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By Glenn Dromgoole

             Here are some Texas books I’ve been reading while sheltering at home during the  pandemic.book of lost friends

Lisa Wingate: In The Book of Lost Friends, Lisa Wingate weaves the stories of two young women more than a century apart: a teen-age former slave searching for her family in 1875, and a first-year teacher struggling to find a way to connect with her students in an impoverished rural school in Louisiana in 1987.

Nearly three years after the publication of her best-selling novel Before We Were Yours, Wingate returns with another gripping human drama, this one revolving around families torn apart by slavery (Ballantine Books, $28 hardcover – 20 percent off at Texas Star Trading).

James Patterson teams up with Andrew Bourelle in another murder mystery featuring Texas Ranger Rory Yates – Texas Outlaw (Little, Brown, $28 hardcover – 20 percent off at Texas Star).

If you’ve read anything by mega-best-seller Patterson, you know to expect the action to flow with short chapters that grab your attention and won’t let go. I zipped through this one in a couple of days.

This is the second Rory Yates novel. The first one is now in paperback.

New Western: Texas Literary Hall of Famer Carlton Stowers is making a name for himself (although in fine print) as an author of western novels. His third one, under the name of Ralph Compton (“a Ralph Compton western by Carlton Stowers,” reads the subtitle), is Reunion in Hell (Berkley, $7.99 paperback).

The action jumps off the page as the reader follows the saga of brothers Clay and Cal Breckenridge, featuring a cattle thieving gang, a fine young man whose parents have been murdered, some courageous citizens of Tascosa, and a band of Indians seeking revenge.

Stowers, whose main claim to fame is non-fiction crime and sports books, has now turned out three “Ralph Compton” novels, with two or three more in the works. Good stuff.

             Diane Kelly: Texas fans who love Diane Kelly’s breezy mystery/romance novels will be glad to know she has a new one out in her new series featuring house flipper Whitney Whitaker, cousin Buck, her cat Sawdust, detective Collin Flynn, and of course the requisite dead body blocking the doorway to the house that Whitney and Buck are trying to flip.

“Dead in the Doorway” is $7.99 paperback.

                       Coming Up: A couple of books I haven’t read yet, but plan to:

— Lawrence Wright of Austin, formerly of Abilene, has penned a novel, The End of October, about a pandemic that threatens the world. Pretty timely, huh? It was written a year ago but just came out at the end of April. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve read about it, and we’re ordering copies for our store ($27.95 hardcover — 20 percent off at Texas Star).

— One of my favorite Texas novelists, Jodi Thomas, has a new small town fiction series that begins later this month with the publication of “Breakfast at the Honey Creek Café” ($15.95 paperback).

Coleman Springs: Speaking of small towns, while you’re cooped up you might pick up my one fiction title, Coleman Springs USA, a collection of stories about a little town with a big heart. It’s clean and easy to read, and it’s just five bucks on our bargain table.

Stay safe. Read a lot. Check out our web site – www.texasstartrading.com – for more books as well as jigsaw puzzles, Texas candles, Texas gourmet, and Texas gift items.