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Cultural Difference

Ancient Truths, Modern Evil, in Hearts of the Missing

in Thrillers by

The spirit of Tony Hillerman hovers over every page of Carol Potenza’s debut novel Hearts of the Missing (Minotaur), so it’s no surprise that, when still unpublished, it won the 2017 Hillerman Prize for the best first mystery set in the Southwest. Hillerman’s spirit is far from the only ghost that haunts it, however. The book features Nicky Matthews, a woman police sergeant for New Mexico’s Fire-Sky Pueblo, the Tsiba’ashi D’yini. She is also a Bureau of Indian Affairs-trained federal agent often brought in as a liaison with the Office of Medical Investigation on matters of cultural sensitivity. But Nicky is not a Native. She is white, and she knows that her training is no replacement for all she has yet…

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Impact On Countries & Time: Joan Silber’s “Improvement”

in Fiction by

Connecting 1970s Turkey and New York today, 72-year-old author Joan Silber, winner of the 2018 Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction, weaves a tapestry of interpersonal connections and shows how relationships bind us together and decisions have widespread impact across countries and over time in her latest novel, Improvement (Amazon Digital Services). Reyna is a single mother living in Harlem and standing by her not-so-perfect boyfriend, Boyd, as she visits him during his three-month incarceration at Riker’s. Her Aunt Kiki lives in the Village after spending some time in Turkey and traveling the world in her younger days.  Kiki worries about Reyna and her young son Oliver and is unaware of the illegal activities Boyd, Reyna and their friends are involved with. When…

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