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Michael’s Summer Reading Picks


What Stands In A Storm, by Kim Cross.

Anyone who has read SO COLD THE RIVER knows that I’m a bit obsessed with tornadoes – not quite to the Anne McKinney level, but close – and Kim Cross does a wonderful job of telling the story of the horrific tornado outbreak of April, 2011. She’s a fine writer and journalist, but what really stood out to me from this read was the depth of passion displayed by the meteorologists. Anyone who’s ever made a joke about our television weather forecasters (and I know I have) should read this to get a sense of how hard those folks really are working, and how much they care.



Helter Skelter, by Vincent Bugliosi.

I started another biography on Manson but it didn’t hook me, and found myself picking up Helter Skelter with the intent of re-reading a few select chapters. Instead I blew through the entire book again. Still one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read, and if you haven’t read it, you’re missing out on a chilling slice of Americana. Very chilling.




Hollywood, by Larry McMurtry

The last of McMurtry’s slim trio of memoirs, along with BOOKS and WRITING, covers his time in the screenwriting and film business, and is told with grace and wit. A quick read but a rewarding one.







A Deadly Wandering, by Matt Richtel.

Incredibly well-written, and important, this book looks at how a quick glance at a text message while driving claimed several lives and changed others forever. Combining the neuroscience of distraction with a suspenseful narrative of police investigation and legal action, Richtel pulls of a truly impressive feat on a topic that all too many of us would like to ignore. It’s my “push this book into as many hands as possible” pick from 2014.



indexBook on the nightstand:

Dead Wake, by Erik Larson.

The man can hardly write a bad sentence, let alone a bad book. This story of the Lusitania’s last voyage is sure to be a riveting read.

New release August 18th

Last-2BWords.99-revisedMarkus Novak just wants to come home. An investigator for the pro-bono Death Row defense firm Innocence Incorporated, Novak’s life derailed when his wife, Lauren, was murdered after conducting an interview on a case the two were working together. Two years later, her murder unsolved, Novak attempted to make progress through less-than-legal means and jailhouse bargaining. Now his job is on the line and he has been banished from his Florida home to assess a cold case in Indiana that he knows the firm has no intention of taking. His intention is to go through the motions and wait for the call that summons him home to face the judgment of his board of directors.

Ridley Barnes, the suspected killer in the Indiana case, has other ideas. Barnes, who brought the teenage victim’s body out of an elaborate cave system beneath his rural farmland country, has claimed for ten years that has no memory of exactly where — or how — he found Sarah Martin’s corpse. His memory of whether she was dead or alive at the time is equally foggy. Now he says he wants answers — even if they mean he’ll end up in the electric chair.

After only 48 hours in Indiana, engaged in a psychological chess match that he doesn’t want to participate in, Novak is made painfully aware of his options: if he has any chance of returning to the life and career he left behind in Florida, he’ll need to find the truth in Garrison, Indiana, first.