With readers submitting title for Summer Reading Bingo, I’m learning about lots of great books which were either written by Midwestern authors, or set in the Midwest. Here are some of those mentioned so far this summer:
- The Big Thaw by Donald Harstad
The pair of frozen corpses were found under a tarp in the machine shed of an empty farmhouse. Two males — brothers — both killed by bullets from a Russian automatic fired at close range. (Harstad is from Elkader, IA, and this and his other mysteries are set in Northeast Iowa)
- Field of Prey by John Sandford
Agent Lucas Davenport is called in to investigate a serial killer who is kidnapping women in Southeast Minnesota. (Sandford was born in Cedar Rapids, IA, and most of his “Prey” books are set in Minnesota)
- Heritage of Darkness (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery) by Kathleen Ernst
For curator Chloe Ellefson, a family bonding trip to Decorah, Iowa, for rosemaling classes seems like a great idea—until the drive begins. After finally reaching Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, Chloe’s resolve to remain positive is squashed when she finds Petra Lekstrom’s body in one of the antique immigrant trunks. (Ernst writes mysteries, historical fiction, and non-fiction for both adults & children, and lives near Madison, WI)
- Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
Bryson was born in the middle of the American century—1951—in the middle of the United States—Des Moines, Iowa—in the middle of the largest generation in American history—the baby boomers. Like millions of his generational peers, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero.
- On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
A thirty-year old woman finds herself stranded on a deserted island, with the sixteen-year old boy she was hired to tutor for the summer. Not only do they have to face the dangers of the island, but they also have to battle their emotions as they find themselves falling in love. (Garvis Graves lives near Des Moines, IA)
- Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year- old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. (Krueger also writes a mystery series set in the north woods of Minnesota)
- Scoop: Notes from a Small Ice Cream Shop by Jeff Miller
Chronicle of Minnesota-born Jeff and his partner Dean’s first year in Hayward—how they are welcomed by a collection of colorful characters and how they are humbled by the challenges of operating both the ice cream shop and a bed and breakfast.
- Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
Welcome to Little Wing. It’s a place like hundreds of others, nothing special, really. But for four friends—all born and raised in this small Wisconsin town—it is home. And now they are men, coming into their own or struggling to do so. (Butler was raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and educated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop)
- Vintage by Susan Gloss
Vintage is centered around a Midwestern vintage clothing shop and a group of women who eventually transform the store and each others’ lives. (Gloss lives in Madison, WI, where this book is set)
Who are some of your favorite Midwestern authors? Which books set in the Midwest do you enjoy?