FAIR HAVEN: CAN WE TALK JOAN RIVERS?

Joan Rivers' other books include I Hate Everyone ... Starting With Me and Men Are Stupid ... And They Like Big Boobs.Journalist Leslie Bennetts (below) visits River Road Books Wednesday evening for a “can we talk?” session on the career of the late Joan Rivers (above).

leslie-bennettsBefore her sudden passing in 2014 at the age of 81, Joan Rivers seemed to have lived several lives in the public eye. From her training in the hepster coffee houses of Greenwich Village and the challenges of being a “comedienne” in the Sullivan-era standup scene to a spate of late-career activity that included a hit cable TV show — and a tour stop at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre — Rivers acquired new generations of fans as readily as she made enemies in and out of the business.

So writes author Leslie Bennetts in Last Girl Before Freeway: The Life, Loves, Losses, and Liberation of Joan Rivers, her newly published comprehensive study of the star’s “tumultuous, victorious, tragic, hilarious, and fascinating life.” A regular contributor to Vanity Fair magazine and an interviewer of stars, Bennetts visits River Road Books in Fair Haven for an intimate “can we talk?” session Wednesday evening.

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ON THE GREEN: AUTHOR! AUTHOR! AUTHOR!

amy-ellis-nutt-julie-otsukaPulitzer winner Amy Ellis Nutt (above left), National Book Award finalist Julie Otsuka (right), and historical novelist James L. Haley (below) are among the celebrated wordsmiths appearing in the coming days at events in Shrewsbury, Fair Haven and Lincroft.

james-l-haleyThere’s a Pulitzer Prize winner who trained in the trenches of Jersey journalism. A novelist whose credits include a PEN/Faulkner Award and a National Book Award nomination. And a celebrated historian turned master purveyor of “ripping yarn” page-turners.

Apparently the Greater Red Bank Green hasn’t gotten the memo that books are dead, because the joy of reading, and the highly anticipated appearances of some high-profile authors, are alive and well in the coming days and nights.

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ON THE GREEN: BORN TO MAKE A BOOK RUN

artie-bennettChildren’s author Artie Bennett (above) brings his tales of butts and burps to Oceanic Library next week…while Hester Young (below; photo by Francine Daveta) brings her thriller THE GATES OF EVANGELINE to River Road Books on Thursday, September 22.

hester-young-francine-davetaOne has carved out a niche career by explaining various bodily functions to beginning readers. The other aims to scare it all out of you, via her debut novel in the Southern Gothic Thriller vein. In the run-up to the release of Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography “Born to Run” (and his golden-ticket appearance at the Freehold Barnes & Noble), a couple of very different authors are speaking, selling and signing copies of their works at two favorite haunts for bibliophiles.

Her debut novel, “The Gates of Evangeline” is being called a “spooky tale perfect for longer fall nights” — and even as she prepares to release a sequel in autumn 2016, Hester Young makes time to visit Fair Haven’s River Road Books on Thursday evening, September 22. It’s there that the Boston-born, Jersey-based teacher/ mother/ author will read from “Gates,” the first in a planned trilogy of tales starring one Charlotte “Charlie” Cates, a reporter (and bereaved parent) whose investigation into a cold-case mystery in Louisiana is spurred by her recurring dreams of children in danger. There’s no charge to attend Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. event, but seating and signing copies of “The Gates of Evangeline” can be reserved by calling River Road Books at (732) 747-9455.

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FAIR HAVEN: ‘NOOKIETOWN’ FOR A NIGHT

nookietown-500x322Author V.C. Chickering visits River Road Books on Thursday for a signing appearance keyed to her debut novel, “Nookietown.”

It’s an erotically charged, sharply humorous, playfully provocative tale that’s already been optioned for a TV adaptation, despite the fact that it represents the author’s first foray into full-length fiction. And it’s been likened to no less a phenomenon than the “Fifty Shades” franchise — minus the BDS&M, plus humor.

When V.C. Chickering visits Fair Haven’s River Road Books Thursday evening, she’ll be reading from and signing copies of her acclaimed new novel “Nookietown” — and perhaps reinforcing the point that the fanciful place known as Nookietown could be as nearby as the bedroom communities we call home.

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FAIR HAVEN: MIMI CROSS THE SHINING SEA

mimi-cross danny sanchezIf it seems just a few months ago that the Shore singer-songwriter turned author Mimi Cross was in town promoting a newly published novel — well, you’re correct. As reported here on redbankgreen in January, the two-time Asbury Music Award winner was looking forward to a personal appearance at Fair Haven’s River Road Books — a launch party for her debut as a published novelist, in celebration of the young adult title Before Goodbye.

Even as she geared up for that milestone occasion, however, the veteran of several self-released albums revealed to us that she had a second completed novel in the publication pipeline — and on Thursday, Cross returns to River Road for another book launch party; this one keyed to her latest full-lengther, Shining Sea.

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FAIR HAVEN: INDIE, BOOKISH, AND LOVING IT

AudreyVernickChildren’s book author Audrey Vernick (above) helps River Road Books celebrate Independent Bookstore Day Saturday afternoon, two days after Aaron Zwas (below) shows us how to ‘Transition to Independence.’

Aaron ZwasIn case you haven’t marked your calendar accordingly, this Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day — a day when we toast the success and spirit of your friendly neighborhood (non-chain, mom and/or pop) purveyor of dreams for lovers of the printed page.

Here on the Greater Red Bank Green, it’s a role that’s been filled for the past decade by River Road Books, the Fair Haven corner shop that’s taken the lead among area booksellers when it comes to meet-and-greet opportunities with authors of all persuasions. And the store has a spring bounty lined up in coming weeks.

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ON THE GREEN: AUTHOR! AUTHOR! AUTHORS!

Jersey Shore CookbookFrom guided tours of the great restaurants, landmark buildings and vivid VIPs in our local communities, to the resting places of the most storied European monarchs, the month of April is a Book Fair of opportunity for anyone interested in a cracking-good nonfiction read — and the days and nights ahead offer readers numerous opportunities to meet and chat with the people who bring you the books, at locations all around the greater Green.

It’s a slate of events that kicks off this Thursday, April 7, in the surprising setting of Sea Bright’s Ama Ristorante — a venue that comes into sharper focus with the revelation that the 6 p.m. event is a cocktail-hour reception for The Jersey Shore Cookbook: Fresh Flavors from the Boardwalk and Beyond. Author (and founder of Jerseybites.com) Deborah Smith will be on hand to sign preview copies of the soon-to-be-released volume, a collection of recipes from some of the Shore’s most popular restaurants and eateries (Ama included). Also featured is an insider’s guide to navigating the local foodscape, as well as “the effects of Superstorm Sandy on nearly every establishment in the book and what it took to come back after the devastation.” Attendees at the two-hour reception will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a complimentary beverage, a demo by Ama Executive Chef Charles Lesbirel, plus a $15 gift card — and tickets ($50 per person; $75 per couple) can be reserved at (732)530-9760.

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FAIR HAVEN: MIMI AT THE CROSSROADS

mimi cross 2Singer-songwriter-novelist Mimi Cross makes an appearance in Fair Haven Thursday to promote her new work of fiction, “Before Goodbye.”  (Click to enlarge)

By TOM CHESEK

BeforeGoodbye-20232-CV-FT-v5“It was great to see everybody,” says Mimi Cross in reference to her performance last weekend at Asbury Park’s Langosta Lounge, part of the annual Light of Day slate of musically minded benefit events. “I haven’t been playing much the past couple of years, and it was like coming home to family.”

Once a frequently sighted fixture on Shore area club stages — and a two-time Asbury Music Award winner for her self-released albums like Monkey Trap — the singer-songwriter soprano has indeed kept a low public profile since she became a mom. It’s an uncharacteristic stance for an artist who can boast of having shared stages with Bruce, Bon Jovi, Bonnie (Raitt), (Jackson) Browne, Lauryn Hill and Sting.

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FAIR HAVEN: JOYS IN THE ‘HOOD

shop-the-neighborhood-flyerThe vocals/ keyboard and guitar duo of Emma Singleton and Rogan McGarvey joins other young musicians in performance as Fair Haven hosts a first-ever Shop the Neighborhood event this Thursday.

FH Holiday Stroll logoIt’s called Shop the Neighborhood — and here on the Greater Red Bank Green, the midweek offering from the folks at the Fair Haven Business Association represents something shiny and new in December’s merry mix.

Taking place this Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m., the promotion finds a majority of the borough’s retail businesses — all of them located along a strollable stretch of River Road — keeping special extended hours as an “added festive event for older kids and adults.” A range of giveaways, raffles and special discounts will be featured by the community’s shops, eateries and service providers — and as added incentive, the FHBA will be running complimentary “HollyTrolley” shuttle service to participating locations.

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FREE DOC FILM AT RUMSON-FAIR HAVEN

Press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

On the evening of Thursday, November 12, the feature-length documentary film Beyond Measure will be given a free, public-invited screening inside the auditorium of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School. The follow-up to the groundbreaking Race to Nowhere: the Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture will be presented at 7 pm, in an event hosted by the RFH School District, and by the Rumson Borough and Fair Haven Borough School Districts.

Admission is free, but seats must be reserved in advance by visiting the RFH web site, and clicking the link on the Home Page.

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FAIR HAVEN: TWO NOVEL ATTRACTIONS

ElisabethEganGlamour magazine book editor Elisabeth Egan (above) visits River Road Books on Thursday to read from and sign copies of her recently published A WINDOW OPENS…while fellow first-time novelist Barrie Levitt Knee arrives later this month to promote her debut book PLAIN JANE (below).

plainjaneTwo new novels; two stirring stories of contemporary women at a crossroads of life-choices. Both written by authors who are new to book-length fiction, and both the subject of special events at Fair Haven’s River Road Books here in October, a month when we shake the sand from those “beach reads” and find something a little more fireside-appropriate.

But don’t break out that Snuggie just yet, as one of the visiting authors might just inspire you to take it outdoors for one more cool-weather marathon.

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RED BANK: GO SET YOUR WATCHES

TKAMThe 1962 film version of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ screens for free at the Count Basie Theatre Tuesday as River Road Books celebrates the July 14 publication of Harper Lee’s long-awaited followup, ‘Go Set a Watchman.’

It’s panning out to be the most eagerly anticipated event in the digitally driven, radically reconfigured 21st century publishing industry, one centering around a story that was pecked out on a manual typewriter nearly 60 years ago. The first book published by the reclusive novelist Harper Lee in more than half a century, Go Set a Watchman stands as a sequel to the author’s To Kill a Mockingbird, even though it was written – and subsequently filed away–  prior to that 1960 classic of modern American lit.

On Tuesday, July 14, Fair Haven’s River Road Books marks the official publication date of Watchman with a special event at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre: a free screening of the 1962 film version of Mockingbird.

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FAIR HAVEN: DIVE INTO A THRILLING READ

Robt Kurson Pirate HuntersAmerican Littoral Society president Tim Dillingham (left) speaks with Robert Kurson about the best-selling author’s new PIRATE HUNTERS, in a Nauvoo Grill Club event presented by River Road Books.

His previous nonfiction page-turner, Shadow Divers, became a best-selling sensation here on the Jersey Shore — in part because it detailed the real-life story of salvage divers who discovered the wreck of a Nazi U-boat in the too-close-for-comfort waters off Brielle. Most of all, though, the award-winning 2005 tale was told with a genuine storyteller’s gift – an ear for the sort of “ripping yarn” that’s as old as our fascination with the sea, and the secrets it harbors beneath its shimmering, beckoning surface.

When Robert Kurson visits Fair Haven’s Nauvoo Grill Club this Wednesday evening for his only scheduled New Jersey appearance, he’ll bring with him an all-new tale of high adventure in the dark depths of the ocean, Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship. And this time, Kurson’s got company.

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FAIR HAVEN: ASBURY LEGENDS, GOOD AND BAD

chesek o'rourke 1Authors Tom Chesek and John O’Rourke at River Road Books Thursday. (Click to enlarge)

chesek o'rourke 2A busy summer of author appearances at River Road Books in Fair Haven continues with a Thursday program entitled Heroes and Villains of Asbury Park.

The 7 p.m. event at Monmouth County’s only remaining independent bookstore brings together two Jersey-bred authors for a discussion of some truly unforgettable characters who made their mark – whether good, bad or bloody – upon that famous place Where the City Meets the Sea.

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FAIR HAVEN: STREET VEGAN TO PARK IT HERE

adam-sobelAdam Sobel, the Vendy Award-winning proprietor of food truck favorite the Cinnamon Snail, visits River Road Books on Saturday to sign copies of his new cookbook “Street Vegan.” And yes, There Will Be Donuts.

72115eb9-0f89-4da9-afbb-0df9e7d5b74eWith his wildly popular food truck, the Cinnamon Snail, temporarily limited to weekly appearances at the Red Bank Farmers Market after losing its curbside spots in New York City, vegan chef Adam Sobel is scheduled to park himself for a spell in Fair Haven on Saturday.

As recently reported here in a mouth-watering feature on redbankgreen‘s PieHole food page, the Red Bank resident has just become proud papa to a cookbook, which he’ll be touting at a signing event at River Road Books. And, as if you needed anything to sweeten the deal, there will be doughnuts — Sobel’s justifiably famous ‘donuts’ — free with purchase the book while supplies last.

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FAIR HAVEN: THEME FROM A SUMMER PLACE

Mary Kay AndrewsBest-selling author (and summer romance specialist) Mary Kay Andrews returns to Fair Haven on Thursday evening for a reading and signing event at Raven and the Peach, sponsored by River Road Books.

It’s got all the hallmarks of the work that’s made her one of the most popular “beach-read” novelists in the English language — the Southern coastal small-town setting; the strong protagonist whose focus has been on matters of career rather than affairs of the heart; the suspense. Not just the kind of suspense found in her earlier mystery novels, but the sexy tension that occurs when a pair of supercharged opposites set off undeniable sparks.

If it’s the start of summer, it must be time for a new novel by Mary Kay Andrews, the Georgia-based author (of Savannah Blues, Summer Rental and Save the Date) whose book tours in recent seasons have always made sure to include a whistle-stop in one of her favorite pockets of fandom: Fair Haven. This Friday, May 29, borough-based River Road Books once again welcomes back the best-selling scribe for a special appearance keyed to the latest Andrews opus, Beach Town.

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RED BANK: BEST-SELLER LUNCHES FOR AAUW

Beatriz WmsBest-selling author Beatriz Williams is the special guest as the local branch of the American Association of University Women presents its annual scholarship fundraiser luncheon at the Molly Pitcher.

Her series of novels includes the breakout best-seller A Hundred Summers – a 1930’s period romance (hailed as the author’s “historic masterpiece”) of beach-house easy living complicated by secrets from a stormy past, as well as by the imminent arrival of a cataclysmic hurricane.

Although Beatriz Williams has managed to take the summer reading lists by storm in recent seasons through her scrupulously researched conjuring of settings that range from First World War Europe to 1960’s New York, the Connecticut-based mother of four famously hid her first attempts at fiction from public view on her company laptop – later honing her skills “as an at-home producer of small persons.”

On Thursday, the author whose works have been translated into a dozen languages returns to the greater Red Bank Green (where she put in a signing session at Fair Haven’s River Road Books several seasons back), as special guest for the annual Gala Scholarship Luncheon of the AAUW NJ Northern Monmouth County Branch – the state’s largest local chapter of the nationwide nonprofit American Association of University Women.

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FAIR HAVEN: NOVELIST ON RETURN VISIT

KatieCoyleAuthor and Fair Haven native Katie Coyle makes a homecoming sojourn to River Road Books this Thursday for a reading and signing keyed to her novel ‘Vivian Apple at the End of the World.’

When the debut young-adult novel by Katie Coyle first saw print, it was in the United Kingdom under the title Vivian Versus the Apocalypse.

For its stateside publication, though, the young-adult adventure tale has been rebranded as Vivian Apple at the End of the World — a situation not unlike Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which the Fair Haven native cites as the book that supercharged her own literary ambitions into being.

The 2004 graduate of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School — since transplanted to San Francisco — makes a homecoming appearance here on the Green Thursday night when she stops in at River Road Books for a 7 p.m. reading and signing session timed to the book’s appearance under the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint.

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FAIR HAVEN: TALES FROM THE BLACK FOREST

HollyBlackBlack in Blue: the fantasy worlds of Holly Black converge at River Road Books in Fair Haven, where the award-winning author materializes for a Sunday afternoon reading and signing appearance keyed to her latest novel, THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST.

Her many fantastic works of fiction for kids and Young Adults include the illustrated adventures of The Spiderwick Chronicles, (basis for a 2008 movie of that name) as well as the Curse Workers and Modern Faerie Tale trilogies. Her glittering trophies on this plane of existence include the prestigious Newbery Medal for kid-lit, the Andre Norton Award for YA sci-fi, and a finalist recognition for comicdom’s sought-after Eisner Award.

On a more localized level, Holly Black can claim provenance right here in eastern Monmouth County — and on Sunday, January 18, the West Long Branch native and NY Times chart-topper comes home for an afternoon drop-in at River Road Books in Fair Haven — an appearance timed to the publication of her latest novel, The Darkest Part of the Forest.

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FAIR HAVEN: A VERY MEWY CATSMAS

SallyWmsPeteCatRumson-based cat care consultant Sally Williams visits River Road Books on Friday, as part of a festive feline-themed event that also includes a reading from the latest adventure of Pete the Cat.

Call it a sign of these digitally enabled times if you will, but CATS only just seem to be coming into their own after all those eons of patient catnapping — and to prove it, River Road Books will be hosting an afternoon event that’s all about our furry friends this Friday, December 12.

Scheduled for the hours of 3 to 5 pm, the event boasts an appearance by a local resident with a particular expertise in cats and their caretakers — Rumson-based Sally Williams, whose cat behavioral consulting business The Contented Cat offers a range of services that include adoption counseling, environmental enrichment, positive reinforcement and yes, kitty Reiki. The Monmouth SPCA volunteer and blogger will speak about her “cat whispering” career, on a day that also features a drop-in by an especially famous feline.

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FAIR HAVEN: JERSEY MOMS GO BLOG

AmyByrnes TeiciaGaupp CristieRitzKingAmy Byrnes, Teicia Gaupp and Cristie Ritz King are the special guests on Thursday, as River Road Books hosts the women of Jersey Moms Blog. 

Here’s what might just be a first for River Road Books, the resolutely indie bookstore that’s regularly welcomed in-person appearances by a hard-copy host of authors in the mystery, history, young adult, self-help, romance and children’s genres.

This Thursday evening, October 23, the local propagators of the printed page host a trio of writers — none of whom apparently have a printed book to promote. In fact, these three women have made their names as bloggers, that peculiar subculture of humanity that some dead-tree diehards blame in part for turning their world topsy-turvy.

While there’s no word as to whether the featured guests will be signing tablet and smartphone screens with a silver Sharpie, they’ll be happy to read from their works and discussing the virtual-world vehicle that’s brought their words to thousands of faithful readers: Jersey Moms Blog.

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FAIR HAVEN: TWO NOVELISTS, NO WAITING

GaylinAbbottAuthors Alison Gaylin (left) and Megan Abbott top the summer reading list, with a dual in-store appearance at River Road Books this Thursday.

Don’t look now, but some buzzed-about authors walk among us — and sometimes they travel in packs, for appearances at libraries, stores and colleges. On Thursday, July 10, River Road Books hosts another in a “summer reading list” series of special in-store events, when the Fair Haven indie shop welcomes a pair of young novelists who have been getting noticed in all the right places.

An expert on (and in) the mean-streets genre of hardboiled/noir crime fiction, Megan Abbott is the Edgar award winning author of Dare Me (a “Heathers meets Fight Club” story that’s still being talked up as a movie vehicle for Natalie Portman) and The Fever — a just-published thriller of mysterious epidemics and small-town secrets that’s been branded one of the Best Books of Summer by the New York Times.

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FAIR HAVEN: A DATE WITH MARY KAY

MaryKayAndrewsAuthor Mary Kay Andrews visits Nauvoo Grill Club in Fair Haven Thursday evening for a reading and signing event sponsored by River Road Books.

Save the Date. No, really, this is one that summer-reading aficionados are not going to want to miss, as this Thursday marks an encore appearance in Fair Haven by one of the most popular romance novelists in the English language — Georgia-based Mary Kay Andrews.

Known for her detail-intensive evocations of the modern South, the author of Savannah Blues, Summer Rental and many others visits Nauvoo Grill Club on Fair Haven Road for an event keyed to her latest work, Save the Date. As with the best-selling scribe’s previous Fair Haven appearance, it’s a presentation of River Road Books, whose nearby indie bookshop proved too intimate a setting for the author’s expected turnout.

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FH KIDS WAX POETIC FOR SANDY VICTIMS

KnollwoodCaption: Diane Keaveny prepares to distribute tee shirts to the Knollwood fifth graders, while Kim Slate displays a copy of the book the students created to elicit donations for Sandy-related charities.

Press release from Fair Haven School District

The fifth-grade students gathered in their former fourth-grade classroom in late April 2014, the same way they had at around the same time last year.

Last year, the students were in Knollwood School Classroom 101 discussing poems they planned to write and publish to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. This year, they reunited in the same place to receive accolades and a gift from one of the organizations that had benefitted from their hard work.

The student’s fourth grade teachers, Kate Mills and Tara Barnett, had encouraged them to express their feelings in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which hit the area on October 29, 2012. Through the efforts of MaryAnne Kanacki Strulowitz, whose son Michael was in the class at the time, the poems were published in the fall of 2013 in a book titled Hurricane Sandy: A View from Room 101.

All proceeds from purchases of the book, available for a donation of $20, are slated for the Sandy-related charities Hope for Highlands and Sea Bright Rising.

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RED BANK: SAY HI TO MARY, AT THE MOLLY

mary-higgins-clarkInternational best-selling novelist and Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark visits the Green on Thursday, as special guest at the AAUW Gala Scholarship Luncheon.

Her nearly four dozen novels, story collections, holiday tales, memoirs and children’s books have sold millions of copies, been translated into a score of languages, adapted to screens of all sizes, and made her one of the world’s wealthiest and most consistently successful wordsmiths in any genre. But it’s as Queen of Suspense that Mary Higgins Clark will forever reign supreme, with a never-out-of-print catalog of crime and mystery page-turners that include A Stranger is Watching, A Cry in the Night, Where Are the Children? and the all-new I’ve Got You Under My Skin. A serial winner of literary prizes, honorary doctorates, lifetime achievement awards and layperson honors from the Pope, the author has even had a major award named for her by the Mystery Writers of America, the organization that she previously served as president.

This Thursday, May 8, the part-time resident of Spring Lake will take lunch overlooking the Navesink at The Molly Pitcher Inn, as the special guest of honor for the annual Gala Scholarship Luncheon of the AAUW NJ Northern Monmouth County Branch — the state’s largest local chapter of the nationwide nonprofit American Association of University Women.

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