The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

March 20, 2011

Patty Crane, book review: New resources lead to two great titles

JOPLIN, Mo. — Using two new resources available through the library, Overdrive and NoveList Select, I discovered two new (to me) authors, Terri Blackstock and Harley Jane Kozak.


This is the first novel I’ve read or rather listened to by Blackstock. I downloaded the title from the library’s new e-book and e-audiobook service, Overdrive. From the website I downloaded the software, logged in as a Joplin Public Library patron, checked out the book and downloaded it to my phone.

“Predator” is a Christian fiction novel in which internet safety takes center stage. An online predator uses information posted by girls and young women on a social networking site to stalk and abduct them. This novel is not a gentle read; it has plenty of suspense and anguish.

14-year-old Ella Carmicheal was abducted from a street corner and after 14 days the body of a young girl is found in a shallow grave. Krista Carmichael has to identify that body as her sister Ella, who was beaten, raped, and buried alive.

As she leaves the funeral of the baby sister she helped raise, Krista realizes the young women she works with and the students at Ella’s school are also at risk. Ella posted her feelings, thoughts and daily activities as thought bubbles on the popular social networking site, GrapeVyne.

Krista launches a campaign to educate young people about the dangers of posting personal information and details to sites such as GrapeVyne. She also implores Ryan Adkins, the CEO of GrapeVyne, to use the website to inform its users of the potential danger.

But while she is speaking out about the dangers and trying to get GrapeVyne to post warnings about internet safety, she is using the site herself to lure the predator into coming for her. But the predator has already picked out his next victim.

With a second and then a third attack, Ryan joins forces with Krista to try to identify the killer. As Krista deals with her grief, her father’s spiral into depression and her own crisis of faith she accomplishes her goal: The killer is coming for her.   

The narrator for this audiobook did a good job with pace and giving each character their own voice. And if downloading and listening to this title is not for you, the library has it in both regular and large print.  

¥ÊNoveList has been available to library patrons for a long time but you could not search it through the library catalog. With NoveList Select you can get NoveList results doing just one search in the catalog then choosing More Titles Like This or More Authors Like This.

‘Dating Dead Men’

Because I enjoy Janet Evanovich’s “Stephanie Plum” series I decided to see if I could find another author like her. Looking up “One for the Money” in the library catalog I chose to search for more authors like her and found Harley Jane Kozak.

This actress-turned-author has four novels in her “Wollstonecraft (Wollie) Shelly” series.

Wollie is a greeting card artist and serial dater. The cast of characters for the novels include her schizophrenic brother P.B., wise and compassionate Uncle Theo and friends Joey and Fredreeq.

The first in the series, “Dating Dead Men,” finds Wollie struggling to keep her greeting card shop open. She needs cash and has agreed to be part of the research for a book, “How to Avoid Getting Dumped All the Time”. To earn the $5,000 she needs, she has to date 40 men in 60 days.

Juggling dates and preparing for an inspection that will decide the fate of her store, Wollie is distracted by some strange phone calls from her brother. On the way to the hospital where P.B. is a resident, Wollie discovers a dead body. Did P.B. witness a murder or was he involved and what about the good-looking “Doc” who just kidnapped her?

Fearing her brother is involved, Wollie decides to investigate the murder. What follows turns her life into chaos with Doc, the Mafia, a pet ferret and all those dates.

This lighthearted mystery series has a loveable heroine, plenty of action, zany characters, a little bit of romance and murders to solve. What more could you want?

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A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

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