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. Review: James Ellroy's 'Perfidia' a perfect start in new L.A. Quartet


    James Ellroy is back at work on his version of the 20th century. And if, like me, you are among his legion of fans, you will dive into Perfidia with a shiver that is equal parts anticipation and fear — because you know it's going to get very dark very fast.

    The California writer has published 13 novels since his first, Brown's Requiem, in 1981. Ellroy began as a classic noir crime writer, but his seven major works, published between 1987 and 2009, have showcased his idiosyncratic, propulsive style and formed an interrelated body of historical fiction that focuses on the intimate entanglements of crime, law enforcement, corruption and violence....

  2. Events: 'Seriously Delish' tasting, signing at Inkwood on Tuesday


    Book Talk

    Blogger Jessica Merchant (Seriously Delish) will discuss and sign her cookbook and demonstrate recipes at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa. Tickets are $40 and include admission and tasting for two and one copy of the book;

    Alina Garcia-Lapuerta (La Belle Creole: The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid and Paris) will discuss and sign her biography at 7 p.m. Thursday at Inkwood Books. ...

  3. Notable: Creators at work



    Work details

    Labor Day honors workers, and creative people work as hard as anyone, as these books note.

    Champagne Supernovas: Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, and the '90s Renegades Who Remade Fashion (Touchstone) by Maureen Callahan is a dishy, sometimes shocking account of the punks and prodigies whose work erased the line between couture and street....

  4. Review: Tana French's 'Secret Place' a taut, shimmering mystery


    St. Kilda's is an exclusive school in Dublin: "Girls' secondary, private, leafy suburb. Nuns." Its halls teem with long-haired, coltish, chattering teens from well-off families. It's not supposed to be the kind of place where murder happens.

    But by the end of one very long day within its graceful, golden-lighted halls, Detective Stephen Moran will say, "If I've learned one thing today, it's that teenage girls make Moriarty look like a babe in the woods."...

  5. Review: Jane Goodall's 'Seeds of Hope' charming, alarming


    Jane Goodall's world-famous research on chimpanzees inevitably involved observing the plant life around them, from the seeds and fruits they ate to the towering trees they slept in.

    But Goodall's abiding interest in plants goes all the way back to her childhood, as she relates in the opening chapters of her latest book, Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder From the World of Plants.

    Growing up in her family's home, called the Birches, in Bournemouth, England, she helped with gardening, dug potatoes, made botanical drawings and whiled away hours in the branches of a beech tree, where, she writes, "I would read about Doctor Doolittle and Tarzan, and dream about the time when I, too, would live in the forest."...

  6. Review: Jessie Burton's 'Miniaturist' a microcosm of mystery


    Bestselling novels inspired by 17th century Dutch works of art are getting to be a hot literary subgenre. First came Tracy Chevalier's Girl With a Pearl Earring, then Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. And now Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist, a debut novel that sparked an 11-publisher bidding war, is being published in 30 countries and has filmmakers sparring over movie rights.

    The inspirational artwork this time is a 17th century dollhouse owned by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam — not a child's toy but an intricately detailed replica of one of the sumptuous townhouses that lined the city's system of canals, many of them still occupied today, centuries after they were built. ...

    A man takes a closer look at the Dollhouse of Petronella Oortman at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, last year. 
  7. Notable: game faces



    Game faces

    Three new books offer various takes on football's personal and cultural effects.

    Fourth Down in Dunbar: Guns, Drugs, and NFL Dreams (University Press of Florida) by David A. Dorsey is a journalist's account of how one small, crime-plagued Fort Myers neighborhood has produced a remarkable number of football stars, including Deion Sanders....

  8. Events: Rep. Paul Ryan to sign book in Brandon, Sarasota


    Book Talk

    U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea) will sign his book at 3 p.m. today at Books-a-Million, 839 Brandon Town Center Mall, Brandon; and at 6 p.m. today at Bookstore1Sarasota, 1359 Main St., Sarasota. In Sarasota, only those who purchase the book at Bookstore1Sarasota will get a ticket to the signing line; to order, call (941) 365-7900. ...

  9. Review: Randy Wayne White finds Florida's dark heart in 'Haunted'


    Many of Florida's flourishing crop of crime writers find their weird and wild subject matter in the big cities and around the state's thickly populated rim.

    Randy Wayne White has set many of his bestselling mysteries along the barrier islands and beaches, too, but lately he has been sending his fictional characters into Florida's interior, where even wilder and weirder stuff awaits.

    That's certainly the case in Haunted, the third novel in White's newer series about southwest Florida fishing guide and part-time private investigator Hannah Smith. In the first two books she was an on-and-off romantic interest for White's longtime series character Doc Ford, but this time around they're off, and Ford is on some mysterious adventure of his own (which we'll no doubt be reading about in White's next book). ...

    Author Randy Wayne White will discuss and sign his book at various locations this week.
  10. Notable: Three books focus on houses, homes



    House and home

    Three new books focus, in fiction and fact, on the structures that shape our lives.

    The Hundred-Year House (Viking) by Rebecca Makkai is a funny, engaging, time-traveling love story plus mystery plus family saga, all set on an estate that once housed a famous artists colony.

    The Language of Houses: How Buildings Speak to Us (Delphinium Books) by Alison Lurie, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, is a nonfiction meditation on how the architecture of buildings, public and private, both affects and reflects the people who use them....

  11. Events: James Rollins to sign '6th Extinction' in Tampa


    Book Talk

    The East Lake Community Library Author Showcase presents Beth Goehringer (Blood and Fire) discussing and signing her futuristic Fire Trilogy at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the library, 4125 East Lake Road, Palm Harbor.

    Bestselling author James Rollins (The 6th Extinction) will discuss and sign his thriller at 7 p.m. Thursday at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa....

  12. Review: Roxane Gay's 'Bad Feminist' is ruthless, often funny


    With the news full of Hobby Lobby and Ray Rice and sexual harassment at Comic-Con, not to mention such dire events as the abductions and killings of girls by radical fundamentalists, I'm floored by people like the posters on websites such as Women Against Feminism who seem to think the battles have all been won and the world is safe for women. Seriously?

    So it's refreshing to turn to Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay's tartly tongue-in-cheek-titled essay collection, in which she declares, "I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all." ...

  13. Events: Kris Radish hosts book launch party


    Book Talk

    Tampa author Tim Dorsey (Tiger Shrimp Tango) will discuss and sign his comic Florida crime novels at 6:30 Tuesday at Seminole Heights Branch Library, 4711 Central Ave., Tampa.

    Mark Powell (The Sheltering) will discuss and sign his novel about soldiers and veterans, set in part in Tampa, at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa....

  14. Notable: Reference books on alchemy, mythology and 'Oz'



    All you ever wanted to know

    And maybe more, in three new reference books on out-of-the-ordinary subjects.

    The Chemistry of Alchemy: From Dragon's Blood to Donkey Dung, How Chemistry Was Forged (Prometheus Books) by Cathy Cobb, Monty Fetterolf and Harold Goldwhite, all chemistry professors, explores the links between alchemy and modern science — with instructions for 20 at-home demonstrations!...

  15. Thomas Berger, author of 'Little Big Man,' had distinctive voice


    When news came July 21 of the death of author Thomas Berger, many people — even those who love literature — probably said, "Who?"

    That's a shame, although Berger might have raised an ironic eyebrow and smiled. A critically acclaimed and often bestselling novelist whose heyday spanned three decades and whose greatest novel became a classic movie, Berger stepped away from fame and lived a very private life for the last 30-plus years, although he continued to write — his 20th novel, Adventures of the Artificial Woman, was published in 2004. In his final years he had become so reclusive that news of his death, at age 89 on July 13, didn't become public until a week later....

    Thomas Berger, a reclusive and bitingly satirical novelist who explored the myths of the American West in Little Big Man, as well as the mores of the 20th century in other novels, died July 13.