Anonymous letters put fear in town

The trouble begins with the letters. In Trumbull County author Michael Prelee’s sharp mystery Murder in the Heart of it All, someone is sending cruel, vulgar anonymous letters to people in Hogan, Ohio, described as halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh (so maybe around Austintown).

A widow receives a letter claiming that her late husband died while fooling around with a waitress; a car dealer gets insults about his weight; the publisher of the Hogan Weekly Shopper, a free newspaper, is mocked for being gay.

The main character, Tim Abernathy, works part time as a deliveryman for a hardware store, and part time for the Shopper. When his boss there receives another letter, he finally gets fed up and shows it to Tim. Tim begins to research the type of person who would send such letters, which gives him a good start when he learns that his other boss also has been receiving them. Now Tim has a story.

One of Tim’s co-workers, Amy, becomes his romantic interest. Her brother, Boyd, is a drug addict who lives with his friend Frank, and the two commit burglaries to subsidize their squalid lifestyle. All three are major players in a story that keeps the reader’s interest right to the end.

Murder in the Heart of it All (296 pages, softcover) costs $15 from North Star Press. Michael Prelee is a graduate of Youngstown State University and also is the author of Milky Way Repo, described as a science fiction crime story.

Book compiles all things Cavs

Even the most devoted Cavaliers fan can find something new in Cleveland Cavaliers A-Z, by North Canton writer Roger Gordon.

After a timeline of the team’s fortunes since its 1970-1971 inaugural season, the book proceeds alphabetically with names of players, coaches, managers, broadcasters and other personnel, lists of players named to All-Star teams, “The Decision,” jersey numbers and uniforms.

The book concludes with about a hundred pages of statistics, like numbers of free throws, offensive rebounds, season win-loss records, the team’s performance on Christmas Day games, and attendance statistics.

The book’s foreword is by 1980s shooting guard World B. Free, who rejoices in the Cavs’ 2016 championship.

Cleveland Cavaliers A-Z (287 pages, hardcover) costs $24.99 from Sports Publishing. Roger Gordon also is the author of The Miracle of Richfield: The Story of the 1975-76 Cleveland Cavaliers.

Troubled teens find friendship

Trust and friendship are issues in To Die to Live, a novella by Jason Hershey of Cuyahoga Falls. A teenage boy from a broken home, Thelonious Mitchell, is taken in by his aunt and uncle and sent to a new school, where he is immediately assaulted by three hooligans. He’s rescued by another boy named Draven, who himself has a reputation for trouble.

Theo and Draven begin a wary friendship, which includes studying together, and Draven reveals that his family situation also is less than ideal. Draven surprises Theo by confiding that he wants to go to college and become a social worker to help kids like himself. The two encourage each other and things are looking up until a tragedy threatens Theo’s future.

The book would benefit from the attention of a copy editor.

To Die To Live (86 pages, softcover) costs $6.99 from online retailers. It includes the first two chapters of the book’s sequel, The Chosen Path, in which Theo heads off to college.

Events

Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights) — Cleveland author Annie Hogsett talks about Too Lucky to Live, first in her announced Somebody’s Bound to Wind Up Dead mystery series, featured in May 7th’s column, 1 p.m. Sunday.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma branch, 6996 Powers Blvd.) — Mary Kay Andrews, author of best-selling novels including Summer Rental and Beach Town, signs The Beach House Cookbook, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Register at 440-885-5362.

Cuyahoga Falls Library (2015 Third St.) — Robert J. Roman talks about Ohio State Football: The Forgotten Dawn, 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Appletree Books (12419 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights) — Cartoonist Terri Libenson signs her debut graphic novel Invisible Emmie, 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Carpe Diem Coffee Shop (215 Market Ave. N., Canton) — Canton native John Miller signs When We’re Singin’: The Partridge Family & Their Music, featured in April 16th’s column, 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.

Mr. Hyde’s Leather (4441 Whipple Ave. NW, Canton) — Don Ake will sign his humor book Just Make Me A Sammich, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Stark County District Library (Perry Sippo branch, 5710 12th Street Northwest, Canton) — Karen Harper, author of suspense (the South Shore series) and historical fiction (The Royal Nanny), talks about her work and signs books including, 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Register at events.starklibrary.org/events.

— Barbara McIntyre

Special to the Beacon Journal

Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or lsherwin@thebeaconjournal.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.