Diving into the deep pool of writing talent on Cape Cod this month brings up a wide variety of work to enjoy and ponder, including a murder mystery set partly on the Cape and another story set in the Boston criminal world that’s a memoir told by the former FBI agent involved.
One other nonfiction option takes readers to faraway countries in the 1960s and shows ways of life that no longer exist. Another explores how poetry has and can make a difference in women discovering themselves and their confidence. Women are also at the center of another book—groundbreaking Jewish feminists and how their faith and beliefs affect their responses to crisis. Read on:
“The Con and the FBI Agent: An Unlikely Alliance,” by David Nadolski (2022, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers)
Nadolski is the former FBI supervisory special agent of the title, now retired and on Cape Cod. His work with a prison inmate turned informant resulted in catching four dangerous criminals “poised to launch one of the biggest armed robberies of the 20th century.” Information on the book says the two were “joined at the hip” for a two-year alliance to make that happen through a successful criminal investigation and undercover sting operation. Nadolski recruited the informant to infiltrate the Merlino gang, controlled by Carmello Merlino, a career criminal who specialized in bank robberies, armored car robberies, and home invasions—and was even suspected in the still-unsolved art theft at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
book ideas:More winter reading: 5 new books by Cape Cod authors (+ 2 sequels)
“The Make-Believe Doctor,” by Gil Brinckerhoff (2021, Xlibris)
Brinckerhoff, a retired Cape Cod physician, writes in part in familiar territory in this novel: It’s a medical mystery that takes place in southeastern Massachusetts and the Cape in the 1980s. After there are three separate murders in small-town Blackwell, all with the same modus operandi, Jacob Reason arrives to join a former mentor’s practice. Before long he encounters an old love and finds himself knee-deep in clues about the identity of the Blackwell strangler.
“Sometime A Clear Light: A Photographer’s Journey Through Alaska, Nigeria and Life,” by Aylette Jenness (2021, independently published)
Jenness, an 87-year-old Wellfleet resident, is a writer of a dozen books, a photographer and “adventurer” who reflects on her life in this book as she is losing her physical sight to macular degeneration. Among the memories of her shared through text and more than 100 photographs are time living with her husband and two small children in a tiny Yu’pik village in Alaska in the early 1960s; time they spent in Africa from 1966 to 1969 during the Nigerian Civil War (the Nigerian-Biafran War); and on splitting from her husband and evolving as a single mother. More than 2,300 of Jenness’ photographs of the Fulani, Sarkawa, Kamberi and Hausa people of Yelwa, Kainji, and Ibadan — which capture a lost way of life — are now housed in the “Aylette Jenness Collection” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African art.
Ideas:Cold-weather reading: 5 new books by Cape Cod authors
“Poetic Potential: Sparking Change & Empowerment Through Poetry,” by Amanda Karch (New Degree Press, 2021)
Karch, a published poet and Babson College alum who lives in Sandwich, shows the power of poetry through what she describes as her own journey of self-discovery and empowerment and through those of the people she has met. Her debut poetry book, “Her Favorite Color Was Sunshine Yellow,” came out of writing herself “out of isolation” during early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and she discovered poetry’s impact on her own confidence. In this new book, she also shares research, interviews and personal anecdotes from teachers, scientists, public speakers, nonprofit leaders, students and others to show poetry as potentially transformational.
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“Three Groundbreaking Jewish Feminists: Pursuing Social Justice,” by Sharon Leder (2021, Hybrid Global)
Leder writes about the women in the title — women’s historian Gerda Lerner, feminist Surrealist artist Susana Wald, and former CEO of American Jewish World Service Ruth W. Messinger — responding to conflicts worldwide, from the Nazi Holocaust to 21st-century genocides. The book relates how universal values have driven the women to become public about Jewish identity because they view the purpose of Jewish life to be alleviating inequity and suffering of all people. Leder says the book is also written for readers who are interfaith or totally secular. Leder is a professor emerita at SUNY-Nassau Community College who later focused on writing and running the Teichman Art Gallery in Brewster with artist husband Milton Teichman. Her other books of hers include “The Fix: A Father’s Secrets, A Daughter’s Search.”
Are you a Cape Cod author with a new book? Contact Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll at firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for future book columns.