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Colette Bancroft - Books Critic

Books Critic

I was the kid whose mother said, “Put down that book, go outside and play.” I grew up in Tampa, earned degrees in English at the University of South Florida and University of Florida, and taught literature and writing for more than a decade. Then I switched to journalism, working for the Arizona Daily Star and, since 1997, for the Tampa Bay Times as an editor, reporter and critic. In 2007, I became the Times’ book editor, writing reviews, interviewing authors and helping to direct the annual Times Festival of Reading. I served two terms on the board of the National Book Critics Circle. I live in St. Petersburg with my dog, Marlowe, and cat, Isabel. When I’m not reading, I’m traveling or painting.

  1. September 14, 2021, New York, NY, USA: Theatrelovers enter the Richard Rodgers Theatre in the Theater District in Times Square in New York on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 for the reopening of the musical Hamilton. Masks and vaccinations were required for the attendees, pleased to experience live theater again. (Â Richard B. Levine) (Credit Image: © Richard B. Levine/Levine Roberts via ZUMA Press)
  2. Louise Penny, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton co-authored the thriller "State of Terror."
  3. Idris Elba stars as a Philadelphia horseman named Harp in "Concrete Cowboy."
  4. Author Lisa Unger's latest psychological thriller is "Last Girl Ghosted."
  5. Eli Saslow's new book is "Voices From the Pandemic."
  6. Colson Whitehead won the 2020 Pulitzer prize for fiction for his novel "The Nickel Boys."
  7. Craig Pittman's latest book is "The State You're In: Florida Men, Florida Women, and Other Wildlife."
  8. Lauren Groff's new novel is "Matrix."
  9. Louise Erdrich's 2020 novel, "The Night Watchman," won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. She will be a featured author at the 29th annual Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading in November.
  10. Honoree Fanonne Jeffers' debut novel is "The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois."
  11. Stephen King writes about a hired killer's last job in "Billy Summers."
  12. James Lee Burke, whose latest novel is "Another Kind of Eden," lives in Montana.
  13. Singer-songwriter Dolly Parton is co-writing a novel, "Run, Rose, Run," with bestselling author James Patterson. It will be published in March 2022.
  14. Naomi Hirahara's new historical novel is "Clark and Division."
  15. S.A. Cosby's crime thriller "Razorblade Tears" is set in southern Virginia.
  16. Billionaire money manager Jeffrey Epstein was arrested in July 2019 on federal charges of sex trafficking of minors. He died a month later in his jail cell.
  17. In July 1998, Hillsborough County deputies escort Valessa Robinson, then 15, as she is returned to Tampa after being captured in Texas to face charges in the murder of her mother, Vicki Robinson.
  18. "The Sound of the Sea" is the latest book by Gainesville author Cynthia Barnett.
  19. In the seventh and final season of Amazon's "Bosch," Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver) is as driven as ever.
  20. Laura Lippman's latest novel is "Dream Girl."
  21. John Brandon's new novel is "Ivory Shoals."
  22. Author Michael Connelly, right, and Titus Welliver, who stars in the Amazon Prime series "Bosch" as the title character, will both be involved in a new spinoff series about the Los Angeles detective.
  23. Chef Renae Seiler teaches an Italian Steakhouse themed cooking class at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center on Thursday, April 29, 2021.