Wednesday, January 12, 2011


In this debut novel, Peter is a simple man who lives by a simple truth--a person gains strength by leaning on his constants. To him, those constants are the factory where he works, the family he loves, and the God who sustains him. But when news of job cuts comes against the backdrop of an unexpected snowstorm, his life becomes filled with far more doubts than certainties.
With humor and a gift for storytelling, Billy Coffey brings you along as he spends his snow day encountering family, friends, and strangers of his small Virginia town. All have had their own battles with life's storms. Some have found redemption. Others are still seeking it. But each one offers a piece to the puzzle of why we must sometimes suffer loss, and each one will help Peter find a greater truth--our lives are made beautiful not by our big moments, but our little ones. (2010)

(summary from )

In his third book, Eric Lee features nine stories with vivid characters that work to solve, cover up or committ a crime. In the short story, Murder in a Snow Covered Town, a beautiful ten-year-old girl has disappeared. Her grief-stricken parents, frustrated with the progress of the police, enlist the help of private eye Robert Douglas to find her. Has she been taken or did she merely run away? Will the police or will the detective find her first? And will she be found dead or alive? In another story, four guests arrive separately to a gated mansion. As they gather in the living room, some of the guests remember each other. They piece together that they all played a central role in the conviction of Carlos Rivera ten years earlier. They soon meet their host for the evening: recent prison escapee, Carlos Rivera.  (summary from

In 1888, a sudden, violent blizzard swept across the American plains, killing hundreds of people, many of them children on their way home from school. As Laskin (Partisans) writes in this gripping chronicle of meteorological chance and human folly and error, the School Children's Blizzard, as it came to be known, was "a clean, fine blade through the history of the prairie," a turning point in the minds of the most steadfast settlers: by the turn of the 20th century, 60% of pioneer families had left the plains. Laskin shows how portions of Minnesota, Nebraska and the Dakotas, heavily promoted by railroads and speculators, represented "land, freedom, hope" for thousands of impoverished European immigrants—particularly Germans and Scandinavians—who instead found an unpredictable, sometimes brutal environment, a "land they loved but didn't really understand." Their stories of bitter struggle in the blizzard, which Laskin relates via survivors' accounts and a novelistic imagination, are consistently affecting. And Laskin's careful consideration of the inefficiencies of the army's inexpert weather service and his chronicle of the storm's aftermath in the papers (differences in death counts provoked a national "unseemly brawl") add to this rewarding read (review from

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