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Colette Bancroft, Times Book Editor

Colette Bancroft

Colette Bancroft is the book editor of the Tampa Bay Times. She joined the Times in 1997 and has been a news editor, general assignment features writer and food and travel writer, as well as a frequent contributor of reviews of books, theater and other arts. She became book editor in 2007. Before joining the Times, Bancroft was a reporter and editor at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and an instructor in the English departments of the University of South Florida and the University of Arizona. Bancroft grew up in Tampa.

Phone: (727) 893-8435


  1. Wine of the week: Clayhouse Adobe Red, Paso Robles 2012

    Bars & Spirits

    Right now it's difficult to even think about California wines without grieving for the tremendous damage done by fires to some of that state's wine-growing regions and the people who live there. Recovery will take a long time, and supporting the industry is one way to help.

    This week's wine, Clayhouse Adobe Red Paso Robles 2012, comes from a central California area that, at this writing, had not been seriously threatened by the fires. Clayhouse's sustainably farmed Red Cedar Vineyards produce the grapes for all of its wines, including this lively, food-friendly blend....

  2. Events: Omar El Akkad to discuss 'American War' at Oxford Exchange


    Book Talk

    Journalist and novelist Omar El Akkad (American War) will discuss and sign his dystopian debut novel at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

    Local author John Moreschi (Dream Mechanics: A Practical Guide to Creating Your Reality) will discuss and sign his book at 2 p.m. Oct. 15 at Haslam's Book Store, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg....

  3. Review: Gretchen Carlson stands up to sexual harassment in 'Be Fierce'


    Broadcast journalist Gretchen Carlson could have taken the $20 million she received from her sexual harassment lawsuit against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and retired to private life in comfort.

    As she writes in her new book, Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back, her successful suit against a predator — one that resulted in Ailes being fired — provoked a withering barrage of hatred from internet trolls so vile it almost stopped her in her tracks....

  4. Literary prizes note diverse array of fiction


    In a world that seems to be growing more tribal and insular by the day, the fall book award season is taking note of books whose themes run counter to that trend, books that look deeply into the experiences of immigrants and refugees, minorities and other outsiders to power.

    The Oct. 5 announcement that the 2017 Nobel Prize for literature would go to British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro was something of a reset, after a couple of Nobel literature laureates whose bodies of work were well outside the norm: 2016 winner Bob Dylan's writing is mostly song lyrics, while Russian writer Svetlana Alexievich, who won in 2015, writes books that walk what is, by her own description, a very tenuous and controversial line between fact and fiction....

    Patricia Engel is a Dayton Literary Peace Prize winner for fiction.
  5. Book events: Bhu Srinivasan to discuss 'Americana' at Oxford Exchange


    Book Talk

    The Oxford Exchange's Spotlight Series presents Bhu Srinivasan (Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism) discussing and signing his new book at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

    The Cathedral Church of St. Peter's author series presents Tampa Bay Times reporter Ben Montgomery speaking about his book The Leper Spy: The Story of an Unlikely Hero of World War II at noon Oct. 10 at the church, 140 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. Free; lunch available ($5)....

  6. Review: Jeffery Hess' 'Cold War Canoe Club' offers a look at Navy life at sea and on shore


    Cold War Canoe Club, the new short story collection by Florida writer Jeffery Hess, takes readers beyond stereotypes and recruiting videos to reveal a sometimes thrilling, sometimes funny, sometimes disturbing picture of life in the U.S. Navy.

    Hess draws on his own experience for that realism. He served in the Navy for six years, on its oldest and newest ships, traveling around the world. He now lives in Florida and leads the DD-214 Writers' Workshops for military veterans. He has also edited several anthologies of writing by vets....

    Jeffery Hess
  7. Sherlock Holmes goes to prep school in Ridley Pearson's 'Lock and Key: The Downward Spiral'


    Proving once again his amazing adaptability as a character, Sherlock Holmes is the star of Ridley Pearson's Lock and Key series for middle grade (and, of course, elementary) readers.

    Lock and Key: The Downward Spiral is the second book in the series, following The Initiation. Young readers might already be familiar with Pearson's books — he's the author of the bestselling Kingdom Keepers series and many other books for kids (as well as a couple of dozen crime thrillers for adults). He also co-wrote the Starcatchers series with Dave Barry; the first of those, Peter and the Starcatchers, became a hit Broadway play....

  8. Prolific author and trailblazing Florida journalist Kit Reed dies


    Kit Reed wrote her first novel when she was around 5 years old, dictating a tale about a rabbit to her mother and making corrections when her mom read it back to her.

    It was the beginning of a writing career that would span more than six decades and produce more than two dozen novels and even more short stories, most of them speculative fiction and all filled with her darkly satirical wit. Her career also included a stint in the 1950s as the only female news reporter at the then-St. Petersburg Times....

    Kit Reed, Times files.
  9. Author Lisa Unger gives mystery fans motive for helping hurricane victims


    Bestselling thriller author Lisa Unger lives in Pinellas County and shared the fears of Tampa Bay residents as Hurricane Irma threatened devastation.

    "My family and I evacuated, we were without power for a few days, but otherwise very lucky," Unger writes in a news release. "Knowing that others were not so fortunate, I started thinking about what I might do to help."

    Reaching out to fellow writers, she came up with something that will thrill mystery fans: a collection of 14 new, signed hardcover books by some of the top crime fiction writers in the world....

    Donate to help hurricane victims and you might win signed copies of these 14 mystery bestsellers.
  10. Book events: John Prevas to sign 'Hannibal's Oath' in St. Petersburg


    Book Talk

    John Prevas (Hannibal's Oath: Life and Wars of Rome's Greatest Enemy) will discuss and sign his biography at 2 p.m. Oct. 1 at Haslam's Book Store, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

    Applications are available at for vendors and volunteers for the 2017 Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading, which is Nov. 11 at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg....

  11. Notable: Nailed it



    Nailed it

    Here are three of the many books marking the 500th anniversary this month of Martin Luther's 95 Theses.

    Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World (Viking) by Eric Metaxas is a deeply researched and surprising biography of the young monk who sparked the Protestant Reformation and helped to shape the modern world. ...

  12. The force is strong with 'Star Wars Made Easy'


    There are two kinds of people in the galaxy: those who have every last particle of trivia about the Star Wars movies at their fingertips, and those who don't.

    Fortunately for the latter group, someone from the former one is reaching out to help before the next blockbuster in the series, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, hits theaters in December like a proton torpedo blast.

    Christian Blauvelt is deputy editor at BBC Culture and a Star Wars nerd of the highest order. That's clear from his new book, Star Wars Made Easy: A Beginner's Guide to a Galaxy Far, Far Away. ...

    Episode IV: A New Hope, A Closer Look
  13. Review: William Heffernan's 'Scientology Murders' an entertaining Tampa Bay area mystery


    If you're a Tampa Bay area mystery fan with a taste for ripped-from-the-headlines plots, William Heffernan's new novel The Scientology Murders will ring your bell.

    Heffernan is a former investigative reporter who lives in the bay area and has published 19 novels, including Edgar Award winner Tarnished Blue. The Scientology Murders is the second in his series about Pinellas County Sheriff's Office investigator Harry Doyle, whose nickname is the Dead Detective....

    Times photo illustration
  14. Wine of the week: Leese-Fitch 2015 California Sauvignon Blanc will cool you off

    Bars & Spirits

    September is still summertime in Florida, and we can still use a cool white wine at the end of a hot day.

    A bottle of Leese-Fitch 2015 California Sauvignon Blanc will chill things out nicely. This wine, widely available for about $13, is very much in the California style of the varietal — more fruit and less astringency than its cousins from Australia and New Zealand.

    The winery's name, which sounds like it ought to be a hipster haberdashery, comes from the Sonoma Valley's history. It's named for the Leese-Fitch Adobe, a home in Sonoma that was built in the 1830s and is still standing. ...

  15. Review: J.A. Jance's 'Proof of Life' explores mystery in people's past, and a dog's


    Retirement isn't for everyone.

    J.P. Beaumont, the main character in J.A. Jance's latest mystery, Proof of Life, isn't taking to it. As the longtime Seattle investigator tells the reader early on, "The words 'clinically depressed' hadn't yet surfaced in my consciousness, but they were lurking around the edges."

    Beau, who's as smart as he is curmudgeonly, entered his "unexpected and unwelcome retirement" about a year before this book begins, while he was working on the attorney general's Special Homicide Investigation Team. ("Unfortunate acronym," he notes.) ...

    Seattle’s posh Queen Anne Hill neighborhood looks serene, but it’s a place of twisted, and treacherous, turns in the hands of author J.A. Jance.