Morgan maintains her winning combination of small-town tenderness and sexy, wounded heroes.

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A REASON TO LOVE

Everyone thinks soldier Spencer Lang died in action, so when he comes home the day his best friend is marrying the girl of his dreams, things get complicated.

After high school, Spencer joined the Army to escape his brutal uncle and find his way in the world, but he always expected to come back to Snowberry Creek and marry his old friend Callie. All his plans are shot to pieces, though, when he and his unit are attacked in Afghanistan and he’s mistaken for dead. Rescued after his friends were evacuated, none of them got the news that he’s alive, and they’ve been grieving his loss while he’s been recovering. Turns out his Army buddies came to Snowberry Creek to break the news to his loved ones and fell in love with the town—and some of its residents—which makes it even harder for Spencer to settle back in. Support and encouragement comes from Melanie Wolfe, daughter of the family who owns the local factory. Trouble is, the recently deceased Mr. Wolfe practically ran the place into the ground, and Melanie is trying to turn it around. Melanie left town after high school, too, with no plans to ever return, but she always remembered the roguish bad boy who’d never looked twice at her back then, when she was the prim and proper Wolfe daughter. Now she’s back, determined to save the factory and help the boy she used to like, who’s now a man with shadows in his eyes. In the third Snowberry Creek novel, two unlikely hearts wind up on a shared path to healing, and we are charmed by their growing realization that they are just what the other one needs to be happy. Smooth storytelling and engaging secondary characters enhance a satisfying romance.

Morgan maintains her winning combination of small-town tenderness and sexy, wounded heroes.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-451-41773-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Signet Eclipse/NAL

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

OUTFOX

An FBI agent is determined to catch a man who bilks and murders wealthy women, but the chase goes slowly.

Brown (Tailspin, 2018, etc.) has published 70 bestsellers, and this one employs her usual template of thriller spiked with romance. Its main character, Drex Easton, is an FBI agent in pursuit of a serial killer, but for him it’s personal. When he was a boy, his mother left him and his father for another man, Weston Graham. Drex believes Graham murdered her and that he has killed at least seven more women after emptying their bank accounts. Now he thinks he has the clever Graham—current alias Jasper Ford—in his sights, and he’s willing to put his career at risk to catch him. The women Ford targets are wealthy, and his new prey is no exception—except that, uncharacteristically, he has married her. Talia Ford proves to be a complication for Drex, who instantly falls in lust with her even though he’s not at all sure she isn’t her husband's accomplice. Posing as a would-be novelist, Drex moves into an apartment next door to the Fords’ posh home and tries to ingratiate himself, but tensions rise immediately—Jasper is suspicious, and Talia has mixed feelings about Drex's flirtatious behavior. When Talia’s fun-loving friend Elaine Conner turns up dead after a cruise on her yacht and Jasper disappears, Drex and Talia become allies. There are a few action sequences and fewer sex scenes, but the novel’s pace bogs down repeatedly in long, mundane conversations. Drex's two FBI agent sidekicks are more interesting characters than he is; Drex himself is such a caricature of a macho man, so heedless of ethics, and so aggressive toward women that it’s tough to see him as a good guy. Brown adds a couple of implausible twists at the very end that make him seem almost as untrustworthy as Graham.

This thriller about the pursuit of a serial killer suffers from an unpleasant hero and a glacial pace.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4555-7219-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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MERCY

Despite kilt-wearing characters right out of Brigadoon, Picoult (Picture Perfect, 1995, etc.) persuasively explores a mercy killing in a small Massachusetts town and the subject of spouses who love too much. Wheelock has been home to the tradition-upholding MacDonalds and their hereditary chieftains since the 18th century, when the clan fled Scotland after the British defeated them in battle. Each clan chief has inherited more responsibilities over time, and the current laird Cam MacDonald is, like his father before him, the local chief of police. Cam yearns to travel and, though married, finds wife Allie's devotion stifling. Allie, a florist, has in turn suppressed all of her own opinions and pleasures for the sake of making Cam, whom she adores, happy. As the story begins, another MacDonald, James, has demonstrated his overwhelming love for wife Maggie in a very extreme form: James turns himself in to cousin Cam after admitting that he has smothered Maggie at her request because she was terminally ill with cancer and could no longer stand the pain. While the quality and wisdom of James's devotion to his wife will be tried in public, Allie's love for Cam will also be tested as free spirit Mia arrives in town. Mia has been everywhere and seen all the places Cam dreams of; she is also a whiz with flowers and gets immediately hired by Allie. While Allie helps James's lawyer find witnesses who will attest to his devotion to Maggie (he's now being tried for murder), Cam and Mia have an affair. A heartsick Allie learns of it, throws Cam out, sells all of his belongings, and then tries to forget him. But true love is resilient, and Allie, like James, having learned the price of being ``the one who loves more,'' will now try for greater balance. Overly predictable characters aside, Picoult does manage this time to bring trendy, headline-grabbing themes to life. (Literary Guild alternate selection)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 1996

ISBN: 0-399-14160-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1996

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