Make us your home page

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. 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.) ...

  2. 'What Happened'? Clinton memoir sold 300,000 copies in first week


    Despite being met with decidedly mixed reviews, What Happened, Hillary Clinton's new memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign, sold a whopping 300,000 copies in its first week.

    According to publisher Simon & Schuster, the former presidential candidate's book sold 167,000 hardback copies, with the remaining 133,000 copies divided between audiobooks and e-books.The book, released Sept. 12, is currently the No. 1 seller on

    The new memoir by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sold 300,000 copies in its first week.
  3. Events: Leigh Bardugo to sign at new Inkwoods location


    Book Talk

    Historian John Prevas (Hannibal's Oath: The Life and Wars of Rome's Greatest Enemy) will appear at a launch party for his new biography at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa.

    Leigh Bardugo (The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic) will sign her new story collection at 7 p.m. Sept. 27 at Inkwood Books' new Tampa Heights location at 1809 N Tampa St., Tampa. There will be a costume contest. To enter the signing line, you must buy a copy of the book from Inkwood; information at

  4. Notable: Beloved books



    Beloved books

    Kids and adults will enjoy these new illustrated editions of classic books.

    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Illustrated Edition (Arthur A. Levine Books) by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay, is the third book in the phenomenal series to be published with Kay's wonderful illustrations.

    A Little House Picture Book Treasury: Six Stories of Life on the Prairie (Harper), adapted from the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Renée Graef, offers versions for the youngest readers of the iconic Little House series, accompanied by warm pictures by Graef. ...

  5. Review: Stephen King and son Owen create a terrifying world without women in 'Sleeping Beauties'


    The evening after Hurricane Irma howled through town, I sat on my front porch in my deeply dark, eerily quiet neighborhood in St. Petersburg, reading by flashlight.

    Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a flutter. A tiny brown moth landed on the page I was reading, and another, until there were five.

    For just a moment, despite the steamy Florida night, my blood froze.

    If you want to know why, read Sleeping Beauties, the new collaboration between Stephen King and his son Owen King. ...

  6. Events: Essayist Robert Rebein to read at USF


    Book Talk

    East Lake Community Library's Authors Showcase presents Deanna Bennett (Anna: Going to America, Anna: American Journey and Anna: American Dream) discussing her trilogy of historical novels at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at the libary, 4125 East Lake Road, Palm Harbor.

    The University of South Florida's English department presents Robert Rebein (Headlights on the Prairie: Essays on Home) reading from his essay collection at 3 p.m. Sept. 20 in the Grace Allen Reading Room, USF Main Library, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa....

  7. Notable: The Great Detective



    The Great Detective

    Three new books offer very different takes on the influence of Sherlock Holmes.

    From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon (Mysterious Press) by Mattias Bostrom explores the genesis and development of Sherlock Holmes, from Arthur Conan Doyle's invention of the character to the many forms he has taken since....

  8. Review: John Capouya's history of 'Florida Soul' entertains


    When we think about classic soul and R&B music, we probably think of Detroit and Philadelphia, Chicago and Memphis.

    But we should think of the Sunshine State, too, writes John Capouya in his new book, Florida Soul: From Ray Charles to KC and the Sunshine Band.

    Throughout the glory days of soul and R&B, from the late 1940s through the 1970s, Floridians made some of the most memorable music in those genres. Capouya recounts their lives and contributions in this deeply researched and affectionate book, enriched by interviews with many of the musicians themselves. ...

    R&B singer Hank Ballard had a hit in 1959 with The Twist, which may have been inspired by teens he saw dancing in Tampa. Chubby Checker later had a monster hit covering it.
  9. What to know about wine when hosting a dinner party

    Bars & Spirits

    If you host dinner parties built around wine, for guests who can spend hours debating the fine points of vintages and brix and terroir, and who will sniff if you serve that Bordeaux at five degrees off the optimal temperature, you're probably not looking for tips.

    But if you're a casual wine drinker (or not a wine drinker at all) hoping to pour a bottle or two to accompany the fare at your next dinner party, here are a few suggestions....

  10. Two Florida authors are finalists for Dayton Literary Peace Prize


    The finalists for the 2017 Dayton Literary Peace Prize have been announced, and Florida can boast two authors on the fiction list.

    Robert Olen Butler, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who holds the Michael Shaara Chair in Creative Writing at Florida Sate University, is nominated for his 16th novel, Perfume River. Its plot revolves around a Florida family whose lives are still affected by the Vietnam War. He lives in Tallahassee....

    Guests wait along Main Street USA for Mickey's "Boo-To-You" Halloween Parade at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom.
(Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel)
  11. Events: Tampa Bay Publishing Conference set for Oct. 7


    Book Talk

    Registration is open for Wordier Than Thou's first Tampa Bay Publishing Conference on Oct. 7 in St. Petersburg. The conference includes classes, talks and vendors, and readings and signings by local authors including Karen Brown (The Clairvoyants) and Lee Irby (Unreliable). Registration is $60 before Friday, more after that date. Information and registration at

  12. Times Festival of Reading celebrates 25 years with Michael Connelly, Kate DiCamillo and more


    The 25th annual Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading celebrates its quarter-century milestone with an outstanding roster of authors.

    Bestselling crime fiction author Michael Connelly returns to the festival, this time with two new novels, The Late Show (with new character Renée Ballard) and Two Kinds of Truth, his 20th Harry Bosch book.

    Beloved children's author Kate DiCamillo, whose books include Because of Winn-Dixie and Ramie Nightingale, will present her new picture book, La La La....

    Ibram X. Kendi won a 2016 National Book 
Award for Stamped From the Beginning.
  13. Wine of the week: Rainstorm Pinot Gris Oregon 2016

    Bars & Spirits

    I've never been on the pinot grigio bandwagon. Most examples of that Italian-born wine seem thin and sour to me, and just not very interesting.

    Pinot gris is a whole other matter. Actually, it's not — both pinot grigio and pinot gris are made from the same light purple grape, first cultured in France's Alsace region but now grown around the globe. So how can pinot grigio be one of my least favorite wines, and pinot gris one of my darlings?...

  14. Review: Bruce Handy's 'Wild Things' a charming grownup take on kids' books


    Samuel Johnson died in 1784, but what he said about children's books sounds quite modern: "Remember always that the parents buy the books, and that the children never read them."

    That quotation and E.B. White's "SOME PIG" serve as apt epigraphs for Bruce Handy's Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult.

    Not that I agree with the second half of Johnson's quip — I meet too many kids who are avid readers to believe that. But choosing and reading children's books is an adult activity for millions of parents and teachers (and some adults who are neither)....

  15. Events: Author Lisa Unger, book critic Colette Bancroft to speak at luncheon


    Book Talk

    Stephanie A. Wynn (Readi Set Go! A Simple Guide to Establishing a Successful Business) will hold a launch party for her book at 2 p.m. Sept. 9 at Books at Park Place, 10468 Roosevelt Blvd. N, St. Petersburg.

    Kelli Stuart (Like a River From Its Course) will discuss her novel set in Ukraine at 4 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Russian American Club, 2920 Beach Blvd., Gulfport. Admission $5, includes refreshments. ...