You know what they say: keep your authors close and their books closer. Or maybe that’s not actually a thing people say. But it could be a motto in Mid-Missouri, considering the number of accomplished writers in the area. Following are some new books of note by local authors.
Carolyn Mulford’s “Show Me the Murder” is set in the fictional town of Laycock, Missouri. Recovering from a recent shooting, retired CIA operative Phoenix Smith comes back to her hometown after years away. Shortly before her arrival, her best friend’s husband, the county sheriff, is found dead, along with a young woman rumored to be his mistress. The deaths have been ruled a murder-suicide, but the grieving widow refuses to believe her husband was cheating. Smith employs her knowledge of sleuthing to help her friend suss out the truth.
“Trouble Behind Glass Doors” is the latest title from prolific poet Walter Bargen. Many of the poems are rooted in the Midwest. Locals will recognize some details (mayor on a bicycle), but the meaning is not narrowed to a home-town audience. The juxtaposition of outdoors and institutional settings is a repeated element. In the poem “Poet in Prison,” Bargen speaks of “Space between airlock doors/space between opening and closing.” Much of the book examines this space, where parts of the universe meet or fail to.
Mike Trial has published two books in the past year. “Things Were Never the Same Afterward” is a collection of short stories centered on the theme of life-changing decisions. Many of Trial’s characters struggle with issues of identity – finding it, changing it, embracing it. A few of the stories have a supernatural element.
“Distant Horizons, From Midwest to Middle East” is Trial’s non-fiction account of his parents’ sojourn in Saudi Arabia in the 1940s and 50s. His father, George, grew up on a Kansas farm, while his mother, Ruth, began her life in Nevada, Missouri. The two met while teaching school in Kansas City. After George’s service in World War II, he remained in the military for a time and was assigned to Dhahran. Soon enough, he sent for his wife and toddler son (the author) to join him. George and his family remained in the Middle East for a number of years, familiarizing themselves with an entirely different culture.
For more titles, click on the “New and Local” link on our “Books and More” page.