April Read of the Month
To the Bones was the April Read of the Month at the Southern Literary Review. Here's an excerpt from Donna Stanley Meredith's review:
"...blending popular genres like horror and mystery into an environmental disaster story possibly exposes a wider audience to the importance of clean water and energy. And perhaps literary purpose lurks behind Eamon's superpowers. A coal baron, he "sucks the life out of everything," analogous to the way coal extraction drains life from the miners, the way coal barons take the resources of the land for themselves and leave the community poorer, and the way all of us as carbon consumers extract the life from coal, which is, after all, compressed and heated former living things. Kudos to Nieman for her creativity and vision as she tackled these vital environmental themes."
Cemetery Dance posts rave review of To the Bones
"...Part mystery, thriller, and supernatural horror, this tale was extremely enjoyable to read. It's one of my favorite books of the past year. Ms. Nieman's writing is poetically engaging, and I was whisked back to my university days when I was overwhelmed by James Dickey's Deliverance. Even more so, I vividly recalled a small volume of poems by Mr. Dickey entitled The Eye-Beaters, Blood, Victory, Madness, Buckhead and Mercy. Fifty years later, I am still haunted by one of those poems.
Like Mr. Dickey, Ms. Nieman's prose reaches deep inside our human condition and I found her descriptions of coal, mining, and West Virginia communities insightful and emotionally moving. And I am not a person who finds solace in coal mining and poverty of the spirit. In her hands, the setting of this story is an equal character with the protagonists. Her description of yellowboy, a river turned "greasy orange under plates of stained ice," actually made my stomach turn and my heart ache..."
-- Click for the full R.B. Payne review in Cemetery Dance
"Valerie Nieman's Leopard Lady: A Life in Verse sweeps aside everything you might think about sideshow and carnival performers of the mid-20th century. Her poems open up the private life of a mixed-race woman, Dinah, the titular Leopard Lady....
Leopard Lady is a truly amazing book that succeeds in several areas. It illuminates how carnival artists are united by the very diversity that sets them apart from commonly perceived norms. It reveals the life of one woman who, it turns out, is more like every woman than may be imagined. And for those not inclined to read poetry, Nieman's writing is so skilled, so smooth, that her poetry unfolds like a piece of fascinating prose."