Mike Shea

Articles by Mike Shea

We Agreed to Meet Just Here

Jan 1, 2009 By Mike Shea

A sense of imminent and unskirtable dread hangs like woodsmoke over Texas native Scott Blackwood’s finely wrought first novel, We Agreed to Meet Just Here. Not for the chronically depressed, it is a downbeat parable about life in a middle-class Austin whose residents were born under the proverbial…

Mission: Black List #1

Dec 1, 2008 By Mike Shea

Before his 2003 deployment to Iraq, Army staff sergeant and San Antonio resident Eric Maddox was a military interrogator with virtually no field experience in his area of expertise. Mission: Black List #1, written with Davin Seay, tells the story of his on-the-job training in Tikrit, where…

The Messenger

Dec 1, 2008 By Mike Shea

Ghosts, cemetery dogs, and immortals populate The Messenger, a supernatural thriller from mystery writer Jan Burke, a Houston native best known for her award-winning series starring flesh-and-blood reporter Irene Kelly. The Messenger features Tyler Hawthorne, whose 2008 Los Angeles mailing address belies his 1815 service as a…

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Jeff Guinn

Dec 1, 2008 By Mike Shea

An extended interview with Jef Guinn, author of The Christmas Chronichles.

Jeff  Guinn

Dec 1, 2008 By Mike Shea

At 735 pages, The Christmas Chronicles might inspire a deeply felt ho-ho-ho-hum from the Santa-averse. But don’t shun these three newly compiled “as told to” Yule novels from the Fort Worth author (The Autobiography of Santa Claus, How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas, and The Great Santa Search). With their…

H. W. Brands

Oct 31, 2008 By Mike Shea

With his twenty-second book, Traitor to His Class, the acclaimed historian and University of Texas at Austin professor brings yet another political giant into focus: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Do you explode any myths in Traitor to His Class? The rich of Roosevelt’s day blamed him for selling them out…

The Glen Rock Book of the Dead

Oct 31, 2008 By Mike Shea

The Glen Rock Book of the Dead is a quiet tour de force from former Austinite Marion Winik, who ruminates on the meaning and messages to be culled from the deaths (and lives) of fifty-plus individuals who have crossed her path. Within a slim 108 pages, she provides…

Texas Blues: The Rise of a Contemporary Sound

Oct 31, 2008 By Mike Shea

First the bad news: Alan Govenar’s Texas Blues: The Rise of a Contemporary Sound is maddening, a six-hundred-page patchwork of illustrations, interviews, and essays adapted and expanded from his previous works. Sometimes organized by place (East Texas, Austin) and sometimes by theme (zydeco, the saxophone), it affords such…

The Theory of Light and Matter

Oct 31, 2008 By Mike Shea

The stereotypical image of America’s middle class—successful adults shepherding worthy children toward better lives—is turned on its head in Andrew Porter’s beautifully executed short story collection The Theory of Light and Matter. Porter, who teaches creative writing at Trinity University, pulls us through the looking glass into a…

H. W. Brands

Oct 31, 2008 By Mike Shea

With his twenty-second book, Traitor to His Class, the acclaimed historian and University of Texas at Austin professor brings yet another political giant into focus: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Do you explode any myths in Traitor to His Class? The rich of Roosevelt’s day blamed him for selling them…