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BARR NONE

THE RIVERSEDGE LAW CLUB SERIES

A legal yarn with an ungainly structure that’s rescued by punchy prose.

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Three attorneys get involved in a dangerous plot involving sex work in this series mystery.

Impellizzeri’s tale centers on Tricia Connors, a starry-eyed young associate at the Manhattan firm of Barr Knoll, run by its charismatic, egotistical founder of the same name. Instead of the great opportunities Barr promised, she finds herself relegated to menial tasks along with her roommates, Cassandra and Ruth. Tricia is taken in hand and given a style makeover by a woman known only as the Times Square Madam, who inhabits the firm’s top-floor office. She has Tricia rope Cassandra and Ruth into an immigration scam in which the trio pretend to be engaged to three of the firm’s foreign clients to help them score visas. Subsequent assignments involve explicitly sexual “client development” tasks; Cassandra and Ruth resist, but Tricia goes along while angling to become the new madam. In a plotline set in a post-Covid present, Barr Knoll associate Carly Jenner stumbles across files pertaining to deaths in a suspicious car crash 10 years earlier. Carly’s colleague Rain Street believes the victims were murdered and prods Carly to investigate; meanwhile, Carly is fighting on behalf of a group of women in a workplace sex-discrimination lawsuit. This second installment of Impellizzeri’s Riversedge Law Club series paints a mordant picture of low-level lawyering with a feminist edge. Her characters are overworked, underpaid, and perpetually exploited and demeaned by creepy patriarchs. The braided subplots feel unfocused and overcomplicated at times, and the story sometimes spins its wheels as Tricia and Carly ruminate on their unhappy lives. Fortunately, Impellizzeri’s prose is shrewd and evocative (“Rain has a way of drawing people out. Like she already knows your secrets. Like you’re just confirming and not confessing”), and the courtroom jousting is lively and well paced: “Barr, you haven’t changed a bit from the days I was working for you and watching you pimp out women as whores to international real estate tycoons,” testifies one implacable witness on the stand.

A legal yarn with an ungainly structure that’s rescued by punchy prose.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9781954332485

Page Count: 262

Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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HOME IS WHERE THE BODIES ARE

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

Three siblings on very different paths learn that their family home may be haunted by secrets.

Eldest daughter Beth is alone with her fading mother as she takes her final breath and says something about Beth’s long-departed brother and sister, who may not have disappeared forever. Beth is still reeling from the loss of her mother when her estranged siblings show up. Michael, the youngest, hasn’t been home since their father’s disappearance seven years ago. In the meantime, he’s outgrown his siblings, trading his share of the family troubles for a high-paying job in San Jose. Nicole, the middle child, has been overpowered by addiction and prioritized tuning out reality over any sense of responsibility, much to Beth’s disgust. Though their mother’s death marks an ending for the family, it’s also a beginning, as the three siblings realize when they find a disturbing videotape among their parents’ belongings. The video, from 1999, sheds suspicion on their father’s disappearance, linking it to a long-unsolved neighborhood mystery. Was it just a series of unfortunate circumstances that broke the family apart, or does something more sinister underlie the sadness they’ve all found in life? In chapters that rotate among the family’s first-person narratives, the siblings take turns digging up stories and secrets in their search for solace.

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9798212182843

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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THE HOUSE ACROSS THE LAKE

A weird, wild ride.

Celebrity scandal and a haunted lake drive the narrative in this bestselling author’s latest serving of subtly ironic suspense.

Sager’s debut, Final Girls (2017), was fun and beautifully crafted. His most recent novels—Home Before Dark (2020) and Survive the Night (2021) —have been fun and a bit rickety. His new novel fits that mold. Narrator Casey Fletcher grew up watching her mother dazzle audiences, and then she became an actor herself. While she never achieves the “America’s sweetheart” status her mother enjoyed, Casey makes a career out of bit parts in movies and on TV and meatier parts onstage. Then the death of her husband sends her into an alcoholic spiral that ends with her getting fired from a Broadway play. When paparazzi document her substance abuse, her mother exiles her to the family retreat in Vermont. Casey has a dry, droll perspective that persists until circumstances overwhelm her, and if you’re getting a Carrie Fisher vibe from Casey Fletcher, that is almost certainly not an accident. Once in Vermont, she passes the time drinking bourbon and watching the former supermodel and the tech mogul who live across the lake through a pair of binoculars. Casey befriends Katherine Royce after rescuing her when she almost drowns and soon concludes that all is not well in Katherine and Tom’s marriage. Then Katherine disappears….It would be unfair to say too much about what happens next, but creepy coincidences start piling up, and eventually, Casey has to face the possibility that maybe some of the eerie legends about Lake Greene might have some truth to them. Sager certainly delivers a lot of twists, and he ventures into what is, for him, new territory. Are there some things that don’t quite add up at the end? Maybe, but asking that question does nothing but spoil a highly entertaining read.

A weird, wild ride.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-18319-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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