Authors Showcase: Two Sides of Quirky

The Book: Catho Darlington: Lessons Learned in the Space Age

The Author: Sara Marie Hogg

The Story: Catho Darlington is a typical but quirky little girl growing up in the Ozarks Mountains in the 1950s.  The children of her tiny, isolated community of Calhoun have lives rich with adventure and creativity.

Because of their isolation and lack of luxury, they must invent everything using objects readily available.  Catho goes from pigtails to pompadoured ponytail leaving a trail of humorous and heartwarming experiences.

It is all done with a gusto that can only be fermented with sassafras tea and “acifidity bags.”  If you grew up in the rural heartland in the 1950s this is probably your story.  Come, enjoy again, “life in the Space Age.”

Review by A Customer; Catho Darlington knows only one world–the tiny town she is growing up in in the Ozarks Mountains. I like the “local color” of this book.

I like the imagery provided by the author and how she gets inside the head of the young girl to find the voice of the book. Although there is a lot of narrative, it really had to be written that way.

I am familiar with the author’s work and her first work was in poetry and some of it slips into the novel. I believe the flavor of the 1950’s is captured genuinely. The study sheet for baby boomers in the back of the book is a wonderful thought-provoker and memory enhancer. I can see a sequel as Catho continues her quirky adventures throughout her teenage years.

Review by Phoebe Stogstill: Wonderful, innocent time in the U.S., quirky little girl, isolated community, town characters, mischief, madness, giggles, tears, a common chord with all who lived through those years at that age. More, more, more.

We need more of Catho Darlington, Space Age hillbilly girl from the Ozarks Mountains: rockin’ and rollin,’ guffawing, hula hooping, marching in parades, tooting her flute, taking swings at bullies, riding in souped up cars with fins, suffering the consequences of permanent waves. So square it is hip!

The Book: Bigger than Jesus

The Author: Robert Chazz Chute

The Story: Jesus Diaz is a hit man caught in the gears of The Machine. He craves the simple things: to escape New York with stolen mob money and to marry the lovely Lily.

Not getting shot would be good, too. Fast-paced and full of twists and deception, this is the crime novel that reads like a Coen brothers’ movie: the wide and easy road out of town turns deadly. Murphy’s Law will bring Jesus down long before the NYPD get a chance.

Review by Mark Young: This new thriller by the author of “Self Help for Stoners” is a crime story worthy of Elmore Leonard with a backstory that is shades of Thomas Harris. An unusual mix of some stock characters and a gangland scenario which is made fresh by great, punchy dialogue and plot twists that keep you moving from one calamity to the next with no time to catch your breath.

Jesus (pronounce it Hay-soose) Diaz is a Cuban refugee/orphan/trained killer/ex-military/mob assassin, who has been hired by his boss, Jimmy Lima to kill his other boss, Panama Bob, aka Jimmy’s brother. But Bob offers to up the ante and turn the tables with some skimmed money he has stashed away. Jesus instantly sees this as a way to fly away south with Lily, the love of his life, and get out of the assassin trade for good.

Turning the tables on Bob the table-turner, Jesus figures he’ll kill him anyway and pocket the skim without Jimmy ever finding out. But Jesus’s partner, Big Denny de Molina, stands squarely in the way of this goal. Will he have to kill his best friend to finally get out for good? All in all, a real page-turner with lots of likeable, unlikeable characters who don’t trust each other one bit… always with good reason.

Review by Johligo: In a short span of a couple of short stories collections and a few novelettes, Robert Chazz Chute has seriously become one of my favourite authors! You can count on him for well-written stories that pack punch, plot twists, clever dialogue and even some hidden wisdom in their pages. No surprise then, that this novel, Bigger than Jesus, delivers the same!

Based on his decision to double-cross his boss, quit his life as an assassin and take off with Lily, Jesus (Hay-soose) finds himself embroiled in a thriller, the likes of which I haven’t seen in ages – and what a fun ride!

If you like witty dialogue, fast-paced action and a bit of humour thrown in for good measure (as I do!) then this is definitely a novel for you! This can’t-wait-to-discover-how-he-gets-out-of-this-situation nail biter will keep you entertained til the last page!

Do yourself a favour and buy it – you’ll be “thrilled” you did!

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