Times Festival of Reading favorites Michael Koryta, Lori Roy and Lisa Unger will all be on hand this year. Fans of these bestselling, top-notch crime fiction writers are in for a treat: The trio will be on stage together for a lively discussion they’re calling Bourbon & Books.
They might not bring enough bourbon for everyone in the audience, but there is sure to be enough insight about writing — and enough fun — for everyone.
Each of them published a new novel this year that was previously reviewed in the Times. Here are excerpts from those reviews and links to the full articles.
Michael Koryta’s 14th book is an intense thriller. The Eckerd College Writers in Paradise alum and former St. Petersburg resident brings his usual inventive plotting and terrifying twists to If She Wakes.
"Imagine waking in a hospital bed, aware of what’s going on around you but unable to move or communicate in any way. Imagine you can’t even blink. Imagine you don’t know how you ended up trapped inside your own head.
“Terrifying, right? Now imagine that you begin to figure out what happened to you — and realize that someone is still trying to kill you."
Lori Roy delves into the South’s past for her fifth novel, Gone Too Long, a gripping look at a family trying to come to terms with its past without coming apart.
"No matter how deep we think they’re buried, secrets have a way of coming to light.
"Secrets drive the plot of Gone Too Long, the electrifying fifth novel by St. Petersburg author Lori Roy. The two-time Edgar Award winner has always been deft at creating suspense, but she hits a new level with this finely crafted thriller. ...
“Gone Too Long is a compelling thriller, and it’s also a story of how hatred and violence toward the other create a legacy that follows those who hate home."
Lisa Unger lives on Pinellas County’s sunny beaches, but her 17 psychological thrillers take readers to dark places. She writes about a woman who has tried to put childhood trauma behind her, only to find it threatens her still, in The Stranger Inside.
"In The Stranger Inside, as in her other novels, Unger builds believable characters whose lives seem ordinary until they are plummeted into some extreme situation that changes how they see the world, and themselves. Often, the aftershocks can last for a lifetime.
"Her books are first-rate crime fiction, but the most engrossing questions they pose aren’t really who committed a crime, but why it happened.
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"For journalist Rain, it’s 'One of the burning questions, the one that always interested her most. Who? What? When? Where? All important. But ‘Why?’ In news it didn’t matter so much.
“'But in story — Story with a capital S — it was heart and soul.'”
Times Festival of Reading
Bourbon & Books with Michael Koryta, Lori Roy and Lisa Unger will be at 3 p.m. Nov. 9 in the Student Center Ballroom at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Free. festivalofreading.com.