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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jun. 6, 2018 2 years ago

Longboat authors share summer reading lists

From historical novels to thrillers, the authors are finding time to read work that isn't their own this summer.
by: Katie Johns Community Editor

With summer comes less traffic and more down time.

For fans of reading, it’s the perfect time to make a dent in the bookshelf.

Even local authors, who are often busy writing their own books, find time to get lost in the words of others.

Whether it’s thrillers or romance novels, Longboat Key authors share their favorite summer reads with us and tell us what’s next for their own careers.


Al "Mifflin" Lowe is awaiting the arrival of his next book, "The Cuddle Book."

Al “Mifflin” Lowe

Al “Mifflin” Lowe is a big fan of Bookstore 1 in Sarasota.

Not only is his book, “The Cheapskate’s Handbook,” sold there, but it’s where he found some of his summer reading items.

Lowe is currently reading “Time’s Betrayal” by David Adams Cleveland.

“It’s 1,285 pages,” he said. “It’s huge, so I bought it and I said, ‘Well, now I know what I’m doing with the rest of my life.”

The book follows a multigenerational family with one of the members searching for his lost father, Cleveland’s website said. 

Lowe, the author of multiple children’s books and a few others, is also reading “Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries” by Kory Stamper. The book follows a woman who loves words and embarks on a career with Merriam Webster Dictionaries, he said.

“I couldn’t resist getting it,” he said.

Lowe recommends books by Bill Bryson and Tom Wolfe as well.

Lowe is awaiting the arrival of his newest book, “The Cuddle Book,” which is a children’s picture book that will debut next spring, he said.


Meredith Ellsworth

Meredith Ellsworth is working on a book based on an Amazon trip she took with her son.

Meredith Ellsworth is using her summer reading as inspiration for her own work.

She just finished reading “The River of Doubt” by Candice Millard, which is about Theodore Roosevelt’s 1913-1914 exploration of the unmapped tributary of the Amazon, the Penguin Random House website says.

She is now in the middle of “The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon” by David Grann. The book follows Grann’s journey as he follows the footsteps of Percy Fawcett, who tried to find a lost city in the middle of the Amazon jungle but never returned.

Ellsworth’s upcoming work is set in the Peruvian Amazon based on a trip she took with her son, she said.

Ellsworth also recommends Bill Bryson to readers. She also said Mary Stuart is a wonderful option for those who like romantic suspense. Ellsworth is a fan of James Rollins’ thrillers, whose writing she says reminds her of Michael Crichton’s work.

Ellsworth recently completed an audio version of “The Penhallow Train Incident,” which follows a historical society director and retired professor as they get tangled in an archaeological web following a murder on a train.


Michael Jordan's next book will be a World War II thriller.

Michael Jordan

For Michael Jordan, whose debut novel, “The Company of Demons,” was published in January, summer is a great time to catch up on reading.

He just finished reading “The Wrong Side of Goodbye” by Michael Connelly. Now, Jordan is reading “House of Spies” by Daniel Silva. Jordan calls it a book “you want to keep going.”

Up next, Jordan said he wants to read “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel Brown about the group of Americans who comprised the crew team that defeated the German team in Berlin.

Jordan also plans to read “The Girl on the Train,” the book-turned-movie that follows a recently divorced alcoholic. She takes the same train every day and watches the same couple from the train window every morning. She thinks their life is perfect, until she sees something one day that changes everything.

As far as his own work goes, Jordan is working on a World War II thriller based on actual events. His book will explore a mission by Germany and Japan to prevent America from building the first atomic bomb.


H. Terrell Griffin

H. Terrell Griffin is currently reading a biography on Lyndon B. Johnson.

Griffin just finished reading “The Pope of Palm Beach” by Tim Dorsey, which follows protagonist Serge A. Storms and his sidekick Coleman on their journey back to Riviera Beach where they spent their adolescence, the HarperCollins website said.

Griffin doesn’t know how to explain the book other than “typical Tim Dorsey” and outlandish and funny.

Now, he’s working his way through a biography of Lyndon B. Johnson. Griffin, who is the author of 11 Matt Royal mystery books set on Longboat Key, is looking forward to getting back to writing after recovering from a surgery.

“It’s all sitting on the shelf waiting for me,” he said.

His last book, “Vindication,” takes place away from Longboat Key in The Villages in Central Florida. It follows the infamous Matt Royal as he travels to The Villages to help his aunt, who is arrested for murder. Royal heads back to the world of the courtroom and police procedures.


Pat Gussin is in the beginning stages of writing the second book in a series that follows twin sisters.

Pat Gussin

Because Pat Gussin spends most of her time reading manuscripts as the co-owner of Oceanview Publishing, she doesn’t have much free time to read outside of that world.

But within it, she offers a list of books she thinks Longboaters would enjoy.

Coincidentally, Gussin is recommending Longboat residents read Griffin’s “Vindication.”

But aside from that, Gussin said she is looking forward to the July release of “Dark Rhapsody” by Helaine Mario, which Gussin describes as a mystery thriller wrapped around classical music.

Currently, Gussin is in the beginning stages of the second book in a series she wants to call “The Identicals.” The series will follow a set of twins, Nicole and Natalie. The first book of the series was her latest book, “Come Home,” which followed Nicole as her family is torn apart because of threats to the Hosni Mubarak regime in Egypt.

The book ended with devastation for both of the sisters. And though Gussin isn’t far along in the second book, she knows it probably won’t end well.

“When you write thrillers, something horrible will probably happen to them again,” Gussin said.

I’m Katie. I’m the Longboat Observer community editor, which means I cover all people, places and things pertaining to Longboat Key. I graduated from the University of Missouri in 2016 with degrees in journalism and Spanish. Reach me at 941-366-3468 ext. 364.

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