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Serial Killers and salmon cannons

Three new books from Minnesota Authors to enjoy with pumpkin lattes and cozy sweaters.

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The Second Longest Day of the Year by Jean Prokott

“The Second Longest Day of the Year” by Jean Prokott, publishes Nov. 9 by Howling Bird Press

This collection of poems is the product of Howling Bird Press’ book contest. Prokott’s writing won the 2021 prize over more than 200 submissions nationwide. The work called “poetic commentary” by one interviewer covers topics that range from women’s bodies and health, to grief and suicide, to politics and the environment to societal norms. There is even a poem about a salmon cannon. Prokott’s work is provocative, thought-provoking, and insightful. It is imagery-inducing with so much great symbolism and showcases her range of historical and social knowledge. With lines like “... we all ... hold mysteries inside us that are emancipated when we die” and “Slap the sex out of your sourdough,” this book runs the gamut from darkly humorous to sorrowfully enlightening.

Jean Prokott is the author of the chapbook “The Birthday Effect” and recipient of numerous awards for poetry and creative writing. She received her Master of Fine Arts from Minnesota State University-Mankato and a Master of Science in education from Winona State. She lives and teaches in Rochester.

“The Second Longest Day of the Year” is available on Amazon and Small Press Distribution at

Jean Prokott


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"The Science of Serial Killers: The Truth Behind Ted Bundy, Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper and Other Notorious Murderers of Cinematic Legend"

“The Science of Serial Killers” by Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence, publishes Oct. 19 by Skyhorse Publishing

“The Science of Serial Killers,” out just in time to be read before Halloween, is a look at serial killers in real life and those portrayed on screen. It contains a look at more than two dozen serial killers from the states and overseas. It also contains a few unsolved murders.

Filled with factoids, forensic science, statistics, and even a “Mean Girls” film reference, this book is an exciting read for anyone interested in serial killers or forensics. It also would be a great read for anyone looking for some eerie stories this time of year. It even includes a section on rare female serial killers.

Hafdahl and Florence include interviews with other authors and filmmakers to fill this book with many perspectives and interesting angles. They fill it with just enough detail to excite, but not too much to bog down the reader.

Hafdahl is a horror and suspense author with numerous stories and books to her name. Her work has appeared in anthologies and been produced into numerous audio pieces. She was raised in Canada and Minnesota. She lives in Rochester with her family.

Florence is a communications instructor at Lake Superior College in Duluth. She received her B.A. in theater at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and her M.A. in communicating arts at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Together, they co-host the Horror Rewind podcast. They will have a book signing 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at Grey Duck Theatre.


“The Science of Serial Killers” is available online from Amazon, Simon and Schuster and Barnes and Noble.

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Meg Hafdahl (right) and Kelly Florence

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"Grandmother's Pigeon"

“Grandmother’s Pigeon” by Louise Erdrich, illustrations by Jim LaMarche, published in 1996 by Hyperion Books for Children, republished by University of Minnesota Press in September

This fanciful tale for children was originally published 2 1/2 decades ago. It is told from the perspective of a young girl about her family’s amazing discovery. After her magical (and a little idiosyncratic) grandmother rides away on a porpoise without returning for a year, the family decides to clean out her bedroom. The nest of a bird long extinct with hatching eggs takes the family through a great learning experience. This book also teaches the reader about the importance of respect for all living things and the delicate balances of life. It is a little miraculous and a lot of fun.

The illustrations by LaMarche fill every page with movement, character expression and beautifully muted colors. His work with shadow and light make each created scene as expressive as the text.

My eldest daughter loved this book, gave it a five-star rating and asked “Can we keep it?”


Louise Erdrich has written numerous books, volumes of poetry and short stories. She has won the National Book Award for Fiction and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. She owns Birchbark Books in Minneapolis and is currently working with her daughter and an elder to create an Ojibwa edition of this book due out in 2023.

Jim LaMarche has illustrated numerous books and authored and illustrated “The Raft” as well as a retelling of “The Elves and the Shoemaker.” His work has won numerous awards. He grew up in rural Wisconsin and now lives in Santa Cruz, Calif.

“Grandmother’s Pigeon” is available online from the University of Minnesota Press ( ); Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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Louise Erdrich (Submitted)

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Jim LaMarche (submitted)

Book Nook highlights books from Minnesota authors. Got a recommendation? Email us at with the subject line "Book Nook."

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