An exciting and unpredictable tale of espionage and adventure in the early 20th century.

The Locket

From the The Rainey Chronicles series , Vol. 1

A debut novel offers political intrigue set within the perilous complexity of the Russian Revolution.

Jeremy Clarke has just returned from France, where he fought as an American soldier in World War I. The son of a wealthy steel magnate, Jeremy now plans to join the family business under the tutelage of his formidable sister, Elizabeth. His plans are temporarily thwarted, however, when a representative from the State Department, Charles Appleton, suddenly arrives unannounced and reveals that Jeremy and Elizabeth’s father, who had vanished in Russia, is still alive. He asks Jeremy to lead a military team—really a small army—into Russia to rescue him and to secure a “package,” the contents of which remain, for the moment, mysterious. Appleton himself is a nebulous fellow, described as a “ghost” with virtually no government file. Jeremy accepts the assignment, and Elizabeth is put in charge of its logistics, which include procuring firearms. While crossing through Romania, Jeremy is taken prisoner and shot while escaping, forcing Elizabeth to take over as commander of the mission. All the while, Russian intelligence tracks the team’s every move, as interested in the package as it is in Elizabeth’s father. Cousins masterfully keeps the story moving at a fast clip, interspersing action at every turn. The inner machinations of the Russian Revolution are numbingly convoluted, and Cousins does a credible job navigating its infinite nuances. The story is driven by the relentless force of Elizabeth’s character, whose motto is: “Observe. Learn. Dominate.” In fact, her bravery—she is only 26 years old— in combat strains credulity: “The rat-tat-tat of the machine gun continued to ring in her ears as she became aware of what was happening around her. She had a job to do and she couldn’t do it lying on her back. She pulled herself up and got back to the gun belt.” But Cousins artfully presents the implausible as easy to digest, a skill that is the hallmark of this relentless thriller. Strictly speaking, this is almost too fantastic a tale to carry the label historical novel, but the author’s research of the period, and of Russia in particular, remains impressive.

An exciting and unpredictable tale of espionage and adventure in the early 20th century.

Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9948242-1-9

Page Count: 494

Publisher: Corrxan Inc.

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2016

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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