Village Bookshelf

The return to Bellingham edition

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

For some authors, it doesn’t matter how many millions of books they’ve sold or what sort of glowing critical acclaim they’ve garnered—they always return to Village Books, ready and willing to share their words with the masses. The following trio of scribes can’t stay away from Bellingham, and for that we should be thankful.

J.A. Jance will turn 70 on her next birthday, but that’s not stopping the longtime writer from giving her legions of fans more of what they want. This time around, it’s a new novel featuring retired Seattle Police Department officer J.P. Beaumont, one of three recurring series of characters and books Jance focuses her story lines on. One might think that since it’s her 21st mystery featuring Mr. Beaumont, there’d be no grist for the mill left—but they’d be so wrong. In Second Watch,  the retired detective must deal with visitors from the past, including horrifying memories from the time he spent fighting in Vietnam. The character of Lennie Davis, Beaumont’s commanding officer in Vietnam, was based on a high school friend of Jance’s, and a recent press release points out that the book “is a mystery, but is also a literary thank-you note to all the people who served during that era—the ones who came back as well as the ones that didn’t—and to their loved ones, too.” Jance gives back in other ways, too. In the past 10 years, she’s raised more than a quarter-million dollars for various charities, including the American Cancer Society, Gilda’s Club, the Humane Society, the YWCA, and the Girl Scouts. When: 4pm Sun., Sept. 15. Where: Village Books, 1200 11th St. Info: http://www.villagebooks.com

Reoccurring characters will also make appearances when Ivan Doig reads from his new book of fiction, Sweet Thunder. Doig’s historical tale once again takes readers back in time—1919, to be exact—where Morrie Morgan (Whistling Season and Work Song) finds himself back in Butte, Mont. Here, he’s the chief editorialist for the Thunder, a new newspaper challenging the “ruthless” Anaconda Company and “its stranglehold on the copper boomtown.” It’s not long before Morgan finds himself dealing with corporate intimidation, union politics and bootlegging gangsters. Apparently, Sweet Thunder is Doig’s most autobiographical novel to date. Besides growing up in Montana—where many of his books take place—he also spent time as a ranch hand and edited small-town newspapers there, making him more than familiar with the landscape he continues to memorialize. When: 7pm Tues., Sept. 17. Where: Village Books.

Although she doesn’t have the extensive publishing history of the aforementioned authors, Abbe Rolnick is still very familiar with the workings of Village Books. One reason is that, more than 30 years ago, Rolnick was the first employee owners Chuck and Dee Robinson hired when they opened the now iconic bookstore. She’s been busy in the years since left; she had a few kids, was a CEO of a large manufacturing firm, and owned a bookstore and hobby shop in Puerto Rico (where she lived for seven years). These days, she’s owns a Robeks restaurant, writes and consults in her spare time and lives with her husband on a 20-acre plot of land in Sedro-Woolley. When she reads from her second book, Color of Lies, later this month, Rolnick will be, like the two authors mentioned above, bringing characters back to life. The book takes place in the Skagit River Valley, and focuses on victims of a toxic waste coverup who must face their “white lies” to halt the perpetrator. If you know Abbe from back in the days she was an employee of Village Books, stop by and say hello. If not, go anyway and support a burgeoning author. When: 4pm Sat., Sept. 28. Where: Village Books.

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