Mystery Fiction

On this edition of ST, with the holiday season just around the corner, we check in with our longtime book reviewer, Nancy Pearl, for some page-turning, gift-giving tips. A well-known librarian -- now retired -- who began appearing on our show back when she lived in Tulsa in the early 1990s, Nancy is also a bestselling author, literary critic, and book editor.

On this edition of our show, we get to know the novelist and short story writer Jennifer duBois, who teaches in the MFA program at Texas State University. Her first novel, "A Partial History of Lost Causes," was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, and her second, "Cartwheel," won the Housatonic Book Award for Fiction and was a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a former Stanford University Stegner Fellow, duBois is also the recipient of a Whiting Writer’s Award.

Our guest on ST via telephone is Nancy Pearl, our longtime book reviewer, a bestselling author, critic, editor, and retired librarian (and former citizen of Tulsa) who can also be heard regularly on NPR's Morning Edition. Now that the warm and sunny days of summer have finally arrived, Nancy joins us with a stack of favorites that ought to be perfect for that long trip in the car, endless airplane ride, idle day at the beach, lazy afternoon in the hammock, or all of the above.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Jennifer Latham, a Tulsa-based author whose debut novel is coming out next week: "Scarlett Undercover" is a noir-flavored, modern-day YA mystery with a 16-year-old Muslim American heroine who runs her own detective agency. Book Smart Tulsa will present a free-to-the-public Launch Party for this book next week, on Wednesday the 20th at 7pm, at the University of Tulsa's Zarrow Center for Art and Education in the Brady Arts District (in downtown Tulsa).

Nancy Pearl, author of the "Book Lust" series of recommended books and our longtime book reviewer here on StudioTulsa, joins us to discuss her favorite reads of 2014. Here's a complete list of the books she discussed with us on today's program:

"2 a.m. at the Cat's Pajamas" (Crown) by Marie-Helene Bertino -- This novel depicts 24 hours in the lives of nine-year-old aspiring jazz singer Madeleine Altimiri and her circle of acquaintances.

Every fall, thousands of people sign up for National Novel Writing Month (or, if you like, "NaNoWriMo"), which happens each November, and which was founded by our guest today, a freelance writer and writing coach in the Bay Area named Chris Baty. Baty's program has helped countless people -- over the last 15 years or so -- finally write that elusive novel and/or get down a workable first draft of said novel to the tune of 50,000 words....

On this edition of StudioTulsa, the bawdy humor of Jackie Mason collides -- for better or worse -- with the common-sense politics of Will Rogers as we welcome the one and only Kinky Friedman back to our show. The legendary Texas-based singer/songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician, and former columnist for Texas Monthly was one of two independent candidates in the 2006 election for the office of Governor of Texas; Friedman placed fourth in the six-person race.

(Note: This show first aired in June.) On this installment of ST, we speak with Rachel Urquhart, a writer whose work has been published in The New Yorker, Tin House, Elle, The New York Times, Vogue, and Spy, among other publications. Urquhart has recently published her first novel, "The Visionist," which is a widely acclaimed historical drama about a teenage girl who finds refuge --- or perhaps does not find refuge --- in an 1840s Shaker community.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Jayne Anne Phillips, the acclaimed fiction writer whose previous books include "Black Tickets," "Machine Dreams," and "Lark and Termite." In her newest book, just out in paperback, Phillips both explores and re-imagines a real crime that occurred in 1931, in a West Virginia town not far from where she herself grew up. Phillips tells us of this novel -- called "Quiet Dell" -- on today's program.

On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with Donis Casey, a mystery author and former librarian who is originally from Oklahoma and has been based in Arizona for many years. "Hell with the Lid Blown Off" -- the seventh title in Casey's popular Alafair Tucker series -- is newly available, and (as with the rest of Casey's fiction) this novel draws heavily upon her Oklahoma well as the roots of her Sooner State relatives.