Our Tomato Reader’s Picks
Our Tomato readers have three novels to suggest this month. Nelson DeMille is back with another bestselling thriller with “The Maze.” You loved Jayne Allen’s Black Girls Must Die Exhausted, the sequel, “Black Girls Must Be Magic” will not disappoint. And “The Sweetness of Water,” will probe deeply into your heart.
DeMille Takes Us on Another Thrill Ride
In his latest #1 suspense thriller, Nelson DeMille returns with one of his favorite characters, John Corey whom fans will remember last from “Plum Island”. In The Maze, the former NYPD homicide detective John Corey, called out of retirement to investigate a string of grisly murders much too close to home. Inspired by and based on the actual and still-unsolved Gilgo Beach murders, The Maze takes us on a dangerous hunt for an apparent serial killer who has murdered nine—and maybe more—sex workers and hidden their bodies in the thick undergrowth on a lonely stretch of beach. As Corey digs deeper into this case, he comes to suspect that the failure of the local police to solve this sensational mystery may not be a result of their incompetence—it may be something else. Something more sinister.
DeMille’s characters are always richly drawn, with dialogue that is witty and politically incorrect in the most delightful way. The Maze is a long build up to the action, which takes place mostly at the end, but the read along the way is worth it. Get the book.
~Cheryl Benton, aka the head Tomato
A Beautiful Sequel that Will Not Disappoint
The second book in Jayne Allen’s the Black Girls Must Die Exhausted, Black Girls Must Be Magic did not disappoint. In the first book we find out at the end Tabitha Walker is pregnant and not married. This news comes to her as quite a shock since she was told she may never have her own biological children.
After the death of her beloved Granny, Tabitha decides not to waste any more time on starting a family. She had been given a medical diagnosis of premature ovarian reserve failure. After hearing this she decides she will do in vitro fertilization with a sperm donor. Tabitha plans to raise her child alone as a “single mother by choice”. Her ex-boyfriend is surprised by her decision to raise a child alone. They have been friends with benefits for the last several months. She hopes he will remain her friend and provide some help in raising this child. In The Sweetness of Water, author Nathan Harris explores the racial and ethical issues that are tearing a small, southern town apart in the early days following the Civil War.
Tabitha receives some shocking news at her next doctor’s visit. It is determined the baby is a girl and not the boy embryo that was implanted. She immediately knows this baby is Marcs.
Tabitha’s boss, Chriss at the TV station where she works as a news reporter tells her viewers have filed complaints about seeing her natural hair on air. Dealing with the baby news and her work situation, she feels like her life is spiraling out of control. When Marc finds out about the baby he wants to be more than friends, he wants to get married.
Jayne Allen has written such a beautiful story of a young woman dealing with career and motherhood. She made me feel as if I knew these characters personally. I felt very much like I was in Los Angeles in their daily lives. She has done a fabulous job carrying the story from one book to the next book. I loved the first book, loved the second one more. The third one is due out soon and I cannot wait to read it. Highly recommend. It is a five star from me. GET THE BOOK.
~Francene Katzen, Richmond, Virginia, advocate for parents who have children with drug addictions
A Breath-Taking Book Probing Deeply into Our Hearts
In The Sweetness of Water, author Nathan Harris explores the racial and ethical issues that are tearing a small, southern town apart in the early days following the Civil War. As freedmen tentatively experience emancipation while white men still pursue a reign of terror, one man stands out as a model of moral integrity.
George Walker and his wife Isabelle have an unusual and detached marriage. George is a man of few words who rarely shares his thoughts, however his actions speak louder than words. He befriends two freedmen who are brothers, Landry and Prentiss, and hires them to work on his farm. Accused of stealing the brothers from a neighboring slave master, the Walkers experience discrimination themselves from the townspeople, especially those who hold themselves above the law. The strength of character of these two ordinary people becomes clear as they encounter daily challenges in their small town of Old Ox, Georgia.
In a parallel story, we follow the forbidden romance of two young Confederate soldiers. Recently returned from the war, the young men hold their trysts in the woods. When their secret is discovered, the resulting chaos, including a murder, unleashes violent repercussions on the entire community. In the aftermath of so much upheaval, it is Isabelle who emerges as a leader with a vision for healing the land, the town, and its people.
This is a breath-taking book, probing deeply into our hearts as we follow along as spectators. As gripping as it is moving, The Sweetness of Water is rich in feeling, exploring painful issues while offering kindness and hope as the enduring spirit of the human condition. GET THE BOOK.
~ Joan Pagano, owner of Joan Pagano Fitness, NYC