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Gwen Florio Books In Order

Publication Order of Lola Wicks Books

Montana (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dakota (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Disgraced (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Reservations (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Under the Shadows (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Silent Hearts (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Gwen Florio is an American author of crime fiction books best known as the author of Lola Wicks series. She was born and raised in a 250-year-old brick farmhouse in Delaware with a sweeping view of the Delaware Bay. In addition to dogs, ponies, and chickens, Gwen’s childhood also included raising and releasing a number of wild critters from fawns and raccoons to hawks and owls. Her parents banned TV and instead filled the houses with many books. Gwen Florio went to the University of Delaware where she majored in English just as an excuse to continue reading many books as possible until her father convinced her to take a journalism course and with her first byline, Gwen was hooked. She spent over three decades in the journalism field which saw her explore not only major cities in her country but also visit more than a dozen countries.

Interested in writing books rather than just reading them, Gwen signed with Rittenhouse Writers Group and later joined 406 Writers Workshop. She wrote two manuscripts before publishing her first book Montana in 2013 which marked the beginning of Lola Wicks series. Gwen Florio lives in Montana with her husband Scott and their exuberant dog named Nell. She works an 8-5 job as an editor for the Missoulian newspaper, and during her offline hours, she is a member of the Run Wild Missoula.

Florio’s journalism career has won her a couple of awards, and she also has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and also her short fiction story has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The author has received writing residencies including Brush Creek Ranch Arts Foundation and Ucross Foundation both in Wyoming and Willapa Bay Artists in Residence and 360 Xochi Quetzal in Mexico. Her debut book Montana won High Plains Book Award and Pinckley Prize in the debut category. The same book was a finalist in Silver Falchion Award, Shamus Award, and an International Thriller Award.

Montana

Montana is the first book in Lola Wicks series by Gwen Florio. It is a brilliantly written suspense read and thanks to the author’s background which has contributed significantly to her developing characters that are multi-dimensional and multi-faceted. Even though flawed, they are human beings and their actions while not predictable is understandable.

The story introduces us to Lola Wicks, a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan who has grown up used to working in a country among those deadly over-armed. Unfortunately, the newspaper closes down all its foreign bureaus, and soon we meet Lola on an airplane returning home. But the return to her Baltimore newsroom does not go as she expected. She doesn’t want to cover school board meetings or many zoning hearings as she considers it as work for interns. All that she wants is to return to Afghanistan, but the newspaper firm needs to cut cost.

Lola agrees to a little rest and relaxation and decides that she’ll pay a visit to a reporter friend named Mary Alice Carr based in Montana. But there’s one problem, Lola Wick doesn’t like horses, doesn’t fish and above all, she doesn’t do a lot of normal things like carrying a purse or eating breakfast and the worst of all she doesn’t have a friend in Montana. Her reporter friend Alice Carr is dead- Lola discovers her body halfway trek from her remote cabin, and there’s a bullet hole in the lady’s cheek.

From this point, action kicks in, and Montana is off and running. Soon Lola is on Alice trial trying to find out who killed her friend and the motive behind it. Lola is a sharp-eyed reporter, and once she is onto something, she just won’t quit until she finds the answers. The hunt for Alice’s killer runs her through issues with politics and drug trafficking. She knows that at some point, the best way to narrate the big story is by revealing the fine details, but when all that fails, it’s better to follow the money or whatever the money is capable of buying.

The first book in Lola Wick series is built around the themes of masks, guises, and border and it’s also a story of finding a new character within and a new place to call home. Lola brilliantly uses her skills- intuition dogged research and observation. She also learns new tricks and skills as she adapts to her new surroundings.
Montana is a book that reminds us of the problems faced by those serving in the military-our soldiers (both young and veterans) who are sent continuously into theatres of war. While in battle, many will develop stress-related disorders, and when they return to a safe civilian environment, not everyone makes a quick readjustment. It’s sad that we tend to slap a generic term like PTSD on these problems our nation defenders experience and tend to reassure apprehensive citizens that genuine and proper care is available to all those who need it.

The problem, of course, is that not all those who return from war will admit to these problems or respond in a way that is intended for the care offered. Then there are the lone wolves who in the theatres of war operate as war correspondents. For such individuals, little or no car is available. Most of them are left to swim for their lives or sink in PTSD. This is what the main character Lola Wicks exhibits once she is withdrawn from her dangerous assignment in Afghan.

The underlying/ distinct theme to this book engages us the readers in answering a simple but one compelling question. When civilians, the likes of Lola return from the battle-torn lands, how do they come home? Is there any quiet place that they can relax, unwind, and rediscover their innocent piece of mind they had before?

Dakota
In the second book in Lola Wicks series, we find Lola now working for a local Montana newspaper, living with the town’s sheriff which makes it possible for her to have the crime beat. When a local girl freezes to death to escape trouble, Lola Wicks decides to investigate the case. Through her investigation, she also discovers that there have been other local girls who have previously mysteriously disappeared. As she starts to poke around, people start dying, and soon she finds herself the target of the bad guys.

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