Head photo credit: @thealycatseries on Instagram
This Saturday, Oct. 28, is the 19th annual Louisiana Book Festival! Filled with lots of fun activities for participants of all ages, this event takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Baton Rouge at the State Library and Capitol Park Museum. To celebrate, we’re rounding up some reads set in Baton Rouge or written by authors from Baton Rouge for you to add to your list!
BY BATON ROUGE AUTHORS:
The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes
Maya was a high school senior when her best friend, Audrey, dropped dead in front of the man they had been spending time with, Frank. Seven years later, Maya is living in Boston when she sees a YouTube video of another young woman dying in the same manner at a diner in front of Frank. She embarks on a mission to her hometown to relive that summer, where she unearths truths about her past while noticing hidden messages in her deceased Guatemalan father’s book. She must understand the story written before she was born as time keeps running out, with all roads leading back to Frank’s cabin.
The House in the Pines was Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club Pick for January 2023, and author Ana Reyes completed her MFA at Louisiana State University, before moving to Los Angeles, where she now teaches creative writing at Santa Monica College.
The Legend of Papa Noel: A Cajun Christmas by Terri Dunham
Set deep in the swampy bayou of Louisiana, The Legend of Papa Noel tells the story of Santa Claus, but with a Louisiana twist. Since there are no sleds or reindeer in Louisiana, Papa Noel delivers gifts by way of boat pulled by eight alligators and led by a snowy white alligator named Nicollette. As Christmas Eve grows particularly foggy, Papa Noel must maneuver through the cypress trees to deliver gifts to the children in time for Christmas Day.
The Most Dangerous Animal of All by Gary L. Stewart and Susan Mustafa
The Most Dangerous Animal of All tells Gary L. Stewart’s story of his search for his biological father. Soon after his birth mother contacted him for the first time at the age of 39, he embarked on a quest that would lead to a horrifying truth: his father is one of the most notorious serial killers in America. This book also served as the basis for the FX miniseries of the same name, available to stream on Hulu.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
With the election of his mother as America’s president, Alex Claremont-Diaz effectively became the American version of a royal. However, tabloids get ahold of a photo of Alex and actual British prince, Henry, involved in an altercation, and damage control must be done. Alex and Henry embark on a staged, Instagrammable friendship that soon grows into something more and begs the question of what happens when America’s first son falls in love with the Prince of Wales.
SET IN BATON ROUGE:
The Bone Lady by Mary Manheim
Forensic anthropologist and bioarcheologist, Mary Manheim, is an expert on the human skeleton and assists law enforcement by providing profiles that narrow the identification process when traditional means are no longer applicable. The Bone Lady includes case studies that highlight the diversity of the field, ranging from beloved family pets to the exhumation of Dr. Carl Weiss, the alleged assassin of Huey P. Long. She shares many fascinating cases with the compassion and humor of a storyteller, while also including the science and stories behind the remains.
Manheim is currently the director of the Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services and instructor of anthropology at LSU.
Cashed Out by Mike and Ayan Rubin
With no clients and no money, “Schex” Schexnaydre was a failure of a lawyer with a failed marriage to boot. When his only client, infamous toxic waste entrepreneur G.G. Guidry, winds up murdered, Schex is left with over $4 million in cash that Guidry left him for safekeeping. Schex’s estranged wife is accused of the murder and pleads with Schex to defend her. The more he refuses the deeper he’s dragged into Guidry’s nefarious schemes, making him the target of those trying to claim Guidry’s fortune.
A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham
When Chloe Davis was 12 years old, six teenage girls went missing from her small town. Her father confessed to the crimes and went to prison for life, leaving Chloe’s family to deal with the aftermath. Twenty years later, Chloe is a psychologist in Baton Rouge preparing for her wedding when a local teenage girl goes missing. Her past becomes the present as she sees parallels and memories from that summer come back.
Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long by Richard White
Richard White’s Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long is the biography of one of Louisiana’s most infamous governors and covers the day he took office in 1928 to his assassination in 1935. Follow Long’s story from boyhood in Winn Parish to the gubernatorial election in which he crushed his opponents before eventually announcing his plans to become president and learn how the Kingfish shaped the history of American politics.
WHERE TO SHOP LOCAL:
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