Smokey the Cat
Valerie Wilson Wesley

Sixty seconds with Valerie Wilson Wesley...

Valerie Wilson Wesley is the author of A Glimmer of Death, an Odessa Jones Mystery, to be published next year, as well as the popular Tamara Hayle Mystery series, three novels and two paranormal romances under the pen name Savanna Welles. Her books for children include the Wlllimena Rules! series, Freedom’s Gifts—A Juneteenth Story, and the Afro-bets Book of Black Heroes co-written with Wade Hudson. Her novels and mysteries are published in Germany, France and the UK and her nonfiction has been published in magazines such as Essence and Family Circle. In 2000, she received best book for her novel Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do, from the American Library Black Caucus Association. She is a former executive editor of Essence magazine.

RTE: Describe yourself in a sentence?

Wilson Wesley: In one sentence—here goes: As many writers, I tend to be an introvert and family—husband, daughters, grandson—is the most important thing in my world.

RTE: What's the one record you'd take to a desert island?

Wilson Wesley: Hard choice because I love music: Jazz would be “The Best of Lee Morgan” because it features three of my favorite pieces: I Remember Clifford, Cornbread and Ceora. Classical would be the Four Ballades by Frederick Chopin as played by Artur Rubinstein

RTE: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Wilson Wesley: Oddly enough, I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

Alan Parks

Sixty seconds with Alan Parks...

Maxim Jakubowski

Sixty seconds with Maxim Jakubowski...

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March 31 2021

If winter comes, can spring be far behind? We hope so. While spring takes its time, we can hunker down with a good book. This March's releases include plenty of captivating options, assured to keep you turning pages until the mercury significantly rises.

Mark de Castrique is in fine form with FATAL SCORES, weaving the history of water pollution in North Carolina into the Blackman agency's latest adventure. Ruth Castleberry gives FATAL SCORES five stars.

Maddie Day's MURDER AT THE TAFFY SHOP features a delightfully sticky situation and eccentric heroine, Ruth Castleberry reveals.

According to Sharon Mensing, Nalini Singh's QUIET IN HER BONES is the tightly-plotted tale of a New Zealander's mother's disappearance and its odd aftermath.

CJ Box's DARK SKY brings back Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, who must contend with a murderous rampage and marital difficulties. Anne Corey gave Box her breathless attention easily.

At the other end of the emotional spectrum, V.M. Burns's Mystery Bookshop latest A TOURIST'S GUIDE TO MURDER offers lighthearted armchair travel and witty banter, Lourdes Venard reports.

Even cosier is Peggy Ehrhart's KNITTY GRITTY MURDER. In this textbook example of the genre, PJ Coldren encounters challenging red herrings and replicable recipes.

The United Kingdom isn't letting in many visitors due to the pandemic, but that's okay, because Jacqueline Winspear's latest Maisie Doobs mystery, THE CONSEQUENCES OF FEAR recreates Britain during the First World War while also engrossing our reviewer Anne Corey with Maisie's complex and believable relationships.

BECOMING INSPECTOR CHEN, the latest in Qiu Xiaolong's Inspector Chen series, is a vital parable about the Cultural Revolution. Barbara Fister finds BECOMING INSPECTOR CHEN thought-provoking, poetic, and important.

Guillaume Musso's CENTRAL PARK leaves much to be desired, asserts Sharon Mensing, as it reads like an outline. Having loved Musso's previous novel, Mensing hopes he will flesh out the next one.

Tatiana de Rosnay's FLOWERS OF DARKNESS weaves together past and present as an ambitious novel of ideas, but Sharon Mensing was disappointed to find it hangs together poorly.

Finally, the renowned Commissario Guido Brunetti is back for the thirtieth time in Donna Leon's latest procedural in the series, TRANSIENT DESIRES, and, in the opinion of Anne Corey, one of Leon's best endeavors.

Our guest in the Sixty Seconds is Valerie Wilson Wesley. Don't forget to take a look.

Our friends across the sea have been busy keeping up with what is going on in British crime. You can find out what they thought of it at CRIMEREVIEW.

And that's it for this March. We'll be back later in April and hope you will be too. If you want to know when, you might subscribe to the RSS feed by tapping the button on our masthead, or write me with your email and I'll put you on the notification list.

Or you might want to drop us an email. We're always happy to hear from you.

Best wishes and stay safe,

The RTE Editorial Team

P.S. If you wish to submit a book for review, please check here before contacting us. Please note that we do not review self-published books.

Our mascot and masthead is Smokey the Cat. Smokey the cat went to the great playground in the sky on April 29, 2008, at 3:30 p.m. He was about 13 years old, had diabetes and only 11 teeth left. He is much happier now. He will remain as our masthead and mascot.

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Since RTE first appeared, some twelve years ago, the business of books has changed out of all recognition. Then, books were reviewed in the print media for the most part, though Amazon was encouraging readers to post their reviews of the books they read. Now, newspapers across North America have reduced or eliminated the space they allot to books and, with certain notable exceptions, only best-selling authors are likely to get noticed. As a result, electronic reviewing has become increasingly important and, due to the somewhat slippery question of online authorship, occasionally problematic.

For this reason and in view of a recent article in the NY Times detailing a reviews-for-hire enterprise, it's probably wise for RTE to reiterate its position on reviewing. While our reviewers receive galleys, ARCs, or finished copies of books for review, they are otherwise unpaid. Furthermore, they are asked to disclose any special interest they might have in a book or an author they are reviewing. No one, including the editors, receives any compensation for the work they do. All our reviewers are encouraged to express their honest opinions, whether positive or negative, about the books they are reviewing. None of our reviewers uses a pseudonym and all are who they say they are. Nor do we employ rating systems (stars, grades, "highly recommended," or the like) in the belief that our reviews deserve to be read in their entirety. Since RTE does not review self-published or digital-only releases, we are perhaps less vulnerable to offers to pay for reviews, but it seems a good idea to make our policy clear. Finally, in the years that I've been editing RTE, I have never once been approached by a press or a publicist to violate this principle in any way.

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