Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Local lit

By Jim Knippenberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer


By Lori Foster (Kensington; $14). She's Cincinnati's most prolific romance author with 28 novels behind her, including August's Say No To Joe? (Kensington; $6.99) and this month's surprisingly fun Unexpected, an unconventional and sexy love story about a female mercenary named Ray Vereker. Unaware she's female, Eli Conners hires her to rescue his brother from a band of guerillas. Skeptical as all get-out, he resists the urge to fire her and, as is the way of the romance novel, falls in love. As does Ray, who finds herself pregnant after trekking through the jungles of Central America with a raging libido. The irony - and humor - is that she's a tough little number who likes to beat up guys much more than sleep with them.

Atomic Renaissance

By Jeffrey Marks (Delphi Books; $21.95). Subtitled Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s and 1950s, it's mini-biographies of seven not-so-well-known female mystery writers. Marks got interested while researching his Edgar Award-nominated Who Was that Lady bio of Craig Rice. These women are similar: Largely forgotten now, but well known in their day for carving a niche in what was very much a man's world. Marks' direct style makes it easy, quick and informative reading.

Stahler: Inkslinger

By Jeff Stahler (Orange Frazer; $14.95). Cincinnati Post editorial cartoonist Stahler, known for his simple style, pointed wit and fresh insights, has assembled 143 cartoons from 1995 to the present. Topics range from the pedophile priest scandal ("Communion 9:30 a.m., defrocking 11 a.m.), to computer viruses, TV shows, unemployment, shaky economics, crumbling schools and, of course, politics. Available now only at the Cincinnati Art Museum where he and Enquirer cartoonist Jim Borgman have a joint show running, it will be in bookstores later this month.

The Ceramic Career of M. Louise McLaughlin

By Anita J. Ellis (Ohio University Press; $49.95 hard back, $24.95 paper). Scholars agree that ceramics pioneer McLaughlin (1847-1939) was an enormous influence on the history of American ceramics. She perfected the under-glaze technique that Rookwood later made famous. She wrote several books and was the darling of European collectors. Ellis, the Cincinnati Art Museum's director of curatorial affairs and curator of decorative arts, presents a lavishly illustrated bio and the first definitive study of the career and influence of the Cincinnati woman who paved the way for the entire china-painting movement in America.

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