Ordinarily at this time of the year, the town is flooded with authors for the Tucson Festival of Books. But for the second year in a row, we won't be seeing those authors in person, although the book fest folks have done an amazing job in setting up a virtual festival that you can enjoy without leaving your home. There are great sessions at TucsonFestivalOfBooks.org, including a conversation I had with USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page about her book The Matriarch, a biography of Barbara Bush.
In the spirit of the book fest, we present a short story this week by my good friend Leo W. Banks, who has published two terrific crime novels set in Tucson in recent years: Double Wide and Champagne Cowboys. Both books follow reluctant detective "Whip" Stark, a former ballplayer who now manages a small trailer park west of the Tucson Mountains. The novels have won critical praise and awards, including two Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America for Best First Novel and Western Contemporary Novel. We hope this week's short story gives you a taste of Leo's books if you haven't already read them.
Elsewhere in the book this week: Departing staff reporter Nicole Ludden goes out with a bang with the story of a local Justice of the Peace who fired a "warning shot" at an alleged stalker; associate editor Jeff Gardner tells you how to help with recovery efforts from the Bighorn Fire; incoming staff reporter Christina Duran tells us how local schools are prepping to bring students back to the classroom as COVID numbers fall; The Skinny brings you some news from this year's city elections; columnist Tom Danehy recaps some of the worst bills at the Arizona Legislature; arts writer Margaret Regan looks at how artists are addressing issues of social justice in a new show at PCC's Bernal Gallery; intern Madison Beal notes that Tucson Meet Yourself organizer Maribel Alvarez will be presented with the Shelley Award at this year's Governor's Arts Awards; Tucson Weedly columnist David Abbott smokes out how the Arizona Department of Health Services is handing out "social equity" licenses for future dispensaries; and there's plenty more in the book this week, including Tucson's best cartoons, puzzles and other diversions.
And don't forget: There's still time to vote in this year's Cannabis Bowl at TucsonWeekly.com!
Hear Jim Nintzel talk about all things Tucson Weekly at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday mornings during the world-famous Frank Show on Wednesday mornings.