An ambitious but erratic portrayal of a society gone wrong with no resolution in sight.

SENSATION MACHINES

In the midst of a potential social revolution, a husband and wife on the downside of a bad marriage find themselves at odds.

Here we find a perhaps-prescient tale of murder and deceit set during a political upheaval in the near-future United States. There are hints of events to come, with drone deliveries and social uprisings as well as a critical plot involving the potential passing of a bill authorizing a universal basic income for all Americans. The two critical players are Michael Mixner, a Wall Street trader fallen dangerously into debt, and his wife, Wendy, a marketing guru soldiering on despite PTSD from a recent stillbirth. This marriage between a drug-addled former hip-hop artist–turned-trader and an anxiety-ridden marketing whiz is crumbling, but so is the community around them. The pivotal event comes when Michael’s best friend, a wealthy gay activist named Ricky, is shot to death after violent protestors interrupt the party of some wealthy elites. It’s not a mystery—Wilson calls out the killer in plain sight but wraps the drama in a web of familial deceit, societal dismay, and economic inequality that renders no one innocent. The nexus is Michael’s plot to get rich via a scheme involving a cryptocurrency in a virtual reality game that just happens to be the brainchild of his wife’s new client. Wendy has been hired to launch a stealth campaign dubbed Project Pinky, designed to derail the UBI bill. The narrative is dripping with drama, not least due to Wendy’s unapologetic seizure of her own fate in the wake of Michael’s recklessness. Wilson creates a deft juxtaposition of contemporary American classes on par with Richard Price's Lush Life, but whether readers approach it as a flawed crime drama or a satire of American inequality, they may find that implausible plot threads and unanswered questions leave them dissatisfied with the experience.

An ambitious but erratic portrayal of a society gone wrong with no resolution in sight.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64129-165-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Soho

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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