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Local Authors, Gail Lukasik and Randy Richardson at Evanston Public Library on January 24

Local Read by Libertyville author, Gail Lusiak, and Evanston author, Randy Richardson, with their latest novels, The Lost Artist and Cheeseland, on January 24

The Lost Artist by Gail Lusiak

Dr. Gail Lukasik is an acclaimed poet, collegiate teacher of writing, and mystery novelist. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she resides in the Chicago area of Libertyville, where she has lived for more than thirty years. She earned a M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she taught writing and literature courses.

Lusiak has been nationally published in over 50 literary journals, including The Georgia Review, Carolina Quarterly, and Mississippi Valley Review. In 2002, she was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Award for her poem, “In Country,” that is dedicated to her deceased father.

Lukasik's previous work, Landscape Toward a Proper Silence, a book of poetry, was hailed as "a splendid collection,” by the Pulitizer Prize winning poet, Lisel Mueller.

Lusiak’s new novel, The Lost Artist, delves in the past to uncover 400-year-old buried secrets at a nineteenth-century farmhouse in southern Illinois.

Chicago performance artist, Rose Caffrey, is desperate to sell her sister’s farmhouse. She’s haunted by her sister’s death from a fall inside the house.

But when Rose discovers four mysterious murals in an upstairs bedroom, she becomes obsessed with deciphering the murals’ meaning. What the murals reveal, launches Rose on a quest for one of the greatest lost art treasures of sixteenth-century America.

As she uncovers buried secrets going back over four hundred years with the potential to shatter the very foundation of American history, she finds that beneath the layers of time lurks a truth worth killing for.

Cheeseland By Randy Richardson

Evanston native, Randy Richardson, is an attorney, well-known fiction author, philanthropist of teen suicide awareness, and columnist of humorous parenting advice.

Richardson is an attorney with the Social Security Administration’s disability appeals branch and president of the Chicago Writer’s Association. He earned his BS in Economics and Political Science and MS in Journalism at Illinois State University.

He received honorable mention in the Illinois Press Association’s annual statewide newspaper contest, for his writing series of unsolved crimes in Glenwood, Illinois, as a writer at The Times of Northwest Indiana, formerly The Hammond Times.

In January 2005, Richardson started an on-line journal that features book news, informative stories about the writing process behind Cheeseland, and an occasional diversion into the trials and tribulations of raising a toddler. His child-rearing articles, entitled, “Dad Libs” are featured on SanityCentral, a parental humor Web Site.

Cheeseland is a tragicomic coming-of-age novel about loyalty, friendship and the self-destructive nature of secret-keeping and unresolved anger.

 How do you mend a broken friendship? For Lance Parker and Daniel McAllister, the answer is simple: road trip. The shock and grief of a friend’s suicide creates a gulf between the two suburban Chicago high school seniors. A trip to Wisconsin should be just the ticket to come to terms with the trauma that had drawn them apart. The journey of recovery is filled with comical twists as the two teens navigate Cheeseland, a place that blurs the line between adolescence and adulthood.

The journey of recovery turns into a journey of discovery, as secrets are revealed and the ugly truth behind their friend’s suicide unfolds. Now, thirty years later, the secrets they buried have come back to haunt them. Told in two parts, the novel's long and winding road comes full circle when these two friends must finally confront their past and come to grips with their present lives. But is it too late to heal old wounds?

Dr. Gail Lusiak and Randy Richardson will be appearing on January 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Evanston Public Library. Both authors will read, discuss, and answer questions about Cheeseland and The Lost Artist. Both books will be available for purchase after the event.

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