a possible romance beginning with a forced marriage. While the author sets it up as a marriage of convenience, we are not fooled because the tension is present between Rae and Kellen instantly. Using the characters’ thoughts, the reader is treated to a promise of eventual passion. But Protector of the Realm doesn’t give away anything too early, keeping the reader completely engrossed throughout.
Character development and the smooth interweaving of multiple plots are the book’s strengths. Rae Jacelon is truly a heroic character. She is honorable and noble and chooses to protect Kellen and Armeo because it is right, never questioning whether she will put herself in danger by doing so. While Kellen doesn’t trust Rae throughout most of the story because of her fear for Armeo’s safety, Rae is above reproach, and the reader sees that immediately. Kellen and Rae’s mutual distrust of each other, along with Rae’s deep-seated feeling of unworthiness, cause much angst for the two. Both are tortured by their developing feelings that they do not act on. It takes some time for the passion to ignite fully, but the doubts still linger. Brooke handles this well by giving the reader sweet release along the way, but drawing out all of Rae’s and Kellen’s issues and insecurities. Their pasts must be examined and revealed before they can hope for a future.
We slowly and methodically find out the truth behind who Armeo, Kellen and M’Ekar are and how they are connected. The answers are complicated and show the strength of Brooke’s storytelling abilities. She never takes the straight path, but develops a history that continually unfolds up to the book’s ending. It is imaginative and spellbinding. We are left wanting more.
Protector of the Realm has it all: sabotage, corruption, erotic love and exhilarating space fights. Gun Brooke’s second novel is forceful with a winning combination of solid characters and a brilliant plot. The book exemplifies her growth as an inventive storyteller and is a strong candidtate to garner multiple awards in the coming year.
Reviewed by Kathi Isserman
Title: Ricochet in Time
Author: Lori L. Lake
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises
Available From: StarCrossed Productions, www.scp-inc.biz
Price: $ 18.95
Genre: Romance/Crime Drama
Award winning, best-selling author, Lori L. Lake, tells a riveting story in her acclaimed novel, Ricochet in Time.
The life of Danielle (Dani) Corbett is changed forever when she and her new girlfriend, Meg, interrupt their motorcycle journey to stop at a bar along the road. The mere sight of these women provokes the locals, who take offense at having two “queers” in their establishment. Dani and Meg leave, but they’re followed and viciously attacked. Meg is killed and Dani is left for dead. Thus begins the masterful storytelling Lake is well known for.
Hospitalized at a very vulnerable and lonely time in her life, Dani meets a physical therapist, Grace Beaumont, who is interested in Dani for reasons she doesn’t reveal. Grace and her great-aunts—Estelline, and her partner, Ruth— take Dani into their home and hearts. They feed her starving body, as well as her mind and soul. The women become very special to each other.
The heart-warming, committed, and loving relationship between Estelline and Ruth provides a perfect example of two soul mates who remain together through thick and thin; they’ve weathered many storms and have become stronger because of it. Can Dani and Grace achieve what these two women have, or has Dani been too hardened by her experiences?
Lake hits a raw nerve in her depiction of the tragedy and despair brought on by prejudice, homophobia, and gay bashing at its ugliest. With the help of friends, Dani Corbett is shown the path toward putting her life back together. Can she do it? Estelline reminds her: “What goes around comes around…you send love out into the world, and it comes back to you. You send out hatred and hell-fire, and it behaves just like a boomerang. It ricochets right back and hits you in the heart” (p. 198).
Ricochet in Time grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go. The story flows so naturally that you are there, living through the circumstances along with the characters, who come to life on every page. What I love most about Lake’s novels is how much I care about the characters and what happens to them. Even with Dani’s rough-around-the-edges exterior, you can’t help but love her. She comes across as a strong woman who can fend for herself against all odds, but this is her coping mechanism. Through Grace’s eyes, you see the good more clearly and you find yourself rooting for more than friendship between Dani and Grace.
Lake writes with such clarity and imagery that her description of the pain Dani suffers from the accident is palpable. The author, insightfully and eloquently, went inside her characters' heads, making the story that much more believable. You know exactly what and how the characters are feeling at any given time.
I highly recommend Lake’s debut novel, Ricochet in Time. This talented author of the Gun Series: Gun Shy, Under the Gun, and Have Gun We’ll Travel, as well as Different Dress and Stepping Out: Short Stories, is “considered one of the best authors of modern lesbian fiction,” according to Lavender Magazine, “ but her work—part action, part drama, and part romance—gleefully defies categorization.” I couldn’t agree more.
Reviewed by Cheri Rosenberg
Title: The Iron Girl
Author: Ellen Hart
Publisher: St. Martin’s Minotaur
Available From: Online bookstores
The Iron Girl is Ellen Hart’s thirteenth novel in her Jane Lawless mystery series. In this latest entry, Jane is finally ready to move forward with her life after years spent mourning the loss of her lover, real estate agent Christine Kane. As she scrutinizes Christine’s belongings for the last time, Jane discovers in a briefcase a loaded derringer pistol with a carved ivory grip. Initially, she is shocked to find a weapon among Christine’s business effects. However, as Jane reflects upon those final weeks just prior to Christine’s death, she remembers that Christine’s client at the time was the Simoneau family, and more importantly, Jane vividly recalls the infamous murder case which involved this rich and powerful Minnesota family. Could Christine have been connected in some way to this gruesome event?
Despite Jane’s desire to expand her restaurant business by investing in a new venture, the Xanadu Club, and to pursue a new long-distance relationship with college professor Kenzie Mullroy, Jane “…knew in her gut that this was exactly the wrong direction to take, the wrong time to get sucked back into her dead partner’s past, and yet she knew the gun represented a larger mystery she would feel compelled to unravel, wherever it might lead” (p.17-18).
Add to the mix the bizarre appearance of the mysterious Greta Hoffman who bears an uncanny and eerie resemblance to Christine, and the always amusing shenanigans of Jane’s best friend Cordelia Thorn, and the reader is led into a fictional yet credible world of fidelity, betrayal, devotion, duplicity, and suspense—all of which make for an enthralling and intriguing mystery reading experience.
A common literary element often misused by too many authors is the flashback. There is a fine line between the hokey contrived insertion of past events and the clever craftily-written extension and expansion of the plotline. Hart achieves the latter with distinction. The way Hart’s narrative seamlessly flows from past to present over the course of the novel serves the reader well. Hart presents two storylines that, at first glance, seem independent of one another, yet end up neatly tied together through the adroit and imaginative writing of mood, tone, and the precise incorporation of sensory words. The author’s word choice is fluent, exact, and rhythmic. “As the room lost its solidity, Christine continued to stare into Jane’s eyes. The deeper she looked, the clearer it became that they contained worlds within worlds, all connected” (p. 333).
The reader comprehends the complexities and convolutions of the plot and the nuances of the characters by Hart’s synergy of tightly composed sentences, vivid imagery, multi-layered meaning, and wry humor. The sardonic humor of best friend Cordelia is also showcased with crisply ironic dialogue. At one point Cordelia and Jane drive to a section of Minneapolis to meet with a former employee of the Simoneau family. Cordelia explains, “Ah. The burbs, where the air is fresher, the grass is greener, the minds narrower” (p. 185).
In Hart’s previous award-winning novel, An Intimate Ghost, Jane Lawless had begun to make specific life changes: letting go of the past, connecting with new people, and trying to experience her life with a new-found understanding and appreciation. The Iron Girl continues this development of attempting to come full circle by recognizing both the personal strengths and weaknesses, and at times, the foibles, of those one has loved and sadly lost. Throughout Jane’s investigation, Hart manages to capture that discernment and perceptivity that only the inevitable passage of time can afford. Jane must delve into a component of Christine’s life that, for better or worse, Christine chose to keep shrouded during their time together. The reader is subtly and skillfully asked that enigmatic question. How well do we really know the people we love?
The incisive characterization of Christine Kane and the development of the emotional backstory are hallmarks of this novel. The reader sees Christine from her own anguished perspective. The motivations for her actions are clearly delineated, and while one may question some of her decisions, Hart capably explains the rationale for Christine’s behavior. At one point Christine succinctly says, “It was selfishness, Jane. Pure and simple. I admit it” (p. 275). The reader is given a more profound understanding of the dynamics of their relationship and the catalysts for its ostensible deterioration.
The Iron Girl is an exemplary model for the skillfully written mystery genre novel. Hart manages to create suspense without relying upon heavy-handed or gratuitously violent scenes. In much the same way as Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayres before her, Hart presents the subtlety of human malevolence and the banality of the deceitful. The Iron Girl is an absorbing and captivating reading experience. Hart’s dual storyline, adroit narrative technique, clever pacing, and entertaining characters all contribute to a superlative novel that the reader will treasure.
Reviewed by Arlene Germain
Title: The Price of Fame
Author: Lynn Ames
Publisher: Intaglio Publications, Intagliopub.com
Available From: StarCrossed Productions, www.scp-inc.com
Genre: Lesbian/Suspense- Romance
Lynn Ames writes in her acknowledgements: “I have always maintained that the best fiction contains elements of truth; as a reader, it’s that believability that keeps you turning the pages.” The author, a Golden Crown Literary Society Finalist for The Price of Fame, has exceeded her goals in the first installment of the action-packed romance of news anchor Katherine “Kate” Kyle and Time magazine reporter Jamison “Jay” Parker. The Price of Fame is not only convincing but it is hard to put down.
The highly acclaimed anchorwoman for the New York State Capitol based news station WCAP-TV is the vivacious, self-assured, drop-dead gorgeous Katherine Kyle. Not only is she brilliant, but her strong work ethic, professionalism, honesty, compassion, and commitment to the greater good including humanity towards fellow humans, has set her way above her peers. She has earned the respect of her coworkers and the love and admiration of her viewers as well. Add the fact that this woman has no idea how attractive she is, how deliciously romantic she can be to the woman who captures her heart, and you have an admirable character you would love to know personally – if not intimately.
Jay Parker is an extremely talented aspiring writer for Time Magazine who lives in New York City. Avoiding any thoughts about her painful past, the career-oriented author submerges herself in her work producing astounding human-interest stories. Sent to Albany to write a piece on the popular governor with possible presidential candidate written all over him, Jay spots the woman who has “dominated her dreams and fueled her imagination” [p. 12] on television. Having met Kate on more than one occasion, Jay is awestruck when she catches the local Albany news flash depicting the bravery of the newscaster, the one person she always thought of as her savoir and the other part of her soul. Fate brings these two women together again thereby ensuing a strong attraction and a powerful love affair.
Kate is romantic – she makes Jay do more than just blush. Is there any woman on the planet who wouldn’t like to hear her lover say, “That’s okay, love, because if Michelangelo had had you to use as a model, he could’ve retired a wealthy man” [p. 142]? Katherine Kyle and Jamison Parker is a match made in heaven in every way.
Lynn Ames is proficient at weaving current affairs with flashbacks in this compelling love story where the action never ceases. The author is an award-wining former broadcast journalist, which adds insider information thereby lending itself even further to authenticity and a depth that captures every nuance of the business. Include politics, intrigue, bombings, homophobia, trust issues, etc., and you have a novel that will leave you breathless and hungering for more. Every scene is absorbing and full of energy in the exciting world of Kate and Jay. Falling in love along with the characters is easy when they would go to any lengths, even self-sacrifice, for each other. Can the love between them withstand the forces that attempt to drive them apart?
The clever hook near the end of The Price of Fame has this reader happy the sequels The Cost of Commitment and The Value of Valor are readily available. Once you pick up a novel by Lynn Ames, you will want to read them all. The Price of Fame is a five-star novel that you will want to read from beginning to end, as you won’t want to miss a single word.
Reviewed by Cheri Rosenberg
Title: The Temple at Landfall
Author: Jane Fletcher
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books, www.boldstrokesbooks.com
Available From: StarCrossed Productions, www.scp-inc.biz
In the Temple in the city of Fairfield, a young woman named Lynn does the important work of helping women reproduce. She is a sort of psychic DNA-knitting doctor/priest and is called an imprinter. Imprinters are chosen very young for their psychic abilities and are taken from the families to serve Celaeno, the great goddess of the people. Everything about Lynn’s world is focused on prayer, imprinting, and the teachings of Celaeno. The imprinting skill she shares brings in a fortune in “offerings” (required by the Church) from eager women desperate for children.. There is no separation of Church and State; they are one and the same.
After a couple of decades of this mind-numbing, psychologically draining work, the book opens with Lynn in a state of depression. Once a month during a religious ritual on the steps of the Temple, she sees the outdoors. Otherwise, she is locked into the tomb-like environment of the Temple, never to have a lover, never to have freedom, never to know anything but a life of service. She is basically held captive, a prisoner of her own abilities—until the day Sister Smith, from the larger Temple in Landfall, appears and wrangles with the authorities to take the talented imprinter far away to a bigger, more powerful Temple. Lynn is excited to make the long journey during which, perhaps for the last time, she can enjoy the forests, the cool air at night, and the freedom to walk on the woodland paths and see the moon.
A squadron of Rangers, including Lt. Kimberly Ramon, is assigned to escort the Sisters and Lynn on the long journey over the mountains and to the south. And this is where the adventure begins. For the first time since childhood, Lynn is among real and interesting women, and she is quite taken with Ramon, who has her own secrets and griefs. “As much as anything, Lynn enjoyed the honest, open banter, although the jokes were frequently bawdy. To Lynn’s mind they were fair less offensive than the conversation of the sisters; the intimidation by pious quotes, the political backstabbing disguised in religious platitudes. The soldiers spoke of a world Lynn would never know, but it didn’t matter. Their stories were like breathing fresh air after years of choking in incense” (p. 76).
The soldiers are also brave, and when they are attacked on the journey, everything about the trip changes. Lynn’s ability to envision herself as a free woman begins to grow. But can she shake free of the grip of the Church? How far will the powers-that-be go in order to keep her to themselves?
This fundamentalist society, operating based upon bits and pieces of lore, abridged history, inaccurate facts, and misguided good intentions, is all the more frightening because it is peopled only by women. In Fletcher’s world of Celaeno, it’s not men with the compulsion to render matters of life into simplistic and often bone-crushing black and white; women can be and are just as dangerous.
With rich, glorious prose, Jane Fletcher has created a spell-binding world and a variety of fascinating and multi-dimensional characters. The world is so compelling that I couldn’t help but wish I could quite literally go there! Lynn’s quest, as well as Kim Ramon’s quest, make for exciting reading. At its heart, the book is an adventure/quest, but it is also a mystery. Who are these people? Where did they come from? What happened to the men, if, indeed, there ever were any? The back story of the previous 533 years is unraveled slowly, but surely, for the reader so that by the end of the book, all is revealed.
The Temple at Landfall (which was originally published in England as The World Celaeno Chose) is absorbing and engrossing tale-telling of the highest order, and the really exciting thing is that although this novel is complete and “finished,” the door is left open to explore more of this world, which the author has done in subsequent books. I can’t wait to read the next Celaeno Series volumes, and this book is a keeper that I will re-read again and again. I highly recommend it.
Reviewed by Lori L. Lake
Title: The Value of Valor
Author: Lynn Ames
Publisher: Intaglio Publications, www.intagliopub.com
Available From: StarCrossed Productions, www.scp-inc.biz
The prologue of this, the third book in the Kate Kyle/Jay Parker Series (The Price of Fame, The Cost of Commitment), starts out by introducing us to a Native American healer tending a young woman with a dislocated shoulder, head wounds, and many bruises, cuts, and scrapes. The blond-haired, green-eyed woman awakens once, long enough to communicate that she doesn’t know who she is. The healer and her people have sheltered her for two days, and based upon the testimony of some of the tribal youth, they decide that for her own good, they will keep the injured woman hidden.
In the first chapter, we learn that Kate Kyle has lost her lover, Jay Parker, in a fiery accident in Chinle, Arizona. No spoilers here: It doesn’t take long into the first chapter of the book before the reader puts two and two together. The woman the tribe is sheltering must be the same person, right? Can there be any suspense if Jay Parker survived? And will it only be a matter of time before Kate and Jay are reunited—or could that all go wrong?
There’s more at stake in this complex novel than first meets the eye. Jay wasn’t in an accident; it was clearly a hit, but her head injuries prevent her from remembering much of anything. Not knowing who she is may be more dangerous for her—and for the people who are nursing her—than knowing would be.
And Kate is in terrible grief, but she’s still the press secretary to the president of the United States and has a job to do, and therein lies the place where this plot cranks up. It’s the president—and anyone with power who is allied with the president—who is the ultimate target here. A treasonous organization hinted at in the first two books of the series finally comes to the forefront with plans that have long been in motion.
After the initial set-up, which also establishes the villainous characters desiring unlimited power and global domination, the tension mounts. Kate struggles to deal with the pain of Jay’s death, and she cannot let it go. Despite her anguish, she must learn the truth about what really happened to her lover. Soon she discovers that there is more going on behind the scenes on all fronts than she ever imagined, and only through the help of good friends and patriots might she be able to thwart wicked machinations.
With every chapter that passes, the crosses and double-crosses get trickier and more twisted until the exciting denouement. You’ll be left surprised and satisfied by the ending.
This novel can stand alone. You don’t have to have read the first two in the series, but this third in the trilogy is a fitting completion to the plot threads brought up in the earlier books. Fast-paced, compulsively readable, and full of twists and turns, The Value of Valor will keep you up late into the night. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Lori L. Lake
Title: Threads of Destiny, 2nd edition
Author: J.P. Mercer
Publisher: P.D. Publishing, Inc.; www.pdpublishing.com
Available From: (Inside the US) Amazon.com; Barnes & Noble; Ingram Book Group;
Baker & Taylor; R.R. Bowker's Books In Print; Booksurge Direct; local book stores. (Outside the US) Amazon.ca; Amazon.co.uk; Booksurge Direct; R.R. Bowker's Global Books In Print; Whitaker; Centraal Boekhuis; Thorpe-Bowker
Price: $16.99 Pages: 154
The idea of reading the second edition of a book I was already familiar with never made much sense in the past. If you already know the story, what is the point? However, word was that there were significant changes in this new edition, both through new words and a thorough editing, so I decided I should read it and I learned a valuable lesson. When an author revisits her work and teams up with a talented editor, a good book can be made even better and show more depth than before.
Threads of Destiny is the story of Cara Cipriano, a lawyer and vintner in Santa Barbara, and Jake Biscayne, a leading FBI forensic pathologist and profiler. Mercer and Nancy Hill first introduced their story in Incommunicado; however, through a skillful use of flashbacks and inventive dialogue, Mercer provides enough of the original story in this volume that it is not necessary to have read the first book to follow the action. The women fell in love while they were working together to solve a string of brutal murders along the Mexican border, only to have their relationship ripped apart by a tragedy that Cara could not cope with and Jake knew nothing about. Threads of Destiny reunites them a year later when Cara returns to take over as padrone of the family vineyard and discovers that someone is using the business to smuggle drugs across the border. When she asks the government for help, she and Jake are brought together in an uncomfortable situation while they try to solve the crime. Two stories then unfold in the book. One is a mystery and adventure story about the drug running that eventually includes kidnapping and a dramatic conclusion. Simultaneously, Cara and Jake struggle to deal with their emotions and whether or not they can rebuild the relationship they once had. Not until the very last page is that question answered and the reader cannot be certain of the answer until then.
There are a number of things to like about Mercer's writing. Even though it is fiction, the characters ring true as actual people. Women usually don't fall in love immediately in life and they sometimes hurt each other. Jake can't forgive Cara immediately for deserting her even after she learns the reason for Cara's actions, and she shouldn't. You almost find yourself hoping that Jake will fall for a new interest, McKenzie, even though you know the pain that Cara suffers because of her actions. The frustration of Jake, the despair of Cara, and the pure evil of Sandro the drug runner/murderer come off of the pages powerfully. Mercer is very deft at keeping you on the edge of just not being sure how these stories will resolve themselves until they are finished. The dialogue from other languages, with no translations, shows the respect that Mercer has for her reader being able to infer the meaning from the story. The knowledge of the wine making process, forensic details, and the inside dealing of the cocaine trade indicate a book that was thoroughly researched.
Mercer's writing is very tight. No wasted scenes or words distract the reader from the action and emotion that drive the stories. Secondary characters add color and dimension to the book, like Cara's childhood friend and would be lover, Maggie; Matt Peyson, the Federal agent who loves Jake, but knows he has to look elsewhere for happiness; McKenzie, the alluring woman who has feelings for both Cara and Jake; and Sandro, evil incarnate, the childhood friend of Jake and Matt who has betrayed their love for him and who is the killer determined to make Cara pay for interfering in his business. They combine to create a world that feels all too real. Mercer has created one of those books that is hard to put down once you have started it.
The original version of Threads of Destiny had a very short life in the bookstores, so P.D. Publishing has done readers a service in bringing it back in an improved form. Now readers will have the chance to discover a book that deserves their notice.
Reviewed by Lynne Pierce
Back to JAW.
Bios of Authors
Sandra Barret grew up in New England, where she spent
more years than she cares to mention as a software
programmer. She lives with her partner, two children,
and a menagerie of pets. Sandra has been an avid
reader of fantasy, horror, and lesbian romance. This
interest has led her to pen her own creations in novel
and short story format.
Contact her at email@example.com
Book Reviewer for Just About Write; Author of The Heart’s Desire – Book One of The
Briarcrest Chronicles, a 2005 GCLS “Goldie” Award Finalist.
Anna's Web site: http://www.annafurtado.com
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For many years a teacher of English
and Creative Writing, Arlene Germain lives
with her partner in Massachusetts. She is a
book reviewer for The Midwest Book Review, The
Gay Writer, the Just About Write
Newsletter/E-zine, The Crown—the Golden Crown Literary Society newsletter, and The OutlookPress.com.
Arlene is also a fiction editor. Contact her at
Kathi lives with her partner and two very spoiled cats outside Washington, D.C. When not reading all kinds of books, she can be found on the golf course attempting to hit that little white ball. Her reviews can also be read at Amazon.com, libertas.com, and The Independent Gay Writer. You can write to her at email@example.com.
Lori L. Lake
Minnesotan Lori L. Lake is the author of the “Gun” series, Different Dress, Ricochet in Time, and a book of short stories called Stepping Out. She also edited the 2005 Lammy finalist The Milk of Human Kindness: Lesbian Authors Write About Mothers and Daughters. Lori is currently at work on her sixth novel, Snow Moon Rising, which comes out in February. She teaches fiction writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and often reviews books for various print and online journals.
Although she has traveled some, Lynne Pierce is a life-long resident of Virginia and has never felt a need to go far from home for very long. The last thirty-two years have been spent trying to convince high school students that history is relevant to their lives and leading them through the process of learning to think for themselves about issues. Two dogs and three cats allow her to share their space as long as she behaves herself and promises not to bring any more of them home from the shelter….for now. Her main hobby since the age of five has been reading and she has spent the last ten years consuming every work of lesbian fiction that she can get her hands on. Lynne's reviews can be read on the Canadian Lesbian Fiction Addicts site and Amazon.com. She welcomes comments from people who want to comment on her reviews as long as you do it in a genteel manner. You can reach Lynne at Sage320@aol.com.
Cheri Rosenberg is a Registered Dietitian who in her spare time writes reviews for Independent Gay Writer, Midwest Book Review, and Just About Write. She is currently working on her upcoming novel A Closet in Syosset and assorted short stories. Cheri lives with her husband and three children in a suburb of New York. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lynn Ames is the best-selling author of The Price of Fame (which was short-listed for the first annual Golden Crown Literary Society award in the category of lesbian romance), The Cost of Commitment, and The Value of Valor. She is also a contributing author to Infinite Pleasures: An Anthology of Lesbian Erotica, Telltale Kisses, Stolen Moments: Erotic Interludes 2, and Call of the Dark: Erotic Lesbian Tales of the Supernatural.
Lynn is a former press secretary to the New York state Senate Minority Leader. For more than half a decade, she was also an award winning broadcast journalist. These days she is a nationally recognized speaker and public relations professional with a particular expertise in image, crisis communications planning, and crisis management.
Lynn resides in the southwestern U.S. with her favorite guys (relax, they’re dogs): a golden retriever named Alex, who bears a remarkable resemblance to a character in her books, and Parker, another golden and the newest addition to the family.
For additional information, short stories, etc., please visit her website at www.lynnames.com, or e-mail her at email@example.com.
Kim Baldwin is a 2005 Golden Crown Literary Society Award Finalist for Hunter's Pursuit in the Intrigue/Mystery category. She and her partner live in the home of her dreams—a snug cabin surrounded by hundreds of acres of woods and abundant wildlife. She started writing fiction in 2001 after a 20-year career in journalism. She’s discovered that she much prefers novels to news, and small town life to rush hour traffic, but wishes there were more ethnic restaurants in the boonies. Nature, romance and adventure are passions that make frequent appearances in her stories.
Gun Brooke resides in the countryside in Sweden with her very patient family. A retired neonatal intensive care nurse, she now writes full time, only rarely taking a break to create web sites for herself or others and to do computer graphics. Having expanded the romance Course of Action for its international debut, she is hard at work on another romance as well as a science fiction series. Protector of the Realm: Book One Supreme Constellations is the first in that series.
Linda was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, has also lived in Nacogdoches, Port Aransas, and Austin, and is now back in Dallas, where she lives with two spoiled rotten cats. She has been a Paralegal for over 15 years, and has a Journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She began writing while in preschool, drawing picture stories on the church bulletin instead of paying attention to the sermon. Linda is on the Orlando BardCon staff, and has also written some episodes for the Xena Subtext Virtual Season. When she's not working her day job or writing, she enjoys scuba diving, hiking, camping, golf, sailing, snow skiing, biking, traveling, reading, sketching, photography, and making music videos.
Jane Fletcher was born in Greenwich, London in 1956. She now lives alone in the south-west of England, after the sudden, untimely death of her partner.
Her love of fantasy began at the age of seven when she encountered Greek Mythology. This was compounded by a childhood spent clambering over every example of ancient masonry she could find (medieval castles, megalithic monuments, Roman villas) It was her resolute ambition to become an archaeologist when she grew up, so it was something of a surprise when she became a software engineer instead.
Jane started writing when her partner refused to listen to yet another lengthy account of "a really good idea for a story," and insisted that she write it down. After many years of revision, the result, Lorimal's Chalice, was published. This book was shortlisted for the Gaylactic Spectrum award for that year.
After spending twelve years as a kitchen manager/chef at a large sorority at the University of Minnesota, it was either the real thing, or commit murder on paper. Hence, Ellen Hart became a mystery writer. Ellen’s first novel was published in 1989, and since then this prolific writer has penned nineteen more mysteries in two different mystery series. The Jane Lawless series was one of the first ever to go from a small press directly to a mainstream New York publisher. The Sophie Greenway culinary mystery series has been called “Nick and Nora for the new millennium!” Ellen is a five-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Mystery, as well as a two-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Best Crime & Detective Fiction. Entertainment Weekly recently named her one of the “101 movers and shakers in the gay entertainment industry.” Ellen teaches mystery writing through the University of Minnesota’s Compleat Scholar program and at The Loft, the largest independent writing community in the nation. Now that their daughters have grown up and started families of their own, she lives in Minneapolis with her partner of 28 years and their two darling dogs, Busby and Newton.
Peggy J. Herring
Herring lives in south Texas and enjoys fishing and
traveling when not writing. She has authored books for the
former Naiad Press and is currently with Bella Books.
Those Who Wait, Beyond All Reason, Once More with
Feeling, and White Lace and
Promises are among her best-selling
Lori L. Lake
Lori L. Lake has published five novels (Gun Shy, Under The Gun, Have Gun We’ll Travel, Different Dress, and Ricochet In Time) and a book of short stories, Stepping Out. She edited the 2005 Lammy finalist The Milk of Human Kindness: Lesbian Authors Write About Mothers and Daughters, as well as Romance for LIFE, which makes its debut in February 2006. Lori teaches queer fiction writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is currently at work on her seventh novel. Her sixth novel, Snow Moon Rising, will come out in late spring 2006. You can visit her website at www.lorillake.com.
In 2005, the lebian fiction world was diminished by the passing of LJ Maas, a loved and prolific writer, artist, and teacher. Intaglio Publications will continue to print LJ's wonderful stories.
J.P. Mercer, a native of Big Sky Country, now lives in the Sonoran desert in southwestern Arizona. J.P. traded in her skis and snow chains for eternal sunny days and the Valley of The Sun. "The first living thing that graced my doorstep when I arrived in Arizona was a Gecko and it has been my good luck charm ever since." J. P.'s interests are as diverse as the ever-changing landscape of the beautiful Sonoran desert. "I believe in friendship, the kind that nurtures and transcends all other frail human emotions. I believe in living each day to the fullest and opening one's heart and mind to the incredible goodness and beauty of all people regardless.
"My first book, Incommunicado, was penned because of the outrage I felt and still feel over the unsolved and ongoing Juarez Femicide; the brutal murders of the women and girls of Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua Mexico." She has also contributed a short story, "Black Out," in Infinite Pleasures: An Anthology of Lesbian Erotica.
Carol resides in Northeast Ohio. She saw her first episode of Xena in season three and quickly found fan fiction. It inspired her to try her hand at writing and The Agent was her first story. Some things she enjoys are Xena, reading, and writing.
Radclyffe, having at various times in her life wanted to be a cowboy, an astronaut, a detective, and a doctor, finally settled for being one and writing about the others. An author and a surgeon, she credits her parents for both her careers her mother, having raised her on crossword puzzles and afternoon soaps, for her love of words and her fascination with the complexities of human relationships, and her father a shirt maker for her skill at assembling a whole from many parts. These inherited talents have contributed significantly to both her writing and the practice of plastic surgery, since both constructing a plot and reconstructing a body part require fluidly of thought in the midst of creativity (also known as changing horses mid-stream).
After practicing surgery for thirty years while writing for pleasure on the side, she has decided in the last six years that it was time to reverse the process. Although still practicing surgery full-time, she hopes soon to spend all her time working with words. To that end, in 2004 she established Bold Strokes Books, Inc, a publishing company focused on producing a diverse collection of lesbian fiction. Eleven new titles from six authors some veterans and some exciting newcomers are scheduled for 2005.
Rad draws on her experiences in medicine and the martial arts (she has a black belt in Ju Jitsu and a brown belt in Aikido) as a foundation for her romances as well her police procedural/action series. In addition to writing a consuming passion she collects lesbian pulps, enjoys photographing scenes for her book covers, and shares her life with her partner, Lee, and assorted canines.
Born in Japan in 1957, Pat Welch has lived and worked in the San Francisco area since 1986. She began publishing the Helen Black mystery series with Naiad Press in 1990, moving to Bella Books in 1999. Her first Helen Black mystery with Bella Books, Moving Targets, was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. When she isn’t writing she likes to read, listen to bluegrass music and hang out with her wonderful partner, Angelique.