New Books from Wisconsin Authors Coming This Spring

Choose from a trio of books by Wisconsin natives

“Maybe today’s the day I’ll jump.”

That’s how Brookfield native Andrea Bartz ends the prologue of her first novel. The Lost Night follows Lindsay Bach, a New York transplant who believes that her best friend, Edie Iredale, committed suicide when both women were in their early 20s. With the 10-year anniversary of Edie’s death looming large in her mind, Lindsay digs up old photos and videos of her friend, which prompt her to wonder if something sinister might have happened the night of her death. 

It’s a promising premise, and Bartz elevates it with language more lyrical than you’d typically find in a thriller. She also proves adept at capturing the idiosyncrasies of her characters, most of whom are Brooklyn hipsters who conform to some of the stereotypes of their kind but also possess hidden depths, and secrets.

If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers with strong female protagonists, like Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects or Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train, put The Lost Night on your must-read list.

A Killer Debut

Read it and Weep

Nickolas Butler is widely considered one of Wisconsin’s best writers. His 2013 novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, rose steadily through the ranks of bestsellers and earned a rare rave review from New York Times critic Jonathan Evison, who called it “a sure-footed and unabashedly sentimental first effort that deserves to be among the standouts in this year’s field of fiction debuts.”

Butler’s new novel, Little Faith (due out March 5), tells the story of aging family man Lyle Hovde, whose troubled daughter returns home after many years away with a young son and a radical new belief system. Like Shotgun Lovesongs, the book offers a poignant, elegiac look at love and life in rural Wisconsin and should appeal to anyone who enjoys a good, character-driven tear-jerker.

Written by frequent MilMag contributor and fromage fan Kristine Hansen, Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook offers pages of recipes that incorporate the Dairy State’s tastiest export, plus cheesy trivia and other tidbits to entertain you along the way. Here’s a sample:

“The people of Nordic Creamery, in the Driftless Region, drive 10 hours roundtrip – within a 24-hour period and without an overnight stay – to sell their cheese at a Chicago farmers market every Saturday. Now that’s dedication!”

Cheese Whiz

See Them at Boswell

All three of these authors will be speaking at Boswell Book Co. this month.

  • On March 5, Milwaukee Public Radio’s Mitch Teich joins Nickolas Butler in conversation.
  • On March 8, our own editor-in-chief, Carole Nicksin, chats with Kristine Hansen.
  • And Andrea Bartz hosts a book party with Mike Howard of El Dorado Games on March 15.

“#ReadLocal” appears in the March 2019 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning Feb. 25, or buy a copy at

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.