All Books by William Kowalski
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In 1908, a middle-aged woman and her three daughters immigrate from rural Poland to the enchanting city of Buffalo, New York, where electricity is made from water and men fly machines through the sky like birds. Braving an unknown world, and ignoring the curious questions about why they came unaccompanied by any men, the women struggle to learn English and to make a place for themselves in this strange new land, using the skills they brought with them. A multi-generational tale of food, family, and finding home.
The year is 1970. When U.S. Army Capt. Howard Starling is caught in the arms of another man, he’s dismissed from the service in disgrace. With a background in intelligence, he tries in desperation to make a living as a private eye. His first client is a wealthy woman hoping to track down someone she knew as a girl but hasn’t seen in decades. As Howard investigates, not only does he discover that the orphanage where they grew up was the epicenter of a series of horrific crimes, but his past as a Cold War spymaster is about to catch up to him with a vengeance. Nothing is as it seems, and the past is never dead, in the first mystery novel by the award-winning, best-selling author of EDDIE’S BASTARD and THE HUNDRED HEARTS.
“Many of you have been writing to request more book recommendations. How many books do you read at once? I usually have two going at the same time. There’s the book you rip through, that doesn’t take very long, and then the book you spend an hour with every night, slowly. Sometimes you just want to make it last longer, to honour the care and the commitment of the author; sometimes it’s because the story is so devastating you have to take your time; sometimes it’s because you’re trying to convince yourself that by the time you’re done, the world might not be as cruel as the one that’s been written; and sometimes the book is like life, and it takes time to process. William Kowalski’s The Hundred Hearts is all of the above. Also, it looks like a Burberry shirt, only much cheaper and will keep a lot longer.”
–Lainey Lui, LaineyGossip.com
“Exuberant… Kowalski is a talented stylist.” (The New York Times Book Review)
“Kowalski writes in a style so natural that the reader is only aware of the story… highly recommended. (Library Journal)
– Winner of the 2001 Ama-Boeke Award (South Africa)
– Official Selection of the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Program (1999)
– An international bestseller, with translations available in over a dozen languages
“Has all the bravado of a bar stool reminiscence… Kowalski’s characters could be escapees from a Kerouac novel.” (The New York Times Book Review)
“Kowalski is a talented and vivid stylist.” (Washington Post)
Translations available in German, French, Dutch, Swedish, and Polish
“Kowalski’s graceful, almost lyrical style moves along briskly and elegantly, ensnaring the reader in the atmosphere of Santa Fe.” (Providence Sunday Journal)
“Kowalski has created an enduring character in Haley Bombauer, a.k.a. Flash Jackson, one we won’t easily forget.” (Rocky Mountain News)
“An appealing and original story.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“This poignant and entertaining novel resonates with homespun wit and truth.” (Booklist)
Translations available in Polish, Serbian, German, Dutch, and Swedish
“Atmospheric, emotional and beautifully eloquent, Kowalski weaves an engrossing story.” (Daily Record)
“In his fourth novel, Kowalski (Eddie’s Bastard, 1999) offers a modern morality tale with a surprisingly powerful emotional wallop.” (Booklist)
“The story is enchanting as the house. The plot is powerful…it surges forwards with tremendous pace and vigour.” (The Observer)
“[Kowalski] has the knack of making you care for his characters.” (The Guardian)
“This is a mature novel by an unassuming writer. Kowalski is the real deal.” (Buffalo News)
Rapid Reads for New Adult Readers
These shorter (about 14,000 words) books are written for adults who have come to reading late in life, or are working on their English language skills. The plots are simple and straightforward, and are told in plain language (2nd grade reading level as measured by the Fry scale). Widely used in a variety of educational institutions, they are perfect for the adult who wants to learn to read but is frustrated by the lack of serious content typical of plain language books. Published under the Raven imprint of Orca Publishers.
“Readers struggling with literacy issues or learning English will appreciate the simple, straightforward style and plot-driven narratives, diverse cultures, sensitive contemporary issues and social injustice are all difficult topics tackled appropriately without diverting the story. The discussion-worthy issues and themes are delivered via a high caliber plot and efficient style of writing. Recommended.” (CM Magazine)
2011 Ontario Library Association’s Golden Oak Award Nominee
2011 SLJ’s Top Book Choices for Youth in Detention List
“One of the series’ strongest titles. With understated, sobering, and detailed realism, Kowalski shows how easily a person can lose everything, and the ingenuity and strength Davis summons to solve daily logistical problems, and fall in love, will hook readers. With rare voices and taut suspense, these titles provide accessible choices for struggling and strong readers alike.” (Booklist)
“The author details a gripping tale about a mother’s love and a selfless act of one brother for another despite a short-lived relationship between them. An emotional roller coaster, the story should be [read] by all readers. In the time when the gap between parents and teenagers can seem far, this book can certainly bridge it. This is a book to read.” (VOYA)
Shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association’s Golden Oak Award (2013)
“Kowalski excels in character development… Just Gone is a far more complex book than its basic presentation might suggest. With innovative characters who speak like real people and a plotline that progresses steadily and convincingly over the course of many years, Just Gone simply makes sense.” (Foreword Reviews)
The year is 2147. Chago, twenty-four, is a prisoner in a world made up only of prisoners and those who guard them. The only bright spot in Chago’s life is his son, Jim-Jim, whose mother is a guard. In an effort to resolve overcrowding in the prison, the warden introduces the Innocence Device, a high-tech machine he claims can determine innocence or guilt. Prisoners are encouraged to walk through the Innocence Device and experience its rewards: immediate freedom or death. When they discover the machine is rigged, the prisoners riot and take over the prison. After witnessing the execution-style death of the mother of his son, and surviving a brief stint outside the prison walls, Chago ends up in a position of power. But he soon finds the new regime little different from the old, and he sets out to save the only thing he values–his son.
Kat is a tough, independent woman who makes her living as a professional poker player. She is single, childless and happy about it. But when her best friend, Josie, commits suicide, she names Kat as the temporary guardian of her ten-year-old son, David, until his father can come for him. In the few weeks that David is with her, Kat finds herself changed in ways she had never thought imaginable. With the old poker adage “bet with your head, not your heart” ringing in her head like a warning bell, Kat nevertheless finds that all the money and success in the world don’t mean a thing unless you have someone to share it with…and that maybe there is more to life than winning after all.
Sixteen-year-old Rasheed is smart, tough and a survivor. In his neighborhood, he has to be. The streets are run by a gang called the E Street Locals, and they’ve been trying to jump him in since he was a child. So far, he’s managed to escape their clutches. But the gang is not his only problem. Rasheed’s sister, Daneeka, was paralyzed in a drive-by shooting, and now she’s confined to a wheelchair, mentally frozen at the age of nine. His mother is an addict. His father hasn’t been heard from in years. High school is no safer than the streets, so Rasheed seeks solace at the local university campus. There he meets a young woman named Lanaia who takes an interest in him. He also bumps up against a police officer who he thinks at first is hassling him just because he’s black. But eventually Rasheed realizes that the officer is only pushing him to become a better person. Though he can’t escape his home life, or the gang, as easily as he’d like, Rasheed does learn some valuable lessons in his struggles: you and you alone are accountable for the decisions you make in life; even though the world is not a fair place, you can still accomplish whatever you set your mind to; and we all become stronger when we admit we need someone to lean on.