Monday, March 01, 2010

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, by Stacy Juba

The advent of the Espresso Book Machine has blurred the lines among self-publishing, print-on-demand, and small-run publishers. It's possible that some self-published work in this era of e-books will jump across those lines and leap into the tiers of top books; we're skeptical, but open to the possibility. And that means that we read a wide range of books, keeping an eye out for that mysterious stranger slipping into the mystery shelves.

Stacy Juba's 2009 murder mystery, TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY, is available through a very small conventional publisher, Mainly Murder Press (, which mostly prints on demand. It's based on the rapidly vanishing texture of the New England town newspaper and its quirky newsroom, where "girl reporters" start out writing the local news ... like, who came to visit at Mrs. Abernathy's last Thursday, and where the funeral will be held for Mr. Arthur Brown.

Kris Langley is wading through this bottom-rung work for the local paper, grateful to have at least found a job that meshes with her insomniac/night owl habits, when she stumbles across a long unsolved murder. Her assignment, to locate items that the paper printed "25 Years Ago Today" to sprinkle among the pages, isn't supposed to be exciting. But when she decides to become an investigative reporter and tug on the loose ends,  the benefits range way beyond having something interesting to write. Suspense, danger, and romance mingle in the pages.

Juba is a former journalist who won awards in daily news, and her decision to write a mystery is well grounded in knowing how the newsroom pecking order works, as well as the tangles of small-town life that inevitably come back to haunt anyone bold enough to speak up about them. There's potential for reporter Kris Langley to develop a seasoned news nose, along with fresh independence of her own.

For anyone building a collection of news-related mysteries, this will be a pleasant addition to the shelf. It also fits nicely into a New England collection, particularly Massachusetts.

1 comment:

Beth Kanell said...

See Stacy Juba's book trailer at -- another way to enjoy this author's work!