“Let’s Walk the French Quarter” by Kerri McCaffety. Pelican Publishing, 2014. $19.95.
If you are looking for an easy-to-follow walking guide to the French Quarter for yourself or a friend coming to town, this is a great book!
Filled with Kerri McCaffety’s photography, this book is divided into three sections — places, food spots and extras. It also includes a nice map that allows for a self-guided tour. Each photograph is accompanied by a quick summary of that spot.
If you or your friends don’t want to join a large tour group, this book would suffice to give you a great start on learning about the French Quarter and hit a few spots that you don’t want to miss along the way all on your own.
— Anna Guerra,
“The Fiddler of Driskill Hill: Poems” by David Middleton. LSU Press, 2013. $18.95
It is rare that poetry books are recognized for general literary achievement. “The Fiddler of Driskill Hill” is an exception to that standard. Nicholls State University Professor Emeritus David Middleton delivers in this lyric ode to Louisiana. The elegant poems in this volume capture a unique glimpse of an area of the state often unrecognized in contemporary literature.
Driskill Hill, recognized as a mountain, has the highest elevation in Louisiana at 535 feet above sea level. It is from this vantage, located southeast of Bryceland in Bienville Parish, that Middleton draws his inspiration for the title.
“The Fiddler of Driskill Hill” was awarded the Second Honorable Mention by the Louisiana Literary Award Committee at the Louisiana Library Association Conference in 2014. Elissa Plank, Louisiana Literary Award chair, says it is a collection of poems that evoke Louisiana images and life from both north and south.
For the reader looking for something a bit different, “The Fiddler of Driskill Hill” is a small volume that packs intense emotion in graceful verse. It is highly recommended for the thoughtful reader.
— Vivian Solar, Prairieville
“Cop Town” by Karin Slaughter. Delacorte Press, 2014. $27.
Karin Slaughter sets her latest crime thriller in the Atlanta of late 1974.
Bitter divisions from the 1960s — civil rights, Vietnam, feminism, the entire revolt against “Establishment” values — are not just unresolved but threaten violent explosion.
The Atlanta Police Department resists the introduction of African American and female officers. As Slaughter portrays them, its veterans are, overwhelmingly and overtly, racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, anti-gay, corrupt, crude, vulgar, ignorant of modern forensic methods — yet sometimes brave and selfless.
The plot centers on the frantic hunt for a cop killer. The veterans fixate on the outsiders they despise. Slaughter’s two heroines, new recruits Maggie Lawson and Kate Murphy, look elsewhere and have something to prove, Lawson because she is from a traditional cop family, Murphy because she is from privileged Buckhead. They become the symbol of an Atlanta looking to the future instead of the past.
As in Slaughter’s many previous books, the writing in “Cop Town” is terse and staccato, the tension high, the violence pervasive — all to the good in a crime thriller. Not so good is the sense of a morality tale, the lessons applied with a heavy hand.
— Ben Martin, Baton Rouge