Works

I recently completed a middle grade novel and I am starting to send it out to agents.

    A Death in the Tall Grass is historical fiction set in Oklahoma in 1968.  Diane Wilson and her family leave Philadelphia so that her father can find work as a lawyer and her mother can return to college.  Uprooted from her birthplace to the home of her cold grandfather on the prairie in Oklahoma, she wonders if her family will ever be happy again.  As she and her sister, Katy, learn more about Indian Territory’s history and crimes committed against tribes like theirs (Cherokee), they also come to believe that their grandfather murdered his first wife and step-daughter for their land and money.

 

    Many friends and a few students have been kind enough to read A Death in the Tall Grass.
    From a ninth grade student:
    I LOVE this book.  It is amazing.  It is the kind of book we would read for school but I think you would actually enjoy reading it.  Those books come few and far in between….
    K.W. Age 14
    I just finished reading your novel. I LOVE it.  It is so well constructed, the details are fascinating and so real.  The characters are appealing and sympathetic and complex.  There is so much in it… and the mystery is compelling.  I love the larger implications, too, about the unknown and unrecorded injustices native people endured.  A tour de force!
    Poet and friend, Carolyn Steinhoff

A Death in the Tall Grass

         is a marvelous read.  I love how the mystery steadily builds as clues and hints mount up alongside the trajectory of an interesting girl coming of age in surroundings that are at once unfamiliar and rooted in her memory.  Each character is vivid: I think I would recognize the grandfather, the “ghost girl,” the sister if I met them on a street near my home.  This book works on so many levels as it explores the complexity of coming of age not only as a young girl in the US, but also as someone discovering both the depth of her Indian heritage and the biases in the larger culture.  The book is sensory – its images take the reader to the prairie, into the barn and the chicken coop.  The sounds, smells, textures become real.  The use of songs to introduce the chapters is genius, evoking the time, the tenor, the themes as the story develops. Animals, both domestic and wild, figure strongly in the story, becoming important characters themselves.  This book is a treasure  for adults – young or old- to read and re-read.  I love it.

 Sandra Lamm

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