Crazy Eight: My Favorites from the First Half

It’s been a good year for fiction. I’ve sifted through my five star reviews of books newly released between January and June, and of those, these are the ones I love best. All are reviewed on this site except for the last, which I’m still reading. For full reviews, click the link; here I have provided genre and a nutshell summary.

#1 Southern Fiction, Humor

Pamela Terry’s sophomore novel is even better than her debut. This is warm and funny, with a Fannie Farmer vibe. It will be loved best by those that are over age 40 and lean left politically. When the Moon Turns Blue, by Pamela Terry*****

#2 Thriller

When Thomas Perry is good, he’s really good! This one grabbed me by the front of my shirt and didn’t let me go till it was done with me. Murder Book, by Thomas Perry*****

#3 Humor, Historical Fiction

Combine a grandmother that’s half crazy and half wise with a spoiled grandson from New York, and then throw in the lockdown part of the pandemic. Cathleen Schine is always droll, and this one is unmissable. Kunstlers in Paradise*****

#4 Historical Fiction, Southern Fiction

Jeannette Walls is known for her memoirs, but here, she proves she’s every bit as brilliant with fiction. This bootlegging tale is wholly original, and captivating. Hang the Moon, by Jeanette Walls*****

#5 Horror

This eccentric and delightful story of supernatural sisterhood is the first I’ve read by Victor Lavalle; it will not be the last. Lone Women, by Victor LaValle*****

#6 Contemporary Fiction

Amy Poeppel has become my go to author when I want feel good fiction that doesn’t insult my intelligence. This story has it all: betrayal, revenge, compassion, greed, loyalty, and a lot of heartfelt belly laughs into the bargain. Don’t miss it. The Sweet Spot, by Amy Poeppel*****

#7 Humor

This is just plain ridiculous! That’s why you need it. Dave Barry pokes fun at any number of Florida tropes, but the humor is just as resonant for those living far away; after all, I should know, since Seattle is about as far as one can get from Florida within the continental states.Swamp Story, by Dave Barry*****

#8 Mystery

Susan Isaacs has been writing for decades, but she’s never had a mystery series before this one. This is the second in the series; you can read it now, but it will make you want to go back and find the first and read it, too. I’m nearly finished reading it; my review will be up soon; here’s the link for the first in the series: Takes One to Know One, by Susan Isaacs****