An engaging and enjoyable whodunit that should keep readers guessing until the end.

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Invest In Death

A NEWPORT MYSTERY

Murder aboard an elite dinner cruise shakes up wealthy investment fund participants in Newport, Rhode Island.

Newport, the sailing mecca and home to the spectacular summer “cottages” of late 19th- and early 20th-century captains of industry, is the enticing backdrop for Sutton’s (Keep My Secret, 2013, etc.) latest addition to her mystery series. And once again, young widow Caroline Kent, owner of the Inn at Kenwood Court, finds herself playing amateur detective. When Althea Tanner, head of the fabulously successful money management firm Tanner Associates, is murdered while hosting a party aboard a chartered yacht, the obvious suspect is Teddy Ainsley. Teddy, a son of Newport’s old money crowd, wants to draw his family’s sizable holdings out of Althea’s fund, but she has insisted that he must wait several months for the investments to be liquidated. The two are heard arguing just before Althea’s body is discovered below deck. Lt. Hank Nightingale, Caroline’s crime-solving partner from the previous novels in the series and also her boyfriend, has Teddy arrested. Caroline is convinced that Teddy is innocent. But who else would have a reason to kill the woman who reliably turned out quarterly dividend checks that kept everyone satisfied? As it turns out, there are all sorts of possibilities. This pleasant mystery mixes financial shenanigans with Newport’s elite and its wealthy newcomers. Sutton doesn’t fully flesh out her characters, not even the two principal protagonists, Caroline and Hank. But the book successfully maintains the puzzle-solving tradition of good old-fashioned detective novels. If some of the players are a bit stereotypical (for example, the dowager Ainsley, who pays no attention to the investments that maintain her grand style), all are still sufficiently serviceable in furthering a plotline that is more believable than it should be, judging from the past decade’s headlines. Newport itself shines, and Sutton turns out to be a knowledgeable tour guide. Her descriptions are concise yet evocative—a reader can almost smell the salty air permeating Bannister’s Wharf, with retired America’s Cup yachts bobbing at the docks. Her solid prose is unembellished but sure-footed, and well suited to the genre.

An engaging and enjoyable whodunit that should keep readers guessing until the end.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2018

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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THE LAST TRIAL

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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With humor and insight, Straub creates a family worth rooting for.

ALL ADULTS HERE

When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus run over a longtime acquaintance of hers—Barbara Baker, a woman she doesn't like very much—it's only the beginning of the shake-ups to come in her life and the lives of those she loves.

Astrid has been tootling along contentedly in the Hudson Valley town of Clapham, New York, a 68-year-old widow with three grown children. After many years of singlehood since her husband died, she's been quietly seeing Birdie Gonzalez, her hairdresser, for the past two years, and after Barbara's death she determines to tell her children about the relationship: "There was no time to waste, not in this life. There were always more school buses." Elliot, her oldest, who's in real estate, lives in Clapham with his wife, Wendy, who's Chinese American, and their twins toddlers, Aidan and Zachary, who are "such hellions that only a fool would willingly ask for more." Astrid's daughter, Porter, owns a nearby farm producing artisanal goat cheese and has just gotten pregnant through a sperm bank while having an affair with her married high school boyfriend. Nicky, the youngest Strick, is disconcertingly famous for having appeared in an era-defining movie when he was younger and now lives in Brooklyn with his French wife, Juliette, and their daughter, Cecelia, who's being shipped up to live with Astrid for a while after her friend got mixed up with a pedophile she met online. As always, Straub (Modern Lovers, 2016, etc.) draws her characters warmly, making them appealing in their self-centeredness and generosity, their insecurity and hope. The cast is realistically diverse, though in most ways it's fairly superficial; the fact that Birdie is Latina or Porter's obstetrician is African American doesn't have much impact on the story or their characters. Cecelia's new friend, August, wants to make the transition to Robin; that storyline gets more attention, with the two middle schoolers supporting each other through challenging times. The Stricks worry about work, money, sex, and gossip; Straub has a sharp eye for her characters' foibles and the details of their liberal, upper-middle-class milieu.

With humor and insight, Straub creates a family worth rooting for.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-59463-469-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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