An untaxing period-piece mystery that softens the hard-boiled detective genre with romance.


The assistant to a newspaper agony aunt hires a gumshoe to track down a blackmailer only to find they’ve waded into the thick of murder in 1930s California.

In the latest in the Burning Cove series, set in a seaside resort town, nascent novelist and lucid dreamer Maggie Lodge seeks out PI Sam Sage so he can locate the person who’s threatening her employer. A former cop who lost his job for arresting someone from a wealthy family, Sam is hoping to build his fledgling business and takes on Maggie’s case despite his sense that the dame is hiding something. Soon after, he’s pretending to be her research assistant as they follow a lead to a conference that claims to help people build their psychic powers. Are the conveners the ones who sent the blackmail note, or are they also being blackmailed while running a long con? When an attendee is found dead the first evening, just as Maggie encounters an unpleasant figure from her own past, Maggie and Sam must figure out if the case has gone from petty crime to murder or if it started with another homicide a few years ago. Complicating the situation is the presence of the dream researcher who is obsessed with Maggie’s potential for lucid dreaming. Bodies pile up even as she and Sam embark on an intimate relationship in addition to their professional one. Quick calls on her favorite character types in her latest novel: There's the intrepid heroine and the cynical hero who thaws after the unpredictable partnership with her penetrates his personal barriers. The author’s long-standing interest in paranormal phenomenon like ESP propels the plot toward the eventual discovery of the murderer. There aren’t a lot of surprises for the regular Quick reader, but the metanarrative commentary about storytelling and genre plus the prewar West Coast glamour and noirlike incidents make for an updated gothic with some appeal.

An untaxing period-piece mystery that softens the hard-boiled detective genre with romance.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-33778-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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