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Colette Bancroft, Times Book Editor

Colette Bancroft

Colette Bancroft is the book editor of the Tampa Bay Times. She joined the Times in 1997 and has been a news editor, general assignment features writer and food and travel writer, as well as a frequent contributor of reviews of books, theater and other arts. She became book editor in 2007. Before joining the Times, Bancroft was a reporter and editor at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and an instructor in the English departments of the University of South Florida and the University of Arizona. Bancroft grew up in Tampa.

Phone: (727) 893-8435


  1. Drink of the Week: With Florida lobster, serve Four Vines 2013 Naked Chardonnay

    Bars & Spirits

    You've scored some fresh Florida lobsters — or, better yet, just caught them yourself. Before you fire up the grill (the best way to cook them), consider what wine would make them taste even better.

    These are not delicately flavored Maine lobsters. Florida lobsters, affectionately called "bugs," are meatier in both texture and taste, and grilling or broiling them adds those delicious bits of browning you don't get with steamed lobster....

    Drink of the Week: With Florida lobster, serve Four Vines 2013 Naked Chardonnay
  2. Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky 'turn the tables' on depictions of women in crime fiction


    Back in 1982, when they both published their first mystery novels, did Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky think they were starting series that would still be charting on the bestseller lists 33 years later?

    "Well, I was cheeky enough to snag the alphabet," Grafton says of her series, which began with A Is for Alibi and, this month, reached the one-letter title X. "I had high hopes and no expectations, so it's all been a jolly surprise."...

    Sue Grafton, 75, has published 24 books about California private detective Kinsey Millhone, going from A to almost Z. The first novel: A Is for Alibi.
  3. Notable: the usual suspects



    The usual suspects

    Here are new books by three more terrific writers with long-running mystery series.

    And Sometimes I Wonder About You: A Leonid McGill Mystery (Doubleday) by Walter Mosley is the prolific author's fifth book about complex New York private detective McGill (my second favorite after Mosley's great Easy Rawlins series), whose family life is as full of mysteries as his work. ...

  4. Events: Surfing champion Clay Marzo to sign his book at Inkwood


    Book Talk

    Pro surfing champion Clay Marzo (Just Add Water: A Surfing Savant's Journey With Asperger's) will discuss and sign his book at 7 p.m. Sept. 1 at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa.

    The University of South Florida master of fine arts in creative writing program will present a reading of debut novels by two of its graduates, Phillippe Diederich (Sofrito) and Kimberly Karalius (Love Fortunes and Other Disasters), at 6 p.m. Sept. 4 at USF Graphicstudio, 3702 Spectrum Blvd., Tampa....

  5. Crossword creator Merl Reagle dies in Tampa at age 65


    TAMPA — Merl Reagle has crafted his last clue.

    The Tampa resident, a superstar in the world of crossword puzzles, died Saturday morning in a Tampa hospital. He was 65.

    Mr. Reagle was a nationally syndicated crossword puzzlemaker who created a monthly puzzle for the Tampa Bay Times' Floridian magazine as well as crosswords and other puzzles for the New York Times and many other publications. ...

    Merl Reagle, a celebrated, nationally syndicated crossword puzzle maker who lived in Carrollwood, died Saturday in a Tampa hospital. He was 65. [Times files]
  6. Review: Koryta kicks off a dark and promising series with 'Last Words'


    It's not often I have to put a book down close to bedtime because I fear bad dreams. I consume crime fiction like potato chips — and ordinarily sleep soundly afterward.

    But I wasn't more than a third of the way into Michael Koryta's Last Words late one recent evening when I closed its covers and started browsing Netflix for silly sitcoms. I knew that before I put my head on the pillow I needed to shake the searing image of the book's protagonist waking up drugged, naked and freezing, lost deep underground in the utter darkness of a vast cave — or risk having it show up in my dreams....

    Michael Koryta, who will be a featured author at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading on Oct. 24, will discuss and sign Last Words at Barnes & Noble Tampa on Aug. 27. 
SCOTT KEELER   |   Times (2009)
  7. Notable: Ten years after Hurricane Katrina



    Ten years after the storm

    A decade after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, these books tell the stories.

    Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans (HMH Books for Young Readers) by Don Brown is a vivid, carefully researched graphic novel that brings to life the story of the storm and its effects on the people of New Orleans for readers ages 12 and older. ...

  8. Events: Shane Hinton to sign 'Pinkies' at Inkwood


    Book Talk

    Plant City author Shane Hinton (Pinkies) will discuss and sign his book of short stories at 7 p.m. Thursday at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa.

    Maura Satchell (The Gray Lady of Long Branch) will read and sign at a launch party for her novel at 1 p.m. Saturday at Krazy Kup Cafe, 101 E.J. Arden Mays Blvd., Plant City.

    Vietnam veteran Jim Lamb (Orange Socks & Other Colorful Tales: How I Survived Vietnam and Kept My Sense of Humor) will read from and sign his memoir at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Oasis Coffee Spot, 9213 Little Road, New Port Richey. ...

  9. Review: Kent Wascom's 'Secessia' a darkly beautiful novel of Civil War New Orleans


    Secessia opens with a stunning image: A beautiful 14-year-old girl in a midnight blue gown, her face streaming with blood not her own, flees through the costumed crowd at a grand ball in New Orleans in 1844. Elise Durel searches fruitlessly for her mother or her chaperone, "feels the dancers shiver at her passage." Her only savior is a sickly looking boy named Emile Sabatier. When the crowd turns on her, he helps her escape, then loses track of her — for more than a decade....

    Kent Wascom
  10. Notale: grand dames



    Grand dames

    Now in paperback, two books about wonderful women and one about the man who invented Wonder Woman.

    Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History (Random House) by Rhonda K. Garelick is a meticulously researched, readable biography of the fearless designer who transformed how women dress, with lots of gorgeous photos.

    The Secret History of Wonder Woman (Vintage) by Jill Lepore is a totally fascinating account of the life and times of William Moulton Marston, who besides being the creator of Wonder Woman was a psychologist, inventor, feminist, polygamist and con man....

  11. Review: 'Kitchens of the Great Midwest' a satisfying literary meal


    Daughter of a chef and a sommelier, born in the early years of a revolution in how Americans eat, Eva Thorvald is a child of culinary destiny.

    In J. Ryan Stradal's captivating debut novel Kitchens of the Great Midwest, Eva is the character around whom everything revolves, the main dish in a tasty literary meal. Rising from childhood tragedy to develop an extraordinary palate and a driving ambition, Eva cooks up a unique fate for herself, a modern fairy tale that foodies will want to believe....

  12. Notable: epitaphs




    These books, published posthumously, remind us of their talented authors.

    Last Bus to Wisdom (Riverhead Books) by Ivan Doig, who died in April, is a warmly funny tale of the adventures of an 11-year-old boy sent away from his home on a Montana ranch to stay with a cranky aunt in Wisconsin.

    Our Souls at Night (Knopf) by Kent Haruf, who died in November, is a poignant, beautifully crafted novel about an elderly widow and widower in a small Colorado town who find a deepening friendship in their late-night conversations....

  13. Events: Barbara Davis to sign 'Summer at Hideaway Key' in Sarasota


    Book Talk

    Laura White (Alice and the Victorian Culture Wars), a professor at University of Nebraska/Lincoln, will speak on "Lewis Carroll's Library" at 9 a.m. today at Cathedral Church of St. Peter, 140 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. Free; continental breakfast available.

    Barbara Davis (Summer at Hideaway Key) will discuss and sign her romance novel at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Bookstore1Sarasota, 1359 Main St., Sarasota; and at 3 p.m. Saturday at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa....

  14. For two who teach it, the best Florida literature recognizes the surreal


    Florida literature has a longer history than you may think.

    "You know, Gabriel Garcia Marquez said that Cabeza de Vaca wrote the first Latin American novel" in the Spanish explorer's account of his 16th century expedition to Florida, says Tom Hallock. "Well, he landed right here in St. Petersburg in 1528, so maybe we should call it the first Florida novel."

    Hallock, associate professor and chairman of the English department at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, specializes in early American literature and teaches courses on the writings of 18th century Florida explorer William Bartram and on nature writing about the state....

    Spouses Tom Hallock, left, and Julie Buckner Armstrong teach literature at USF St. Petersburg.
  15. Fictional Florida: a look at 80-some writers with state roots, settings


    "Literary" is probably not the first adjective that comes to mind when you think of Florida.

    Time to reconsider. The Sunshine State has attracted dozens of notable writers, as a place to live and a place to write about, and it shouldn't come as a surprise. Whether it's hurricanes (deployed to great effect by such writers as Zora Neale Hurston, John D. MacDonald and Peter Matthiessen), alligators (Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, Karen Russell et al.) or bizarre criminals (Hiaasen, Dorsey, Jeff Lindsay, Randy Wayne White and many more), Florida offers plenty of material. ...

    STEVE MADDEN | Times