Word Play, April 2020

Text by Diane Slocum


pring can be a windy time of year, and this movement of air finds its way into many titles of books, from classics like “Gone with the Wind” to upcoming releases like John Grisham’s “Camino Winds.”

Book 2 in the Camino series will be released April 28 by Doubleday. In this installment, a hurricane strikes the island where Bruce Cable stays through the devastating storm, during which his friend, Nelson, dies under suspicious circumstances that appear not to be storm-related. With the police over-whelmed by the aftermath of the storm, Bruce investigates and finds shocking information hidden in Nelson’s unpublished manuscript.

The Third Edition of “What the Wind Knows” by Amy Harmon was published last March by Lake Union Publishing. Anne is heartbroken over her grand-father’s death and travels to his Irish home to scatter his ashes. She awakens to find herself transported through time to 1921, on the brink of civil war, where she is mistaken for the missing mother of a young boy.

“Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore” by Darra Goldstein was published last month by Ten Speed Press and features 100 traditional recipes that are truly Russian, not the usual ones borrowed from France or the basics of the Soviet era, but a revival of heritage ingredients and dishes of the north country. It features recipes for foods such as hand pies stuffed with mushrooms and fish, black currant cheesecake and farmer’s cheese, as well as photos and essays on the culture.



When a book has been checked out of a library more than 485,000 times, it’s rather conclusively a popular book. This is “A Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats, which is the most checked-out book in a study of the history of the New York Public Library. Also topping 400,000 check-outs are Dr. Seuss’ “A Cat in the Hat,” “1984” by George Orwell, Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

These are followed by “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White, “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.


Bonnie Hearn Hill was the winner of The Writer’s 2019 Essay Contest with “What
I Wish I’d Known.” Her essay opens with “I wish I’d known a writer can fix anything but a blank page,” and continues with insights such as a writer can be a little crazy, most adjectives and adverbs are phony friends, and exclamation marks travel in packs. Her essay is at bonniehhill.com.

She also won first place in the Writer’s Digest Magazine’s 2019 short story contest for “Feliz Navidead,” which was published in the November 2019 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
She was also one of four recipients of the Harlequin Creator Fund Feel Good Project awards for a novel in progress.

It involves three women in Southern California rock radio in the 1960s-’70s.
Hearn Hill is a Hanford native who now lives near the San Joaquin River bluffs in Fresno, the river referred to in the title of her latest book, “The River Below.” Best friends Claire and Tessa work for the river conservancy, but Tessa starts to lose her memory and sees a woman on the riverbank who isn’t there, at the same time as Tessa’s husband is defending a woman accused of murder. Then a bloodstained car containing a German Luger is pulled from the river, and Claire knows that she must learn what is happening.

Hearn Hill has published 16 suspense novels. Among them are the three Kit Doyle novels, “If Anything Should Happen,” “Goodbye Forever” and “I Wish You Missed Me.” The first begins when Kit’s mother tells her that Kit should read a secret letter “if anything should happen.” Soon after, her mother dies and Kit learns that seeking the truth is dangerous. In the other books, Kit searches for missing persons.


“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” — Charles Dickens (1812-1870)