Plus WASPs, Harvey girls, and K-9s

Salazar said she “wandered the WASP museum in absolute awe. To stand where they stood, looking up at the skies they trained in . . . It was magic.”

 

Dan Jenkins, author of the hilarious and irreverent sports novel Semi-Tough in 1972, brings most of his favorite characters—Billy Clyde Puckett, Shake Tiller, Barbara Jane Bookman, and others—back home for The Reunion at Herb’s Café (TCU Press, $27.95 hardcover). Jenkins died in March at age ninety while his novel was still in production.

 

Herb’s Café was modeled after Massey’s, the legendary chicken-fried steak emporium in Fort Worth that was torn down a few years ago. In the novel, Herb’s is bought by Tommy Earl Bruner, awash in oil money, and he starts inviting his wealthy friends to a reunion where stories and libations will flow and, of course, chicken-fried steak will be served.

 

Jenkins pokes fun at everything from football and political correctness to sports writing, sex, and world history in this Fort Worth-centric romp.

 

WASP: Two novels published this year are based on the Women Airforce Service Pilots (or WASP) during World War II—The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar (Mira, $16.99 paperback) and Beyond the Horizon by Ella Carey (Lake Union Publishing, $14.95 paperback). Both have received glowing reviews.

 

Both authors visited the WASP Museum in Sweetwater while extensively researching their novels—Salazar making the trip from Washington state and Carey traveling all the way from Australia. Sweetwater’s Avenger Field figures prominently in both stories. 

 

Salazar said she “wandered the WASP museum in absolute awe. To stand where they stood, looking up at the skies they trained in . . . It was magic.”

 

“Many of the anecdotes in this book,” Carey notes in her acknowledgements, “are inspired by true stories from the real WASP but adapted by me into fiction.”        

 

Paw Enforcement Series: Paw of the Jungle (St. Martin’s, $7.99 paperback) is the eighth book in Diane Kelly’s delightful series of light novels featuring female Fort Worth police officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner, Officer Brigit. One reviewer gave the series a “Four Paws Up!” rating.

 

In this story, Megan and Brigit search for animals mysteriously missing from the Fort Worth Zoo, including an endangered rhino stolen for his valuable horn.

 

Harvey Girls: Texas novelist Karen Witemeyer teams up with three other writers in Serving Up Love, a collection of four inspirational romance novellas featuring Harvey Girl heroines (Bethany House, $15.99 paperback).

 

Witemeyer’s story, “More Than a Pretty Face,” is set in Gainesville where Rosalind Kemp is trying to outrun her past, hoping for a transfer to California. The other Harvey Girl stories are by Tracie Peterson, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano.

 

Glenn Dromgoole writes about Texas books and authors. Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.