HPPR Radio Readers Book Club

HPPR Radio Readers Book Club is an on-air, online community of readers exploring themes of common interest to those who live and work on the High Plains. 

The 2019 Spring Read’s theme is It’s a Mystery to Me!  This Spring brings a new twist to our typical reading season. Rather than selecting three books to read, our Radio Readers Book Club Steering Committee has included an extensive list of recommended reading from each of our nine book leaders – each with a different perspective on mysteries. Read along or just enjoy listening to weekly BookBytes heard each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:45 a.m. CST during Morning Edition and again at 6:45 p.m. CST during All Things Considered.

Click here for the two-page reader's guide, complete with bios of our discussion leaders, as well as a visual book list to get you started!

You'll find the thoughts and ideas about books from Radio Readers through a series of BookBytes posted below. If you'd like to contribute a BookByte, simply contact Kathleen Holt at kholt@hppr.org for more information. 

Become an HPPR Radio Reader today! Click here to join the Book Club—and stay informed by liking our Facebook page!

To download materials from previous seasons of the Book Club, please visit our archive.

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HPPR Radio Readers Book Club is made possible in part by a generous contribution from Radio Readers:  Lon Frahm of Colby, KS and Lynne Hewes of Cimarron, KS.  HPPR thanks them for their support!

  

Poison is Everything

Mar 20, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

Hello High Plains Radio Book Club Listeners. My name is Nina Blakeman and I’m the author of the Blow-up Man, a fictional thriller that takes place in a dispirited region of West Texas. I want to discuss with the listeners the scientific angle taken in the book.  Having a doctorate in pharmaceutical science, I’m fascinated in a compound’s ability to first, do nothing. Secondly, possess a moderating or curative effect, or thirdly, be lethal.

In pharmacology, it’s termed the dose response relationship. To further explain, I’d like to share one of my favorite quotes from Paracelsus, a 16th century alchemist and Renaissance physician., “Poison is everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.” With this we learn that one acetaminophen tablet kills the headache, 100 tablets kill you. Another quote of the alchemist states,” What the eyes perceive in herbs or stones or trees in not yet a remedy; the eyes see only dross.”

Finding Redemption in Amarillo

Mar 18, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

This is Bill Durham, the author of Amarillo. Since Amarillo was published, the greatest compliment I have received from readers is that the characters are very authentic to the Texas Panhandle and that the Panhandle itself is an essential character.

Mystery Author Bill Durham Speaks of Amarillo

Mar 18, 2019
Twitter

Native Texan Bill Durham wanted to be three things when he grew up: a writer, an actor, and a cowboy. He has achieved all three goals. His novel achieves the first. As an actor, his specialty is the classics, but as noted, “he also has an affinity for playing folks who are either crazy or evil and sometimes both at once.”

The Raven Reads The Dry

Mar 15, 2019

This is Danny Caine, owner of the Raven Book Store in Lawrence, with an HPPR Book Byte. Reading Jane Harper’s thriller The Dry, you’d never know it was her first book. It’s so well-plotted, so full of twists and clues and red herrings, that it feels like the work of a veteran.

Readers are tossed into the whitewater rapids of the story right away: Aaron Falk, a financial crimes investigator in Melbourne, has been summoned back to the small town of his youth for the funeral of his former best friend.

DANNY CAINE

Listen each Friday, March 15 through April 5 as mystery book store owner Danny Caine of Lawrence, KS, explores four emerging authors.

Radio Readers BookBytes are aired at 7:45 a.m. during Morning Edition and again at 6:44 p.m. during All Things Considered.

Pharmacalogical Researcher Pens Her Own Mysteries

Mar 13, 2019
Nina Blakeman

Listen each Wednesday, March 13 through April 3 to hear Tulia, Texas’ Nina Blakeman explore the life of an author of crime novels, including her own series. Radio Readers BookBytes are heard at 7:45 a.m. during Morning Edition and again at 6:44 p.m. during All Things Considered.

Inspired To Write - 'Blow Up Man'

Mar 13, 2019

Hello High Plains Radio Book Club Listeners. My name is Nina Blakeman and I’m the author of the Blow-up Man, a fictional thriller that takes place in a dispirited region of West Texas.

I always have loved reading, especially suspense and thrillers, but had never considered writing one of my own. Not until the winter of 2014-15, where a move took me to the rural countryside about three miles outside the agrarian town of Tulia, Texas. It was there that I became inspired.

About "Amarillo," From Amarillo

Mar 11, 2019

I’m Joe Lovell, a trial lawyer from Amarillo, Texas, here to tell you about Amarillo, a crime and courtroom novel by Bill Durham, set in -- you guessed it – my town. 

This book is called Amarillo and it’s about a broke, lonely, disenchanted, sober-alcoholic, Jewish criminal defense lawyer from Brooklyn, whose car breaks down in Amarillo on the way to Phoenix, during the middle of a cold, fall dust storm, leaving him to find work so he can fix his car and blow on down the road.

Joe Lovell

Joe Lovell, an Amarillo trial lawyer will open a series exploring Bill Durham’s novel Amarillo.  Although he began his career in banking, he graduated from Texas Tech’s School of Law and began his law career in 1987. 

Author and actor Bill Durham shares Texas Tech as alma mater and both share a respect for the people of the Texas Panhandle, so it is fitting that Joe opens the series exploring a mystery set in “his town.”

Killers Of The Flower Moon - The Impact

Mar 8, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

Hi, y’all. I am Eli Wilkerson, a Certified Fraud Examiner and US Army Veteran (Afghanistan 10/11). I have served 10 years in Texas Law Enforcement and have earned a Master of Business Administration.

Wikipedia

Hello, this is Steve Johnson, and my topic for the Radio Readers Book Club is the original Hardy Boys Mystery Series.  The Hardy Boys series was launched by Edward Stratemeyer of the Stratemeyer Syndicate in 1927 under the author name of Franklin W. Dixon.

The series would be penned by several ghostwriters over the first forty years, but the first, and arguably the best was Leslie McFarlane, a young Canadian who was working as a reporter for a small-town newspaper in Massachusetts in 1926 when he answered an ad in the trade journal "Editor and Publisher" seeking fiction writers to work from publisher's outlines.

Girl Waits With A Gun - Early Woman Crimefighter

Mar 4, 2019

Hi, this is Stacie Frobenius with a BookByte for Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart.  When choosing books for this series, I tried to pick books that I had already read and known were good.  I hadn’t read this book or had it recommended to me. 

It was the result of an Amazon search for books about detectives.  Amy Stewart takes a true news article about one of our nation’s first female crime fighters, Constance Kopp and weaves a story around the events surrounding her time in the spotlight.   

Killers of the Flower Moon - The Prosecution

Mar 1, 2019
Wikipedia

Hi, y’all. I am Eli Wilkerson, a Certified Fraud Examiner and US Army Veteran (Afghanistan ‘10’/11). I have served ten years in Texas Law Enforcement and have earned a Master of Business Administration.

Take a trip with me back in time to the 1920’s. To time of booms and busts, to an era of glitz and greed, which built a powder keg of crime, corruption, and murder? We won’t even have to travel to Chicago. Let’s take a short drive to the rolling plains of North Eastern Oklahoma. Let’s turn the pages of “Killers of the Flower Moon.” By David Grann

Like all true crime stories there is the Prosecution …

The 1920’s, Osage County, City of Pawhuska, OK, wealthy members of the Osage Tribe that own oil ‘head rights’, have been dying or escaping death under questionable circumstances. First the Pinkerton and the Burn’s Detective Agencies were contracted to flush out the criminals, but due to the evidence trail getting cold, funds running out, and payoffs both Agencies abandon the investigation. Second the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation made an attempt, but due to corruption the investigation was closed.

The US Government’s Special Agent Tom White and his team with the Bureau of Investigation figured out who the killers were, William K. Hale and Ernest Burkhart. The federal prosecutors and Special Agent Tom White flipped Ernest Burkhart to build a better case against William Hale for murder and conspiracy.

University of Iowa Yearbook, circa 1920 / University of Iowa

Hello, this is Steve Johnson. I live in Garden City, Kansas, and host "Open Range" here at HPPR. I'll be discussing the original Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series as part of

the Radio Readers Book Club Spring read, It’s A Mystery to Me!

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series were the creations of Edward Stratemeyer, head of the Stratemeyer syndicate which dominated the market for children's and juvenile series fiction from the late 1890s to the 1940s. The Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift, Rover Boys and Cherry Ames were all products of the Stratemeyer Syndicate. The Hardy Boys series was launched in 1927 and Nancy Drew in 1930. When Stratemeyer set the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series in motion, he was well aware of the cultural

changes occurring in America, including the national obsession with crime. Movie newsreels and newspaper headlines were filled with sensational crimes.

During Prohibition, great fortunes were made by bootleggers. Real hoodlums like Chicago's Al Capone and John Dillinger were transformed by the media into dark

superheroes. A golden age of crime and detective fiction flourished led by writers like Dashiell Hammett. Cheap pulp fiction magazines titillated readers with lurid tales of

private eyes, buxom dames and corrupt cops.

True Crime Addict and Missing Maura Murray

Feb 25, 2019

Hi, this is Stacie Frobenius from Kansas City with my BookByte in the It’s A Mystery To Me series.  I chose True Crime Addict, How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray, by James Renner.  

Killers of the Flower Moon - The Investigation

Feb 25, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

Hi, y’all. I am Eli Wilkerson, a Certified Fraud Examiner and US Army Veteran (Afghanistan ‘10’/11). I have served 10 years in Texas Law Enforcement and have earned a Master of Business Administration.

Valerie Brown Kuchare née Augustine

I was about 10 years old one spring day when my mother pulled up in front of the house where the most popular girl in school lived.  At first, I had no idea why she would stop here; then, I noticed the yard sale going on in the driveway. 

“Oh no.  I’m not going to this garage sale.  Mom!  This is so embarrassing.  Are you trying to ruin my life? I refuse to get out of the car,” I said in my snidest voice. 

Crime Scene Investigator Discusses Mindhunter

Feb 18, 2019

Hi, this is Stacie Frobenius with my next BookByte in the It’s A Mystery To Me series. This selection is titled, “Mindhunter” by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker.

It’s a fascinating true story about the inception of the criminal profile unit of the FBI and the detectives who often took unorthodox and dangerous routes to gather data.

Killers of the Flower Moon - The Backstory

Feb 15, 2019

Hi y'all. I am Eli Wilkerson, a Certified Fraud Examiner and US Army Veteran (Afghanistan ‘10’/11). I have served 10 years in Texas Law Enforcement and earned a Master of Business Administration.

Take a trip with me back in time to the 1920s - to a time of booms and busts, to an era of glitz and greed, which built a powder keg of crime, corruption, and murder? We won’t even have to travel to Chicago.

Investigator Eli Wilkerson Discusses the Osage Murders

Feb 15, 2019
Eli Wilkerson

Listen each Friday, from Feb. 15 through March 8, as Eli Wilkerson who grew up in Oklahoma and lives now in the Texas Panhandle, explores this disturbing true story from his investigator’s point of view.

Radio Readers BookBytes are heard at 7:45 a.m. during Morning Edition and again at 6:44 p.m. during All Things Considered.

Eli Wilkerson hails from central Oklahoma and is a U.S. Army veteran from the Afghan war. Before moving to the Amarillo area, Eli earned his Eagle Scout award from Boy Scout Troop #396 and was active with Police Explorer Post #2299 in Mustang, Oklahoma. He received a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology with an emphasis in Criminology.

High Plains Public Radio

Were you a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys fan? Listen each Wednesday, from Feb. 13 through March 6 to hear HPPR’s Stephen Johnson explore these iconic mysteries with which many of us grew up.

Radio Readers BookBytes are heard at 7:45 a.m. during Morning Edition and again at 6:44 p.m. during All Things Considered.

Remember The Hardy Boys

Feb 13, 2019

Hello, this is Steve Johnson. I live in Garden City, Kansas and host "Open Range" here at HPPR.  I'll be discussing the original Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series as part of the Radio Readers Book Club Spring read, It’s A Mystery to Me.

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series were the creations of Edward Stratemeyer, head of the Stratemeyer Syndicate which dominated the market for children's and juvenile series fiction from the late 1890s to the 1940s.

STACIE FROBENIUS

Stacie Frobenius is a Crime Scene Investigator working in Kansas City, Missouri.

She was born and raised in a small western Kansas town. After a science teacher mentioned Forensic Science as a career option, she started reading any forensic science book she could find. 

Radio Readers - Our Take on BTK

Feb 11, 2019
Dani Stone

Hi, this is Stacie Frobenius from Kansas City with a BookByte about the book Bind, Torture, Kill - The Inside Story of the Serial Killer Next Door by Roy Wenzl, Tim Potter, L. Kelly, and Hurst Laviana.  I have with me Dani Stone, author, friend and fellow True Crime fan. 

Men and Women - Thrillers and Mysteries

Feb 8, 2019
LINDA RODRIGUEZ

Thrillers and mysteries have long been seen as split along gender lines, and for the first 70 years or so of the 20th century, they actually were.  But things have been changing.

Thrillers were originally written by, for, and about men. The earliest thriller, The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childer published in 1903, had not a single female character initially until his publisher forced Childer to add a minor woman character to the book.

Sherlock - Science vs. Story?

Feb 6, 2019

I am fortunate to share a neighborhood block with three science professors. I’m a to-the-bone arts and humanities gal, and to say we have different world views would be an understatement.

Not surprisingly, we rarely agree on books. I am a fiction reader interested in the ways characters interact, those squishy emotional areas full of nuance and interpretation. Scientists, they like problems that can be solved—elusive but good, hard facts.

The Art Of Suspense

Feb 4, 2019
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, 1921 / Wikimedia Commons

Today, in service to our spring book club on mystery and suspense novels, I thought we’d talk about what I call the art of suspense—that is, the various methods writers use to keep readers turning pages.

If you asked a lot of crime readers how authors create suspense, many of them would probably say, “I keep reading to find out who the murderer is.” And that’s fair, oftentimes we do keep reading to see who committed a crime.

Forgotten Arts

Feb 1, 2019
Pinterest

In my series of Skeet Bannion mystery novels, Skeet’s best friend, Karen, owns a shop called Forgotten Arts, offering knitting, spinning, and weaving supplies, as well as a farm with a herd of sheep.

This shop is basically in the book because I love to knit, spin, and weave, and I’ve always had a little daydream of having just such a shop of my own.

Mystery Classics In The Context Of Today

Jan 30, 2019
Paget Holmes / Wikimedia Commons

You know that dreadful feeling. A friend encourages you to read a classic novel, the one written over 100 years ago, the one you feel like you should have read already. But… it’s gonna feel “dated,” right?

There’s that bloated, purple prose that lumbers across the page until your eyes glaze over. And the hokey way characters wear disguises at parties only to reveal themselves with a vindicated flourish—aha! It’s me, Rochester! Not a fortune-telling old woman!

Hard-Boiled and Noir Fiction

Jan 28, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

I’m Jonathan Baker, a journalist and crime writer in Canyon, Texas, and I’m here to talk to you about our Radio Readers Book Club topic on crime and suspense books.

Today we’re going to tackle the second part of my essay the history of crime fiction, and more specifically, how the U.S. and Europe have been fighting for crime fiction dominance for almost two centuries.

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